Anyone else resolving to declutter and simplify their home in 2018? This was at the top of my list heading into the new year. Our house was feeling more chaotic than ever and our closets were simply filled with too much stuff. I am admittedly a work in progress, pretty sure most homes with kids are, but here’s some things that have been working for me:
Take one project at a time
While it can be good see to the big picture and have a plan, decluttering an entire house can get really overwhelming and confusing. Taking it one room or nook at a time is usually much more successful and rewarding. Carve out a day or weekend to to tackle each space in your house, pulling everything out and purging fully.
Find online inspiration
Between online magazines, blogs, Pinterest and other social media sites there are so many great ideas and sources of inspiration found online these days. One of my personal favorites to follow is the Home Edit on Instagram. The pictures they share of the spaces they transform and their methodical organizing is so cool.
Buy organizational tools
I always find pulling everything out of a space is the easiest way to start the process. But when it’s time for items to go back in the drawer or the closet having a plan and the right tools to help you organize is usually best. Things like makeup organizers for the bathroom, utility shelves for the basement, a supply caddy for the office and shelves and decorative bins for the closet (or just about any room) are so helpful to initial get organized.
Designate a special spot for incoming & outgoing mail
Maybe it’s a mail holder on the wall or filing bin in the office, but designating a spot for incoming and outgoing mail as well as things like school notices and permission slips can alleviate confusion and tons of countertop clutter. Personally, I struggle with countertop clutter daily but have found implementing a system and taking a few minutes everyday to catch up a must.
Label label label
Whether you’re organizing bins in the basement or you’re finding order amongst playroom chaos, you can’t go wrong labeling everything. It helps everyone in the house remember to put items and their place and find things on their own. I love the stick on chalkboard labels; they’re cute and you can change them up anytime.
Check the dates
When was the last time you went through and checked expiration dates? For me it had been a while. Doing a date overhaul with all the things can be a great starting point in the purging process in many rooms. Think food, medicine cabinet, makeup, and even things like extra car seats sitting in your basement.
Keep their BEST work
Let’s talk for a moment about ALL the paper and projects that come home from school! If you don’t come up with a method/approach it can get overwhelming. In our house we keep only the special items from the week. This work goes into each kiddos designated drawer in my office. We’ll have to figure out what to do when the drawer is full, but so far so good. We also have a binder for each kiddo to house things like class photos, newspaper clippings, hockey team photos etc.
Get the kids involved
Make sure the kiddos know the “special spot” for items around the house especially their own toys and activities. Getting them onboard and excited about the new set up and organization system usually helps maintaining it a lot easier. If you have younger kids who aren’t reading yet think about using picture labels to help them out. I also find that it can be helpful (at times) to get them involved in the purging process. I’ve asked my older kids to sort through their toys and fill a large bag to donate. While it’s not always easy to part with their things, it’s helped them make choices, find order, remember how lucky they are and pay it forward.
Keep, toss, donate, or sell
Last year I finally did a big overhaul of my own closet and have tried to do smaller purgers with the change of seasons. Whether I’m tackling the clothes and shoes in our closets or tackling the playroom, I find it easiest to have 4 separate bins, one for items used/worn regularly that I’m keeping, a box of items that are heading to the dump, another box of items to donate (think Goodwill, local shelters, churches or family services) and another box for items in tip top shape that can be sold online, at your yard sale or at a local consignment shop.
Try Oprah’s hanger experiment
I don’t think Oprah invented this, but she sure made this trick popular. When you decide on which items in your wardrobe your keeping, place each one on a hanger facing inward. When you’ve worn the item, flip the hanger facing outward. For any item that is still facing inward after 6 months, time to revaluate donating or selling.
Call in reinforcements
Sometimes we all get to the place where we need a little help, an unbiassed opinion, a fresh perspective or maybe even some expert advice. Depending on your needs or your budget this could be a friend, a parent or a local professional organizer.
Five minutes a day
Once you find order, maintaining it becomes the new challenge. Whether you make it a game or a family ritual, carve out 5 minutes a day outside of the normally daily cleaning to do a pick up dash. Five minutes devoted to picking up clutter and making sure things are in their spot.
What are some of your best tricks for purging and organizing the clutter? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.
This post was contributed by Rebecca Spear. You can find more from Rebecca on her blog, Mainely Mama.