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I Dream of a Clean House: Organizational Strategies That Will Rock Your World

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Happy New Year! If you feel the pull to clean and organize in January, this post is for you! I’ve asked a team of moms: What is the number one organizational strategy that rocked your world? Check out the results!

Closet Sanity Solutions:

“Use hooks to hang coats instead of hangers, and cubbies for shoes and outerwear accessories.”

“I only allow coats that you wear regularly at our entrance and 2 pairs of shoes/boots. All other coats, shoes, snow pants, etc need to be put away. Each kid has one of these in their closet, that we use for hats, mitts, their bedding, or anything else that wouldn’t necessarily have a home.”

“Keep a box in your closet and every time you try something on that you don’t like or doesn’t fit throw it in to be donated. Then you don’t have to actually spend the time cleaning out your closet.”

“When I’m actually putting away kids’ laundry I try to have a donation bag right there to toss ‘too smalls’ and ‘never wears’ into.”

“My husband just threw out all of his socks (they pretty much all had holes), and only has all the same pair of black and white ones. No needing to make matches from 5 million socks. I know this isn’t a huge deal, but it’s annoying, nonetheless!”

Purge, Purge, Purge!

“My tiny tip is put a garbage/recycle bin right inside the door you use the most. ALL junkmail and paper goes in there, ruthlessly. I also extend this to having a garbage can in every room, even the bedroom. You would be surprised how much clutter is actually trash.”

“Honestly, a small thing that can make a big difference is committing to throwing away what needs to be thrown away (or donated). Tackling the entire house at once can be completely overwhelming. I would suggest start with something small. For example, paper is a huge part of the clutter in most households. Simply committing to sorting the mail and paper can make a big difference to clearing off the counters.” – Julie Embrey Bowman, theorganizeddetails.com

“Sometimes I get a bag and say to myself– Throw out/recycle 100 things. Then I set a timer. Big stuff, small stuff, medium stuff, broken stuff, ripped stuff. Toss it!” Kath OMalley, kathomalley.com

“Throw away paper as it comes in. And then there are the moments where I just have to take a deep breath, close my eyes and repeat “this mess does not define me.” Because I can only do so much.”

“Challenge everyone in your family to get rid of x things (pick a number that feels right to you). Repeat in a week or a month. Establish an outbox and empty it once per month. If you bring something new in, at least one thing has to go out. If you’re holding onto something to use “someday,” ask yourself WHEN, specifically. Put a date on it. If you can’t do that, or if the date is so far in the future that it’s ridiculous, you don’t need to keep the item. To start, go with either something that drives you batty so you have plenty of motivation, or else something that isn’t emotionally charged so you can make decisions more easily. You’ll know what’s right for you. Celebrate every step along the way, because it’s a process! Have a maintenance plan in place. I like using a imer for this, personally.”

Tame the Toys

“Our biggest mess was toys. I put all toys with multiple parts, or multiple toys of similar categories, into a clear plastic storage tub (shoebox sized) and label the outside. I keep them in my storage area in my basement and rotate every few weeks to keep it fresh for LO. I keep several empty storage tubs on hand if/when we get new toys. This way we keep only a few toys out and it is way less overwhelming.”

“I sorted toys into home areas (even if it’ just a shelf) and then used my handy dandy label maker to label the area. Then every night I move things to their area.”

Systems to Keep it Up

“Besides having set up storage in every room when we moved to our new house, I have 3 things that are lifesavers. 1 – Touch everything only once. If I have to touch or move anything, it goes to its home. 2 – I have a small laundry basket for the other 3 people in my house (hubby and 2 little boys). If I pick something up that isn’t mine and therefore doesn’t go to its home immediately, I distribute to each of their baskets. When they are full, it is their responsibility to put the contents away (’cause I only touch it once… to put it in their basket!). 3 – Closet organizers in each bedroom complete with hooks. My husband is a strip and drop kinda guy so having hooks in the closet means he is more likely to hang his pants and sweaters when he takes them off. He definitely won’t fold and put anything away so this keeps the floor clear and my sanity somewhat intact! And I donate stuff a lot. I mean… A LOT!”

“I bought this Janet Basket on Amazon, it’s seriously the love of my life! I use it to spin through the house to pick up everything that has no home and put it in it’s place. Then I also use it to carry things to and from the car that don’t fit in the diaper bag.”

“Best piece of advice I ever got: Do just one task at a time. Its so easy to get overwhelmed. So, just do one thing. Desk out of control? File and develop a system we have 3 trays, to do, to file, and to shred. Stuff drawer all jumbled up? Buy some small trays from the dollar store and clean it out. Just do one thing at a time. Its way more manageable”

“I turned off my phone – blocked out the morning time and just went to task organizing and cleaning – it’s not hard to do – it’s just about saying NO to others for a bit, so you can say YES to yourself.” – Katerina Kallinikos, kkallinikos.jeunesseglobal.com

“I use a timer. I give myself x number of minutes to do a specific household task or organizational thingy and then I’m done.”

“Here are my sanity makers (breakers if they aren’t followed): 1) make bed, every day, no exception (this is actually clinically documented as a #2 top impact for positive mental health – #1 is getting dressed each day); 2) clean-off kitchen counters and table at night; 3) have a ‘landing spot’ for things to stop/cycle from when the come in the house.”

“I stay on top of things by scheduling 10, 15, 20 minute blitzes between focus blocks in my schedule. I blast music and get as much done as I can before the timer goes off. Bonus is getting back to work feeling like my brain reset itself and being able to easily switch gears to whatever is next on my schedule.” – Kimberly Lin Pollard, kimberlylinpollard.com

“I’ve built 15-minute picking up/cleaning sprints into my daily routine just this winter and my house is cleaner than it’s ever been!”

“I have a schedule of what has to happen daily, weekly, and monthly. The kids have their own jobs they’re responsible for before play or screen time. Works like a charm and makes a HUGE difference.”

“My top sanity keeping tips: Making our bed every day, no papers or non-kitchen things get to stay in the kitchen, and I keep our living – dining room a clean adult space. Finally, because I’m a bit insane about this stuff, I picked a clear plastic box that I’ll be able to find again so they fit together and look uniform and I keep toys, office supplies etc in them, and of course label everything!” – Anne Gyemant Paris, www.adoptsf.com

“Baskets for everything! One for mittens and hats, one for sunglasses, one for the lids of my pots and pans, one for the first aid supplies in the bathroom closet, etc….”

“The Sugar Snap diaper bag organizer! I love love this product, it’s is little files you can see through, with tabs, to put in your diaper bag. I put everything in the files so that I can move them from a diaper bag, to a purse, to another bag if I want.”

Best Resources for Help with Clutter:

The Organized Mama

The Organized Details

Jennifer Zwiebel & the Get One Thing Done program

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Tisha Morris & The Mind Body Home Challenge

Unfuck Your Habit

Declutter 365

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