Have you ever found yourself looking at minimalism posts on Pinterest, or binge watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and thought to yourself, “I want less stuff! I need to declutter my home!,”
But then when you actually try to do it, it seems impossible?
Either you just have too much stuff that you can’t part with, impractical storage solutions, or just can’t find the time to get it done.
You end up having papers spread out all over the kitchen counter, baskets of junk you never use, and it just feels overwhelming.
Cleaning the house takes longer because there are just so many things to put away, and you even have to use so much mental energy to figure out where to put the things.
It’s actually exhausting.
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It doesn’t have to be hard get organized
When it comes to getting organized there are some challenges.
- Deciding what to get rid of
- Creating the best storage solutions
- Finding the time to get it done
I’m going to help you overcome these obstacles so you can declutter your life! An organized home runs well, and once you have done some of this initial work you will have less stress later down the road. So let’s get started
Less is more
First of all, let’s just get on the same page about the importance of decluttering your home.
When you have fewer things by getting rid of the things that no longer serve a purpose you are making it easier to enjoy the things you do own.
When you open a cupboard you will only see useful things. This makes it easier to find what you need (saves time) and then to actually use it.
Having less stuff means more…
- Time! (No more digging for things or spending time putting too many things away or trying to figure out where to put it)
- Enjoyment of what you own
- Relaxation (less stress about organizing your life means more time to relax!)
Why is decluttering and organizing so important AS A MOM
Decluttering your home and getting organized is important for anyone, but if your a mom with small kids this will be an incredibly important task for you.
Decluttering your home means there will be less stuff for toddlers to get their hands into. You won’t feel like you’re constantly telling them to take their hands off of something because there will be fewer things spread out around the house and you’ll be able to keep “off limits” items truly out of reach.
You’ll also feel a sense of relief after you’ve decluttered your home and you no longer need all this mental energy to put things away. Putting things away can sometimes be like a puzzle as you pick up 5 items to put away and have to figure out where each thing should go. A place for everything, and everything in its place!
And imagine not having to always tell other family members where to find things, because everything is organized and there are fewer useless items taking up space in your home!
“Stuff” makes us feel stressed
So many moms feel triggered by all the stuff that’s cluttering their home.
When you clean the living room and the next minute you can’t even see the floor because it’s covered in toys, books, etc it might make you feel a little bit crazy!
I talk about how to overcome mom anger in my premium course Angry Mom No More and I know for a fact that a lot of moms feel stressed out by messy homes, and this stress about the mess can end up getting projected at the kids.
When we feel stressed we are WAY more likely to snap at our kids and even yell or get so frustrated we want to spank them.
Here at Easy Gentle Parenting, I am teaching moms how to use Gentle Parenting which is a respect based approach to discipline that focuses on the parent child relationship to bring joy for both the parent and child.
Gentle Parenting requires so so much patience, and if we are feeling super frustrated by all the clutter in our homes, then it’s a lot harder to stay calm when it’s time to discipline our kids.
So I’m going to help you declutter your life and get organized so your home can help make you a better mom!
Related: 6 Steps to Stop Being an Angry Mom
A few alternatives to the Kon Marie method
Like many people, I recently binge watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. It was pretty refreshing to watch a reality show of this genre where they didn’t create artificial drama or deadlines for the purpose of the show. Pretty in line with my Gentle Parenting principles so I loved it!
However, I have a few alternative approaches to how she suggests you do things that you might want to consider.
Instead of throwing away pictures…
Keep the digital copy!
I am a huge fan of Google Photos – mostly because I’ve had hard drives break and laptops stolen before and lost precious memories, but also because it’s super easy to organize your photos and even scan old ones.
On Google Photos I can search through my pictures by date, location, person or even pet. All my photos get backed up automatically and I can use it from my phone or computer. Definitely check it out! Don’t be like me and not back up those newborn pictures in a cloud somewhere and lose them all to a broken laptop! I have thousands upon thousands pictures backed up on Google Photos with high quality and it doesn’t cost me a thing!
Instead of only owning a few books…
Try reading with Kindle instead.
You might already know that I travel and move a lot. It’s so much easier to just buy and read books from my phone, or you could use a device specifically for books.
If you don’t want to get rid of all your books, try organizing them by genre or author so at least when you go to your bookshelf you can easily find the ones you are looking for and they can be displayed nicely.
Instead of saying thank you to your items…
If you’re not into the whole saying thank you to each item you can give away, you can try stating, “It has served its purpose.”
