21-Day Challenge: How we handle extraneous clutter!

21-Day Challenge: How we handle extraneous clutter!
21-day challenge: an easy approach to organizing your whole home

Last week, I shared with you how I reorganized our entry way, an out of control pantry, the area underneath our sinks in the bathrooms and kitchen, our linen closet, and our playroom. Today, I’m going to share with you how we handle extraneous clutter. Later on this week I’ll share tips for organizing our closets, and on Saturday, I’ll share numbers 6-10 with you.

But for now, extraneous clutter- as the mother of two small children who are both still in single digits, I have seen some clutter. A lot of it. On a daily basis. Don’t be fooled- the adult members of my household are pretty good at creating clutter as well. We just blame it all on the kids 🙂

Don’t let that sweet face fool you- she’s got a Master’s degree in mess making.

We have a number of habits we practice for managing clutter, but just like everyone else, we are not perfect and we definitely slip sometimes, too.

1. Create a daily declutter routine

We take an ordinary laundry basket, and we go room to room each night, putting away anything that was left out. When the basket is empty and everything is put away, we have a decluttered house, and a clean slate for the next day.

2. Manage that paper clutter!

Invest in some file folders and a good paper shredder. File your important papers, like bill stubs, school papers, etc, and shred the rest. No need to let paper pile up on your desk or your kitchen counter! Put it away or get rid of it.

3. Sort and purge anything you no longer need or use at least twice a year

At least twice a year, we have something we call a purge around here. No, we don’t go on a killing spree, like the horror movie. We simply go through closets, dressers, drawers, and cabinets and we get rid of things. We take what we no longer need or use and we either throw it away, repurpose or recycle it, or we donate it. At times, if the items were in good shape, I chose to consign them using a brick and mortar consignment store, or online services such as Poshmark or Thredup.

Yet another rule of thumb is to search or shop your own home for anything you can use prior to buying something new.

How do you and your family manage clutter?

21-day challenge: entry way organization

21-day challenge: entry way organization

Our entry way looked like this:

It wasn’t bad, but it did need some help.

I’m going to show you my before and after shots, but I also want to share some of my tips for a more organized entry.

1. Have a place to stash shoes.

See those big baskets under the table? I use those to corral shoes. Without the baskets, shoes were always all over the floor.

2. Have a designated place to stash incoming mail and other items.

Those two baskets corral items like mail, keys and school papers, which keeps them out of sight and off the counter tops.

I gave both baskets a little straightening up, simply by going through everything in them and throwing away what didn’t need to be there any longer.

We also thinned out some of the coats and extra things hanging up in our entry way. These hooks corral our book bags, purses and the dog leash.

Our entry is still not decorated the way I want it to be, but it’s certainly more functional and neat.

Let’s see that before:

And after:

Isn’t this a lot better?

Don’t forget to show me your organizing progress on Instagram with the hashtag #ons21daychallenge ?

21-day challenge: an organized linen closet

21-day challenge: an organized linen closet

Our linen closet wasn’t terrible but it definitely needed a little love.

We had some good things going in our linen closet but we really had been neglecting it and piling it up. I began the cleanup process by removing everything that didn’t belong and putting it in its rightful place.

I neatly folded up all the towels and popped them into the cubby shelves. I also used bins and baskets to corral smaller items. I took everything that was just sitting on the shelf and found a new home for it.

I also cleaned up and consolidated some of the luggage on the floor of the closet. The laundry basket is for dry cleaning.

Rolling up a quilt actually helps it to take up less space than if you folded it up.

Let’s look at the before and after again:

After:

All in all, I’d say that our linen closet is so much neater and more organized. What do you think?

21-Day Challenge Kickoff Day!!

21-Day Challenge Kickoff Day!!

Do you know what day it is? It’s kickoff day for our annual 21-day organizing challenge! This week, I’ll be sharing my own cleaning and organizing challenges, as well as showing you my progress….and offering a few tips along the way.

Remember, you don’t have to do an entire room or an entire dresser, closet or cabinet. You can focus on a small part of a room or closet, or even one shelf or some drawer. It’s completely up to you.

I really need to tidy up our entry way and I’ll be sharing that tomorrow.

I also need to pay some serious attention to the cabinets underneath our kitchen sink and the girls’ bathroom sink cabinet.

Our pantry needs some work as well.

The playroom just got purged and organized after Christmas, so it just needs to be straightened up.

And lastly, our linen closet. It used to be so neat and now it’s in need of a serious straightening up.

So, now you know what I’ll be sharing on the blog this week. Happy organizing, and don’t forget to share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #ons21daychallenge.

Have a wonderful week!!

Simplify Saturdays: Simplify Your Cleaning Routine

Simplify Saturdays: Simplify Your Cleaning Routine

I don’t know about you, but cleaning is a struggle at my house. My house isn’t all that big but it is time consuming to give it the attention it needs. With two children and a full time job, it is even more difficult sometimes to get the house clean.

Before I share the things I have learned, I want to make it clear that I have not completely figured it out yet. These are just a few tips that are helping me work toward finding a balance, even though I have far from found that balance.

1. Develop a routine and stick to it

Developing a routine and sticking to it as much as possible is a great way to have a cleaner house. We have tried to assign small duties to each night, allowing for flex time on the weekends to catch up on any tasks we have missed. We try to perform the same specific duties each day, but perform a different task each night. Here is our weekly checklist:

You will notice that starting the washing machine each morning is on the list. We have a washer with a delayed start and I use it daily. I throw laundry in the washer before going to bed and set it to finish as I’m getting up. This way, I wash and dry a load of laundry before leaving the house, and have one more load to complete when I get home. I still have to fold them and put them away, but the waiting game is over.

2. Delegate!

You don’t have to do everything, and you can’t. Assign chores to the other members of your household. My oldest daughter is eager to earn a small allowance for her own money, and she doesn’t mind helping me around the house. Pay your children to help you, convince your significant other to help you, but stop trying to be solely responsible for all the cleaning.

3. Set aside time for extra attention

I try to have a deep cleaning day one Saturday a month where I tackle cleaning tasks that don’t necessarily need to be done weekly, but still need a little extra love. These are areas like baseboards or dusting the door and window moldings. You could even break these deep cleaning tasks up and do one each Saturday. It’s all about your schedule and making things work for you.

4. Be reasonable

Sometimes, you won’t have time to clean because you’ve had a busy day. Or maybe you did clean, but something happened and your room is no longer clean. These are the moments when you must have grace with yourself. Your house can’t be perfectly clean all the time but neither can anyone else’s house.

I hope you have enjoyed these tips for simplifying cleaning. As I said before, I am still working to simplify cleaning at my own home, so if you have any tips for me, I’d welcome them 🙂 Have a wonderful day!