Most mums of busy households are in a constant battle against clutter.
The more things you have in your home, the more things you have to clean, put away or look for when it's lost - so it makes sense to streamline wherever you can.
Here are a few easy ways to de-clutter your home.
1. Get crafty with artwork
All the drawings, paintings, and even scribblings the kids bring home from school, are as precious to you as any Picasso piece. However, to avoid clutter, it's important to find a place other than the refrigerator to display their artwork. Here are a few ideas:
- Mount clips on a wall near the kitchen, low enough for the kids to reach, where they can hang up the creations for everyone to see.
- Put a magnetic board in their room, the playroom or the kitchen so they can switch out the displays.
- Hang a long ribbon or string along the wall with clothespins for attaching artwork. This is an easy and inexpensive way to show off their masterpieces.
- A more expensive solution - buy frames with an opening on the back that makes it easy to slide artwork in and out for exhibiting various pieces.
2. Rein in your photos
It nearly kills us to get rid of any pictures of our precious kids, but before you know it, your home is cluttered up with mountains of unframed photos. Here are some steps that will help you rein in your photo collecting.
- Purge before you print. We take lots of duplicate shots with our digital cameras and tell ourselves, "I can always delete ones that aren't very good." Just make sure you actually do delete them, and, ideally, before you upload them to your computer.
- Sort through boxes and eliminate bad photos.
- Pass on duplicates to grandparents, aunts and uncles.
3. De-clutter toys regularly
Kids rarely want to part with their toys, even if they haven’t played with them in ages. Go through the easy stuff with them first: broken toys, puzzles with missing pieces, and throw all of this stuff out. If it's sentimental, give it to a younger cousin or close friend. That way, neither of you will feel like you're discarding something important, but instead you're sharing it with someone special. Or, give the kids a bag to fill with toys and games for charity shops.
4. Let go of things
- Use the revolving-door technique. For instance, for each new book that you buy, get rid of one you've already read or know you won't. Give it to a friend, donate it to a charity or sell it to a secondhand shop.
- If a recipe, insurance form, article, etc., is easily accessed online, don't keep it lying around, bin it.
- Tackle your kitchen: Throw away old spices that are past their prime, and every now and then, go through your pantry and toss out items that are out of date.
- Only keep business cards of people or businesses you can't easily find online.
- Take back your garage. Clean out toys and ride-ons your kids have outgrown and donate them to charity. Then get equipment off the floor so you might actually be able to park your car in there. Put up shelves with large hooks and bins for hanging gardening tools and storing sports equipment.
5. Show the kids how to help
- Give your children specific instructions. Just saying "Clean your room" is too vague for most of them, and it's also overwhelming. "Pick up all the blocks and put them in the block box" is a more useful thing to say. Break big jobs down into smaller ones.
- Make sure there's enough storage space. If you're helping your child clean his room and get stuck trying to find a place for everything, you need to get rid of some stuff or get more storage, or both.
- Maximize wardrobe space by hanging shoe racks on the doors. Add hooks for hats, belts, necklaces, tote bags, robes and so on. If hangers and drawers are out of reach, keep a library stool in the room so kids can reach clothes, to make it easier for them to clean up or get dressed.
Image via Pinterest.