As a mom of triplets, I have a soft spot in my heart for all the busy parents out there–working, taking care of the family, and (hopefully) still taking care of yourself!
If you’re a busy parent, I have a treat for you… I was recently interviewed on my friend Jenna Arvidson’s “The Simple Home Podcast” where I shared 6 practical tips to help busy parents declutter their homes and get more freedom in their lives!
If you’d like to listen to the podcast (ya know, so you can absorb the content while doing dishes/checking email/participating in a team Zoom/applying a bandaid) click here.
If you prefer to read the goodness, scroll on down for the 6 tips I shared on the interview!
Tip 1: Being organized is a trap
I know… you’ve read all the blog posts and seen all the Pinterest images with drool worthy “organized” homes and you’re wondering why yours doesn’t look like that, right?
Well, here’s the secret…
There’s a huge difference between simplicity and organization.
I used to try to “be organized,” too. And that resulted in a lot of stress and anxiety as I tried to organize my way out of the chaos. When I learned to MINIMIZE first, the organization naturally happened.
As I told Jenna on the podcast:
“Organizing is taking control. Simplicity is letting go.”
If you want to live in a clutter-free, peaceful home, practice the latter and the former will naturally happen.
Tip 2: Follow these 2 rules to get started
When it comes to getting started I have two general rules:
Rule #1: Start with your own stuff
Start with the areas over which you have jurisdiction, like your personal care products or your clothing. Be the change you wish to see in your household and those lovely people you live with will get on board!
Rule #2: Start somewhere easy
Start where the emotional connection to your items is LOW. Quite often, we bite off more than we can emotionally chew by trying to declutter difficult things–photographs, memorabilia, and gifts. These are NOT good places to begin!
Start where you don’t feel emotionally connected, your towels, for instance. (As a matter of fact, I have a TEDx talk all about decluttering towels, which you can check out here.)
Tip 3: Keep your stuff organized by practicing these 4 habits
Once you’ve got your home organized… how do you keep the disorder and chaos from coming back? Here are 4 habits that will help:
Develop a daily reset routine
Once a day, practice a 10-15 minute tidy-up routine where you “hit reset” and get your house back in order.
Decide what you’re willing to enforce
It would be lovely if your kids kept their floors clear, dresser tops decluttered, and clothes neatly folded at all times, but… they probably won’t. Pick which neatness standards you’re willing to enforce and let the rest go. For example, in my house, I don’t care about my kids’ flat surfaces or the chaos in their drawers. I care about the floor being clear. That is all I enforce.
One in/one out
The “one in/one out” rule is an oldie but a goodie. This rule basically states that when you bring in something new, something old goes out. Start practicing this and you’ll maintain those organized spaces!
Shop your inventory
Shop your personal inventory before heading to the store. Do your kids already have clothes in the next size? Are there already AAA batteries in the cupboard? You won’t be perfect at this, and that’s okay. I’m not, either! But if you attempt to shop your inventory BEFORE heading to the store, you’ll save yourself from buying duplicates of what you already own.
Tip 4: Declutter your kitchen like a pro
When I started my business 6 years ago, I quickly learned that kitchens are one of the most overwhelming spaces to organize because they serve so many purposes! Thus, the best way to organize a kitchen is to divide it into 3 categories:
- Stuff you cook/eat with (such as dishes, silverware, etc.)
- Stuff you eat (what’s in your pantry and fridge)
- Everything else (the junk drawers, charging cords, etc.)
Work on decluttering just ONE of these three areas at a time and you’ll save yourself so much stress!
Tip 5: Declutter Your Entryway
For busy families, entryways pose a particular problem, so here are 3 specific tips to help you get this space under control.
Set reasonable limits
Decide how many bags, coats, and shoes everyone is allowed to keep here. The rest go in the bedrooms!
On the podcast, I share how I retrofit my small coat closet with two strategic rows of hooks to effectively DOUBLE the size. This is an easy fix and worth listening to the whole episode with Jenna just to hear how I did it!
Simple shoe storage
Buy simple open slatted shoe racks to corral family shoes by the door.
Tip 6: How to Organize Your Pantry
Pantries can be very difficult to keep organized, so here are my best tips for this space:
Divide your pantry into 2 categories
The two categories I recommend in your pantry are: 1) Open/Currently Eating, and 2) On Deck/Inventory. This will help everyone know what’s open and make it easy to shop that inventory before heading to the store!
Limit the diversity of food items
You don’t need 10 kinds of cereal and 15 different types of pretzels. Pick your family’s favorites and only buy those. This will help you avoid the dreaded “5 boxes of stale crackers syndrome” I’ve seen in so many homes!
Buy containers only if they would help you
There’s a whole industry built on clear plastic, and while I don’t recommend buying organizing containers for the heck of it, if you would benefit from some pantry containment, do it! But a word of caution… measure first. Be very specific and intentional about what you buy and why.
And in general, follow this rule:
Loose foods (such as flour, rice, and dry beans) go in canisters, packaged foods (such as granola bars and snack size items) go in baskets.
I hope you found this blog post helpful! Now… go back to being a supermom or superdad!