I’ve been on a mission to keep up with my house in a little better fashion while retaining my sanity. I don’t want a perfect home. I still have three kids here all day every day so perfect isn’t realistic. I do, however, want a home that is easy to keep up with. I don’t want to spend my entire day just picking up chaos.
It finally dawned on me that I pick up the same things over and over and over again. I have read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. I really do like the ideas she has in her book, but I don’t have the time to go through each category like she suggests. I did channel the idea of, “do I love this? Does it bring me joy?” Other than that, with garbage bags in hand I literally walked through each room of our home finding whatever I saw that we don’t need or use.
It was quick and I didn’t put a ton of energy into the process. I’ve spent very little time each day this week stuffing garbage bags. I was shocked by the end of the week to have over 8 garbage bags full of stuff!! I have yet to tackle our small storage areas. Right now they are hidden behind closet doors so I’ll just leave that there for a bit. When I’m ready I’ll need to devote a day to our two small storage areas. I’ll get there eventually 😉
10 Items you can declutter immediately that really make a difference:
1) Mismatched Socks: My husband had a good laugh with me about how I hold onto socks. You know, just in case I might someday find it’s match. Well, I did a big laundry day and washed every piece of dirty linen in the home and I figured whatever socks we do have will end up in the clean pile. If I don’t find a match, the socks are gone. My mismatch sock pile was ridiculously huge. These random socks filled up a laundry basket just by themselves. I even had socks from when my son (7 years old now) was a toddler. Yikes! I obviously never found the match, lol.
I enlisted the help of my son Carson and together we sorted and matched socks. The ones that didn’t find a match went into the garbage. It was so freeing! Then, I got to exclaim, “I threw them away even though someday I may find the match!” This is where my husband laughed with me. It was sadly a big moment and turning point for me.
2) Extra Craft Supplies. Who else hangs on to random craft supplies? I had purchased supplies for craft ideas I never found the time to actually do or didn’t finish. Or I found some really great deals at a yard sale. I had yards and yards of flannel fabric from when I was going to make my own cloth diapers. I purchased the fabric 4 years ago when our middle child was a baby and now my youngest, and our last baby, is almost out of diapers. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say I will never make cloth diapers. I hauled that fabric, along with some yarn I’ve never used, to Goodwill.
3) Clothes. It dawned on me that part of the reason I can’t keep up with the laundry or my kids’ rooms is because we have more than enough clothing. My kids wear the same outfits over and over. They like their favorites and the rest just takes up space. I gathered up the clothes they don’t wear. They all went into a garbage bag. The kids now have coordinated outfits in a much more manageable amount. In truth, it has been so much easier to get them dressed in the morning because I can just open their drawers and grab something.
Then, I went through my closet and used the Kon Marie method here. I only held onto what I really liked. It was actually very freeing!! It’s easier to get dressed in the morning because most of my clothes coordinate and I can grab something that I know looks good on me and is somewhat currently in style.
4) Shoes. Oh boy. This was a tough subject for me. I like shoes. Scratch that, I love shoes! However, I did finally realize with three kids I am most likely not going to be wearing those spike heels again. At this point, it’s just dangerous. I saved a pair of brown and black dress shoes for those once in a while occasions and packed up the rest of my heels. I also picked out shoes that have long gone out of style. My closet is so clean!
5) Toys. This one has made a big difference in our home. I went through the house and found toys the kids no longer play with. I also paid attention to toys that just got thrown around. Those toys went first. Then, I picked out toys that although they may play with once in a while, they really just create clutter. I packed up about two garbage bags filled with toys. The great thing is the kids haven’t even noticed.at.all. We still have some work to do here, but we’re making progress.
6) Linens. My kids have collected so many blankets, plus I still have all my daughter’s baby blankets. They don’t get used. They just get strewn around the home. They only need one comfy cozy fuzzy blanket each. I bagged up blankets that were a little worn. I also bagged up some of my daughter’s baby blankets that we haven’t used and don’t need. I kept her two little favorites and one that I crocheted that really will be kept for sentimental purposes. I also went through our linen closet really quickly and threw out bedding we haven’t used or was worn and torn. I also threw out a throw that doesn’t match our living room is looking a little tattered. Normally, it’s my husband who says, “get rid of everything!” Yet, he tried to keep that blanket! I put my foot down and it went to Goodwill too. We still have two throws in the living room and that is plenty.
7) Extra Laundry Baskets. I didn’t particularly realize my laundry baskets were causing clutter. Up until now, I thought they reduced clutter. After all, you can throw clutter into them which contains it for a time. However, I was collecting laundry baskets full of stuff throughout the house, including my ginormous mismatched sock pile. The extra laundry baskets were just allowing me to store more junk. We also don’t have a good spot for our various laundry baskets so they were all ending up in our bedroom scattered around the floor. We would often trip over them at night on the way to the bathroom.
The truth is we really only need two laundry baskets. Revolutionary, right? I thought so when I discovered this idea from another blogging momma. We keep one basket in the upstairs hallway and everyone uses it. Then, I have one downstairs in our laundry room. This system is working well for us and keeping down the clutter.
8) Paper. I had so much junk mail lying around. Plus, as a homeschooling mom I had old worksheets dispersed randomly throughout the house. I even had brand new printables that I had been planning to use but never got around to it. We also had their little doodles. I have a spot to keep their best art work for a time, but I don’t need to keep every single one. My paperwork was a jumbled mix of bills, junk mail, worksheets, printables and drawings. They were all over my kitchen island and desk. I haven’t fully organized. This was just my grab and go stage. So I grabbed all the junk I could find from my counters, desktop, and drawers. It actually made a big difference surprisingly fast. Now I just have the essentials left to file, which I plan to do this weekend.
9) Movies. We have collected a lot of movies over the years. Who has time for movies when you have three kids!? Plus, I have Downton Abbey to keep up with! Also, our movies mostly get thrown around the house by the toddler. We rarely use the good old fashioned discs anymore because of Netflix. Our large DVD collection was just taking up space and creating a mess on the floor by our toddler. We sold some and I kept our favorites, but the rest which we only watched once and will never probably watch again went to Goodwill.
10) Books. This one was sooooo easy. I couldn’t believe how many books I had lying around that I will never read again. I also had books given to me second hand that I always thought I would get around to reading, but truth is I’ve had them for quite a few years now and have yet to crack the covers still. I just grabbed them and threw them in the Goodwill bag. I also went through the kids’ books and threw out ones that were ripped or falling apart.We did keep books that are part of a collection and the classics. I’m loving my less cluttered bookshelves! The kids even started pulling out one book at a time and looking them over. I think they were overwhelmed too.
Just with these 10 items, I completely filled up the back of our SUV and I had to make a second trip for items that didn’t fit. It has been so freeing and my house feels larger and cleaner and I’m spending less time picking up all that extra chaos. It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be and just decluttering these 10 items has really made a significant difference in our home.