This is what my husband I have been doing for years, especially when we struggle to part with something but realize we no longer need it anymore.
Maybe the item has served a practical purpose, such as baby items you don’t need anymore, or appliances that still work but you’ve replaced with a better model. Or items that served an emotional purpose, something you bought during some “retail therapy.”
Once the item has served its purpose you can let it go knowing it has done its job.
How to decide what to get rid of as you declutter your life
This can be a difficult process for a lot of people. Decluttering your life isn’t a straight forward process sometimes because it can be really difficult to actually decide to get rid of something.
I find that it’s easy to think we are decluttering our home because we get rid of all the “obvious,” stuff. I try to purge my clothes on a regular basis and it’s pretty easy to get rid of things I never wear and don’t like, but what about something I like but never wear for whatever reasons?
This is where a lot of energy can be needed to declutter your stuff. Only owning the things you actually enjoy and need is a freeing feeling, but it’s a long process.
Going through your items one by one will help you to really decide what to keep, and it also helps to go by category so it’s easy to make sure you have “enough” of something. It’s easy to randomly accumulate stuff and if you’re stuff isn’t organized you might actually have 100 pens in your house, but can never find them so you buy more.
Put like with like so you can see how much you actually have and get rid of what you don’t need anymore.
Try to ask yourself this question as you go through your stuff:
- When was the last time I used this?
- Will I need this again in the immediate future?
- If I’m not going to use this anytime soon, does it have enough financial value that it’s worth storing until I will need it again? (For example, baby items when you’re still planning to have more children.)
- Does this item bring me enough joy that it’s worth keeping?
How to find the time to declutter your home
If you have a lot of stuff, it can be difficult to find the time to declutter your home, especially if you have little ones under foot. It might be a very long process but in the end you will have a more organized home which will bring you more joy and save you time down the road when everything is organized. The time you put in now will pay off later.
Here are some tips to consider when trying to find the time to declutter your home:
- Make a space in your home to do the sorting where you can leave it if you need to. So if you’re sorting through all items of a single category but can’t get it all done in one day it helps to have a designated area of your house to do it. If you have toddlers it’s nice to use a room that you can keep the door closed so they won’t go in and move things around.
- Make small goals. Instead of deciding to declutter your whole house in a weekend just focus on a small area at a time. This will help to find the time to get things done because you won’t feel so overwhelmed. It’s easier to work on something when the end is in sight.
- Enlist tasks for other members of the home to sort their own stuff. If everyone is on the same page, the others members of the home should declutter their own stuff. You can put toys together and ask your children (if they’re old enough for this) to sort through which toys they want to keep, and which toys they want to give away. You can explain to them why you’re decluttering the home and the importance of just keeping the things we enjoy, and allowing someone else to enjoy the things that we don’t enjoy anymore.
Top Tips for Organizing Every Room in the House
Now that you’ve spent some time decluttering and getting rid of unnecessary things it’s time to organize the home so there can be a place for everything and everything in it’s place.
You really want your things to be organized well.
It will help you to find things quickly, put things away quickly, prevent you from buying unnecessary things, and overall it can just give you more peace of mind.
Be sure to check out the videos to see some of the exact strategies I’ve used before. As you’ll see my stuff needs some improvement too!
Organizing the kitchen for a clutter free home
Make everything visible
When you open your cupboards you want to be able to see everything so you can find what you need. Try using dividers to section different areas of the cupboard for different things – that way when you put things away they can all be in one spot (all the pasta in one spot, all the spaghetti sauce in another). It’s tempting to just throw everything in the cupboard after grocery shopping, but try organizing everything and making them visible.
If it’s not immediately clear what something is, stick a label on it!
Use bins in high shelves
If you have high cupboards you might want to use small bins (preferably clear) to put smaller items in so you can pull down the whole bin and look inside. Ideally in your kitchen the things you use the most often should be the easiest to access, and things that are used less often (pie pan, birthday candles, etc) should be in the higher, harder to reach spots.
Keep things you use together close to each other
When you’re organizing your kitchen, try to put things close together that you usually use together, or near the appliance you use them with. A simple example would be to keep the mugs near the coffee maker or kettle.
Organizing linen closet
Use a hanging shoe organizer on the door for hand towels, dish rags etc.
Check it out in the video or picture below!
Get rid of anything you don’t really need
Trust me I need to do this! You only need so many hotel shampoos! Look into where in your city accepts opened things like shampoo, lotion, etc. Some women’s shelters accept items like this. This works great if maybe you have a hand lotion you received as a gift but don’t use it because you don’t like the smell.
