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?

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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!

Managing paper clutter

Managing paper clutter

School has now started back for both my oldest daughter AND me. If you glance around our kitchen and living room right now, it’s evident we’ve gone back to school. How? The piles of paper.

Paper, paper everywhere and none of it spendable. In all seriousness, the paper piles were getting on my nerves and I knew I had to get rid of them.

1. Start with your existing paper piles

The first step to managing those paper piles is to sort through them.

Go through those papers and get rid of any that aren’t needed, and put away what you need to keep. We utilize several folders in our house: one for school papers, one for bills, and one for work related items. Anything else is shredded or thrown away.

2. File your bills

We have two places in which we file bills: one for bills to pay and one for bills that have been paid. We keep our paid bill stubs in a binder for a year and then we shred them.

3. Go paperless, when possible

Manage other paper clutter by stopping it at the source. Switch to paperless billing when possible, and remove yourself from junk mailing lists.

4. Dispose of junk as soon as possible

Don’t keep unwanted junk paper around…just shred or throw away that unwanted paper as soon as it shows up.

How do you handle paper clutter?

Have a wonderful weekend.

Our cleaning routines

Our cleaning routines

How to have a cleaner house

 

As the busy, working mother of an active rising second grader and a toddler, I often don’t have the time to clean that I need. Sometimes I look around at my house and worry about when I’m going to get everything done. In the past, I have cleaned my home on Saturdays, but then I realized my entire Saturday was being lost to cleaning! Then, we had no time to spend together as a family.

The solution? Create a cleaning routine that enabled me to do a little cleaning each night. I found a neat cleaning schedule on Little Green Notebook.

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While this routine would work pretty well for us, there is no way that we could only do laundry on Saturdays. I had to tweak this a little to make it fit our needs. I came up with this:

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Our only solution was to wash and dry clothes every day, using the timer. I wake up, throw a loud of “ironables” in the washer, and they wash while we are getting ready. We then hang these clothes up to dry before we leave the house. I then throw our “dryables” into the washer and set the timer so that the washer will start shortly before I get home. I then don’t have to worry about the dryer running with no one at home.

Washing and drying clothes every night also makes for smaller laundry loads, therefore, less to fold and iron.

This cleaning schedule also means that we can do a little cleaning each day and have a house that both feels and looks a lot cleaner. The best advice I can give you is to find an idea you like and tweak it to make it work for you.

Cleaning our house a little each night was the only way that would work for us. Plus, we have a lot more time to spend together on the weekends.

 

21-day challenge: a whole-house purge

21-day challenge: a whole-house purge

Last week, I had spring break. While I wanted to get a lot of things accomplished, I also wanted to have some down time. I managed to get our garden plowed and some flowers planted.

I also completed a whole house purge, where I went through our home room by room and got rid of many things we no longer need or use.

I got rid of three stacks of old magazines.

Many old DVDs and CDs we no longer use.

A large pile of outgrown toys and duplicate toys.

And about five bags of trash.

To purge the house, I chose to donate anything we no longer needed or used, donate any outgrown toys or clothing, and throw away any broken or expired items.

Living with less makes me feel less stressed and more relaxed. My house feels more cozy, too.

Don’t forget to share your 21-day challenge pictures with the hashtag #21dayorganizingchallenge! Have a great day!

Simplify Saturday: Spring cleaning

Simplify Saturday: Spring cleaning

Some of us have been elbow deep in our spring cleaning routine. Because I am a teacher, spring cleaning takes me a lot longer than most. I don’t enjoy losing my whole spring break to cleaning, so I have to stretch my spring cleaning out across several Saturdays and evenings. This means my projects are on a smaller scale than most, and the bigger things get saved until summer vacation.

I came up with a 21-day challenge for those of us who work a lot, raise kids, and don’t have a ton of time to devote to spring cleaning.

This 21-day challenge breaks your spring cleaning into smaller pieces, and enables you to go through your home room by room instead of tackling your whole house all at once.

Even though it doesn’t say it on the graphic, I dust blinds, baseboards and clean behind and under furniture in each room as I cross it off the list.

Another option is to organize only a small part of each room on the list, and then repeat the challenge for 21 more days and finish the rooms. You have a lot of flexibility.

I would love for you to participate along with us and share your before and after pictures on social media. Please use the hashtag #21dayorganizingchallenge.

Happy organizing! Have a wonderful weekend.