If you have kids, clutter in your home probably seems to be a never ending challenge (I know I feel that way). Today, Angela St. Cyril from Setting My Intention share with us 5 ways we can have a clutter free home through the year. You will love these simple tips you can start today and will be able to keep up all year.
Decluttering your home is not an easy thing to do. Keeping your clutter free home afterwards can be a challenge as well, especially if you don’t have any systems to keep your “stuff” in check. Here are five different simple systems to keep your home clutter free through the school year.
I’ve been consciously decluttering my home since 2015. I got to the point where I was fed up with closets stuffed to the point of explosion, floors littered with piles, and rooms that were far from peaceful. I was also at a place in my life where I finally had time and energy to address the piles of “delayed decisions.”
READ: Today, I Donated my Wedding Dress (my first post on the blog!)
If you’re a sleep deprived mom of littles or struggling with energy or time, try adding just one of the simple routines to keep your clutter at bay. When you’re ready to add more to your day, add another. My motto is strive for progress, not perfection.
5 Ways to Keep Your Home Clutter Free through the School Year
As a mom, there are certain rhythms to the year. Summer is very different than the school year. In our house, summer is much slower paced and an opportunity for me to get my three sons more involved in daily and weekly chores (including decluttering).
During the school year, though, life tends to feel really busy. Early mornings, after school activities, homework projects and the other daily activities as a family can leave you feeling exhausted. The thought of decluttering when you have any extra time is just not going to happen.
I get it. I don’t enjoy spending my extra time decluttering either! I DO enjoy the feeling of a peaceful and inviting atmosphere after I declutter though. All five of these ideas shouldn’t take longer than five minutes if you continue to do them regularly. At first, they might take longer because they’re not part of your routine yet. Try one at a time and see what helps curb the clutter in your home.
1. 5 Minute Pick Ups
We started doing these as a family a couple of years ago in our living room and I still can’t believe that 5 minutes can make such a big difference. The living room is the hub of activity in our family. The kids do their homework there, hang out together, read and watch movies in that space. There are usually socks, clothes, books, papers, and random toys that pile up through the day and week.
I was picking up and cleaning the living room by myself when the kids were at school, but I’ve realized that it’s quicker when we do it together. I also want them to develop this habit as a life skill for when they leave our home.
We usually do our 5-minute pick ups on Fridays or Sundays. We set a timer and everyone takes an area of the room or a task (pick up all the clothes and bring them to the basement/pick up all the toys and return them to the right bedrooms/paper/etc). If we’re feeling really motivated, someone might even clear and dust off our piano which tends to be a clutter magnet! After the floor is cleared, someone vacuums.
2. Read and act on school papers right away
Back to school tends to bring with it a TON of papers – especially at the start of the new year. Paper clutter is one of the hardest to keep under control in our house, but here are a few tips that have helped in our home:
- As soon as you receive the papers, read them and write down the important dates on your family’s master calendar. Recycle the paper right away.
- If it’s a school permission slip or form that needs to be returned – do it right away so it doesn’t get lost or misplaced. Give it back to your child and have them put it in their backpacks to return to their school.
- Have one container for your child’s drawings and special projects that they bring home. When the container is full, have your child go through the container to recycle or throw out the ones that don’t have as much meaning to them anymore. My youngest son draws SO much. He usually wants to keep his drawings after he makes them, but a month later is no longer interested in keeping most of them.
I created a small corner of our dining room into a small command center that works for us and our space. It has a vertical file folder with each of our names. Papers that we need to hold on to go in that vertical file folder (like report cards and medical documents) until I bring it up to my more permanent file folder. You can see our “unfancy” command center and the file labels that we use, here.
3. Use the change of seasons for decluttering
One of the things I’ve added to our decluttering rhythm is to make decisions about clothing, outerwear, and shoes with each change of season. When you are switching out your clothes in between seasons, make sure to look at them carefully and make a pile for donations and a pile for the trash.
- Will it fit them next year?
- Are there any holes or tears?
- Do you want to hang onto it for your younger child? (There is 6 years difference in age between my middle and youngest son. I’ve decided not to hold on to most of the clothes for that time period.)
- Do you really need 5 pairs of mittens or gloves? Which ones were the ones your child reached for every time? Consider paring down to a capsule wardrobe for your kids.
4. 1 in: 1 out rule
For every new item you bring in the house, take one item and put it in the trash or donate bag. If you’re upgrading your coffee maker, make sure to donate your old one. If it’s broken, make sure you throw it away in the trash. If you buy a new shirt, donate another one that you don’t wear (you know the one – smushed way in the back of your drawer because you never reach for it).
I know that seems like such a basic fact, but I know there are some of you who hold onto parts of broken items thinking “maybe we can fix it” or “this one particular part will come in handy.” I know, because this is something that a couple of my household members struggle with.
5. Plan in a decluttering challenge once or twice a year
There are a wide variety of decluttering challenges available. We’ve done the MinsGame as a family. There is the 40 bags in 40 days challenge during Lent.
There are a lot of 30-day challenges out there that felt overwhelming to me. I’ve created a FREE Slow and Steady Decluttering eCourse that you can use to declutter any area in your home within the time frame that feels right to you. If you’re interested, click the link above or the image below!