Inside: Are you feeling like clutter has waged a war with you in your home…and you’re on the losing end? Here are some need-to-know and easy-to-execute tips to get rid of the clutter once and for all!
It was one of the earlier mornings. I clumsily shuffled across our dark living room en route the freshly brewed coffee in the kitchen. In an instant, I was down.
I winced in pain as I reached for the culprit. A Lego. Deeply embedded in the bottom of my foot.
Enough was enough.
Having kids is great, but the giant mess these tiny humans leave behind can be a real pain (in the foot!).
In life with kids, there will be messes…
When kids are small, a big part of learning and growing involves being creative. And creativity can be messy. And those messes can be a beautiful representation of your child’s imagination hard at work. A visible sign that they’re learning and growing every day. But these messes were causing my husband and I mental (and physical) pain!
As I observed my kids, I noticed a pattern in their playtime. They’d jump from one mess to another to another. Leaving all areas of our home looking and feeling like a war zone.
By the end of the afternoon, I was exhausted and feeling completely out-of-control. I felt pulled in a million different directions of needing to make dinner, clean the house, and tend to my kids in their proverbial “witching hour” of the day.
Something had to be done for everyone’s sake.
And, as I stood there preaching to my kids on the importance of tidiness & putting things away, I had a revelation.
On the one hand, kids are kids. Their attention spans are short and aren’t naturally trained to pick up after themselves. But messiness might also be a learned behavior.
As I scanned the kitchen from where I was standing, reality set in. I felt a lump in my throat and a twinge of guilt creep over me.
Mail, to-do lists, and receipts scattered across the kitchen counter. Dishes piled high in the sink. Jackets draped over the kitchen chairs.
Yuck, yuck, and yuck.
Yep. My kids were definitely learning habits, but not good ones, by watching me.
A Simple Plan to Get Rid of Clutter for Good
I’m an avid reader (or, audiobook listener) and had already read some amazing books on home and life organization. They were more than just entertaining and enjoyable to listen to, they also had some life-changing tips on how to get rid of clutter. If ever there was a time to put them into action, it was now.
As Ruth Soukup, author of the book Living Well Spending Less and creator of the Living Well Spending Less blog puts it “It takes 60 days to make anything a habit. Stick with it for 60 days and it will become second nature.”
Keep reading to learn a few of my favorite tips that we’ve been incorporating into our day-to-day routine. And these small changes can make big improvements in your life too in a short amount of time.
Click here to get the free Guide to A Tidy Home In Minutes a Day for additional tips & habit tracker.
1. Everything You Own Should Have a Home
This is a tip I learned from Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Or, as my grandma used to say: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
If you’re thinking: “Okay, that’s just common sense!”
You’re totally right. It is.
But, just like eating healthy, exercising, or any other great habit, it takes intentionality in putting that knowledge into action to reap the benefits.
As I took a good, hard look around my living space, I realized how many random things (or stow-aways, as I like to call them), were keeping our home cluttered on a daily basis.
The biggest offenders?
Cups, small toys, and junk mail. These things liked to congregate on our countertop and dining room table.
Have you ever heard the expression “clutter breeds clutter?”
It’s this incredible phenomenon where a single misplaced thing becomes a magnet for at least 5 more out-of-place things.
So, we’ve worked hard to find a “home” for everything that enters ours. If it doesn’t seem to fit anywhere it gets tossed or donated. At times it feels like an uphill battle. However, I’m happy to report that, in just a few short weeks, the process became second nature!
2. Just Do It!
Anything that takes 30 seconds or less should be done immediately.
Now that everything in your home has a designated spot, there’s no question as to where it should go once you’re done with it.
Not on the counter. Or in the sink.
I never realized just how long 30 seconds was until I started counting as I put things away.
At this point, it’s a fun little game that I like to play (and have my kids play too).
It helps make my point that, we’re actually able to exert less effort in the long run by just doing it right the first time.
Bags on the couch and coats on the chairs? Not anymore.
The moment I start to throw those things somewhere they don’t belong, I stop. I pick that item up and I take it to it’s “home.”
And you know what?
It has never taken me over 30 seconds to put something away.
I know! Mind blown. 🤯
3. The 5-Minute Clean-up
Let’s be honest. Not every day goes 100% according to plan. Sometimes our attention is pulled in other directions when we were in the middle of tidying up a room, and things get left where they shouldn’t be.
That’s where this 5-minute plan will save the day. It’s just what it sounds like.
5-minutes (not a minute more or less) to clean up messy areas.
In our home, these happen right before each meal-time. I set a timer for 5 minutes, and my kids and I just GO. My kids love it when I incorporate some fun music to listen to as they clean.
4. The one in, one out rule.
This has been a really popular concept as the minimalist craze continues to grow. And it’s easy to see why.
It helps to keep YOU in control of your belongings, instead of letting them control you.
For every new thing you bring into your home, you part ways with something similar. A new pair of jeans in, means saying goodbye to my least favorite pair that I never wear anyway.
We do the same thing with our toys. It’s been a great way to teach our kids to respect their space and only keep the things that they truly love. (To read a whole lot more on that topic, check out Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy, a companion book to The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up).
So, while total home organization is not always as easy as 1-2-3…these simple steps to help you get rid of clutter will have you well on-your-way to getting there!
Related Post: 3 Reasons You NEED a Weekly Planning Session
Join the community to get this FREE 5-page guide.
✔️ 6 Must-Know To Keeping a Tidy Home
✔️ A Handy Habit Tracker
✔️ Tips that can be done in minutes a day.