I know it’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth.
Just like there is no end to cleaning or laundry or making meals. As long as you live there will always be more to do.
You will find more peace in your life the sooner you accept this as a fact.
While there is no end, it doesn’t mean we can’t strive for more organization in our lives. Says the woman who loves to organize.
For 2018, I have decided to try a new tactic for my organizing so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. I am going to tackle one room/area each month. Some are going to take a lot less time than others, so I will plan those accordingly.
The holidays are coming, and it is the perfect time to declutter before Christmas. Out with the old and in with the new!
Any holiday that means gifts are coming into your house is a great time to assess what you have and what you don’t need anymore.
If you are like me, being asked what you or your children want for Christmas queues anxiety to kick in. My immediate thoughts are, what could any of us possibly need, and more importantly, where will I put all the “stuff.”
I know, I know, gift gifting at Christmas isn’t really about what we need, but what we want or what would be fun. As a person who wants to simplify her life and home, acquiring more “stuff” is the opposite of what I want.
I know it’s not fair to my children to put my values on them. Plus both of my daughters LOVE their “stuff” and think of it all as treasures. Yes, even the ridiculous McDonald’s toys are treasured by both of them.
There is a way to find a happy medium and keep my anxiety in check – at least a little bit.
4 Things to Declutter Before Christmas
Big shocker to see this one on the list. You know that new toys will be coming into your house, so it’s the perfect time to declutter toys. Have your children go through their toys and make some decisions on what they want to donate. If you have children like mine, who treasure everything, be sure to check out, “How to help a pack-rat get organized.” The tips will work great for decluttering with your children.
When we declutter toys, we have the girls decide which ones they don’t play with any more. Toys that are being decluttered will be donated, sold (they get to keep the money), or put away in storage for future grandchildren. Only our absolute favorites are put away for future grandchildren and then kept in the attic.
Take a moment and imagine all the games and puzzles your kids have and the boxes them come in.
I bet you are thinking about all of the space they take up.
Now if you were to open the box of most kids games you will realize there is a lot of space.
Did you know there is no rule that says you must keep those items in their original boxes?
Unless you are really worried about the resale value, then it’s time to think about repackaging puzzles and games so they can be organized better and take up less space.
Let’s start with puzzles.
At our house, the girls and I LOVE putting together puzzles and we have quite a few of them.
Our big, Melissa and Doug puzzles, get to stay in their boxes. They stay in their boxes because they are the huge floor puzzles and they store best in their boxes. If you haven’t tried a Melissa and Doug puzzle, you are really missing out. They are fun because of how big they are, and the quality is second to none. Seriously, I have never been disappointed with any Melissa and Doug product.
his allows me to put several puzzles into a Sterilite drawer, which fits nicely on a shelf in my daughter’s closet.
It’s much easier for kids to put the puzzles away, even easier if you go with slider bags. Have you ever watched a small child try to put the lid on a box for a game or puzzle? Inevitably, you end up having to tape and reconstruct the box because of how they try to shove the lid on and the corners break.
The puzzles also take up less room when put in bags and placed in drawers.
Alright onto games.
Some of our games do stay in their boxes because it makes sense. However, many do not.
We are a game family. Therefore the number of games we have on hand may be substantially larger than your collection.
Another option for storage is stackable baskets. With a simple label you can organize all of those different card games or small games (Barrel of Monkeys, Yahtzee, etc)
Perhaps storage of games is not an issue in every home, but if it is I hope these ideas have helped you.
Take a couple of hours on a Saturday and get the kids to help and you can completely reorganize your kid’s games and puzzles. They will be easier for the kids to get out and they will take up less room.
You have clutter because you put off making decisions and you don’t have good systems in place.
I bet it’s not because you actually like clutter, and if it is then stop reading. You don’t need my help.
Think about it.
That pile of papers and miscellaneous items in your kitchen, what is all that?
I bet it is all papers that you put there because you didn’t know what to do with them.
Maybe some require action be taken, and you didn’t have time to do the action right away. Maybe some you weren’t sure if you should keep and others, well, you simply got distracted. You set them down and never returned to figure out what they were or where they were going.
If you are not a successful minimalist – and I argue some of them still struggle too – you will always have clutter.
It is what and how you deal with the clutter that will determine how messy and unorganized your home is.
Every home should have a donation and possibly resale station.
Because every home has excess stuff that needs to be dealt with.
No matter how often we declutter our homes and donate items, it is a never-ending process.
There will always be things your family “outgrows,” whether it is clothes, toys or items around the house. Our tastes and needs change over time.
The sooner you recognize and accept this, the sooner you deal with your household clutter.
You need to set up a donation/resale station in your home.
This is a spot where all items that you are donating or selling (varage sale, Craigslist, LetGo, eBay, etc.) are stored.
Technically, it is probably two separate areas: one for donations and one for items you are selling.
Some of you may decide that it is not worth it for you to sell items and you just want them out of your house as fast as you can. Another factor in determining whether you should have a resale station is the amount of free space you have in your home.
Once we removed everything from the closet, it was quite a shocker to even her what all was in there.
Yes, all of this came from inside that empty looking closet.
Many of the clothes we took out my niece was not even interested in keeping anymore. She didn’t like them anymore, or they didn’t fit. We honestly paired her hanging clothes down to less than a dozen items.
