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Decluttering kids’ rooms and homeschooling spaces can feel like an overwhelming task from the outset. But you can totally do it – and in the process make your home life so much easier!
Guest post by Shannon Acheson.
Is the clutter in your home causing you stress? If it is, you’re not alone in that feeling.
I’ve personally heard from over 2000 women in the last couple of years who all say that clutter is their biggest home-related challenge.
Clutter in your home clutters your mind.
While decluttering your home can:
- Help you sleep better
- Increase your productivity
- Reduce your stress.
In fact, according to a popular 2009 UCLA study, women who see their homes as cluttered have elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Which is, of course, the hormone that makes us fat. 🤦🏼♀️ Of course.
No matter what kind of moms we are (homeschooling or not), our homes have a huge impact on our well-being:
- The UCLA study I mentioned showed that the more clutter people (especially women) have in their homes, the more stressed they are.
- The same study found that women subconsciously relate how happy they are with how they feel about their homes.
While this is true of every room in a home, if you’re a momma, you know that kids’ rooms and homeschool supplies can get messy especially quickly and easily contribute to those feelings of stress.
Sometimes it seems that the mess appears the second you leave the room or turn your back on one child to help another one.
But, decluttering our homes needs to be a priority so that we have can spend less time cleaning up and have less stress in our motherhood too!
To do this, here are 2 simple rules and 7 easy steps to help you declutter and organize your kids’ spaces.
Rule No. 1: Tackle One Room or Space at a Time
The best way to declutter is to tackle one room at a time.
- By only focusing on one space at a time, you can do a thorough job, without making the entire house a bigger mess.
- The alternative to that, if you find even one room too overwhelming, is to tackle one closet, surface, drawer, or cabinet at a time.
It may take a little longer going this route. But you may just save your sanity.
Rule No. 2: Follow the 7 Steps
When broken down, the overall steps for decluttering and organizing are the same, no matter which room (or even drawer or shelf) you’re working on.
Empty out the space
Remove everything from the space you’re trying to organize. Dump it all out. Create a big pile if necessary.
Remember that you can work on one small space – like a single drawer or cupboard – at a time.
Sort like with like
Next, start sorting. Place like with like. Don’t try to be tidy with this. Just sort all the things.
Edit and eliminate what you aren’t keeping
After your things are sorted, decide what you want to keep and what you don’t.
- Get rid of anything that’s broken and unworthy of fixing. Go ahead, toss it. You don’t need it.
- Next, donate to local and national non-profits any items that are in good shape but that you haven’t used in a while.
- Then sort by season, color, name, or any other way you need to organize what’s left in a particular space.
Assign a home for what you are keeping
“Everyone has a place in their house for forks. If you found a random fork in the bathroom or under the couch, you’d immediately know it didn’t belong there and would return it to its drawer without another thought. Everything in your life should be this easy to put away. If an item occupies no specific location when not in use, it becomes clutter.” (Steve McClatchy)
All the items you decide to keep need to have a specific place or home within your home. Just like the forks do!
Once you have sorted and eliminated unwanted items, you should have a pretty good idea of how much space you need for each grouping.
- Assign homes in cupboards and on shelves for these things.
- Assign the things you use often to places within easy reach.
- Things that are used infrequently can go up higher in a slightly less accessible spot.
Shop for organization – bins, baskets, and other containers
After your ‘keep items’ have a place, you can shop for pretty containers, baskets, labels, or whatever you need to get and stay organized.
Make sure you measure the height, width, and depth of shelves and cupboards before buying baskets and bins though – it’s no fun to choose them all only to realize they don’t fit the way you thought they would.
And don’t forget to shop your own house for containers to corral all the mess and then check places like the dollar store and craft store for some budget-friendly storage solutions.
Label it and put everything away
Use a Cricut to make pretty labels, or use a label maker for simple labels. Heck, you can even use a piece of masking tape and a marker if money is tight (try cutting the tape straight to at least make it look tidy).
Just be sure to label everything so that you (and everyone else in your house) know where to put things away.
When our kids were little, we took photos of the items that belonged in each bucket and taped each photo to the side of the coordinating bucket. So the toy storage was “labeled” before the kids could read!
Maintain your spaces by putting things away when you’re done with them
Implementing routines and habits is the best way to maintain your newly tidied space. You may still have to do a purge each season or with the start of a new homeschooling year.
But it should be much easier to look after if you make it a habit for everyone to put things away when they’re done with them.
Honestly, your kids are almost never too young to start helping with this. Will they need reminding? Yes, of course. But they can help put things back where they belong.
Bonus Tip: Adjust your organization systems as needed. There’s no need to stick with systems that aren’t working for you or your family.
So that’s the decluttering and organizing method I use throughout our house – especially with toys, kids’ stuff, and homeschooling supplies.
If your house is chronically disorganized or if you feel overwhelmed by all the mess, just get started. Start with a drawer or a cupboard. There’s so much satisfaction in an organized home!
For more in-depth help with decluttering, organizing, and implementing routines for tidiness in your home, check out my new book The Clutter Fix – the no-fail, stress-free guide to organizing your home.
Shannon Acheson (HomeMadeLovely.com) is a mostly self-taught decorator, writer, and stylist. She is the author of two books, Home Made Lovely and The Clutter Fix. Although she has completed her interior-design training, she’d much rather teach you how to decorate your own home than do it for you. She is the editor and designer behind the design and lifestyle company and blog Home Made Lovely. Her happy place is in the suburbs of Toronto, where she is a Homebody with a capital H, a Jesus girl, a happy wife to Dean, and a homeschooling mom of three teenagers.