Like any Mom, I am constantly trying to organize my children’s toys. My obsession to keep every Polly Pocket toy or Lego set together and in the best possibly container has in a way…backfired. Ok, so most of the toys are corralled in a reasonable fashion but somewhere along the way I let the rest of our house get, dare I say, cluttered.
Granted, we have moved five times in eleven years, twice with children under three, but I am not going to try to make a lot of excuses here. My kitchen “junk” drawer is embarrassing and I have no idea at this moment what I have stored in the large storage area under our stairs. I probably have gifts intended for the kids for Christmas 2004 or 25 rolls of paper towels or something. Who knows?
So, let’s get together and conquer the crap, I mean clutter. Follow along in my series on the topic to learn tips for various types of de-cluttering such as organizing the garage, de-cluttering paperwork and tips on when records can be tossed, kitchen organization, toy organization, cleaning our the closets and much more.
Do you want to be a part of this mission? Follow these steps to jump on board.
Make the decision to conquer the clutter. First you need to commit to the mission. This does not mean drop everything and make unrealistic goals. Just commit to begin to make a difference. I am using a goal of Christmas, but if you have a more realistic time-frame, plan accordingly.
Make realistic goals. With any large project, it is best to break it down into tasks. In other words, grab some paper or your laptop and make a list of the major areas that need work. My list: kitchen, garage, children’s closets, my closet, bathroom cabinets, children’s art and purging toys in the toy room. Your list could be entirely different so spend a little time determining what you want to accomplish.
Break the task down. Now that you have made your list, spend some time on each heading and decide how much time you want to budget. Also make notes if you need to. An example would be: “garage, two weeks budgeted, purchase shelving at home-improvement store by August 1.”
Forgive yourself if you fall off the path. Sometimes people make a great plan and the minute you encounter an obstacle, they just scrap the whole idea. Make plans now to forgive yourself if you get off course. Sometimes we get sick, the kids get sick, we get busy at work or other events prevent us from accomplishing a goal. Life happens. Just adjust your plan and keep going.
Pat yourself on the back along the way. Focus on the positive. Don’t dwell on what you have not done. Enjoy the fact that you have begun the process of decluttering your house! You and your family are going to reap the rewards once you start this mission, effective immediately. From the first drawer you organize, you will begin to see the benefits.
Get the family involved. My husband was motivated to clean his half of the closet (actually he has more than half but that is another story) when he saw how organized my part was. It is more fun if everyone is involved. You are not to blame for the clutter! Everyone who lives in that house is responsible. Little kids can also be involved and this helps instill in them from an early age to be organized. My kids help me organize toys and clothes and I let them help come up with a system for each toy category. They also like to designate what goes into each dresser drawer. That gives them a feeling of pride and ownership and they are more likely to put things back where they go. To be honest, I do not care whether the underwear drawer is the top left or bottom right as long as they know where to get their underwear, and where to put up the clothes on laundry day. Jump up and down up and down and praise your children when they do something positive for the effort! We are often quick to criticize our children but praising them, especially in public can go a long way: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/295265/when_talking_about_your_children_in.html .
There is more than one way to declutter and organize. Take the tips I post in this series and use only what applies to you. Your friends and family may do things one way but this may not necessarily be the way that is best for your family. However you never know what clever organizing ideas you can find by learning how others organize so keep an open mind.
Remember, decluttering and being organized is a process. Remember life is ever-changing. The things we bring into our house such as hobbies, books, clothes and projects change every day. So our organizing efforts should roll on with the changes. But being organized will help you deal with changes more effectively.
Reward yourself. It is always a great motivator to have a reward waiting for you at the end of a project like this. Consider having a garage sale with all the items you chose to toss and use the money you make towards something you have been wanting. For instance, make an electronic purchase you have been wanting, go on a trip, give to a favorite charity, purchase organizing supplies or get a massage. Sometimes being organized is its’ own reward.
Post your progress. Please share your accomplishment with your fellow “decluttering divas” by commenting on my articles. Also, keep a chart for yourself and have a “praise party” for yourself every time you check off a task. Do you blog? Blogging your progress can also be therapeutic as you put that positive energy down in print and list your accomplishments.
Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss a thing. I don’t want you to miss any of the tips and motivation along the way so don’t forget to subscribe to my AC page: http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/89069/cheryl_goodwin.html .
Ok, I hope you have decided to join the mission and I cannot wait to hear about your own progress and tips. We can help motivate each other. Remember, I am on board with the mission as well! The next couple of articles in this series will focus on kitchen organization tips and organizing children’s toys. Now Divas…go forth and declutter!