A place for everything and everything in it’s place!
Have a spot for everything, and maybe label each spot so you know where to put things. If you have a lot of sheets you can use a cardboard box to divide up the shelf so they’re not all just shoved randomly on the top shelf.
Go through all the bottles!
Shampoos, cleaning products, random skin care products…go through it ALL! It’s a lot easier to organize when you only have the things you actually need.
Keep shampoo bottles off the floor
Once you’ve minimized your bottles, try a hanging basket like in my video, or something of that nature to keep bottles off the floor. This gives a cleaner look and makes it easier to clean the bathroom.
Keeping cleaning products close at hand
It’s easy to procrastinate from cleaning the bathroom when everything you need for cleaning is so spread out. You could try keeping everything in a small basket or just under the sink. If you have to go all over the house to collect the items for cleaning the bathroom it might mean you put it off for a long time. Keeping things close at hand will save you time and make it more likely that you’ll keep the bathroom clean.
Going through all the things in your bedroom might take a long time. It can be hard for some people to part with clothes, or in our bedrooms is where we often keep the sentimental items which can be hard to decide to get rid of. You don’t have to rush the process but in the end you want your room to be able to be tidy.
Fold your clothes the Marie Kondo way!
I call it the Marie Kondo way, but I’ve actually been folding my clothes like this since I was a kid. Basically what you want to do is fold your clothes in a way that you can see everything. You can search on Pinterest and Google to get some ideas of how to fold better, but here’s an example of what you’d want your drawers to look like.
Organize drawers with small boxes
You can use old cardboard boxes but there are also really cute boxes you can buy at the dollar store. This just helps you to divide up the smaller items in your drawers so it’s not a huge mess.
Hang jewellery on hooks
If you closet doors opens outwards you can stick hooks on the door to hang necklaces, bracelets, etc. I’ve found this to be the best and easiest way to store necklaces.
Keep surfaces clear
If you can keep the clutter off your dresser, night stand and other surfaces it will feel so much tidier in your home! I always try to keep my things inside the nightstand drawer instead of on top of the night stand, this helps my bedroom to seem tidier with less clutter.
Organizing Living Room
Keeping your living room clutter free can be really difficult because it’s such a central and casual area of the house. When your living room feels really messy is when you might feel more triggered by your child’s behaviour. A lot of your interactions with your child probably happen in the living room, plus a lot of toys probably accumulate there, so if it’s a giant mess you might feel ready to explode when their behaviour challenges you.
Have a system to put things away
To avoid having your living room look like a bomb went off, you should have some systems in place that help you to get things put away. I’ve seen some people keep some small bins on the stairs, each with a different person’s name, and that’s where their stuff goes that needs to be put away. That way when they’re going upstairs they can take the things and put them in their room. This would definitely be helpful to get kids to put things back in their room that don’t belong in the living room (like their sweater, socks, etc.)
Make a spot for things you use in the living room all the time
Sometimes putting things away can feel like so much work, especially if that thing always gravitates towards the living room anyways. If you find yourself always carrying something from the living room back to another room, then maybe that thing should have it’s own spot in the living room instead?
As an example, my daughter’s books “belong” in the bedroom, but she was always carrying them to the living room and they’d end up spread out on the couch or floor if I didn’t put them away. I decided I needed to make a “spot” for them in the living room, and now she keeps books in the bedroom and in the living room. This seems small, but it makes a big difference.
Add more storage options to your living room
So as you’re going through your things, and thinking about how you normally live, you might find there is a lot of stuff that seems to need to be stored in the living room but you don’t have enough spots for them. If you need some more storage options in your living room check out my video below for two helpful storage options in the living room.
Declutter your life for a better life
Keeping your home clutter free can be difficult at first, especially as you get rid of things and find more storage solutions, but it can be incredibly freeing to do so, you might even feel like a weight is being lifted off your shoulders.
I consider keeping the house clean to be part of my self care and it makes me a better mom to not be overwhelmed by the mess, but I don’t want to spend endless time cleaning an endless mess. Less stuff and better systems means less time spent cleaning.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the mess, just know that once you’re decluttered and organized your home it will feel like a huge relief. You won’t be overstimulated by the chaos of stuff, instead you will feel like you have more focus and more time on your hands, which will help you exceedingly with being a stronger parent.
If you’re done decluttering and want to check out more tools to become a stronger parent, check out my courses and products.
And do you have tips for decluttering other rooms in the house? Be sure to share them in the comments to help others out, and I might just have to add them to the post as well!