In 2018, clutter seems like it’s everywhere. There’s clutter in our cars, clutter in our heads, and SO MUCH clutter in our homes.
One aspect of being a mom that I never thought about before I had kids is the idea that more people living in my home means more stuff, and kids seem to collect “stuff” at an astonishing rate. Outgrown clothes and shoes, happy meal toys, preschool art projects, interesting rocks and sticks….it’s EVERYWHERE. And I don’t know about you, but it drives me nuts.
So this year, instead of regular old spring cleaning, I’ve decided to buy into one of the latest buzzwords trending on twitter : Decluttering!
A quick Pinterest search brings up a myriad of ideas for how to declutter your home for spring. In fact, the first time I looked up decluttering, I spent an hour pinning and reading….and no time actually doing. I had to just dig in and get to work. So I’ve saved you the time that I lost in the Pinterest rabbit hole, and compiled a list of my favorite decluttering techniques.
1. Tackle it one room, one space at a time. Decluttering your entire home at once can be hugely overwhelming, especially when you’re balancing kids, family, job, life, etc. Make a plan to take one room at a time. If decluttering the entire kitchen on a Saturday seems like too much, break it down even further and tell yourself, “Self, today, I will declutter the silverware drawer.”I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to do things when I’m not completely overwhelmed with the size of the task.
2. Make Piles, There are few things more satisfying than looking at a big pile of stuff you’ve decluttered, and feeling like you’ve really accomplished something. (I have no idea if thevalues and discipline I’m trying to instill in my daughters are going to pan out in the long run, but I do know that this big pile of outgrown jeans will never be taking up room in my drawers again. Accomplishment!) I usually make piles for things I’m going to donate, things I’m going to throw away, and things I’m not sure about. It helps to keep me organized.
3. Put things aside If you’re not sure if you’re ready to get rid of something yet, put it aside and come back to it later. I tend to put a bag of these items in the attic, and look at them again the next time I do a purge. If I haven’t thought about them since the last time I saw them, I know I can donate them without regret.
4. Donate Find somewhere that takes donations of gently used items. I tend to donate to St. Vincent dePaul or The Epilepsy Foundation, for no other reason than that they both have locations close to my house, so it’s easy for me to drop off a bag on my way to work.
5. Don’t Buy Anything I got this from Emily Ley’s book, A Simplified Life. It’s so tempting to want to run out and buy cute new bins or boxes to organize or store things in while you’re decluttering. Resist the temptation! You might just find a perfect basket for your kitchen utensils when you’re decluttering your linen closet! Plus, the point here is getting rid of things, not accumulating more.
6. Rotate Toys My kids go months without playing with some of their toys, but if they see me trying to get rid of them, cue the waterworks! “It’s my faaaaaaaaavorite!!!” In the past few months, I’ve started rotating my kids toys, which is a great trick if you have the storage space. After the girls go to bed, I go through their toys and put the ones they’ve been neglecting in the attic. I leave them there for a month or so, and then take them back out and rotate more toys into storage. If they have been asking for the toys, or begin playing with them regularly again, we keep them . If not, I know it’s time to donate. Of course, I have to sneak the toys marked for donation into the trunk of my car under the cover of night to prevent a meltdown, but it usually works!
7. Cut yourself a break When you have little ones, it’s next to impossible to have a completely clean, completely decluttered home for more than ten minutes. Even Monica Gellar on Friends had that one closet where she could hide her mess. Go easy on yourself moms. You’ll get it all done. Eventually.