- Make sure everything in your home has a home of its own. Things are much more likely to get put away if everyone knows where the item belongs.
- Have everyone do a sweep of the house before bed to collect any of their belongings and take them to their room.
- When you get out of the shower, wipe it down to reduce soap scum accumulation.
- While the kids are playing in the tub, clean the sink, mirrors and toilet in the bathroom (you’re in there anyway)
- Keep a hand vacuum easily accessible to clean up messes as they occur.
- Let your children help- even little ones can put away their own toys, use a duster, etc.
- Keep a basket or bin near the stairs to hold items that need to go up/down. Make it a habit of emptying the basket on certain days or even better each time you use the steps.
- Fold laundry as you take it out of the dryer.
- Rinse off dishes as you use them and place them in the dishwasher. Then when you have a full load, all you have to do is turn on the dishwasher instead of facing a sink full of dirty dishes at the end of an exhausting day.
- Make certain rooms toy free zones or make the rule that only one toy at a time can be brought in the area. Especially for entry ways or rooms you may have clients come in, this is a way to keep down the clutter and have a presentable space for unexpected guests.
- Keep cleaning wipes in the kitchen and the bathroom so that you can give the counters a quick wipedown when you have a minute.
- Have a place for shoes near the front door. Whether it be a bench that opens for storage, a coat closet, a shoe rack or a basket, have a place where shoes can accumulate without being tripping hazards. In addition, this will make the mad dash out of the house much easier for the child who can never find their shoes!
- Buy furniture with built in storage. Use a dresser to hold craft supplies, an ottoman that opens to hold magazines, etc.
- Speaking of magazines, only keep the current month’s issue. Tear out the articles that interest you and throw the rest of the magazine away. Better yet, give it to someone else and access the articles/recipes/tips you liked online.
- Resist the urge to purchase more stuff. If you are already having trouble keeping up with the items you already have in your home, you don’t need more to keep clean and keep track of.
- Enlist help, whether it be a cleaning lady twice a month or delegating chores to your spouse or older child. You are not responsible for keeping the whole house clean on your own. (or at least you shouldn’t be 🙂
- Encourage each child to use the same cup all day. Am I the only one that tires of washing cups?
- Make your bed every morning. It will make your room look nice and could even encourage you to clean up the rest of the bedroom.
- When you touch an item- put it away. Don’t pick it up and move it somewhere else that is still not where it belongs. Don’t defer- just go to where it belongs and put it away!
- Accept the fact that you can’t be Martha Stewart, Supermom, CEO Extraordinaire and Trophy Wife all at once. In fact, you don’t need to be any of the above. Just be you. And if you’re okay with a few dust bunnies in exchange for more time with your kiddos that is ok! In fact, it is one of the perks of being a WAHM!
Holidays are a hectic and busy time. In addition, the gift giving and good intentions of family and friends usually mean more “stuff” accumulating in your home. Add that to the decorations, the cards, the gift wrapping supplies and you can have a recipe for a clutter strewn zone. Or, you can follow some easy tips to reduce the chances of being overcome by clutter and chaos and enjoy the holiday season in a calm environment. Here are some ideas to get you on the right track:
Start a holiday binder (a 3-ring binder from an office supply store will suffice). Create dividers for different categories, such as recipes, gift lists, store sale flyers, Christmas card list, etc. Then get a flat plastic pencil pouch to put in the binder to hold all the holiday receipts, including gift receipts.
Incoming Holiday Cards– find creative ways to display incoming holiday cards. Some ideas include finding an attractive holder (you can find really attractive and inexpensive versions at Lillian Vernon and Current). You can also use scotch tape and tape them around a door or onto kitchen cabinets. Punch a hole in the corner and use red or green ribbon to tie them to a wreath. Let your kids create a collage or laminate and make placemats. Be creative.
To organize outgoing holiday cards– consider going to sending e-cards. This cuts down on stamps and time. Otherwise, try to set aside a few hours and get them all finished, addressed and ready to mail at one time. I have always set aside the weekend after Thanksgiving for this task. Having a time on the calendar to take care of a large project, such as mailing holiday cards, can make the task seem less daunting. Another idea is to only mail out cards to those people you receive from. Keep all your holiday card supplies in a basket near your mail station and as cards come in, sign, address and stamp a return card.
To cut down on too many gifts under the tree or too many gifts to store until you meet with family, consider giving more gift cards to favorite stores. Gifts to charity in honor of a loved one are also quickly becoming a popular way to give a meaningful yet clutter-free gift. In economic times like these, consider talking to your family/friends about picking names or just giving gifts to children. Everyone is feeling the pinch in their wallets so most will not be offended (they may even be relieved) by the suggestion of skipping the gift exchanging this year. Replace it with a fun family get-together with hot cocoa, board games and time for reminiscing. Those are the moments that memories are made of and clutter-free to boot!
Try to designate an area in your home for gift wrapping. Keep everything you need including scissors, gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper, gift tags, pens and ribbons in one place. Many stores, including www.containerstore.com, have storage solutions for all your gift wrapping needs.
Just remember, the simpler things are the less stress you will encounter!
Happy Holiday Organizing!!