To Unschool, You Need To Declutter

The world feels messy.

(I feel) those in power (generally government and corporations) push all sorts of stuff onto us that we just don’t need, want nor are truly good for us.  Really, these days it’s not about what is good for us as people, it’s more what is good for government, profit and targets.  It can be so hard to figure out what is truly right and good for us as human beings.

I’ve realised a big part of unschooling is sorting out ALL THE THINGS, in our heads, in our lives and trying to make personal decisions on what we should ditch…ie – declutter our lives from.  I feel like life is overwhelming – everyone has an opinion. Stuff is thrown from every single angle. People throw fear at us at every single opportunity.

It’s all clutter. It confuses us and society.  Things become unclear and we have just learned to follow, like sheep, unable to see and trust our own instincts.

When I say declutter, I mean, the stuff that occupies us and doesn’t really bring us value or joy and let us say good bye to it.  It occupies our minds and doesn’t allow us to find clarity. This could come in many forms – physically, mentally and emotionally.

For example.

School can bring alot of clutter – there are people every from all angles telling you what to do, how to do things, what goals to have, standards, tests, forms, peer pressure from kids, peer pressure from parents, homework, term dates, child care, etc, etc.  So many things to think about and clutter your thoughts up with.

When you are in this ‘school’ world it just feels normal.  Surely all these people at school can’t be wrong. However, once you leave it, you start to see these things as clutter.  They have occupied your time and the space in your mind. They have cluttered your mind with all the things apart from what the real needs of your children and family are.

And school is just one example.  I turned on the TV the other day, and I felt like I was entering an alternate reality – I saw clutter everywhere. From TV ads, to boring trash TV, to a strange world that looked nothing like mine.  Everyone, everywhere trying to distract you and clutter your mind.

I see clutter when I go to supermarkets.  All the things that are sugar free but still really bad for you or the environment. I use to rely on them for 90% of our shopping, now it’s more like 10%.

I see clutter in the news and magazines. The images and products they constantly try to push on us.

It goes on and on.

So when we unschool it’s like we have to look at all of these things and decide:

  • do we need it?
  • is it good for our child or family?
  • what is the purpose?
  • what if we just went without?
  • if we don’t need this, then can we also get rid of that?
  • does it bring us joy?
  • does it bring us value?
  • how will we grow with this ‘thing’?

I feel like alot of our unschooling experience has been decluttering ourselves from the pressures and teachings we’ve had over the years.  Slowly we’ve had to (deschool and) let go of so many things.

Perhaps decluttering is like deschooling.  But I see decluttering more like permanently saying goodbye to things we don’t like, things that don’t add value and things that don’t bring us joy.  By doing this we can then allow room for other things to occupy our lives – the things that we do like. That do bring us joy. That do bring us value.

I’d love to hear your thoughts of decluttering and unshcooling!


5 comments on “To Unschool, You Need To Declutter

  1. -

    I so agree! I especially like the line: “By doing this we can then allow room for other things to occupy our lives – the things that we do like. That do bring us joy. ” Yes! One of the main reasons I like to declutter – it makes room for new things in my physical and mental spaces, even if it’s just the blissful joy of ‘nothing.’ 🙂
    Also, I’m starting to realize that unschooling is so much more than just a way to ‘educate the kids.’ It has really become a mindset, a way of life for us that permeates every corner of our lives. Seems like it’s that way for a lot of unschooling families. It’s very holistic. I like that. 🙂

  2. -

    I love this because we are unschoolers AND minimalists (well, to a certain degree!) So funny, too….I wrote a post today regarding “Skeletons in your minimalist closet”….dealing with life after decluttering your life. No one ever really talks about what happens after you take the plunge. Same with unschooling or homeschooling — no one really talks about what that looks like for a family trying to live more minimally. I love your blog post. Thanks for the continued inspiration!

  3. -

    You’re right, Jen! What are you supposed to do with all the uncluttered space, and how do you know that it’s “right?” Zen Buddhist’s encourage the practice of letting life live us instead of us living life or, in other words, going to conditioned mind to figure it all out. When there is nothing to figure out, then life will begin to drop in the information we need to be free. The decluttering process goes right along with this. But how do we do this? How do we simply “trust life” amid massive amounts of information being fed to us on a daily basis through emails, texts, television, youtube, facebook, etc., etc., etc.???

  4. -

    Good reminder to be more thoughtful about the things we allow into our lives and encouragement to let some more go. I find that with homeschooling and maybe unschooling in particular, the messes and chaos seem to proliferate around the house and I’m always struggling to maintain sanity. The one question I’d add to your list: “Who’s going to have a fit if we get rid of this?” 🙂 But seriously, everyone in our house has a voice and a strong opinion on EVERYTHING, so trying to respect each person and understand what they value and negotiate life together is a big challenge/opportunity. But really, I’m the worse offender in the clutter department, so thanks for the reminder on this front.

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