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Totally the Mom http://totallythemom.com Kids are crazy. Life doesn't have to be. Sat, 16 May 2020 20:30:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://i2.wp.com/totallythemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/cropped-Mom.png?fit=32%2C32 Totally the Mom http://totallythemom.com 32 32 134168837 5 Power Tips to Help You Declutter More Efficiently http://totallythemom.com/2019/05/20/5-power-tips-to-help-you-declutter-more-efficiently/ http://totallythemom.com/2019/05/20/5-power-tips-to-help-you-declutter-more-efficiently/#respond Mon, 20 May 2019 10:18:19 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=1366 5 Power Tips to Help You Declutter More Efficiently Thanks to the ever-inspiring and adorable Marie Kondo and her popular Tidying Up series on Netflix, there is definite “spark” (see what I did there 😉 ) of interest in decluttering, resulting in many people embarking on fresh decluttering journeys. And while there certainly is no […]

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5 Power Tips to Help You Declutter More Efficiently

Thanks to the ever-inspiring and adorable Marie Kondo and her popular Tidying Up series on Netflix, there is definite “spark” (see what I did there 😉 ) of interest in decluttering, resulting in many people embarking on fresh decluttering journeys.

And while there certainly is no “wrong” way to declutter, there is more than one way to get the job done too. And some may be more realistic for a busy mom strapped for time.

So if you are the aforementioned busy, time-strapped mom, here are a few strategies you can utilize to declutter efficiently and avoid a big, overwhelming pile of stuff haunting your living room.

5 Power Tips to Help You Declutter More Efficiently Pinterest Image with Timer

High Impact Decluttering Tip #1: Break your big organizing goal into smaller milestones

My first tip to help you make your efforts as efficient and impactful as possible is to break your big organizing goal down into smaller milestones. This is going to help you stay motivated and avoid becoming overwhelmed or frustrated.

To start, choose one room or space at a time where you will be focusing your decluttering efforts.

In order to really get the most benefit, make sure you focus your attention on a specific area that causes you to lose time in your daily life.

That may not even be a singular space for you — it could be that you spend way more time than you want doing dishes every day, or dealing with the laundry. Focusing your efforts on decluttering and developing a better system to manage time eaters like these will be well worth it. Anything that can give you more time is a wise investment. 🙂

This is part of what makes the “Zone & Zack Morris Method” you’ll learn in the starter guide so effective, and easy to implement.

You’re taking your big goals, like decluttering your home, and breaking it into bite-sized chunks (or zones) that align with the amount of time you have available to work. So for example, if your overall goal is to declutter your main living space, first you’d break it down into smaller zones.

You might start with the kitchen, and then break that down into smaller zones like this:

Main Living Space (Big Goal)

  • The Kitchen (Smaller Milestone)
    • Day one: dishes (Small Zone)
    • Day two: appliances/gadgets (Small Zone)
    • Day three: Bakeware & Pots/Pans (Small Zone)
    • Day four: Drawers & Pantry (Small Zone)

That’s what Brooke, a SAHM mom of 4 did during a recent mini challenge. She decluttered and organized all of her kid clothes and hand-me-downs that comprised an entire storage shelf in her basement.

Here’s what she shared after Day 1:

“In 15 minutes this AM, I sorted thru 2 boxes (with help from my 2yr old). Found a lot to donate and now just need to repackage these clothes and put a CLEAR & UP TO DATE label on the box.”

And by the end…

“Hallelujah! I did a little more than 15 minutes a day, but thank you, Kristin, for keeping me accountable to finishing this project.”

High Impact Decluttering Tip #2: Define your space.

Define your space.

I know it sounds so basic, but honestly, the cause of a lot of those junk drawers and miscellaneous clutter piles is that those spaces don’t have a defined purpose.

When you give a space, even something as small as a drawer, a specific purpose, it becomes much easier to decide what belongs and what doesn’t. And by doing this, you’re also identifying where those miscellaneous items should live.

For example, your hot glue gun and glue sticks that were jumbled in a drawer with coupons, tape, scissors and some random mail, would be better kept (and used when you need it) with your craft supplies. You can read more about that in this featured post I wrote for Mom Life, Happy Life.

photo credit: Boss Lady in Sweatpants

High Impact Decluttering Tip #3: Schedule your decluttering appointments

Schedule decluttering appointments.

When we make an appointment for something, we plan to show up.

It goes on the calendar and we don’t plan to do other things during that time. It becomes a priority.

Actually scheduling a 15-minute appointment for yourself by adding it to your planner or calendar makes it a lot more important than just something you’ll squeeze in if you have the time.

So if clearing out the clutter is a true priority of yours, treat it that way. Book the appointments, reserve the time you’ll need to get the job done, and you’ll be more likely to complete it.

To do this, I highly encourage you to time block your schedule. Write down all your appointments  and obligations for the week, and then see where you have 15 minutes to schedule your decluttering appointments. But make sure you write them down on your calendar, in your planner, or both,  just as you would any other important obligation.

If you want to learn more about that, and how to utilize your time to be most productive, click here to learn more about my upcoming time management mini-course.

Here’s what Alicja  (a SAHM mom of 3) had to say about scheduling her decluttering appointments during a recent 5-day challenge:

“I started this challenge with no specific project in mind. But just the one bookcase I showed you on pictures was enough to show me how much can one do in 15 minutes. I now have 15 minutes blocks scheduled in my planner EVERYday to just do something decluttering/cleaning.

I have a box in my car where I systematically put in things that I can leave in the church for people in need. And I will empty it every Sunday since I’m there anyway.

Those are huge, little changes 🙂

Thank you, Kristin, for opening my eyes! I do have my vision and a plan for clean place to live.”

blond woman holding large box and smiling in front of a bright yellow background

High Impact Decluttering Tip #4: Place donate boxes near the main areas of your home

This is another way to make your decluttering time more efficient and to utilize every opportunity to tackle clutter.

We live in a colonial so I like to keep one box for donations on our main level in our garage, and one box upstairs in our guest room closet.

Whenever I’m picking up and come across something that I know we don’t need anymore (like an article of clothing my kids have outgrown) I just toss it in the donate box. When it’s full, I drop it at the donation center.

Easy peasy.

High Impact Decluttering Tip #5: Develop a process to systemize your decluttering, and maintenance routines to maximize your efficiency.

That’s exactly what the Essential Decluttering Bundle provides for you.

If you’re ready to stop living in chaos and mess, ready to stop feeling buried in dirty dishes and laundry mountains, if you’re over feeling like you can’t ever have anyone over because your house is a disaster…if you’re ready to start taking actionable steps toward a real and lasting change, get started now with the Essential Decluttering Bundle for busy moms.

By investing in this complete decluttering guide and custom workbook planner, you’ll be:

  • Getting a  step-by-step decluttering process you can apply to any space.
  • Learning how to realistically prioritize and find the time in your busy schedule to actually get started and see impactful results (in as little as 15 minutes a day), just like Alicja and Brooke.
  • Developing practical, mom-tested systems for managing paper clutter, toys, the never-ending laundry pile, and even methods for managing sentimental items (that allow you to  better honor those memories)
  • Gaining more time for what you truly enjoy, instead of losing time picking up your house (again).

Click here to learn more.

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How to Declutter When You Have No Time http://totallythemom.com/2019/03/01/declutter-no-time/ http://totallythemom.com/2019/03/01/declutter-no-time/#comments Fri, 01 Mar 2019 20:17:00 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=606 Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018, and has been updated in March of 2019. Want to know what the number one struggle is for busy moms when it comes to decluttering? Time. I hear it constantly: “I want to declutter, but I just don’t have time.” Believe me, I get it. […]

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How to Declutter When You Have No Time

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018, and has been updated in March of 2019.

Want to know what the number one struggle is for busy moms when it comes to decluttering?

Time.

I hear it constantly: “I want to declutter, but I just don’t have time.”

Believe me, I get it.

When the sink is constantly overflowing with dirty dishes, laundry mountain is taking up half your couch and you’ve got to carefully navigate a Lego minefield every time you cross a room, the idea of taking on anything to get your home in order can be overwhelming.

But…it’s not a deal breaker.

If you’re sick of feeling like you spend all your spare time cleaning, the simple truth is that you need less to clean. You can read more about that here.

If you’re just embarking on this journey, join the nearly 1,000 fellow moms and  grab your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms: Disaster Zone to Peaceful Home.

There is more than one good way to declutter. And it doesn’t have to be a marathon project where you dump all your stuff into a big pile and begin to sort through it. You can make a big difference in short bursts of time (that don’t equal a bigger, overwhelming mess that leaves you feeling even worse about your home than when you began).

Decluttering, whether a tiny part of a drawer or an entire room, is still decluttering. And at the end of the day, you still wind up with less of what you don’t want (stuff you don’t need/want/use) and more of what you do (space, freedom, time, peace).

If you’re struggling with getting started on a decluttering project because you don’t feel like you have the time to do it, here are my best tips:

How to declutter when you have no time:

1. Make decluttering a priority.

Let me share a short story with you. I Jazzercise (and I’m borderline obsessed with it). One day I arrived late to class, all frazzled and wondering if I should have even bothered to come at all because I hate being late.

At some point, as I was deep in a lunge with sweat pouring down my face, the instructor started sharing her stories of her early days of Jazzercise. It was such an accomplishment to make it to class during these crazy, busy days of our lives with young kids and a full schedule (this particular class has a lot of moms).

And then she said something that hit me so hard I almost fell out of my lunge.

Anyone can find the time to do anything, it’s a matter of honoring that time.

Wow. I have found that sentence echoing so many times in my head since then.

So why, you may ask, am I sharing this story with you?

Because it really hammers down the heart of what the real issue is for many of us.

Your struggle isn’t really with having time. It’s about defining your priorities.

Think about the way you are spending your time. How does it makes you feel?

