As a busy mom, I know how difficult it can be to take care of a home when our schedules are constantly full. Some days I feel like I’m being pulled in several different directions and I have to constantly remind myself that I simply can’t do it all. Over the years, I’ve learned to prioritize my time and scale back where necessary.
One thing that has helped me reduce my cleaning time greatly is having a non-cluttered home. It’s actually quite simple – the less I own, the less time I have to devote to cleaning. Today I’m sharing 5 easy steps you can take now to help you get rid of the excess.
These are the steps I’ve taken in my own de-cluttering journey which have helped me take control of my time.
1. Come up with a plan and follow through.
Decide how much time you want to dedicate to each room or project. I recommend 30-40 minutes minimum each day. It may not seem like a lot of time, but you’ll be surprised how much progress you can make.
If you find that you can’t dedicate that much time at once, break it down into 10-minute increments. If you evaluate how you spend your time each day, you’ll find that reducing the time you spend chatting on Facebook or scrolling through Instagram will free up the time you need to get started.
Make sure you follow through each day and guard this time slot like it’s your job. Visualize the end result to help keep you motivated.
Whether is more space to make room for your child or simply to have a de-cluttered home, make sure you don’t forget what your ultimate goal is.
2. De-clutter the surface areas FIRST
Start by de-cluttering the surface areas. Why? Because it will give you instant gratification. You’ll see the progress you’re making, and in turn, you’ll be motivated to keep going.
I know some experts recommend starting out with the most cluttered room, but I disagree. I like to start out with the easiest room because I’ll get it done quicker.
Just crossing that room off of my list motivates me to keep going and tackle the next one. I call it the snowball effect – you start small and continue to build on that.
Before you know it, you’ve made huge progress and there’s no stopping you!
3. De-clutter some more
After you’ve de-cluttered the surface areas of a room, move on to the spaces that are out typically of out of sight. These include your closets, drawers, under furniture, etc.
Again, I recommend that you start with the area that needs the least amount of attention and build from there.
Don’t get comfortable with the fact that these areas are not typically visible to others. Remind yourself of how it makes you feel when YOU look at it.
I know that when my closet starts to get messy and cluttered, it stresses me out to even look for clothes. Keeping it de-cluttered not only gives me a sense of peace, but it also saves me a lot of time when I’m searching for something!
4. Sort it out
This is probably the hardest step of all. I find that trying to figure out what stays and what I’m getting rid of, is the most time-consuming process while de-cluttering.
My motto is simple – when in doubt toss it out! Don’t overthink the process; if you don’t love it, place it immediately in the outgoing pile.
If you do plan on keeping something, make sure you ask yourself the following three questions before deciding if it stays:
- Did you use it in the last year? If no, out it goes. Yes? Go on to question #2.
- Will you use it again? No, out it goes. Yes? Go on to question #3.
- Can you live without it? Yes, out it goes. No, keep and find a home for it.
This will also help you weed out items that you might be holding on to for sentimental purposes.
5. Do it again
Living the clutter-free life is an ongoing process, but the benefits are worth the effort. I find that I have to go through our home and get rid of stuff a few times a year.
For example; for Christmas the kids typically receive new toys and/or clothes, so I go through their old things and donate what’s not being used or no longer fits.
This frees up space for the gifts they receive and keeps the clutter at bay. I also do this shortly after the school year ends and right after the summer season ends.
It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate in a short amount of time! Staying on top of it throughout the year will make the de-cluttering process easier and help keep your home clutter-free.
To help you with the process I’m sharing this free printable. Simply click on the image below to download.
Do you find that you struggle with clutter? What areas do you struggle with the most? I would love to hear from you!
*This post was originally published in February of 2014, but has been updated to include new information