Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cleaning and Organizing - 10 Simple Ideas to declutter

Does this look familiar?

I will be the first to admit, growing up my room was a disaster. I remember the phone call when I was away at college from my younger sister telling me how disgusted she was that they had to clean my room, and it took three days. Oops! I had no idea I was such a slob. Then, I moved into a dorm room with my peers and I started to get a bit obsessive about organizing my stuff. I paid rent in my first apartment, and I became downright neurotic. The shoes were lined up, the clothes in the laundry basket, the nail polish lined up -- it was neat and it was great. The husband and I got married. I taught him that dishes don't walk into the dishwasher by themselves and socks do not belong on the floor next to the bed. Luckily his mom raised him right, and he's very respectful. After almost ten years of marriage, he has his jobs of dishwasher emptier and garbage remover down pat!

Then, we had a kid. No big deal during the first year or so when Little Miss M couldn't move her own toys, and we could really control how many things we had. Our bins were super organized, and the stuffed animals very neat. Then, we had two more kids and the toy situation has me wanting to crawl out of my skin most days. So, what's a busy parent to do?

1. Storage Bins

There are so many cute options for storage bins. From simple to elaborate, they can enhance your decor while hiding the plethora of toys. I actually use storage bins for the clothes of the older two instead of heavy dressers. We have cloth bins all over the house. We have covered plastic bins stacked in every corner, and I only have to reorganize every other month or so! 

2. Use your space

Don't forget about the spaces under the bed or next to couches or in corners. I put puzzles under the beds. Puzzle pieces drive me crazy, so I put them out of sight! I keep shoes that aren't the right size yet and extra sheets under the bed. 

3. Make organizers multipurpose

I bought a plastic shoe organizer and hung it on the inside of our small hall closet. This is the perfect art supply organizer. Paint brushes, sequins, glue bottles and the like all fit really nicely in this organizer and keep them from being scattered atop my kitchen counter. 

4. If you don't use it, get rid of it

I apply the same principle to all the plastic dolls as I do to my own closet. If I don't wear it or use it, I donate it or throw it away. The plastic shoes are a serious choking hazard and they really hurt if you step on them in the middle of the night! I, personally, throw away almost all of plastic shoes and any of the accessories that don't get used. I am giving you permission to rid your life of the nuisances! 

5. Plastic bricks everywhere

We have them. The big ones, the little ones, the ones from the other manufacturer -- they are everywhere! I was searching for the perfect organizer for this and what I came across was the use of a scrapbook organizer. The large flat organizers store the directions and the bricks. I am waiting for one of these to go on sale! 

6. Use your walls

I have a whiteboard on the wall in the kitchen with each of the girl's names on it and divided into three columns. I can then use an erasable marker to write reminders for each child or tack up announcements from school or activities. I also bought the small square cork-boards and stuck them up throughout the house to display artwork, pictures and work. This keeps my refrigerator slightly less cluttered and allows us to actually view our family calendar. We also bought chalkboard paint to place custom made chalk boards throughout the house. 

7. Stuffed Animals

I feel like I spend almost every day picking these cute cuddly family members up off the floor. My 5 year old is definitely the most guilty participant at the stuffed animal party. She feels the intense need to travel everywhere with her entourage. I purchased simple wrought iron planters and attached them to the wall in the little girls' room. A simple old receiving blanket on the bottom allows for the animals to be displayed and found without falling through. For the big kid, a hanging organizer from IKEA did the trick as all her friends are there, but not all over the floor!

8. Book Baskets

We love books in this house, but I would need a whole library to store and display every title we have. Instead I purchased plastic baskets and organized the books by type. The baskets fit in the bottom of the closet and I rotate them periodically to give the girls "new" books to read. 

9. The Dress-up Nightmare

We have a lot of dress-up clothes. I usually go to Target right after Halloween and stock-up when the costumes are on sale. We also save things from child to child and we've built up quite a collection. These items tend to explode everywhere and it drives me crazy. So, I purchased an inexpensive clothing rod and hangers. This way the girls can see most of the dresses instead of just throwing them everywhere. Then, I converted their old Little Tikes Toy Box into a Dress-up bin. I can shove everything in there and put the cover down - it is truly out of sight, out of mind!

10. Ziploc Bags

These are, perhaps, my favorite organizer. I use them for everything from beads to puzzles and everything in between. Storing puzzles in plastic bags is one of the best things I ever did. I cut the picture off the box and put the puzzle pieces into a bag. All of the bags of 24 piece puzzles are stored in one container and harder puzzles in another. This simple solution to cut down on so much clutter!

What great strategies do you have? Please share with us in the comments so we can enhance our list!


Amanda loves it best when the house is neat and organized and is on a constant quest to instill the same desires in her three girls!

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