If you’re tired of living in constant chaos and survival mode, tired of feeling like you have to spend all of your time cleaning up after your life instead of living it, or tired of looking for things, running late or feeling like a hot mess, the best thing you can do is declutter.

And if you want to achieve a real, lasting change then you need to make decluttering a priority. That might mean some sacrifices. But keep in mind, this is only temporary.

This is not the rest of your life. This is a step you are taking to get to be in control of the rest of your life. And I promise you, if you’re willing to make those small sacrifices and put in the work, it will be 100% worth it to you.

Treat your decluttering time the same as you would a doctor appointment or an important meeting. Set a date and time (preferably recurring). Put it on your calendar and don’t schedule anything else during this time. This is a key step in making time to declutter when you feel like you have no time.

2. Declutter faster and avoid overwhelm by breaking your space into smaller zones.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Done is better than perfect, and when it comes to decluttering projects, a little bit done is far better than nothing at all. Remember, decluttering gains momentum as you go along. Check out this list of 25 Quick decluttering projects for some inspiration.

Don’t take on your whole house at once. Break your space down into smaller, manageable zones that align with the amount of time you have to work — this is a concept that you’ll learn to master with the Making Space Decluttering Bundle.

One drawer becomes a dresser, becomes a closet, becomes a room, becomes a floor, becomes a house. If you look at your entire home as your project, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly – and for me, that can even be paralyzing.

Instead, just focus on the one small area you are choosing to work in during your decluttering time. The corner of the play room. A shelf. A drawer. Don’t worry about the rest – you’ll get to that. Just take it one small step at a time.

20 minutes here. 15 minutes there. Get a rhythm going and stick with it for a week or so. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

3. Define your “Why.”

Research has already shown a strong link between clutter and depression. And Psychology Today reports that, “mess causes stress.”

According to the article, clutter overstimulates us, distracts us and makes us feel anxious, among other negative effects.

So ask yourself: Why is this important to you? Why do you feel like you would be better off with less stuff? Do you want more time for yourself? Do you want to feel less anxious? Do you want to feel like you can commit more of yourself to enjoying time with your kids instead of just picking up after them?

Dig deep and find your true reason for why you want to live a life without clutter. Whatever it is, that is your why. Write it down and put it where you can see it. Put it in multiple places, your planner, on your refrigerator, by your bed. Anywhere it might be helpful to see a reminder of the bigger picture. Let that motivate you to get going.

4. Track your time to identify your windows of opportunity

Think about the flow of your typical day. The majority of us have periods when we’re not actually doing much…even when we feel like we’re busy all the time.

When are you likely to be mindlessly scrolling through things on your phone?

If you’re unclear about where your time is going every day, track it. You can use an online tool like toggl or a spreadsheet. Or just a notebook. Every 30 minutes, spend a couple of seconds writing down what you did over the last half hour. It’s crucial to be honest here — no one is going to see it or judge you, but you need to get the most accurate picture of where your time is going.

After a week of tracking, analyze how you’ve been spending your time.

It may turn out that while you think you spend 45 minutes cooking meals, you’re actually browsing Pinterest for a recipe and spending only 20 minutes actually cooking.

Knowing that, you could tweak your meal planning — maybe have a list of a few quick, easy staples you choose from each week so that you can spend the extra time you’re saving by not browsing Pinterest working on decluttering.

Or you may realize that you’re guilty of spending more time than you thought browsing Facebook or Instagram.  You may see a pattern of times when you’re likely to get sucked into social media. In response, you could set some parameters for times of the day when you’re unplugged. Set your phone aside so you won’t be distracted and use the time you’re gaining back to declutter.  

5. Create more opportunities to declutter.

Knowing where your time is going is half the battle. The other half is having some fail-safe measures in place to be able to power through a task when you really need to.

Just because your kids are around doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) do anything aside from playing with them or tend to their every need.

Be real. You don’t need to neglect your kiddos, but every moment of your day does not need to revolve around them — whether you stay home or work outside the home.

Even toddlers can be occupied independently for 10-15 minutes with an engaging activity. Sensory activities are great for this. Break out the playdough, give them a tub with rice and some toys hidden in it. One of my favorites is to give them a dish of soapy water and some rags and let them “give their toys a bath.” Sure, you might have to do some extra sweeping, or change some wet clothes, but they’ll be occupied so you can get some much needed decluttering time too.

Some other ideas to consider are:

  • Utilizing screen time to declutter. You don’t need to do this all day every day, but letting your kiddo have a few minutes to watch an approved show while you get other things done doesn’t make you a bad mom. This makes you a smart mom who knows how best to utilize the resources she has available. And when you’re done, you will have so much more time to play and be involved with your kids.
  • Partner with a friend who has kids who are similar ages and swap baby-sitting days. You watch her kids for a couple of hours on Tuesday while she declutters, then she takes yours for a few on Thursday.
  • Delegate other tasks — Let your spouse cook dinner one night while you declutter. Or designate one evening where you spend some time decluttering while your spouse handles bed time. Let your kids be responsible for putting away their laundry, emptying the dishwasher or taking on other chores around the house.
  • Get takeout and use the time you would have spent cooking and cleaning to declutter instead.
  • Order your groceries instead of dragging yourself (and possibly your kids) through the store and use that time to declutter.

6. Be willing to make sacrifices.

Where can you find those 15 minutes? Maybe you need to get up 15 minutes earlier every day for a little while. Maybe you give up 15 minutes of watching a tv show or reading a book. Maybe you stay up an extra 15 minutes later (just be sure to set a timer so you don’t go over and miss out on sleep).

Remember that this is not the rest of your life. This is a phase you are choosing to grow through so that you can have more control of your time when you’re done.

7. Enlist help.

Find an accountability partner. Enlist your family to help you. Give everyone a zone to work on. If your kids are old enough, have them find some items they are ready to part with. Have your spouse sort through drawers. This isn’t all on you.

Get help with your kids. Got a neighbor, friend, Grandma who could watch them for a few hours so you can work on a bigger chunk of this project? Ask them for help. Swap kid sitting with a friend who is also looking to declutter. Let your kids have a movie afternoon, pop some popcorn and get to work while they watch.

8. Take breaks.

Maybe one week you get up early every day to work on this, and the next week you take the week off from decluttering. Then you jump back to it the following week. Or maybe it’s an every other day task. Or maybe you spend a whole day each week working in 30-60 minute increments and leave it alone the rest of the time. Work at your own pace and at your own speed. You get to decide how long this takes you and when you’re done. Just don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed.

9. Stash “donate,” “trash,” and “put away” near main areas of your house.

Then when you find yourself with some spare minutes (while your kids are brushing their teeth and getting ready for bed, for example) you can go through a shelf or a drawer. Every little tiny bit counts.

10. Stop when you need to breathe.

You can always pick it back up at another time. Decluttering can be emotionally, mentally and even sometimes physically draining. It’s ok to stop. The goal is not to add stress to your life. It’s to remove it.

Don’t forget, if you’re just starting out, I’ve got some tips for how to begin here, and you can sign up below to get your free decluttering starter guide.

Sign up here to download it for free!

And if you’re really ready to dive into decluttering and learn step-by-step how to declutter every room in your house, overcome common hurdles like dealing with sentimental objects or how to manage the endless influx of toys, check out the Making Space Decluttering Bundle for busy moms here.

Now that you have some ideas for how to make time to declutter, what else might be holding you back? I’d love to hear from you. Or, got some tried and true tips of your own? Share them below – I’d love to hear how you make time for projects like decluttering.

I’m cheering for you!

How to start decluttering when you're short on time (plus a free starter guide)

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Conquer Crazy Weekdays with these 20 Mom Life Hacks http://totallythemom.com/2019/02/08/crazy-weekday-mom-life-hacks/ http://totallythemom.com/2019/02/08/crazy-weekday-mom-life-hacks/#comments Fri, 08 Feb 2019 12:12:36 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=1207 Because we’re crazy, this year in our house we have three different school schedules to follow (four if you count the parent/tot class my toddler and I do once per week). The hustle is real! But, luckily, I’ve been able to pick up more than a few hacks over the years that I’ve been momming […]

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top photo of snack basket inside pantry, text box reading: Conquer Crazy Weekdays With These 20 Mom Life Hacks, Bottom photo of child with backpack walking down a path; www.TotallyTheMom.com

Because we’re crazy, this year in our house we have three different school schedules to follow (four if you count the parent/tot class my toddler and I do once per week). The hustle is real! But, luckily, I’ve been able to pick up more than a few hacks over the years that I’ve been momming that make even the most demanding schedules totally doable.

And, if you want to learn how to utilize your time to be most productive, click here to learn more about my minicourse, Mother of Time Management.

Here are 20 mom life hacks to help you conquer crazy weekdays:

hand pulling snack basket out of pantry; mom life hack1. Snack Baskets

Keep one in your pantry and one in your fridge of pre-portioned, school approved snacks. I let the kids pick whatever they want from the snack basket for school and off we go. This makes packing lunches a breeze too. I just prepare the main item, grab a few sides from the baskets and done! Plus, the baskets help keep you pantry and fridge organized. I take everything out of the bulky, big boxes so it all is contained nicely in the baskets in individual portions.

2. Meal plan

Just do it. There are literally days when I have no idea what’s for dinner, even when I planned and prepped it! Can you imagine how difficult that is when you haven’t put in the planning? Especially if you just meander through the grocery store throwing things in your cart without an agenda. I can’t brain like that. Luckily I’ve got my menu to keep my list and my nights on track.

3. Pack lunches the night before

Your morning self will thank you.

