Are You Drowning In Clutter? 5 Achievable Solutions to Bust the Clutter Monster This Week!
Quick, Cheap, Easy Clutter Busting Tips for the Busy Parent.
As a single mama with a bunch of kids, let me share what really works to keep one's sanity without spending a bundle of money or a ton of time.
I am not one of those super organized, everything is always perfect kind of moms. Nope. I am your normal busy, do-all-the-things mom who expects the house and the kids to learn to clean themselves. The only way this works is when I set us all up for success. When my expectations are unrealistic or just too high, nothing stays clean and I turn into that cranky, yelling mom whom I swore I would never be.
Quick Background (because I assume if you chose to read this article, you too are a busy individual without the luxury of scads of time for reading about organization!)
When I say I am a busy single mama I’m not kidding. I have several part time jobs. My kids are homeschooled (there are 5 of them and several with some special learning needs which take extra time from the teacher, yours truly). There are no backup grandparents, relatives or another parent. The buck stops here. The yard and garden and animals are all my responsibility and I could go on and on.
When our house is messy my productivity slips to maybe 50% and my pleasant and fun demeanor accompanies it. Needless to say, I have had to find a few key things to keep us functioning well.
Spring is my favorite time to re-evaluate and revamp our systems.
5 of my favorite organizational tips that will save you time and money. And best of all, they will make you a happier and more pleasant parent.
- Stop Folding Laundry!
- Dishes that *almost* clean themselves!
- SHOES Off indoors!
- Eliminate the Superfluous!
- Employ the kids!
1. STOP FOLDING LAUNDRY
It struck me late one night as I finished folding the last load of laundry before bed, “Why on earth do I fold these non-wrinkle clothes anyway?” To be honest, it only made me angry to open a kids drawer and find the clothes stirred to perfection as they had searched for just the right item. All that time I spent folding, wasted, Again!
That week we transitioned to sorting only. Shirts go in the “shirt” drawer or bin. Pants and shorts go in their own bin. Pajamas and other items have a bin and everyone got a socks and underwear basket!
Simple and inexpensive to implement and the gift of hours added to my life is priceless.
I love labels and I did invest in a label maker so each person’s bins are neatly labeled and when it’s their laundry day, or if I do the laundry, they get one pile of clothes deposited on their bed and in less than 10 minutes it can be sorted and put away. Voila. On with more important things!
2. DISHES THAT *ALMOST* CLEAN THEMSELVES
After-meal clean up took more time than I wanted to give. Worse than that however, was the ever present mountain of dishes preventing easy use of our lovely sink. It took me years to stumble upon the solution that has served us well for more than a year.
I got rid of all our excess dishes! Without the ability to dirty 17 plates a piece each day, suddenly the sink couldn’t fill up! I spent a small sum and bought a set of colored plastic dishes providing each family member with their own shelf, their own color coded set of dishes and a little pack of individual bamboo wear (silverware made out of bamboo)! There was even a little straw and a special brush to clean it in each person's packet. We go through dish soap a bit faster now, but it is SO worth it. Every time they use a dish, instead of dropping it into the overflowing sink, it gets quickly washed, rinsed and put on the user's personal shelf! It is the most beautiful system.
Due to the world wide pandemic, I have not had to worry about how to handle company coming over, but don't tell the kids, I do have a small stash of extra plates and cups. Shhhhhhh….
In addition to this brilliant plan, I have a small shelf by my sink with a set of tiles, one for each person. These are a safe place to set one's cup for the day rather than washing it every time they need a drink.
3. SHOES OFF INDOORS
I blame my Canadian heritage for this one but the seasons in my life when we have not followed this strict policy, the floors get dirty so much faster and I cringe at the thought of just how dirty they really are. We even have a friendly sign on the front door to cue visitors to our shoe preference. Try it for a month! I promise, you won’t go back!
4. ELIMINATE THE SUPERFLUOUS
In my busy household, this is not so much an event as a mindset. We have a designated area by the front door called “the get rid of bin.” As we go through our days, things are constantly evaluated as valuable to us or superfluous. If an item's existence can not be reasonably justified, taking up not just space but minutes or hours of someone’s life caring for it, then out it goes. (I dropped 14 bags of unnecessary items at Goodwill today! And I feel like I lost 100 pounds!) With a large and busy family this is a constant battle. I feel like I’m winning overall when more is going out than comes in! You might enjoy a personally reflective story about how I am learning to let go of stuff. How the Button Box Lost It's Magic
5. EMPLOY THE KIDS
Rather than chores I created Jobs with great titles and job descriptions.
Everyone rotates, so excellent job experience is being gained by all. I have explained that they will be able to tell a prospective employer about all their years working as a part time:
- Health Barista
- Sanitation Worker
- Domestic Engineer
- Floor Technician
- Kitchen Maintenance Worker
- Outdoor Maintenance Worker
The buy-in is better, though not perfect and the house is definitely running more smoothly.
The jobs are on a week long rotation although I am considering switching it to a month rotation to give each person longer to really own their position.
Health Barista is the prized position and we have a great "drink station" set up for the lucky volunteer.
Whatever your life situation, implementing these simple strategies will give you more time, more peace of mind and hopefully increase your productivity in the areas of your life that you value most.
As mentioned previously, I am a busy mom and writer, striving to do my best by my kids and offer value to make your life a bit better too! If you appreciate this article, I’d love if you liked it. And every single tip makes my day!
Some additional writings on this topic include: