Lots of times for folks, the hardest part is knowing how to get started. When faced with a play space overflowing with baskets of tiny toys, it absolutely can feel insanely overwhelming, although I will admit these kinds of scenes also make me super excited to see – haha. But in saying this I still have piles of crap in my house that I should just sit down and spend an hour sorting through and I don’t.
It is a thousand times easier to sort and organize someone else’s stuff than your own, because in your house there is always so many other things to distract your time and brain. Just being a parent is enough of an excuse, and then to be a working parent, a partner, a pet owner, active community member, attempt self care etc etc. The thing is, once you get rolling on cleaning and organizing, you pick up traction and slowly things feel more manageable. I thought I’d share some of the common recommendations I give families who I work with, to help you start to gain some momentum.
- My biggest cleaning recommendation would be to save and invest in a cordless Dyson vacuum. I know these seem a bit expensive (Costco often has them on sale) but they are a game changer in keeping up with cleaning the floors.
- When you start cleaning + sorting, tackle one small area at a time. This way you won’t get completely overwhelmed. Literally, just do one section and stop, even if it’s just for a walk around the block or a coffee.
- Be ruthless. It’s so hard when you get started but once you start throwing things away and donating them, it gets easier. Promise. If a toy or book makes you miserable, get rid of it! If you haven’t looked at something in a year or more, you don’t need it.
- Don’t hold onto things to sell unless it’s something big and easy to do on Craigslist. A favorite quote I have saved is: “The simple benefits of generosity far outweigh the financial rewards of most garage sales.”
- Take a break from shopping. Until you have things cleaned out, don’t bring anything new into the house.
- Shoes off (for everyone) in the house. It might take some getting use to, but it makes a BIG difference to the dirt that gets tracked in.
- Create a place for everything, and before you go to bed at night, make sure everything is back in its place. Pens in a jar (and you really only need 2-3 not 20-30), toys in their baskets, dirty laundry in the hamper etc. It takes time to create this habit, and it’s SO hard when you’re up against kids or a partner who aren’t quite as invested in doing it, but little by little you’ll notice you’re cleaning less and things are staying tidier.
- I love using baskets for toys and materials that are out on display and in use – they look nicer than plastic storage and having things out in the open makes it easier for kids to see what they can play with and where they should clean them up.
- But when I store toys, I use clear plastic storage containers (I usually get at IKEA or Target) with lids and ziplock bags so I can stack them away easily and still see what is in every container.
READINGS TO INSPIRE
This is my favorite blog to read. I am in NO WAY a minimalist but I inspire to be more minimal in the way I live. If you sign up to their weekly email, they share fantastic articles from all over the web to help inspire you to downsize and live more simply.
This book changed my life. It’s a quick and easy read and really inspiring. You don’t have to sign up to everything she recommends, but it just helps you to think and see things in a different way. Example – the idea of saying thank you to items before you give them away sounds so cheesy, but it has helped me donate things I held onto for emotional/guilt reasons.
Fantastic practical advice on how to parent with less. It’s a short easy read that I highly recommend.
And THIS – a great article on things you really just need to say goodbye to, like now.