We have all been to that mom’s house who has more kids than you can count and yet her house is immaculate. It seems to never be disorganized. After being super envious of those mom skills, I decided to learn from these moms because they are doing something right.
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They know how to strategically place baskets in their house
Until you start really using baskets in your house and using them to their fullest advantage, you don’t really understand how much organization they can provide. Since adding baskets, our house clutter has dramatically decreased, clean up is easier and faster not to mention they are excellent house décor.
At the bottom of the stairs
So much day to day clutter is from items that need to be put away, but first you need to bring them upstairs. Since I am not going to make trips up the stairs just to put an item away, they usually collect somewhere on the first floor or in a pile at the bottom of the stairs.
Instead of having to stare at this clutter all day, a simple decorative basket near the bottom of the stairs is a perfect stylish fix. I toss stuff into it all day and then do one trip up and distribute at the end of the day. Another solution is smaller baskets on stairs, one for each person. Not my style but could definitely work and a plus is that you can have your kids take their stuff (from their basket) up when they go.
Near couches or chairs
Pillows and blankets are wonderful, and I love nothing more than curling up on a couch with a blanket and a book. However, I get so tired of storing blankets and pillows and I hate the disheveled look on couches. It makes me feel like the living room isn’t “clean”. So, I finally got some baskets to place in the living room for blankets, books, pillows and even slippers in the winter. It is so easy to toss the blanket off and into the basket.
Also, the pillows are either on the couches or in the baskets. Somehow without the baskets, the pillows always end up on the ground everywhere instead of on the couches. It is even a rule my kids can follow so that I am not constantly wasting time and energy tidying up the living room.
The most important doors to place small baskets near are the ones you enter through. The best habit we got into is emptying your pockets when you walked in the door. Now, we don’t lose track of keys and wallets and we don’t have all that stuff scattered around the kitchen. We even keep extra change, lip balm and other pocket items in those baskets.
We also placed little baskets in everyone’s room on the nightstands since those also seemed to accumulate little items. In fact, a great rule of thumb is that if a counter is accumulating small items all the time, then add a basket. Unless, those items shouldn’t be there in the first place and you need to find them a better home.
Not to mention how cute baskets can look as nightstand décor. You can even throw your charging electronics in the basket to keep the space clear. We also love adding a plant to each night stand since we don’t really do lamps on our night stands.
On top of the washer
I have no idea why this took me so long to do. I have finally added just a simple plastic bin on top of our washer. Whenever we have anything that is dirty on our first floor, then I throw it into the bin. When I do laundry later that day or later in the week, all the laundry outside of the bedroom laundry hampers is already collected and ready to be added to the wash.
Since our laundry is on our first floor, this is super helpful since we always have a dirty dish towel or outdoor towel that needs to be washed. If something needs to be sprayed with a stain remover, I spray it and place it in the bin, so it is ready to be washed. However, I still think this would be helpful if our laundry was located on the second floor.
Everything has a spot
If something doesn’t have a spot, then one must be created or get rid of the item. If you slowly go room by room and follow this rule, then everything in your house will be organized. Since everything has a spot, then everything can be put away. When deciding on where to put items, follow these two simple rules.
Near where the mess is created
Once kids rolled around, this rule was paramount. We stored our downstairs toys in a room next to our living room. However, my kids only liked to play in our living room. Therefore, every day they would track their toys from where I kept them to the living room and every night, I would bring them back and put them away. Talk about a waste of effort, energy and time.
I finally realized that I needed to store them where they played with them. Finally, I moved their toy shelves and not only was clean up so much easier but also the mess didn’t travel. Before toys would scatter the whole living room. Now, they play with them right next to the shelves.
Even in the playroom, we place items strategically to minimize mess. For example, the legos are at the opposite side than the play kitchen and food. Since both of these have lots of little pieces, they are less likely to mix because they start so far apart. When it comes to clean up time, we do a lot less sorting.
Seriously, apply this to all mess. Add a paper/mail organization item where the paper mess in your kitchen keeps happening. Add hooks near the back door for items that seem to always be on the floor there such as dog collars or kid jackets.
Keep cleaning supplies and other items stored where they will be used
Add storage where items are used and they will just stay cleaner because the barrier to cleaning them up is reduced. For instance, store your plates, bowls, cups and silverware right next to the dishwasher. Store coffee cups right above your coffee machine.
Another big item I found that really fit this rule was cleaning supplies. Keep supplies in every room to clean it. For instance, keep wipes in all of your bathrooms. After you wash your hands, if the bathroom counters need it, give them a simple 2 second wipe down. You will cut back on the time you need to dedicate to cleaning with this simple change. You will start using a few minutes in your day to keep things clean as you go about your day naturally. It removes the barrier to cleaning and is such a faster way to clean.
They purge the extra extras
Not shocking that moms who are organized know how to declutter. It is important to get rid of items that you no longer need or don’t bring you joy anymore. While I think I am pretty good at decluttering, I had a habit of keeping anything that I could possibly need, even if I would never need it because I had so many of them. For example:
- You do not need 20 dishtowels because you wash the dirty ones before you need use all 20.
- You do not need 10 extra empty binders because you will never use them all. They are cheap so you will probably want a new one anyway.
- You do not need 50 pairs of kid’s leggings all in the same size because they will never wear them all.
