Life with young kids can be overwhelming. What used to be simple tasks, such as leaving the house, is now quite the process. With all that needs to be done in a day, it’s imperative that you declutter and organize your house.
Being buried in laundry, constantly searching the house for lost keys or a missing shoe, or shuffling through piles of mail can cause a lot of unnecessary stress to your already busy life. When this happens, you spend less time looking for things and more time enjoying your kids.
There’s so much to think about and keep track of when you’re a mom. Our children’s well-being is obviously a top priority and we usually have a big part in keeping the house clean, amongst many other responsibilities.
In the past, I can’t count how many days where all I did was put out fires or looked for lost items or cleaned up mess after mess. I felt like I was going to lose it because I couldn’t control my toddler’s tantrums or what my house looked like.
Thank goodness our brains are wired to multi-task! However, it can still feel like it’s too much to handle at times.
Gain Control and Calm the Chaos
I stepped back to figure out how I could gain control of my environment. I needed to calm the chaos and in turn, lessen the stress.
The secret was to get rid of the clutter and become organized with routines and systems. In the past, I implemented complicated systems that I just couldn’t keep. By simplifying and becoming more intentional, I have been able to find what continues to work.
From time to time, I do need to reevaluate and clean out a space that tends to collect items, but this has even become part of the process as well!
Another way to ensure I declutter my house is by including my whole family. We all have our part in keeping up the systems and following the routines.
This is even more beneficial for my kids because predictability helps kids feel safe and can even impact their behavior. I also have a child who is developmentally delayed in executive functioning skills. Any external tools I can give him, the more organized he can become.
4 Simple Systems to Declutter and Organize Your House
Even if you have small children who seem to leave a trail of toys, crumbs, and random objects as they walk through the house, the way you declutter doesn’t have to be complicated. With systems that are easy to maintain, staying organized is completely doable.
1. Give Everything A Home
Over the years we have worked on minimizing our belongings, but when I look around, we still have a lot of stuff in our home. As with most houses in the Phoenix, Arizona area, we do not have a basement.
This means we don’t really have storage space. This has forced us to be creative with where we put our stuff.
What has helped our lack of storage problem is to make sure everything we own has a “home.” Every single item we own has a place where it stays when not used. If not, then the item’s home becomes the garbage or is donated.
Here are some ideas for “homes” for everything from books and toys to food, shoes, clothes, toys and any other belongings:
- Drawers With Organizers
- Closets and Pantries
- Built-in Shelves
- Book Shelves
- Crates or Bins With Lids
- Rolling Carts
- Shoe Organizers (not just for shoes)
- Shelving Units
- Overhead Storage Racks
- Wall Holders
- Filing Cabinets With a Folder System
- Accordion Organizers
- Pizza Boxes (work GREAT for keeping school work and art projects because they fit nicely under beds)
If you don’t have a system like this already in place, start with one room at a time and find a home for everything in there.
Another great tip to declutter your home is to minimize multiples. If you have more than one item, such as nail clippers, keep only what you need and give them all the same home instead of having the same item in three different rooms.
We have done this with things like tweezers, scissors, crafts, and many kitchen utensils. This has really decreased our time in searching for something.
2. Have an Effective Laundry System
Laundry! Who cringes when I even mention the word?! I sure do!
It can be a challenge to declutter my house from all the laundry. In the past year, I finally figured out a good laundry system that works well with our family.
Enlist the help of the whole family
Now that I have a seven and ten year old, thankfully, they are developmentally capable of doing their part. But even if you have small kiddos, there is still probably a few steps that they can help with.
My two year old loves putting the clothes into the washer and out of the dryer. The help stops there, but it’s still important to get him started with this life skill.
Our laundry system looks like this:
- Every room of clothes has one laundry basket in the laundry room. For example, two of our boys share a closet and dresser so they share a big laundry basket. Our other son has his own closet so he has his own basket and my husband and I share so the third basket belongs to us.
- When a basket is full, the owners do that load until it’s put away. Again, our two-year-old isn’t old enough to do his own laundry so I’m the lucky person who does that one. My big boys take turns with each other to clean, fold, and put away all of their clothes back in their room. To reduce grumbling, I do match their socks, but the rest is their responsibility.
See, it’s only two steps! Well, the washing, drying, folding and putting away are four steps within the two steps. However, only doing a load when the basket is full has really saved us a ton of time.
Here are other laundry systems that work well:
- Each person has a day of the week. You can make it even more fun if your family member’s first initials match a day of the week’s first letter like Mondays are for Molly’s laundry.
- Three-day laundry system
- First Day: Wash
- Second Day: Dry
- Third Day: Fold and put away
- All-day laundry day – Pick one day a week and do all the laundry until it’s finished and put away.
- One load every night – Before you go to bed, throw a load in even if you don’t have a ton. Then, the first thing you do in the morning is dry the clothes, and fold and put away before you leave for the day.
3. Conduct a Nightly Sweep
Declutter your house every night before you hit the pillow. Preferably after dinner and before baths, we try to include the whole family with a nightly “sweep.”
If it’s too chaotic and increases stress then I wait until everyone is in bed and my husband and I tag-team it together.
The way this works is to have everyone grab a laundry basket or rolling bin and walk through the house picking up anything that is not in it’s “home.” Do you see why having a home is so important?
This goes for random papers and mail, toys and anything that is randomly lying around the house. There shouldn’t be anything left out.
In addition to the nightly sweep, I set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes depending on how dirty the kitchen is and work quickly to wipe down all the countertops and sink, make sure all the dishes are in the dishwasher, and sweep the floors.
Going to bed with a clean home is even more rewarding when you start the day off this way!
4. Do a Monthly “Inspection”
Pick a day each month when you inspect each of the spaces in your home that tend to collect clutter. For us, it’s our food pantry, fridge, mail basket, shoe closet, toy room, and car.
Each of these has an assigned day where I take time to clean them out or reorganize. If I keep up on this, then it doesn’t get out of control.
In the past, our food pantry would get so out of control that I would keep putting it on the back burner. I could never find a whole day to tackle it. Now, it only takes 30 minutes or less to get rid of expired food or almost empty chip bags and boxes.
Reduce Stress by Staying Consistent
Over the years, I have found that I can reduce the stress and make room for opportunities to enjoy my time with my kids if I’m organized and I declutter my house routinely. With these super simple systems in place, we can focus on what really matters.
We can also create memories by working together as a team to keep our house clean. When we do the nightly sweep, I encourage the kids to see if they can toss unbreakable toys into the bin or we turn up the music and dance while we clean. The more fun you make these daily tasks, the more your kids will be willing to help and will lessen your load and overwhelm.
What systems do you use in your house? Comment below!
About the Author:
Adriane is a mom to three loud boys, is a research-a-holic, photographer and very passionate person who writes at Raising Kids With Purpose. Parenting can feel so hard sometimes but with mindset shifts and understanding, it can be very enjoyable. Her hope is to inspire parents like you to create lifelong connections with your children and enjoy the journey along the way!