As busy mums, we all want a a clean and tidy home to retreat to but sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by clutter. In this blog I'm sharing my favourite quick decluttering hacks for busy mums to make life easier and less overwhelming.
I used to keep clothes I didn't fit just incase I lost weight. My wardrobe was full of clothes I didn't wear.
I thought it was thrifty to keep bubble wrap and boxes from online deliveries incase I ever needed to post something and I had cupboards bulging with left over craft supplies and other 'useful' paraphernalia.
I spent tonnes of money on pretty containers for storing all our stuff, only for the house to become messy again.
Whether it's the fear of being wasteful, mindless shopping habits, or succumbing to the 'more is more' mindset that keeps us burdened by all our stuff, we've probably all been there at some point.
The meaning of decluttering
Decluttering is the act of removing unnecessary items from an untidy or overcrowded place and it's good for your health.
It wasn't until I became a mum that it actually started to bother me. Suddenly all of our stuff combined started to feel like too much, and as a stay at home mum I was staring at it square in the face every day.
I stumbled across the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo and it actually did change my life for the better.
I was ruthless in my decluttering efforts and I'll never go back.
I can now find things when I need them and spend less on things I don't need.
Tidying up takes minutes, not hours.
Two years on my systems are still working and my home remains clutter free.
The best part is at the end of the day, I can do a quick whip around and everything feels clean, tidy and calm.
Quick decluttering hacks for busy mums
Whether you're a seasoned clutter buster trying to keep on top of things, or a first timer, my quick decluttering hacks for busy mums will help you:
- avoid feelings of overwhelm and frustration
- find things more easily when you need them
- save money
- free up space for more important things.
Here are my five favourite quick decluttering hacks for busy mums to make life easier and less overwhelming.
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1. Adopt a decluttering mindset
I've learned two important things about changing your mindset when it comes to decluttering.
- You don't need it. Or at least you don't need it right now, in your house. By this I mean if you need bubble wrap once or twice a year, buy some at Big W and let them store it and organise it for you in the meantime. Don't keep outfits you don't wear everyday. If you haven't worn it in 12 months, let it go. If a special occasion arises, there's little chance you'll actually wear that old dress anyway.
- Accept purchase mistakes as part of life. Maybe you don't like the way a certain outfit looks when you try it on again at home, or perhaps that new kitchen appliance didn't end up being used as often as you thought. It's OK to get rid of it. Don't punish yourself over again by allowing it to take up space in your home and your mind. Learn from it, and let it go.
2. Set a deadline you can't change
It can hard to muster the motivation to tackle clutter, so try using an event like an advertised garage sale or moving house to set yourself a firm deadline. Even just hosting a party can get you off the couch and on the decluttering bandwagon.
For me selling our home and moving into a caravan to travel really helped. I had a firm date to work to, and only so much room in van.
We also hired a storage unit for 12 months, and had to be super selective about what to keep, as space was at a premium.
3. Organise paperwork clutter
Home and family administration are important jobs that benefit from a little organisational effort and structure, just like you would expect in a workplace outside the home.
Invest in a letter in-tray to keep 'to-do' paperwork such as bills, medical referrals and school forms that need to be filled out, neat and tidy.
Don't put it on the kitchen bench! The drop zone (explained below) or your study/office are good alternatives for your in tray.
Once you've dealt with paperwork, be sure to file it away, but only if you think you'll need to refer to it later.
Each year I buy a new cardboard expanding file (like this one by Marbig) to store important paperwork and receipts. I love how these are compact and easy to store. By using the compartments to divide paperwork into categories, I can easily find what I need.
You don't need to keep documents forever, usually 7 years is enough for tax purposes.
4. Create a 'drop' zone
A drop zone is a great way to organise kids gear such as bags and shoes, hats, your handbag and shopping bags, keys and other random things that come in when you arrive home.
Positioning your drop zone in the main entryway of your home is essential, otherwise you won't use it. If you usually enter via the garage, put your drop zone here rather than at your front door.
I have organised my drop zone with a cute console table, hat rack, and seagrass basket for each of the kids.
5. Toy muster
Avoid clutter and tripping over wayward toys and nagging at the kids by allocating a box or basket to muster toys for tidying away later.
You'll enjoy tidy house with minimal effort, and the kids can still responsible for putting toys away in their rooms at regular intervals. It's a win-win!
A couple of times a day I quickly gather up any toys I find lying around and pop them in the basket. When the basket it full, it's time for the kids to tidy their toys away.
All right, there you have it, my five top decluttering hacks for a clean, tidy and calm home. Share your thoughts with me below using the comment tool.
Wondering how you'll ever find time to declutter with little ones under foot? Read my blog How to Get Stuff Done with a Toddler for more handy tips.