4. Ingredient Prep

While I love the idea of prepping all our meals on Sunday, or stocking our freezer with a month of prepared dinners, it rarely, if ever, happens. But that doesn’t mean a little prep work doesn’t go a long way. Instead of cooking an entire meal in advance, I batch prep the ingredients I need for the meals we’ll have that week on Mondays after we shop. As I’m cooking that night’s meal, I’ll chop up the veggies, start defrosting or dicing meat…etc. for the rest of the week too.  Then just I put all the ingredients in bags, labeled with the meal. This cuts down our cooking time because all I have to do is cook — no prep. True 30 minute (or less) meals! 🙂

5. Double your recipes when making dinner and freeze half

As Grandma Judi, my husband’s wise grandma of like, 100 kids, and mother of 5 always says, cook once, eat twice! Sage advice! 😉

6. Take cell phone pics of important notes so you don’t lose them

I’ve mentioned this hack before, but it’s worth noting again. Everytime my kids bring home school notes with important details for a field trip or project, I snap a picture of it on my phone. Then I can recycle the original and still have the info I need right on my phone. To keep it organized and easy to find, I use a free app called, Keepy, to file the photo by kid and date.

7. Time block your days

Have you heard of time blocking before? It’s an amazing strategy where you literally schedule in all the things you need to do in a day and reserve specific blocks of time for to do them. I love it because in one glance of my planner I can see what I need to do when, but also where I have some windows in my time to squeeze in other things (and when I don’t). We do a deep dive into time blocking in the Mother of Time Management minicourse.

sign featuring items kids need to remember to bring to school8. Do You Have….? Reminder posters/tags

If you have a kiddo who tends to be easily distracted or forgetful, these can be such a help! Create a poster with a list of all the things your kids should have before they leave for the day. We had one on the door to our garage right at the kids’ eye level for an entire year. I also know of a few parents have laminated tags and attached them to their child’s backpack zipper to help them remember what to bring home from school too. Genius! You can download one free here from Understood.org, or use it as inspiration to make your own. 

9. Pick out clothes for the week on Sunday

This habit just helps keep everything go so much smoother in the mornings. On Sundays, help your kids pick out their clothes for the week. That way you’re not frantically searching through the laundry pile in the morning for the school spirit shirt, or know you need to wash a load before Billy is clean out of undies. 😉 This is also a great opportunity to resolve any disputes about what to wear well ahead of the rush of the morning.

10. Nightly Pick-Up/Prep Ritual

Kids thrive on routines, and this one helps keep the house in shape too. Every night at the same time, have a quick pick up. I set an alarm on our Alexa for the same time every evening. When it goes off, it’s time to spend 10 minutes picking up toys before winding down. I also have my kids pack their backpacks, including their snacks and water bottles for the next day.

11. Keep a shared calendar

Even if you’re like me and prefer a physical paper calendar or planner, using an app like Google calendar or iCal still serves a powerful purpose in keeping things simple and convenient. Sharing. It’s so much easier to coordinate schedules with your significant other when you utilize a tool that instantly updates every time you use it. No more wondering if you actually remembered to tell your husband about parent teacher conferences, or your Girl’s Night Out plans. When he opens his calendar, it’s there.

12. Wash all your laundry on cold

No need to sort. Wash, and get on to better things.

13. Let your kids put away their clothes

Their drawers may not look perfect, but you don’t have to see it. Plus, letting them put the clothes away empowers your kids to take some responsibility for how much they keep in their drawers and closets and helps reinforce the value of what they have.

kid school bags and backpacks on low hooks14. Have a home for backpacks, gear, shoes and coats that is accessible to your kids

You don’t need a mud room or even a special command center to do this. Even if it’s just a spot on the floor by your door, make sure it all has a home and that everything is in that home each night when you’re doing your quick pick up. Then you don’t have to scramble to look for any missing pieces in the morning. Carolyn from Fennell Seeds has a great round-up of backpack storage ideas for those of us without a mudroom here. 

15. Declutter 😉

You knew this would be on the list, right? Remember less stuff equals less to clean equals a place for everything (so you know where it is) equals happier you. 🙂 Sign up here for your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms.

16. Keep a stash of snacks in the car

Sometimes days don’t pan out the way you think. And no one wants to be hangry. Keep some car snacks handy for these little emergencies, for you and your kids.

17. Unpack folders over the recycling bin

And use an app like Keepy to capture memorable work without adding to the paper clutter.

18. Let your kids have some chill time right after school, then dive into the homework and all the things

We all need a little bit of time to decompress after a busy day. Giving your kids the opportunity to chill or play outside and get some exercise and fresh air will help them focus better and fight you less when it’s time to crack open the books.

19. Keep activity bags packed and ready to go

Dance class, soccer practice, a long wait at a restaurant (Yep, I have a mini backpack with things for exactly this purpose)…keep bags packed and ready to go for all the activities in your life. Then everything you or your kids need is in one place and it makes it that much easier to head out the door.

20. Pizza Friday

In our house, by the time Friday night rolls around, we’re all pooped and ready for the weekend. So we made up our Pizza Friday tradition. We put on our pajamas as soon as we can, order a pizza (or make our own), pick a family movie, make popcorn and chillax as we head into the weekend. Dinners are easy to plan and we don’t fuss about anything. 🙂 Establish an easy, low-key tradition for your family at the end of the week and give yourself the chance to put your feet up too!

So, there you have it. 20 of my best mom hacks to help you conquer your crazy weekdays. What are your favorite Mom life hacks for busy weekdays?

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5 Questions to Help You Declutter Sentimental Items http://totallythemom.com/2019/02/01/5-questions-to-help-you-declutter-sentimental-items/ http://totallythemom.com/2019/02/01/5-questions-to-help-you-declutter-sentimental-items/#respond Fri, 01 Feb 2019 07:00:04 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=1168 [social_warfare] Let’s face it. The hardest part of decluttering isn’t the sorting but the emotions we have tied to our stuff. It’s what makes decluttering sentimental items especially challenging. But there are there are a few questions that you can ask yourself to make the task a bit easier. Before we dive into those questions, […]

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5 Questions to Help You Declutter Sentimental Items

[social_warfare]

Let’s face it. The hardest part of decluttering isn’t the sorting but the emotions we have tied to our stuff. It’s what makes decluttering sentimental items especially challenging.

But there are there are a few questions that you can ask yourself to make the task a bit easier.

Before we dive into those questions, I want to clarify that there is no set amount of sentimental items that you have to strive to declutter. The important part here is to make sure that you are finding the balance that works for you.

If a particular objects causes you to have a negative reaction, if it makes you feel bad about yourself, if it makes you feel sad, if it is a constant reminder of what is no longer in your life, or holds you back from really living in the here and now, then it may be time to reconsider whether or not it is really serves you to keep it.

This isn’t about trying to achieve a certain number of decluttered items. This isn’t about anybody else’s standards. This is about what works best for you, your home and your life.

So, let’s dive in. Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to help you declutter sentimental items:

Psst…for more decluttering tips,  grab your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms here:

1. What memories am I trying to preserve by holding on to this object, and is the way I  am currently keeping/using the item honoring that memory?

Think about what is actually compelling you to hold on to it. Are you feeling drawn to this object because it reminds you of a person who has passed away or an important event from your past?  Or are you simply holding onto it because it was something that was given to you, or something you’ve always had that you just haven’t considered letting go of?

Evaluate whether this object actually evokes those memories and feelings you’re trying to preserve.

Then consider if the way you’re currently using  (or not using) this object is serving the memory you’re trying to preserve.

This is particularly true if you are keeping something because it is from a loved one who has passed on, or something that is from a different period in our lives (or our children’s lives). We may feel compelled to keep these types of items because we feel like we should. We feel a certain sense of obligation, or we feel guilty when considering letting go of these items even if they really are not serving us in our current life.

Is there a better way that you could utilize this object in order to properly honor those memories?

Is there a way to actually use it, or repurpose it so that it has a function for you? Is there a way to put it on display so that you can look at it and remember the important time in your life that is tied to this physical object?

Remember, as my friend Tara from I Dream of Simple recently shared in her post, 12 key lessons learned from 12 simplicity challenges, simplicity is something that looks different for everyone. Depending on where you are in your own journey,  what you’re comfortable keeping may be much different from someone who is farther along. And that is A-Ok!

2. How often do I ever go through and reflect on these objects and the memories they evoke?

Do you frequently sift through the items and reflect, or do they remain hidden in the corner of a closet or deep in your basement buried in a half-inch of dust?

How often do you  want to be able to go through these items and reflect on the memories that they evoke?

Think about how it would impact your life if these items were lost in a flood or fire.

Before I had gone all in on our own decluttering mission, our basement flooded. And while it was stressful to deal with the aftermath of what was essentially a storage unit in our home, I found that I was actually somewhat relieved to have a reason to get rid of many of the objects I had been keeping down there. Most had little to no effect on our day-to-day lives.

3. How does this item make me feel? What emotions does it evoke?

Dig deep and be very honest with yourself.  It’s very likely that you may have a range of emotions tied to the object, but when you see it, what tends to surface most?

Do you feel sad every time you see it because it reminds you of somebody or some time in your life that you miss very deeply?

If the overwhelming sensation you get from a particular object is the feeling of loss, give yourself permission to let go.

Remember that you are not your stuff and your memories are not the objects in your life. If the things that you choose to surround yourself with do not allow you to find joy, have no purpose or do not serve you in a positive way, then they may no longer have a place in your life. And that is OK.

It is OK to let go. It doesn’t mean you’re trying to forget. It doesn’t mean that part of your life or person is any less important to you. It means you’re choosing to allow yourself to be a more active participant in your present life.

I think this is particularly true when we’re keeping something from a loved one who is no longer with us. We feel obligated to keep the object even though it is a reminder of great loss. And while you don’t want to forget about that person, letting go of that constant reminder of the loss is OK.

If the memory it sparks is more of a reminder of the loss than the person, let it go.  It isn’t serving you.

4. Do you currently have other items that represent the same person or period in your life?

I’ll give you an example. Before I started decluttering, I kept nearly all my kids’ clothes. From baby through toddlerhood, that was such a momentous and meaningful time in my life,  it made me sad to think about getting rid of it. I even tried to justify it by saying that they would serve as hand-me-downs (even though, particularly during the infant years, the sizes never aligned and I found myself reaching for the new stuff more than the old).

But I soon started running out of space to hold the bins, and seeing them didn’t make me feel good. In fact, the overwhelming feeling they evoked was stress, frustration and overwhelm at the idea of storing and sorting through them.

So when I was ready, I finally purged the vast majority of the baby clothes. I allowed myself to keep a few things — primarily the going home from the hospital outfits and a few blankets, but the rest were given away to family and friends, or donated. And it felt so freeing.

Now, I can go into each child’s sentimental bin, look through the items and enjoy the memories from these most special times. I had something the represented some of the most powerful moments of those baby days, I didn’t need to keep multiple things representing that same time in my life.

” If everything is special, nothing is special.”

And by drastically trimming down the number of things I allowed myself to keep, only the most special and meaningful are left.

If I had let myself continue to keep all of it, I would have continued to feel overwhelmed and stressed and not enjoyed the special memories. Because if everything is special, nothing is special. 

 

5. Does keeping this item from my past allow me to find joy in the present?

Again, do some deep digging and soul searching here.

Are you able to fully embrace the present stage of your life by surrounding yourself with this reminder of your past?

Only you can answer this question for yourself, and there is no right or wrong. But if keeping something from your past is preventing you from fully being able to find joy in your present life (because it evokes negative emotions: reminders of loss, guilt, stress or overwhelm) then give yourself permission to let it go.

Declutter sentimental items in waves

As a final tip, make sure you periodically evaluate your sentimental items. What may have seemed difficult, or even impossible to part with six months or a year ago, might now cause you to wonder why you felt compelled to keep it.

Again, the most important thing to remember when decluttering sentimental items is to find the balance that works best for you. There is no rule that says how many items you’re allowed to keep, nor is there any reason to feel judged for what is special, emotional or difficult for you to part with. Even if it doesn’t serve a purpose for you anymore. Give yourself some grace and permission to revisit a particularly hard choice a few months from now if you need it.

Now I’m curious, do you consider yourself a sentimental person, or are you less prone to have emotional attachments to physical objects? Why or why not?

Ready to start letting more things go? Don’t miss your free decluttering starter guide. Get it here: 

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How to downsize your laundry with capsule wardrobes for your kids http://totallythemom.com/2018/11/27/how-to-downsize-your-laundry-with-capsule-wardrobes-for-your-kids/ http://totallythemom.com/2018/11/27/how-to-downsize-your-laundry-with-capsule-wardrobes-for-your-kids/#respond Tue, 27 Nov 2018 11:28:02 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=924 How to downsize your laundry piles with capsule wardrobes for your kids This post contains affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link at no extra cost to you. If you’ve ever daydreamed about drawers and closets that easily close, your kiddo in an outfit […]

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Downsize your laundry piles with capsule wardrobes for your kids

How to downsize your laundry piles with capsule wardrobes for your kids

This post contains affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link at no extra cost to you.

If you’ve ever daydreamed about drawers and closets that easily close, your kiddo in an outfit that actually matches  (even if they’re picky and insist on picking out everything themselves), or not having laundry mountain taking up half your couch, you may want to consider creating a capsule wardrobe for your kids.

What is it?

A capsule wardrobe is simply a reduced collection of quality, coordinating clothing that can be mixed and matched to create a number of different outfits.

You may have seen a number of pins and blog posts about this eco- and wallet-friendly fashion trend for your own closet, but a capsule wardrobe can be a welcome improvement in a kid’s wardrobe too!

Why would you want to create a capsule wardrobe for your kids?       

I’m a huge believer in the “less is more” philosophy and a capsule wardrobe definitely fits the bill. It can:

  • Reduce laundry — When you create a capsule wardrobe, you’ll be reducing the number of individual clothing items to an amount that can easily live in a dresser or closet. Usually just a week (or a little more) worth of outfits, depending on preference.

To make more space in your closet and your life, grab your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms here:

 

  • Make selecting outfits quicker and easier — A key element of any capsule wardrobe is that the pieces you keep all coordinate in some way. The staples can be rotated with a few accents to create a large number of outfits, but the number of options is limited so kids won’t be stuck with too many choices (which is a form of decision fatigue). No more multi-outfit changes on a rushed school morning.

 

  • Outfits match — remember that part about elements that all coordinate? Yeah, that’s a big plus when it comes to empowering kids to dress themselves in outfits that don’t make their parents want to post a sign on their backs saying, “he picked this out!”

 

  • Less waste — When you commit to a capsule wardrobe for your kids, you’re committing to a smaller closet. You’ll be less tempted to buy something if it doesn’t fit within your pre-established parameters. That means no more crazy print leggings that only go with one top taking up space in Mary’s drawer.

 

  • Budget friendly — As in the example above, you’re not going to be buying all the things. Having a capsule wardrobe means you’ll be mindful of each piece you wish to add to the rotation, and if it doesn’t meet your parameters, you don’t buy it.

 

  • Helpful for kids with clothing sensory issues — Does your kiddo have extreme preferences when it comes to how clothes feel or fit? Maybe they will only wear cotton shirts without tags, or pants that don’t have buttons. A capsule wardrobe can be built around these preferences so that everything meets their needs and you don’t wind up with a scream fest because the only clean clothes are things they refuse to wear.

 

  • Less clutter — You knew that would be on the list. Right? 🙂 Paring down your kids’ lot of clothes means everything has a place, is organized and fits where it belongs. No more overflowing closets and drawers. At its core, a capsule wardrobe is just a trendy way to declutter their clothes and keep it that way.

How to create a capsule wardrobe for your kids:

1.       Get a current inventory

Take note of what your kids currently have. Do they have a lot of pants that don’t fit? Shirts that are stained? Things with holes?

You can start to weed out what you know isn’t working anymore and then see what you’ve got left to work with. This will give you an idea of where to start rebuilding their stash and what they DON’T need more of right now.

2.       Take note of what is worn most (and what isn’t)

In the days or weeks leading up to this project, pay attention to what your kids naturally seem to prefer. Notice the clothing style, colors and type. Also notice what usually winds up sitting in their drawers. These are items you don’t want to keep in their capsule wardrobe or use as inspiration to grow their collection.

3.       What needs do you have?

Think about your specific needs/wants. Does your child need or prefer a lot of active gear for sports practices, gym classes or daily wear? Do they often need to dress nicely for church and special occasions? What seasons do you have? Will your child layer, or would cardigans and hoodies just wind up on the floor five seconds after they put them on?

Jot down a few criteria to keep in mind to help you make the most functional choices.

4.       Create your master list of items for each child

How many of each item do they need? You may want to consider making this two columns with one reflecting the current number owned and one reflecting how many you think they will need. Plan for at least a week’s worth of the following items:

  1.      Shirts (long sleeves, t-shirts, button downs, sleeveless…etc.)
  2.      Pants (jeans, legging, dress pants, athletic pants)
  3.      Shorts
  4.      Dresses
  5.      Skirts
  6.      Sweaters/Sweatshirts/Layering
  7.      Socks
  8.      Underwear
  9.      Shoes
  10.      Pajamas

5.       Choose a color Palette for each kid

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This step isn’t totally essential, but I find it extremely helpful for ensuring that the items you keep in your child’s wardrobe coordinate and can be easily mixed and matched to create a large variety outfits.

Each kid will have their basic neutrals (jeans, black pants/leggings, khaki, whites and greys..etc). But their whole wardrobe doesn’t need to be neutral and colorless to make it all match. Choose three or even four coordinating accent colors that will be your target when building out their wardrobes.

Pay attention to what your kids naturally seem to gravitate toward and what they already seem to have a lot of in their drawers. For example, my son happens to love orange and green, so his color palette is orange, green and blue.

When sorting through his dresser, it was easier to decide what to keep and what to donate based on this color pallette. And since the colors work well together, it makes the majority of his wardrobe interchangeable.

Does he still have some items that aren’t within that pallette? Of course! He loves Pikachu and Mario and has a few shirts with those characters and their brand colors on them. But the majority of his clothes work the the blue, green, orange family.

Tip: When it’s time to shop to build out their wardrobe, I highly recommend starting with something like Primary. You can shop online by color making it super easy and convenient. Plus, I think they have some really bright, colorful, and adorable options. And none of it features logos or slogans, which I love! 🙂

This can be a gradual process. Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe right now. Work with what you’ve got and then when the items are outgrown or are ready to be replaced, you can rebuild with more of the coordinating color palette.

6.       Sort!

Now it’s time for the real (and rewarding) work to begin. Work with one child’s wardrobe at a time.

First, take everything out of the dressers and closets and sort it by type, (shirt, pants…etc.). From there, keeping all your criteria in mind (how many of each item do you think they’ll need, colors, activities, seasons…etc.), begin to sort into the following categories:

  • Keep: The best of the best. High quality, in good shape and fits within your already identified criteria
  • Donate (or Sell — re-sale thrift companies like ThredUp make this super easy — just make sure you know their criteria before you try to sell)
  • Trash/Recycle: Anything with holes or stains belongs here.
  • Sentimental/Hand-Me-Downs: Try to limit this to only a few of the best of the best that would serve another sibling or cousin or specific friend. Have a person in mind when you’re making your hand-me-down pile.

Tip: If you want to make a little money from this wardrobe clean-out, consider trying on online consignment shop like ThredUp. They send you a bag, you fill it with items you no longer need. Mail it back (for free) and get paid for whatever is sold. Plus it’s a fun way to get some seriously good discounts on clothing you may need to finish out that new capsule wardrobe. 🙂

7.       Start with what is left  and add on from there to complete the capsule wardrobe

Once you’re done sorting, take a quick inventory.

Fill in your current inventory totals on your list and compare to your ideal totals. This will allow you to quickly see where you might have some gaps that you need to fill (i.e. more pants or t-shirts…etc.). And it will make shopping and restocking that much more efficient.

You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy all new things right away – you can work with what you have and be selective in your future purchases so that they fit within your master inventory list.

Bonus Tips:

  • A great time to start this project is during a change of seasons as you’ll probably need to sort through closets and drawers anyway.
  • Let your kids have input if they’re old enough. They are probably great at letting you know when they don’t love something. I let my oldest help me this summer and was surprised to learn that some of the stuff in her drawers were things she would really only wear if there wasn’t anything else clean. Those were easy to pop into the donate pile. 🙂
  • Pay attention for a few weeks before you start and take note of what isn’t being loved. This will help you get an idea of any style, color and even material preferences your child may have.

For more downsizing and decluttering help, grab your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms here:

 

Now it’s your turn. Would you ever create a capsule wardrobe with your kids? Why or why not? Leave your answer in the comments below! 🙂

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10 common decluttering mistakes & how to overcome them http://totallythemom.com/2018/10/05/10-common-decluttering-mistakes-how-to-overcome-them/ http://totallythemom.com/2018/10/05/10-common-decluttering-mistakes-how-to-overcome-them/#comments Fri, 05 Oct 2018 07:00:22 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=910 Decluttering can be a beautiful thing. Life changing, in fact. And I’m guessing if you’re here, you’ve probably already seen or even felt some of the many benefits in your own life (less stress from your stuff, freedom to breath, shorter clean up…etc). But, full disclosure, decluttering can also be a source of overwhelm and […]

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close up of feminine arms holding a pile of blankets with text overlay: 10 common decluttering mistakes & how to overcome them

Decluttering can be a beautiful thing. Life changing, in fact. And I’m guessing if you’re here, you’ve probably already seen or even felt some of the many benefits in your own life (less stress from your stuff, freedom to breath, shorter clean up…etc).

But, full disclosure, decluttering can also be a source of overwhelm and frustration that could totally derail you from experiencing all of the benefits — or worse, cause you to give up all together. Especially if you unknowingly make these 10 common decluttering mistakes.

Here are 10 common decluttering mistakes that can throw you off track (and how to overcome them):

blond woman holding large box and smiling in front of a bright yellow background

Mistake Number One: Buying into the idea that this can be done overnight

I get it. In theory, this sounds great! But here’s why it’s a mistake.

 

First of all, the pure logistics of pulling off an entire house purge in a single weekend, aren’t exactly a reality for busy moms like you and me with things to do and a family to run.

 

But more importantly, this clutter in your life didn’t just get dumped on you in one weekend. It’s not like you opened the door to your home one day and it all just buried you like a cartoon closet.

 

via GIPHY

 

This build up took place over time — likely years. It’s the result of habits and systems that either aren’t working for you or are clutter-friendly.

 

It takes a little (not years, but longer than a weekend) time to establish the new mindset, habits and routines that will make this a lasting change in your life and not just a weekend project you’ll be forced to repeat time after time.

 

This is as much about your mindset as it is the actual stuff, and if you don’t deal with that — if you don’t tackle the reasons for the clutter in the first place, you’re only putting a bandaid on the issue by removing the clutter. You’re not curing the cause.

 

Instead

  • Prepare for a marathon and remember this is a journey. All of this didn’t enter your life in a weekend, and it’s going to take longer than a weekend to filter out the unimportant stuff.
  • Have realistic expectations and don’t overlook your small wins. Set small milestones along the path of your larger journey, and celebrate each victory along the way.
  • Yes, the long-term project will take you more than one weekend to complete, but the good news is that you don’t need a whole weekend to get started. Every little bit counts. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 90 minutes — it all adds up to big changes for you (check out this post for 25 quick decluttering projects you can do right now). You may not be able to easily find an entire weekend to dedicate to just decluttering, but I’m positive you can find 15 minutes a day. You can totally do this!

 

Decluttering Mistake Number Two: Biting off more than you can chew

There is a reason you haven’t tackled this yet. These big, daunting spaces that get you daydreaming about striking a match and running are scary. They are overwhelming. And many times, so big or full that you don’t even know where to start — so, you don’t.  

 

And when you finally reach that tipping point and are ready to dive head first into decluttering, it’s sooo tempting to start by taking on this beast of a space.

 

Don’t.

 

Remember those benefits of decluttering I mentioned earlier?

 

You’re not going to feel the big impact of those changes immediately if you start with a big space like this. And that can be pretty demotivating.

 

After a few sessions, you may find yourself wondering if all the effort is worth it when you’re not experiencing the immediate results.

 

Instead

  • Start with a high impact space that will give you some easy wins (think your bathroom or kitchen counters). Strengthen that decluttering muscle first before you do the heavy lifting.
  • Break these big spaces down into smaller zones and declutter one small zone at a time. Think in terms of a drawer, a shelf, a bin or one small quadrant or section of a room.

 

This is a strategy I included in my free decluttering starter guide for busy moms, Disaster Zone to Peaceful Home — download yours for more great tips:

brown bags filled with assorted black boxes sitting outside on grey deck

Three: Focusing on the wrong thing

You’ve probably seen hundreds of pins and blog posts advertising free trackers to count the number, percentage or pound of items you’ve decluttered.

 

Does this sound familiar?

 

“I decluttered 1.5 million things from my home in the past 10 days – download this free tracker and start counting every particle you part with today!”

 

Don’t get me wrong, I think anything that encourages people to start decluttering and embracing the freedom of less, is truly awesome! But that being said…

 

Putting the focus on what you get rid of is entirely the opposite of what this is about.

 

This isn’t about what you remove from your life. It’s about what you choose to keep in it.

 

And that is something that is going to look different for everyone in every home.

 

You shouldn’t ever feel forced to part ways with something in the name of minimalism if it serves you.

 

It’s not getting rid of 98% of your belongings, going down to bare walls and questioning whether or not you need a lamp in your living room when you’ve got sun.

 

It’s about purpose and value.

 

There is no ideal number of boxes or items, no percentage or pound. Because it’s not about what is going out.

 

Are they worth celebrating? Absolutely! Do your happy dance every time you say “Sayonara” to all that unnecessary stuff — but that’s just the start of your celebration.

 

The entire goal is to keep your life full of the things that have a purpose and bring you value, and unburden yourself from the rest.

Instead

  • Worry less about numbers and focus on the value the things you keep bring to your life. Don’t make it about what you’re giving up. Make it about what you’re gaining.

 

Decluttering Mistake Number Four: Not Having a Defined Purpose for Your Space

One reader reached out to me recently asking me about tips for junk drawers. She had quite a few and was struggling to deal with them. She would try to declutter them, but would find herself giving up when she got tired to trying to decide what should stay and what should go.

 

This is such a common struggle! I can’t even you how many times I hear similar stories.

 

But take heart, there is a common underlying cause and when you recognize it, decluttering decisions get a lot easier to make.

 

It’s all about purpose.

 

These junk drawers in this particular example didn’t have a clearly defined purpose. When that happens, it makes sorting and decisions difficult because you don’t have a clear idea of how you will utilize the space. It becomes a catch-all for those items you think you might need, but also don’t have a specific purpose.

 

Instead

  • Be very intentional about how you will use each space.
  • Give a room or space a singular purpose whenever possible.
  • This helps set boundaries to keep collections from taking over and makes it easier to decide what belongs and what doesn’t.

 

Five: not aligning your zone with your time

If you only have 15 minutes, you probably are not going to be able to tackle your entire closet in one sitting.

 

But if you can find an hour or two, you probably could complete a closet or larger zone.

 

It is key to make sure the size of the zone you are decluttering aligns with the amount of time you have available to work. Otherwise you will wind up with a bigger mess than when you started.

 

Instead

  • Break big spaces into zones and make sure those zones align with the amount of time you have available to work
  • Got 15 minutes, do just one drawer. An hour, choose a row or two of shelves on your closet, or a shelf in your play room.

Decluttering Mistake Number Six: Organizing

Say what? Isn’t that the point? Sort of, but not quite.

 

Stuffing all of your things into pretty bins doesn’t solve the problem. Especially if you have no method to manage what is inside.

 

It just becomes dressed up clutter. Or worse, gets dumped, mixed because it’s not working for you, and then even more clutter to deal with.

 

Keep in mind, bins and baskets themselves can easily become clutter if they don’t serve a specific purpose on your life.

 

Instead

  • Declutter first, then organize based on what you have decided to keep and what the space allows.

 

Seven: Not having a clear purpose or goal (not knowing your why)

You know you need to deal with clutter. You may feel like you’re drowning in stuff. But aside from straightening things up and organizing, do you know why you are going to put in all this work?

 

If you take the time to dig deep and really define your purpose, your big motivation for why you want to declutter and embrace the freedom of less, it can be a huge carrot to help you power through moments when you are tempted to give up.

Instead

Think of decluttering like a big health kick. When you start changing your diet and incorporating healthy foods, working out regularly and making changes that support good health, you feel good. You make your resolution and you stick to it…for a while…

 

But eventually, it gets hard. You will face challenges and you will be tempted to give up.

 

The one thing that can be the difference between those who give up and those who hang in it for the long haul, smash their goals and transform their lives, is knowing the driving purpose behind why this hard work is worth it.

 

The same is true for decluttering and minimizing on every level.

 

Dig deep and know your big why before you start. Then you can rely on that to pull you through those times when giving up seems like the easiest choice.

 

Eight: not having an exit plan

Don’t start decluttering without a specific plan for what you’re going to do with your clutter when you’re done.

 

If you start your project with the idea that eventually, at some point, you’ll you’ll donate your stuff somewhere (when you find the time to get around to it), that time might not come soon enough.

 

Your kids might start pulling things back out of the boxes. You may find yourself tripping over it, moving the stash from place to place within your home where it is out of the way for a moment until you find the time to figure out where to take it.

 

When this happens, you have only moved clutter. Not DEcluttered.

 

Instead

  • Have a pick up or drop off scheduled and ready.
  • Do your research to identify what they will take, what they won’t, hours and any restrictions or special policies.

 

Nine: thinking you can’t do it alone

Let me be clear, in no way am I advocating that you should take this entire job on your shoulders without accepting any help.

 

What I am saying is that even if your spouse or family are not on board with your decluttering mission, you can still accomplish some pretty big changes, even if you only focus on  your own areas for now.

 

You don’t need to wait for everyone to be on the bandwagon before you get started.

 

Instead:

  • Continue to have frequent, open conversations with your family about why this is so important to you.
  • Don’t let their misunderstanding deter you from your goals.
  • Set the example for your family. Once they start to see and feel the effects of all of your hard work, they may just change their tune.
  • Set some boundaries and make compromises.  For example, one reader wanted to declutter her family’s home office, but her husband wasn’t convinced it was worth the time to sort through all the papers and files in the space, and wasn’t interested in trying any new strategies to deal with his habits that contributed to the buildup. They agreed that she could declutter her stuff in the office and make it look nice and functional. Any papers of his left lying around were to be placed on his desk for him to deal with whenever he felt ready.

 

Decluttering Mistake Number Ten: Not Working In New Habits & Routines

This is a lifestyle change. In order to make it a permanent change, you need to recognize and change some of your old habits that are contributing to the clutter in the first place. And be willing to work at them for a while until you find the balance that works for you.

Instead

  • Have a nightly pick up routine.
  • Establish some clutter busting ground rules, like “one in, one out,” or not allowing a specific area like your countertops to have anything left on them that doesn’t belong. 
  • Plan for routine maintenance decluttering each season.

 

These decluttering mistakes are common, but also easy to fix. By being aware of them, you’re already a step ahead in the game.

 

I go over all of this and more in my complete decluttering guide for busy moms, coming soon! Join the VIP list for your opportunity to snag a sweet discount, before it’s launched to anyone else. And check out a chapter for FREE!

 

 

Have you made any of these common decluttering mistakes? What others do you see standing between you and clutter-free?

10 common decluttering mistakes that can totally derail you

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7 Free Tech Tools to Help You Simplify Your Mom Life http://totallythemom.com/2018/09/19/7-free-tech-tools-to-help-you-simplify-your-mom-life/ http://totallythemom.com/2018/09/19/7-free-tech-tools-to-help-you-simplify-your-mom-life/#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2018 17:08:03 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=888 7 Free Tech Tools to Help You Simplify Your Mom Life   We’re moms, we’re busy, we don’t have time to mess around with all the latest apps and gadgets proclaiming to make things easier. But when it comes to managing clutter, your family calendar and your agenda, there are a few tech tools that […]

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7 Free tech tools to simplify your mom life; text over background image of mom using an app on cell phone

7 Free Tech Tools to Help You Simplify Your Mom Life

 

We’re moms, we’re busy, we don’t have time to mess around with all the latest apps and gadgets proclaiming to make things easier. But when it comes to managing clutter, your family calendar and your agenda, there are a few tech tools that are well worth your time. And – they’re free!

Without further ado, I present you with 7 free tech tools to help you simplify your mom life:

Note: I’m NOT affiliated with any of these three free tools. I just use them, love them and thought you might too. 🙂

 

Tools for keeping clutter in check

Keepy

I’ve only recently started using this free app, but let me just tell you how much I love it! Keepy allows you to snap a photo of your child’s artwork or school work, organizes the files by child and age/grade, and then lets you share privately with whomever you want – hello proud grandparents! They don’t even need to have a Keepy account.

One of the coolest features is that along with each photo, you have the option to include fun details, like where the project was made/what you were doing and a little audio or video clip of your child describing it.  So while you’re keeping kid clutter in check, you’re also creating a digital scrapbook of fun memories in the matter of a few minutes. Win!

Cell phone camera

I almost didn’t include this one because it’s almost too easy. Similar to Keepy, I like to use my phone to snap a picture of important notes from school that require me to do something or include details I need to keep track of. It’s so much quicker and easier than filing/keeping track a piece of paper.

Whenever my kids bring home a note I want to remember – like the details of a field trip, family event or even a school project/homework assignment – I snap a photo of the note and recycle the original.

I can pull up the photo whenever I need it and delete it when I’m done. This helps reduce paper clutter and keeps me from forgetting an important detail.

Speaking of clutter, get a jump on dealing with yours with the only decluttering starter guide created for busy moms with no time (for hot mess moms by a former hot mess mom – I get you!) 🙂

Simplify Your Life & Calendars

Trello

If you’re like me and have a special place in your heart for all things planning/check lists, then you owe it to yourself to check out Trello. Think of Trello as an all-in-one digital planner. It’s powerful, and all the features it offers make it a great tool to simplify your life and keep you on your top mom game.

You can create boards for a project – say, planning a family vacation, a home renovation or hey, maybe even a big decluttering project (*wink-wink), and then break those big goals (aka “boards” in Trello speak) down into smaller, manageable tasks (these are called “cards”).

Within each card you can include a checklist of things to do, set deadlines, move tasks between card (like To Do, In Progress, Done), add/save links and important details related to the task (for example the link to a quote from a plumber and all of their contact information for your bathroom reno). You can even add/manage your calendar. You can also collaborate with others and share entire boards or individual cards.

You should know that there are paid upgrade options for Trello, but I’ve been using the free version only for about six months now and it meets every one of my needs – and there are no ads.

 

Google Calendar

Even if you’re like me and prefer a physical paper calendar or planner, this app still serves a powerful purpose in  keeping things simple and convenient. Sharing.

It’s so much easier to coordinate schedules with your significant other when you utilize a tool that instantly updates every time you use it. If you share your calendar, then whenever you add an appointment to your calendar, it also shows on theirs.

If you don’t want to share the entire calendar, or you want to draw particular attention to something (i.e. Mom’s Night Out so Dad better plan to be home with the kids), you can send an invite for a particular appointment. Accepted events are automatically added (with all detail) to the calendar.

This is also an extremely helpful tool if any of your kiddo’s activities also use/share their calendar of events. No more scrambling to get Jimmy to that special Cub Scouting event taking place on a Saturday – you knew it was coming because it was already on your calendar when you allowed the Pack leader to share the Scout calendar with you.

Side note: accepting a shared calendar does not automatically mean your personal calendar is shared with everyone too. You control what/how much anyone sees of your own personal calendar and the default is private.

0ut of Milk

Meal planning gets so much easier with this little free app. I use it to create and manage our grocery lists but there are a few unique features that make this way better than the crumpled up pieces of paper I used to use.

First, it’s on your phone, which is almost always with you, so no more forgetting the list (#DoneThatWayTooManyTimes). Any time you realize you’re running low or are out of something, you can quickly open up the app and add it to your shopping list. You can type it in, or just scan the barcode on the packaging and it will automatically be added to your list.

Now, if you’re super organized, I’ve heard some people use this feature to create a living inventory of their pantry (I’m not there yet, but #listgoals.)

When you’re shopping, you check the box next to what the item and instead of just crossing it off, it moves it to a cart list. I think this is pretty handy because inevitably there are a few things I just can’t find or simply couldn’t get to because my kids have reached meltdown mode. Now, I can use the app to share the remaining list with my husband and he can pick up those stragglers on his way home.

With the shared list feature, you can both add things to your shopping lists too so if he remembers he needs shaving cream, he can just open up the app and add it to our shared list without having to remember to tell me or me having to remember to add it. 🙂

Tools for Managing Your Routines

Canva

As a blogger, I use Canva for a multitude of tasks, but as a mom, it certainly has its place too. Canva is a free graphic design website you can use for just about any design task. It’s like a simpler version of InDesign or Photoshop.

Once you create a free account, you can access tons of beautiful, customizable templates. I love to create printouts of our daily routines in Canva. They’re cute and since you add in exactly the steps you need, fully custom to you.

You can also use it to design birthday party invites, thank you cards, birth announcements, party themed labels – the possibilities are endless.

Your designs are automatically saved in Canva’s cloud so you don’t need to worry about hogging a bunch of space on your computer. Just download once when you’re done or share directly from Canva to your email or printer.

Like Trello, there is also a paid version of Canva, but I’ve been exclusively using the free version for over a year now, even for blogging, without a need to upgrade.

PodBean

When I have to do something I don’t enjoy – like washing dishes, or pretty much any type of house cleaning – a good podcast is just the motivation I need to get through it without so much dread.

If you’re an Android user, PodBean is a free app you can use to access all the great ones. Pick your podcast, pop in your earbuds and get to work!

 

Psst…For more ways to simplify, don’t forget to grab your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms here!

And there you have it! These free tools are like having your own personal assistant, planner and project manager in your pocket.

What’s your favorite tool or app that helps you simplify your mom life? Leave a comment and let me know.  I’m always on the lookout for a great tool! 🙂

 

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8 best tips for decluttering without getting overwhelmed http://totallythemom.com/2018/05/30/8-best-tips-for-decluttering-without-getting-overwhelmed/ http://totallythemom.com/2018/05/30/8-best-tips-for-decluttering-without-getting-overwhelmed/#comments Wed, 30 May 2018 11:01:20 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=799 Confession time: There’s a place in my house that I need to declutter. And every time I walk into it, I think about how badly it needs to be done and how nice it would feel. But whenever I contemplate working on it, I also find myself fearing that I’ll end up not completing the […]

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Confession time: There’s a place in my house that I need to declutter. And every time I walk into it, I think about how badly it needs to be done and how nice it would feel. But whenever I contemplate working on it, I also find myself fearing that I’ll end up not completing the project, making a bigger mess, and  instead come up with 10 other things I need to do that aren’t that job and that space gets ignored for another day.

Sound familiar?

It’s called procrastinating.

According to this article in Psychology Today, and this one from mnmlst.com, clutter is really just a visual result of procrastinating.

If you’re anything like me, one of the biggest causes for procrastinating is feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes it seems easier to avoid taking on a large task (even subconsciously) when the very thought of it has you overwhelmed. But the reality is that avoiding (i.e. procrastinating) only makes more work for you in the long run. It’s a vicious cycle.

So, how do we break the cycle, conquer the procrastination and take on that daunting decluttering project without getting overwhelmed (or making a bigger mess in the process)?

How to declutter without getting overwhelmed: 8 Best Tips

1. Plan

A little planning goes a long way. Set aside some time to dedicate to this project. Set it as an appointment in your calendar and show up. Pick times when you can realistically get things done (nap time, after the kids are in bed, a couple of hours on a Saturday) or arrange child care (friend, grandma, sitter…etc). If you dive in without taking a bit of time to prepare, you’re probably going to be dealing with a ton of distractions and interruptions, and will be more likely to get frustrated, discouraged and give up.

Make sure you have the tools you need before you start

Gather up some boxes and bags (I like to put the items I’m donating into boxes so they don’t get mixed up with trash). Plan what you’re going to do with the stuff you’re not keeping and be ready to get it there, pronto! Small trips to the donation center, a pick up, donation bins, a local church, shelter or nonprofit organization…there are endless options. Make sure you know what they’re actually accepting and have a plan to get your stuff there as soon as it’s ready.

 

Shameless plug: I go over a lot of this in my FREE Totally Simplified mini email course. Jump in if you’re ready to get started with the right tools and strategies to fit your life as a busy mom. You’ve got nothing to lose (except clutter and chaos) and a lot to gain!

 

 

2. Delegate and decide on your strategy.

Managing expectations before you get started is key to decluttering without getting overwhelmed. Are your kids old enough to help? If they are, do you want their input? There is no right or wrong answer, but it’s a good idea to decide how you want to forge ahead now so you don’t get stuck (and held back) on this later. I outline the best options for dealing with kid clutter without the guilt in this post if you need some guidance.

Talk to your partner. Is this game on for everyone, or are you a one-woman show?

One of the best ways you can declutter without getting overwhelmed is to have a clear picture of each person’s role before you begin. Is this a project you could both chip away at? If so, come up with a plan together so that you can get it done faster.

Even if the rest of your house isn’t on board with you (yet – because once they see and understand the benefits of this they will get there…eventually), you can still pare down a lot so don’t let that stop you. It’s completely fine to take this on independently, just be sure to have the conversation ahead of time so that you aren’t expecting more than your significant other is willing to give. Maybe your plan is to have a designated space where things requiring feedback from your spouse will go. Maybe they don’t want to be involved at all and are willing to entrust all the decision making to you. Maybe they aren’t ready to let go of anything right now (again, that is ok – you can just focus on your own items or family items that don’t require a decision from your spouse for now – remember, progress over perfection).

And be aware of other ways you can delegate – Can your spouse take over all kid/home responsibilities as you work on this? Can your kids help by picking up their toys or keeping their rooms clean so  you have space to work?

Most importantly, be sure to get on the same page with your spouse and family in terms of managing your expectations of one another for this project. When you know the plan ahead of time, you’re less likely to be held up by a disagreement or misunderstanding later.

 

3. If you really want to declutter without getting overwhelmed, easy does it

Don’t start with the biggest, hardest, mess, especially if you haven’t been working on decluttering for very long. This is something that gets easier as you go along. Give yourself some small wins first. Consider starting with something that you’re not emotionally tied to – like under your bathroom sink, or, pretty much anything in your bathroom. Once things get rolling and you get some momentum going, it gets easier and easier to keep forging ahead and work through the tougher decisions.

 

Related: 25 Things You Can Declutter Quickly (in five minutes or less)

25 Quick Decluttering Wins for Busy Moms; declutter quickly, declutter, minimalism for moms #declutterquickly #declutter #minimalismformoms

 

4. Start Small

Yes, the idea of a totally clutter-free, organized, bright happy home may have you squealing in delight like a kid who just found out they’re going to Disney World, but, Woah Sparky, hold on. When you really think about how you’re going to get from where you are now to where you want to be, that goal can start to feel beyond reach. It’s not! You can totally get there, you just need to set your sights on some smaller goals on your path to your ultimate goal.

Start with one room, or even just one part of a room. For example, when working in our basement, I divided it into quadrants. I went shelf by shelf in each quadrant. If I had gone down there with the goal of purging the entire basement (which has served as our storage unit/dumping grounds for as long as we’ve owned a house), I would have been too overwhelmed to start (which is exactly why it hasn’t been done before).

Additionally, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you have 20 minutes to work on this project, don’t start dumping shelves or an entire dresser-worth of things to sort through. You’re not going to be able to get through all of it in 20 minutes (unless you’re a really quick decision-maker, but let’s be honest, a lot of clutter is due to avoiding decisions). That’s how it turns into an even bigger mess that you make excuses to avoid the next time you’re supposed to be working on it. Take it shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer or section by section. This is how you’re going to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

 

5. Give yourself enough time to declutter (without getting overwhelmed)

Once you’ve been working on it for a little while, if you can swing it, give yourself a weekend or a day to really get to work. Send the kids away or make arrangements with your spouse to be hands off for a day or weekend and focus all of your time and energy on knocking out this project. Start the night before as soon as the kids are in bed. Get up early and work, work, work. Allow someone else to worry about snacks, dinner, and all the other things that you typically would handle. Stay focused on your project. This is your marathon.

Related: How to declutter when you have no time

How to Declutter When You Have No Time

6. Schedule a pick up or drop your donations to your desired donation center ASAP.

The longer they sit in your home, the more likely they are to become clutter again. Don’t let any of this hard work go to waste.

 

7. Rinse and Repeat.

Odds are, you’re not going to feel done with this project in just one weekend. Unless you’re focusing on just one room, you’re probably going to need to go through this process a few times before you feel like you’ve purged to a point of satisfaction. Go in waves. Work through this once, see how things feel. Then next month do it again.

 

8. There are no rules.

Don’t pressure yourself to declutter a certain number of items or feel like you need to limit yourself to meet other people’s standards. It’s great that Sally has purged her kids’ toys down to just one toy box, but that may not be realistic for you and your family. Spoiler alert: It’s not for mine, and I’m ok with that. This is about what works in your life. Sometimes we get so caught up with trying to reach unrealistic expectations of ourselves that we forget why we even started it the first place. What the end result looks like in your home may not be what it looks like for someone else. That’s totally ok. In fact, that’s what we want. This is about your life. Not someone else. You do you!

Do you find yourself procrastinating on a decluttering project because the idea of where to begin has you overwhelmed? Share your experience or ideas in the comments below!

If you’re ready to clear the clutter and chaos in your life, get my free mini course, Totally Simplified. This 7 day email course will give you the tools and tips you need to get started decluttering any space in your home. Even if you’re a busy mom with no time! Plus, you’ll get access to our private Facebook group where we share our wins, struggles and find some accountability to get this job done! I hope to see you on the inside!

 

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How to declutter toys without the guilt http://totallythemom.com/2018/04/23/how-to-declutter-toys-without-the-guilt/ http://totallythemom.com/2018/04/23/how-to-declutter-toys-without-the-guilt/#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2018 07:00:19 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=778 We’ve all been there…You know your kids have way too much stuff. Their toys are oozing from every closet, shelf and toy bin and they can wreck a room in seconds flat. But as soon as you start trying to declutter the toys, you also wind up feeling little pangs of guilt. Or worse, everything […]

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how to declutter toys without feeling guilty; declutter toys without guilt, decluttering tips #decluttertoyswithoutguilt #declutteringtipsWe’ve all been there…You know your kids have way too much stuff. Their toys are oozing from every closet, shelf and toy bin and they can wreck a room in seconds flat. But as soon as you start trying to declutter the toys, you also wind up feeling little pangs of guilt. Or worse, everything you try to get rid of is suddenly a beloved favorite.

What’s a so-over-the-mess mama to do?

When it comes to decluttering toys, there seem to be two schools of thought. The first is the ninja style sneak-it-out-and-hope-they-don’t-notice approach. The second is the try-to-get-your-kids-to-help-make-choices-and-hope-they-don’t-want-to-keep-all-the-stuff camp. Both can work, but both, if not executed properly, can lead to guilt or less than stellar results.

Psst…Grab your free decluttering starter guide to learn strategies like this that you can apply to any space in your home – even if you’re a busy mom with no time

How to declutter toys without the guilt 

 

Overall, it really comes down to the age and maturity level of your children, as well as their own personalities.

For my younger two, who are 4-years and not-quite-two, I obviously am not expecting them to understand, or frankly notice, much of the process, so I have definitely taken the ninja approach with their things. But my older two, who are 7 and 9 are much different. They notice more and have actually wanted to be involved to some extent. I want to make them feel like their opinions and feelings are valid, so I’ve tried to include them more in the process as we have been decluttering our home, but it has not come without challenges.

 

Option 1: Declutter Toys WITH Your Kids 

 

My oldest, especially, is very creative and can come up with a use or a reason to keep just about anything. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that she has fought to keep a used paper cup and candy wrappers because she might want to use them in a craft project! But, we have also been talking about this and working through decluttering in general for over a year now, and I have to say that I’ve been very encouraged by the growth and development I’ve seen from her.

We’ve come up with a process that seems to work for now in our house. This includes designated play areas, implementing regular clean-up times, allowing them to make some choices (and respecting those decisions), and leading by example.

You can read more about it in this post, and I’ve also come up with a set of questions that I put together to create a decluttering cheat sheet/flowchart for you to use to help guide your kids through the decluttering process. You can grab that here.

