Okay, guys. Raise your hand if you have ever felt like you are drowning in a mad amount of stuff… Are you sitting there with your hand up? Then chances are you are in need of my mad de-cluttering skills. Sadly, I cannot jump out of this screen and put my magic to work in your home. However, I do have some secrets that I have learned along the way, and I want to share them with you here!
You see, I am a master de-clutterer and organizational extraordinaire. 🙂 But it hasn’t always been easy for me. After becoming a mom, I realized that I had completely lost control of EVERYTHING. For someone who likes to be in control, it made me nuts. See, I’m kind of a Martha. I need things to be nice and neat, and I don’t function well when they aren’t. If you are a mom, then you know what a challenge this can be.
Since having my first little one a little over 7 years ago, we have added three more kids to the mix. With a family of six, I have had to learn how to manage the chaos without feeling like I’m running after them all day long cleaning up in their wake. It took me a while to find a good balance, but I have found some keys to success that help me control the chaos.
So if you are stuck in that awful place of either feeling exhausted from cleaning up after your
minions sweet little loves, or your home looking like it should be declared a disaster area, then this is for you. Here are my 6 SECRETS TO CUTTING CLUTTER FOR GOOD!
1. WHEN SOMETHING NEW COMES IN, SOMETHING OLD GOES OUT!
This alone will help to save your sanity. There is not much to it. Did you bring home a big bag of clothes from a shopping trip? Then you need to fill a bag and send it to the donation bin. (An over-stuffed closet just leads to loads of frustration. Only keep things you actually wear.) I even use this on grocery shopping days. I clean out the fridge and pantry so they’re not full of clutter. It adds a few minutes to the routine that day, but the headache that it saves me is totally worth it. So remember, when something new comes in, something old goes out!
2. SORT YOUR MAIL AS SOON AS YOU GET IT OUT OF THE MAILBOX!
Ahh…The mail pile. It plagues kitchen counters around the country and we continue to let it. It is probably the most common source of clutter in homes today. But you can escape this clutter-causer like I have by putting this one habit into practice: When you get the mail, DO NOT set it down. It takes all of 10 seconds to decide what needs to be tossed, so just do it. Then anything important should get opened and filed immediately. It will save future you hours of sorting that mail mountain. And believe me, future you will be so happy that you were proactive! Speaking of counter clutter, that leads me to my next secret…
3. KEEP COUNTERS AND TABLES CLEAR OF JUNK!
This may sound extremely basic, but it is crucial to managing the madness! A clean table and clear kitchen counter will automatically make your home feel soooo much tidier. So resist the urge to throw your purse on the table, and teach your familia that table tops are not for their stuff either. Everything should have a place, and the table ain’t it.
4. ESCAPE THE SCHOOLWORK PILE UP!
Right now I only have one school-aged kiddo. She is in first grade and every single day she comes home with an entire folder of beautifully colored papers and amazingly neat paragraphs written in the most perfect little handwriting I’ve ever seen. I love her to pieces and appreciate all the hard work that she does on each paper. But after I look at the contents of her folder and ooohhhh and ahhhhh over it all, it gets placed in good ole file 13 (guys…that’s the trash.). Of course, I keep the really good ones, you know, the ones that make me tear up like this one:
or laugh out loud like this one:
The “r” is there, she just ran out of room…LOL! :’)
Papers like these are savers, but the daily calendar worksheets and reminders and the 99 other pages that come home every single day do not have a place here. So take a page from my book and sort that stuff as soon as you look at it. If not, it will pile up faster than the junk mail!
Here is another tip for your school kids. We have a bulletin board for homework and things that need further attention. That way we don’t ever forget about anything. With four kids, it is easy to get distracted and forget to send something back. This is a lifesaver! 🙂
What the heck are you supposed to do with all the toys??!! I mean, every time you turn around they are attacking your space and flooding your floors! Well, here is what I do. When I feel those little monstrous critters beginning to overtake, I thin them out. Anything that meets these criteria ends up in the trash or in a box for donation:
- Did it come from a drive-thru?
- Is it broken beyond repair?
- Has anyone actually played with it since last time I did this?
- Has it been outgrown?
The only exception I allow for any of these criteria is if an item has sentimental value. And I don’t mean, “But Mom, that is special to me!” However, if it was a special doll or great grandma’s toy tractor…they can stay.
I’ll let you in on another pro-mom tip: If you are tired of hearing your kids say that they don’t have anything to play with (or if you just don’t have a lot of space), you can put some things in a tote in the closet or basement. Then rotate them in/out every couple of months. I swear, when a tote of old “new” toys comes out, they think it is Christmas! They will actually play with the stuff again! I normally do this about once a quarter. 🙂
6. DONATE CLOTHES!!!!
Clothes overtake just about as quickly as toys do in my house! Every time I turn around one of my kids has a drawer full of clothes that don’t fit. It never ends! So this is what I do: I keep a basket just for the “don’t fits.” If it doesn’t fit it gets tossed in the basket. When the basket is full, it gets put in the yard sale pile or gets put in donations. When drawers only contain what fits, it gives you a much better picture of what you need. And it is much less frustrating for your little ones when they are picking out their clothes. 🙂
Well, that is it…
After reading my “secrets” you may be thinking, hmmm…those don’t sound like secrets…they sound so simple! And you would be exactly right! You see, the secret to success in anything is never really difficult. Success is about following the fundamentals. So if you want to cut clutter for good, just do these basics. They won’t fail you. Follow the fundamentals day after day and these good habits will yield good results. I promise.