Her donation and sell pile were quite large.
We sorted all of the other miscellaneous items out after we emptied the closet and assessed what she wanted in the closet. One of her main goals was to get her craft supplies organized in her closet so she could see what she had and easily access them.
One of the most important steps in organizing a space is looking at the space and taking time to decide how that space needs to function for the individual/family.
Once we had removed all of my niece’s things, and we had gone through what she was keeping we spent a lot of time talking about her needs. We took some breaks so we could get fresh eyes to look at the big open area.
For this project, the only thing that was “new” was the hanging shoe rack which I had purchased second hand for a couple of dollars. Everything else we used was repurposed from inside her closet or around the house.
Throughout the process, there were quite a few giggles. For instance, when we discovered how many fake and 3D glasses she had. Apparently, she had a big need for them, or more likely she had no idea how many pairs she owned until they were all organized together. (side note: we did the same thing with my daughter’s Minnie Mouses….oops!)
My niece may have some pack rat tendencies, but never fear there is a way to help all pack rats.
In the end, my niece was very pleased with the outcome, and I had a lot of fun helping her.
The hardest part of this project for me was stopping with the closet.
Once I get started, I want to keep going. Her desk was a bit disorganized, and she let me help with it for just a short time. If only she would let me finish that area.
Organizing is addicting, and when I see a space that needs tidying, I struggle to stop myself.
It was a privilege to be able to help my niece organize her closet, and in doing so, I learned a little bit more about her. She invited me into her personal space, and by doing so, I was able to see a different side of my niece. I had no idea how creative she was or how much she really enjoyed crafting.
A person’s space whether that is an entire home, a room, or a closet can tell a lot about a person. Including what they value, what their talents are and their goals.
What does your space say about you? And what do you want it to say about you?
Whether you want to start up a successful business, run a marathon, climb Mount Everest, or learn to cook a 7-course gourmet meal, there is one surefire way to improve your likelihood of success. And it’s not difficult.
You MUST learn how to time block.
Time blocking is simply the process of setting aside time in your day and week for specific activities to happen at specific times.
I have found this trick to be absolutely imperative to my success in juggling my full-time job along with my side hustles, blogging, and teaching.
Advantages to Time Blocking:
Increased Focus: When your most important work is scheduled into your calendar you can focus on one thing at a time. You don’t have to worry about emails while you are playing with your children because you have blocked a specific time in your day to handle emails. Time blocking will allow you better focus in all areas of your life.
Increased Productivity: When you have a specific time blocked for a specific activity, barring any true emergencies, you will be more productive. You will not be distracted and your productive increases. Additionally, you will be able to schedule certain activities at certain times of the day to reflect your most productive times. For example, I know it takes less mental energy for me to respond to emails, yet for years, that is how I would start my day. My most productive time of day is in the morning so to give that time up to an activity that doesn’t require as much mental energy was not good planning. Now, I schedule my content writing for the earlier hours of the day when I am most alert and focused. Emails can come later at night or during my afternoon slump.
The ability to multi-task used to be a great attribute that employers were looking for in their employees. Now we are finding out that people are not, in fact, more productive when they multitask. In fact, research has found that people are less productive when they multitask.
For years people, myself included, have touted themselves as being able to multi-task. It was seen as a great attribute because you could get more done than people who couldn’t multi-task.
What research has proven is that you can actually only multitask two things at one time and to do so one must involve the body and one the mind. For instance, you can run and plan your grocery list in your head or clean your house and listen to a podcast, but you cannot listen to a podcast and plan your grocery list. Well, you can, but it will take you longer than if you had planned your grocery list when you weren’t doing another activity that requires mental energy.
I almost always have a daily to-do list. It might be scrawled on an old envelope, on a large Post-It, or most recently in my bullet journal, but a list is a constant.
Honestly, I think a to-do list is what helps me stay organized. I will confess I’m one of those crazy to-do list makers who has been known to write something on my list just to cross it off.
I get a natural high from crossing things off my list. I’m not alone in this obsession.
As a natural list maker, I have no problems with daily to-do’s, but as my life has gotten more hectic, I didn’t have a good way to keep track of monthly and weekly to-dos. These would be the things that should be getting done every week and month.
Confession time: This may be shocking to some of you, but there a lot of things that I am certain you do every month or even more frequently that I do not. We all have to prioritize, and some of my prioritization is probably questionable to a lot of you.
For instance, I do not change bed sheets in my house every week. Ha, I don’t even change them every month. I don’t sweep every day, even with small kids. I don’t clean all that often.
I know two amazing uses for pillowcases that may change your life.
Okay, it might not change your life, but it will most certainly make life a little bit easier.
One use is for cleaning, and one is for storing.
Cleaning – more specifically cleaning ceiling fans.
If you are like me, you don’t get around to cleaning your ceiling fans very often. In fact, I get around to it once I start to notice the dust accumulating on them. Or worse yet when the dust starts flying off the blades when turning it on for the first time in the summer.
If you clean yours more regularly, that is great, and perhaps you won’t need this trick as much as the rest of us who have layers of dust accumulating.
Now if you clean as “often” as I do then you know there are a lot of dust particles that float around the house after cleaning the fan. It doesn’t matter if I use the Swiffer wand, a rag, etc. there always seems to be loose dust – until now.