No worries. I’m not suggesting you don a strapless turquoise-with-sequins number and dance wildly to We Are Family. Instead, I’m going to introduce you to a super-simple way to de-clutter your home.
Seriously. It’s that easy, and quite honestly, very therapeutic.
After you have maintained the Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household for a few weeks, it’s time to take stock of the junk lurking in your home. You really don’t need the 8-years-worth of Home Beautiful magazines, do you? Do you really need the torn jeans you haven’t worn since you were 16? How about the electric bills from 1993? And for goodness sakes, get rid of the old letters from that cute guy in science class. They will cause more harm than good–trust me.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: If your kids don’t play with their toys, it’s not because they don’t have enough to play with. It’s because they HAVE TOO MUCH. And they don’t even know what they have anymore. Start purging.
Purge. Grab a large plastic garbage bag, and go through quickly and just start tossing. If something is obvious garbage, get it out of your sight, and out of your house. There is no reason to save a random puzzle piece or a Barbie shoe. Just toss it. After your first pass through a room (or drawer, toy box, etc.) go back with another bag or bin for charity. If you have items that are no longer beneficial to your family, pass them along to someone who could truly need your give-aways. Do not give away items that are badly worn, damaged, or missing parts. That’s not fair to anyone.
Remove. Once you have purged items, seal the bag or box up securely and do NOT look inside. Keep purged items away from children who will gladly rifle through cast-aways to discover lost treasure. Take garbage to the outdoor bin or to the local dump. Give still-useful items to charity. There are numerous organizations who will gladly accept your items. If your family would prefer to hold a garage sale, schedule one right away. Holding on to items for too long is just as bad as never purging in the first place. Craigslist and freecycle are your friends; use them.
O is for organize. Take the time to group like items together and put in storage containers that are sturdy, accessible, and attractive. These containers do NOT need to cost a lot of money, nor do they necessarily need to match. Your local dollar store has lots of baskets and containers that will do just fine for storage. When storing children’s items, label clearly on the outside of a solid container what is housed inside. When I ran preschool centers, I’d often take a photo of the toys, or cut a picture out of a catalog or magazine to help pre-readers identify what lived inside each box or bin.
Maintain. This is the hardest one, I know. We all have good intentions of keeping up with our newly-organized spaces, yet somehow life gets in the way sometimes. It’s okay. If you take the time to think about each and every purchase you make, or item that comes into your home, you will not get overwhelmed. Let well-meaning relatives know that although buying large stuffed animals for gifts can pack a momentary punch, a gift-certificate to the local museum or zoo is a much more useful gift. Take back your home—-when your home feels cluttered, your brain feels cluttered and you’re more apt to anxiety, depression, and a quick-temper.
You can’t expect your house to look like a magazine or design catalog, but you can expect children (and spouses!) to clean up after themselves.
If you are interested in reading all about my Clean Less, Play More approach, you can, here:
Learn the Exact Strategies I use to Keep My House and My Family Running Smoothly
(without losing my marbles) by downloading this free cheat sheet for moms. Enjoy!