- You do not need to keep every single pen you ever got because you will never use them all.
This is all just extra stuff that you have to continually keep organized. You waste extra time, energy and stress over this stuff. Get rid of it. You don’t have to throw it in the trash. Goodwill it or find some place that will take it all.
My story is 2T clothing. We had over 5 bins worth of 2T because we got so much gifted to us as hand-me-downs. In no world ever was my child going to wear all of this. In fact, she usually has 4-5 outfits she wears 90% of the time. I was organizing and storing all this stuff that was taking up space for nothing.
Organized moms aren’t wasting their precious time keeping all this silly stuff and can instead actually spend their time cleaning the items they do use.
They buy the organizational pieces
There was a time when I thought these things were silly and a waste of time. Then I decided to try one and life has never been the same. I don’t think all of these are created the same but here are the ones I love.
Pots, pans and lids organizer
I have always wanted to buy some sort of organizational item to deal with the pots, pans, and lid mess. It drove me nuts. I finally convinced my husband that this piece was the answer. He thought it was so silly. After installing it, it was an instant perfect fix.
It has been years since we bought it and I can still say it makes me smile whenever we put pots, pans and lids away. We have never had to shuffle through them again to find the right item.
Suitcase packing cubes
I always hate living out of a suitcase because my clothing always ends up in a complete mess. It became unbearable when we started doing family packing and combining the kids clothing in our suitcases. Since it is so much more economical to travel with fewer suitcases, I looked for solutions and found packing cubes.
My hope was that they would act like mini suitcases so I could pack our whole family or multiple people in one suitcase but keep items separate. Not only did it do that, but it also resulted in more overall space. It was insane how much more “functional” space I gained from using them. I originally just bought one set but ended up buying two. I wanted a lot of medium size bags and then one set of mixed sizes. I can pack our whole family into just these two sets. The best part was I could also compartmentalize items like all swim stuff.
Outside of our silverware drawer, I had never really invested or done much research into drawer organizers. Besides going down a rabbit hole of endless options, I finally found some that I liked. I bought one for our junk drawer, bathroom drawer, makeup, products, under sinks (we also used these in our pantry to maximize space) and some for our underwear drawers.
After a week of using them, I could find things so much faster that I knew they were worth it. Months later, there is still some mess in these drawers, but the dividers give it a baseline of organization. Even messy, the drawer functions so much better and I can still find things.
Bags for a diaper bag or purse
I sometimes feel like all my bags are like Marry Poppin’s bag since they always have so much stuff in them. The only problem is I can never find anything and no matter how many times I clean them, they don’t stay clean.
That was until I discovered that I needed bags for my bag. I bought cute little zipper bags and store like items in them. I also bought some that are spill safe. When I need something, I know which bag it’s in so it’s super easy to find. This is also super clutch for carrying food (snacks for kids), since snacks seem to spill in my bag all the time. I also always keep one of these bags as the trash bag.
Then when I get home, I just remove the snack and trash bag from my diaper bag or purse. It is so much simpler to deal with then searching through the whole bag for individual items to remove when I get home.
They make use of closet space
If you haven’t yet made over every closet in your house, then today is the day to start. Closets can be the worst or best usage of space in a house. Without outfitting them with organizers, they are really wasting a lot of fantastic storage space.
We used ClosetMaid built-ins and their stuff is made really well. You put it together yourself but it isn’t like that cheap furniture that falls apart. This will last.
In addition to adding shelving, remember baskets and bins are the bread and butter to organization. So, include them by adding them to shelves. Even in drawers, you can add baskets to keep things separated.
In your house, make sure you are making good use of all your closets. You can outfit every single one with built-ins such as a
- Laundry area/room/closet
- Coat closets
- Bedroom closets
- Linen closets
Don’t forget the garage or the mud area
Even in the garage, when we added shelving, it was a whole new world. Just think of how much more space becomes useful storage by adding shelving. The shelving houses everything that stays in the garage neatly, in addition to extra household items like paper towel rolls or toilet paper.
We also added a lot of hooks so there was space for jackets that could stay in the garage or even wet swim gear and towels. Both right inside and outside, we have shoe racks that have also helped a lot with the mess that always accumulates at the main entrance.
Finally deal with all the paper in your house
If you want a clean decluttered kitchen, then you need a command center of some sorts. You can put a first-floor small desk, you can do a little mailbox filling system on a wall, or you can do a wall folder. If you don’t, then the mail and all the paperwork will always be on your kitchen counter.
Now, you can go old school and get a filing cabinet for all that other paperwork that clutters the house. However, I think it is well worth the investment in time to purge everything you don’t need to keep and digitize everything else. Not only will this allow you to finally be free of the paper mess but also allow you to access any document from your phone anywhere. Just buy a scanner and scan everything in.
Pursue your organized house Today
The simplest solutions are sometimes the best. In all of these tips, remember to remove as many barriers to staying organized as possible. The most important barrier to minimize is how much energy it takes to put the items away and keep clean.
After that it is making sure everything in your house has a place that makes sense. Using tools like organizers and baskets can go a long way to keeping everything tidy. And don’t forget the power of built-ins to maximize and really use all closet space. Lastly, free yourself of all the paper by going paperless with a digital organizational system.