As a Mama of 3 kids, I understand the struggle to keep your home looking clean and organized for longer than 4 minutes. Messes and clutter are inevitable, especially with multiple members within the home. You probably have kids driving cars up and down the hall, animal magnets on the fridge, marker on the table and crumbs in the couch. All of these things are evidence of life being enjoyed within those 4 walls! Everyone’s house is messy and lived-in, and if not, they shoved it all in the closet before you walked in.
The only cure for a perfectly clean, beautifully staged home is for no one to actually live there.
We know messes happen as a part of daily life but that doesn’t mean we can’t maintain a somewhat clean and organized home most of the time. Organization actually doesn’t look the way you may be thinking- aesthetic glass containers, perfectly aligned rows of spices, color-coordinated linens and books. These homes are gorgeous and dreamy, absolutely. However, being organized does not look like this for every single person.
The definition of organize is “to arrange in a systematic way; to be arranged in order for efficiency”.
Your home is meant to serve you and your family so the systems you put into place should best achieve that goal. If having glass jars to hold pantry goods feels dangerous because of young children, use plastic containers or baskets to hold food items. Let go of the idea that everything in your home has to be perfect and make decisions based on what works best for your family.
Need some ideas to get started?
My 5 Tips for an Organized Home
1. Declutter Often
The less stuff you have to manage, the more organized your home will naturally be. You don’t have to become a minimalist but get in the habit of letting go anything that no longer serves you or your family.
Examples: old papers, broken toys/items, unneeded duplicates, mismatched Tupperware, clothes that don’t fit, items you’ve never used, etc.
2. Start Small
There are some who say that you need to pull everything out and start with a blank slate. While I agree that having a blank slate is nice, it’s not always the best practice. Piling everything from your kitchen cabinets onto the table might cause feelings of overwhelm and discourage you from tackling anything at all.
Instead, start with one or two cabinets and focus on creating a good system within them. Then move on to the next area. Once you’ve built some momentum and confidence, you can begin tackling more spaces at once. Slow and steady is the key here.
3. Everything Needs a Home
Toys in the toy box, books on a shelf, linens in the closet, a cabinet for appliances, whatever the item(s) may be give them a designated place. If everything has a home, cleanup will be easier and maintaining your stuff won’t feel like such a chore.
Also, have a designated junk drawer! Allow that one space to be completely chaotic and act as a “catch all” area for pens, batteries, rocks (just my fam?), etc.
4. Don’t Set Down, Put Away!
When you pick up an item, take it to its “home” and put it away right then. This way you don’t end up shuffling things all over the house and wondering why you’ve spent all day cleaning, but nothing feels done!
An easy way to put this into practice is to gather up similar items and make one trip to the bathroom/kitchen/bedroom to return everything that belongs in that space. You can use a bin/basket or just an armful, whatever works best for you!
5. Pretty Places and Functional Spaces
As a creative, I know the importance of having a beautiful home. Somewhere that inspires you, feels cozy and allows your creativity to thrive. You also need to have functionality within your home. That vase of flowers is beautiful sitting in the middle of the stovetop, but it’s super frustrating to move when dinner time comes.
Instead of adding “fluff” decor, look around at the items you use daily and see if you can swap them out to add more personality to the space. For example, switch out the plastic saltshaker for a marble salt cellar, pour olive oil into a dark glass jar and display some of your wood cutting boards and favorite cookbooks as decor. All of these pieces are necessities for cooking but double as beautiful decor.
A pretty place can be a functional space, it’s all about intentionality. Having a pretty place will also inspire you to keep it clean and clutter-free. Win-win.
These tips aren’t revolutionary by any means, but they are simple and give you a good jumping off point to start organizing your home. If you have children or a spouse, let them be involved in decluttering or organizing their own spaces so that they feel in control over their own space (and will be more likely to help keep it cleaned up!)