This is how I ended the battle of an unorganized and cluttered home. It is not always spotless, but I promise you that no one in the house ever says the words, “Have you seen my….”. Never having to look for things has cut out so much stress in my family’s life. I have not always been this way, but now that I am older, I finally get it! It seems everyone has different things that work for them, but I believe you have to find what works for you. This picture of my closet does not look perfect with matching baskets like you see on Pinterest but this is real life and this is what works for me.
This is the key for me* GET RID OF IT!!
I know it is easy for me to say, but I had to get my mindset right before I could do this. I know that many people have success by asking themselves, “Do I love this item and does this item bring me joy?” That does not work for me because I really don’t love any of my stuff. I read somewhere that we really do not need so many of certain items and this helped me to be able to get started. For example, I do not need 15 coffee mugs. I may like them and like the sayings on them but I would rather keep only 8 and have the extra room in my cabinet. I do not need so many tiny notepads so I keep one or two and discard the rest. I do not need 7 coats so I donate all but 3 and so on.
Get rid of stuff! Instead of going to Walmart or Target for more bins, I got rid of the stuff that goes in the bins. I would hold on to stuff because I knew how much I paid for it, and I could not stand the idea of throwing it away. I realized that all that stuff is like a weight on me. I move it around. I box it up. Stress, stress, stress! I had to realize that organizing my stuff was really just shuffling my stuff from one place to another. I had to purge my stuff!
I keep a box in my garage that is designated to go to the donation center I use. I do not ever try to resale because I never end up doing it and it is still here in the house forever and ever. I do have a box for a family member to go through and see if her children can wear anything before I donate. I do not have a “keep” box like some people recommend. That doesn’t work for me. If I am keeping it, I put it where it goes.
If a bag comes in, a bag goes out. Instead of bringing stuff in all the time, I think of it like I am going to have to get rid of some stuff that we don’t need anymore to make room for it. I give to the thrift store once a month or more. My thrift store gives you a coupon for 10% off every time you donate. When that truck drives off with my old stuff, it is like AHHHHH!
I think of the joy that I am giving someone who is shopping at the donation centers or thrift stores and needs the things I have donated. I know how much I enjoy a great thrift store find.
I do not buy more clothes hangers for clothes. This has been a great rule for us. When we run out of hangers, we take some clothes to the thrift store box. I do not like having to squeeze my clothes into a tight space. It is so much nicer when you have room to see the clothes you have. It is easier to put clothes away when I do not have to struggle to close the dresser drawer. The picture of my closet has all my clothes in it. I have room for my summer and winter clothes plus all my gloves and thermal underwear is stored in a basket up high on the shelf. In the floor of the closet, I have a large basket for winter shoes and one for summer shoes. I even have room to keep my sheets in my closet. This has helped me save so much time by not having to pull out summer and go to the attic and pull out winter. I think the key is that we have to be able to easily see what all we own.
Everything has a home. My family hears this all the time! For example, all office supplies in one area, all photos and photo books in together in one area, all medicine in one area, all cards in one drawer and so on. We have made our dining room into a home office and that has helped tremendously. All school supplies and office supplies in one place.
If we haven’t used it or even looked at it in two years, we can probably let it go. My husband likes to save everything. I always tell him that we can hold onto it for a few more years or throw it away now because one day we will get rid of it. Thinking like this helps us both.
Another thing that helps if you have school-age children is to keep two boxes or baskets for each child. I keep these on a shelf by the door into my garage. One is for the things they have
made through the year that I want to keep for keepsakes. The other is for all the school work that they have brought home during the year. This box is so that we do not take a chance and throw something away that we might need. At the end of the school year, I put the keepsake box in the attic and I throw the box of school papers away. You do not have to do this, but so many times my son has come home from school desperately needing a paper from a week ago.
I have also quit buying things because it is on sale and I might need it for a gift or for us to use. That is some of the stuff that seemed to get shifted around in my home and I never use it.
The whole family has to be on board. I will tell them it is worth putting the things back where they go so that Mom will be sweet! I do not make them keep the house spotless because that would be impossible. I just want them to put things back after they use them so that we can always find it when we need it.
I start with one area of a room at a time instead of an entire room. I will work on my dresser then I will work on my bedside table. If I have time, I will do an entire room. You can get your kids to help. They can carry the things to the “give away” box as you go through the stuff.
I would like to say that I do keep sentimental things that some people would not recommend. I have a large container with each of my kids favorite toys and books because they may want them for their children and because I love to look at them and remember them being little. I also keep a container of keepsakes for each child. I would rather throw out things that I will never use so that I do have room to keep these things for my children.
This is how I ended the battle of an unorganized and cluttered home. I hope some of my ways help you or give you some ideas of how you can end your battle and live a less stressful life.