 

Uh…I’m not really feeling the love of working with my kids on this one… 

But, what if you’re not really in the right time or place in your life right now to slowly work (read this for some quick wins) with your kids to declutter (because, let’s face it, sometimes it can feel like a sloth could do this faster than your kids when you’re making them do something they don’t really want to do)?

via GIPHY

 

I feel you there, and in case you were feeling bad, it doesn’t make you a selfish meanie. Kids need boundaries and it’s part of our job as parents to set those, so don’t feel bad about limiting the number of toys you own. Ultimately, it’s for their own good.

 

Why Decluttering Toys is Important for your kids 

It turns out that clutter has a negative effect on children of all ages and contributes to attention and focus issues, behavioral problems and is an overall contributor to stress and anxiety. Research backs this up.

  • In 2011 The Journal of Neuroscience published an article on the effects of visual overstimulation (too many things in a child’s field of view, aka clutter) and attention. What they found was that attention and focus decreased as “competitive interactions,” aka visual stimuli, aka clutter in the context of your home, increased.
  • Another study, published in 2006 in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, confirmed the link between household chaos and behavior problems in children – and further reported that home conditions had a greater influence than even parenting, on a child’s behavior. The chaos also was connected to more negative parenting.
  • And this article from Psychology Today explains how clutter is a stressor in the home. The reasons include overstimulation, an environment that is difficult to relax in, how clutter impedes the brain’s ability to problem solve, and general frustration stemming from not being able to find something when you need it.

I like to think of it like this – your kids probably love candy, cake and ice cream, but you still set limits about how much they are allowed to consume at one time (or have at all). When it comes to toys, it’s kind of the same thing. The saying, “too much of a good thing” definitely applies.

The good news is that you can still reduce chaos in your home and declutter toys without feeling guilty or inadvertently getting rid of a favorite thing…

Enter Option 2: (My Personal Favorite) Declutter Toys Without the Guilt with The Expiration Box. 

This option is sort of a hybrid of working with your kids to narrow down their choices and ninja-style sneaking it out and hoping they don’t notice. What I love about it is that you get things going by narrowing their choices for them, but they still have the option to keep a toy if they really love/use it.

Here’s how it works:

Pick a day and time when your kids are NOT with you. This is an important part of the deal. Maybe they are at school, maybe they’re hanging out at Grandma’s…anything as long as it gives you the time you need to sort through their stuff and decide what they actually need and play with.

You can do this in stages. And in fact, it might go over better if you do this a couple of times over the course of a few months, rather than all at once.

Get rid of anything that is broken – automatically you know you can’t keep that and you have a good, guiltless reason to part ways with the toy.

As you sort through the rest, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have they outgrown this?
  2. Do they play with it often?
  3. Do they ever ask for it?
  4. Do I want them to have this?

Pack anything else you think you want to donate into a box (or boxes).

Label them with an expiration date that is a month or three (max) from the date you packed them.  Stash these boxes out of sight. In your garage, the basement, even in your closet. Anywhere the kids aren’t going to be looking at them all of the time and start pulling out toys just because they are there.

If your kids ask to play with a toy that is in one of the boxes, remove it and put it back into play. When the expiration date hits, run that box to the donation center with the confidence that your kids probably aren’t missing anything inside of it.

And then do a little happy dance as you part ways and think of all the other children who will love and enjoy whatever is in that box that is no longer cluttering your home!

via GIPHY

Feels good, right?

Wanna know what else feels good? Keeping the momentum going! If you’re ready to clear the clutter and chaos in your life, download your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms. It will give you the tools and tips you need to get started decluttering any space in your home. Even if you’re a busy mom with no time! Plus, you’ll get access to our private Facebook group where we share our wins, struggles and find some accountability to get this job done! I hope to see you on the inside!

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25 Things You Can Declutter Quickly (in 5 minutes or less) http://totallythemom.com/2018/04/16/25-things-you-can-declutter-quickly-in-5-minutes-or-less/ http://totallythemom.com/2018/04/16/25-things-you-can-declutter-quickly-in-5-minutes-or-less/#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2018 07:00:10 +0000 http://totallythemom.com/?p=769 As moms, we all could use a quick win now and then. And while decluttering your life is more of a marathon than a sprint, it doesn’t mean you have to spend hours, days or even weeks sorting through stuff and getting rid of things. Most days, that’s not real. You’ve got better ways to […]

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25 Quick Decluttering Wins for Busy Moms; declutter quickly, declutter, minimalism for moms #declutterquickly #declutter #minimalismformoms

As moms, we all could use a quick win now and then. And while decluttering your life is more of a marathon than a sprint, it doesn’t mean you have to spend hours, days or even weeks sorting through stuff and getting rid of things. Most days, that’s not real. You’ve got better ways to spend your time. You’re busy, your kids need 1,000 things and you don’t have much time. The good news is, you don’t need a ton of time to work on a little decluttering. Every little bit adds up. Give yourself five minutes and try these projects you can quickly declutter and give yourself another tally mark in the W column today. 🙂

(And if you’re ready to learn the process you can apply to decluttering any space in your home — even if you’re a busy mom with no time — join my email list community and grab your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms! 🙂 )

25 Things You Can Declutter Quickly (in 5 Minutes or Less)

Quickly Declutter the Stuff You Tote

You already have your hands full (as every passerby over the age of 50 likes to comment to you whenever you head out in public with more than one of your kids). You don’t need to lug around anything more than the essentials. Lose some of that weight by quickly decluttering any of these. I can’t promise you won’t have to deal with a meltdown during your next shopping trip, but at least you’ll be able to easily grab your wallet when you need it. Small victories.

  1. Declutter your purse
  2. Declutter your diaper bag
  3. Your coat pockets (come on, you know you’ve got at least one receipt crumpled up in there)
  4. Your car (if it’s really cluttered, pick one section like the glove box or trunk)

Quick Wins for the Bathroom

This is the place where you get clean and refreshed (and, ok, also maybe sometimes hide from everyone for a minute or two. Maybe). But it’s hard to feel very clean and refreshed when it’s full of clutter. You may come here to use the toilet but you don’t need to feel like you’re IN one. Pick one of these projects to quickly declutter the next time you’re in there for a few:

  1. Your makeup kit
  2. Under the bathroom sink
  3. Your shower
  4. Your medicine cabinet

**I bet you can find at least one expired product to throw out in all of the above**

Master Bedroom Projects You Can Declutter Quickly

A few minutes. That’s all you need to get to a point where you can easily grab your favorite under garments and a matching pair of socks that don’t have holes (because that’s all you’ll have in there when you’re done). Quickly declutter these in less than five minutes:

  1. Your sock drawer
  2. Your underwear/bras

Kid Stuff Quick Wins

Hey, I hear you. Your kids have a TON of stuff! But no one said you have to declutter ALL of it in one long bummer of a weekend. You’ve got better ways to spend a Saturday. Get the ball rolling with these small, quick decluttering projects you can tackle in just five minutes (and for more on tips on decluttering kid stuff, click here):

  1. Your kids’ sock drawers
  2. Your kiddos’ undies
  3. One bin of toys (odds are there are at least one or two broken or outgrown items hanging out there)
  4. Art supplies (one container if you have a lot)

Quickly Declutter Your Kitchen

If you’re like me, you feel like you’re in here all the time anyway. The next time you’re waiting for that water to boil or dinner to finish cooking so you can nag your kids to not eat it, spend five minutes decluttering:

  1. The kitchen utensil drawer/canister
  2. Expired food from your pantry
  3. Expired food from your fridge
  4. Your spices
  5. Coffee mugs
  6. A junk drawer

(And for a round-up of some awesome organizing ideas for your kitchen, check out these tips from Of Life & Lisa — you’ll be inspired to finish decluttering so you can apply some of these bad boys and love your kitchen!)

Quick Paperwork Purge

Funny, when I was a kid, I used to get so excited to get the mail and see what kind of surprises might be in it. Now, I often daydream about how much less junk we’d have to sort through if the Post Office could just cut out the middle man and deliver most of our mail straight to the recycling center. I mean, in the age of email, why do we still get so many flyers? Save the trees, people! But, I digress. Odds are you’ve got a pile or two screaming for attention (because it never ends!). Give five minutes of your time to quickly declutter:

  1. Coupons
  2. A pile of paperwork

Miscellaneous/Anywhere in Your Home You Can Declutter Quickly

Seriously, in almost any room, you can find something to declutter quickly once you make it a habit. Here are a few more ideas to get you rolling:

  1. Your laundry room – old stain sticks, used dryer sheets and laundry products you don’t love – Bye-bye!
  2. The surface of your dresser, bed side table, coffee table or countertop
  3. Your phone — all those annoying apps you never really use? Delete.

Will completing these small jobs change your life? Probably not, at least not individually. But will they give you some much need momentum – You bet! And combine a few, and you better believe you will see and feel a difference. Remember, this is a process. All of this stuff didn’t come into your home in a day. You’re not going to declutter it and keep it that way in a day either. But getting into the practice of finding opportunities for a quick purge will add up to a big difference pretty quickly.

If you’re ready to take the next step and get to work decluttering your home, you’re going to want to join my email newsletter community for weekly tips, tools and inspiration. When you do, you’ll get my decluttering starter guide for busy moms — Disaster Zone to Peaceful Home — for FREE.  In it you’ll find:

  • A proven, simple, 7-step decluttering process you can apply to any space in your home or life
  • How to get started, even if you have very little time
  • Clutter busting habits that will help you keep your home clutter-free on autopilot (even with kids!)

Plus, you’ll get access to our private Facebook group where we share our wins, struggles and find some accountability to get this job done! I’ll see you on the inside!

Keep you sanity, cut the crap! 25 10-Minute Decluttering Projects (plus a free starter guide)

The post 25 Things You Can Declutter Quickly (in 5 minutes or less) appeared first on Totally the Mom.

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