10 Decluttering Tips from Emily's Mom, Nana
March 12, 2019
She's BACK!! My mom, y’all! She is just so good. I learned everything I know from her and still cannot get enough of her wisdom. Sometimes I wish our Simplified Sisterhood could get together in person and share ideas, especially with Nana and my team. But realistically, my kitchen table won’t seat everyone, and we’d need a million pots of coffee, so Nana sat down to write out a handful of her favorite, most important tips for a decluttered home. I’m so grateful to have a mom that passed down a passion we now share together. Without further ado, I bring you (drum roll, please) ... NANA!!!
For the Simplified Sisterhood, here are my tips for creating a home with less clutter:
- Decluttering is not cleaning. Decluttering is not organizing. Decluttering is paring down and getting rid of things you don’t use or need to create a more pleasant and more useful space.
- If you need some motivation and want to see and feel what a decluttered area can do for you, start with a small space that you see every day. Maybe it’s that bathroom cabinet or a kitchen drawer. Decide on a room and continue in that room until you’ve gone through every area.
- If you have limited time, do one cabinet or drawer each night. Start with the easiest so you can feel the accomplishment. Chances are you’ll enjoy what you see and want to do another drawer! Before you know it, one room's done. Keep going!
- Save big jobs — like kids' rooms, the playroom or your closet — for the weekend.
- If you can’t organize your cleaning supplies, the problem is you have too many cleaning supplies. Try a multi-purpose cleaner and see how many bottles you can toss.
- If you can’t organize your cups or storage containers, the problem is you have too many cups and storage containers. Pare down to the necessary. 5 days in a work week = 5 lunch containers. Keep large, bulky utensils by the stovetop in a decorative container. Then take inventory of your remaining kitchen tools. Do you really need 5 potato peelers and 5 sets of measuring spoons taking up valuable real estate in that kitchen drawer? Wouldn’t it be nice to open up that drawer and see exactly what it is you were searching for? Go through your pantry, fridge, and freezer right before a big shopping trip. Toss the old and the things no one is going to eat. Check expiration dates. Keep counters as clear as possible.
- If you can’t organize your linen closet, you have too many sheets and towels. I have all white towels, 2 per family member, that are used for people. I keep 4-5 old towels in a container in my laundry room for bathing the dog, wiping up floor messes, and cleaning the car. We have one set of sheets on each bed and one spare set for each bed. Pare down your linens and donate the extras to your vet or animal shelter.
- Children need to be taught how to declutter, clean, and organize their space. What happens when you tell them to go clean their room? Do they resist? Maybe it's not because they don't want to do it, but it's because they don't know where to start or really what to do. You have to show them and do it with them. When it is time to tackle their room, they need to be involved. Make it a game. Crawl under the bed and pull everything out. Use bins or laundry baskets for items to toss, donate, and keep. Kids can “shoot” the items into the correct basket. Encourage them to donate toys they are now “too old for.” Provide a special snack to keep them going! When it's time to organize the things in the "keep" basket, put like items together. Show them how a clean room looks and how easy it is to find things that are only the best, favorite and necessary.
- As you fill up the bags and boxes with things to donate, take them straight to your car and deliver a carload to your favorite donation site ASAP. On days where you are tackling a big decluttering project, throw something in the crockpot early in the morning, plan on pizza delivery, or make sandwiches for dinner. You may even have some leftovers you can pull out.
- You can’t organize clutter. Stop wasting time looking for storage solutions. There are no special containers, boxes or bins that can help you. There is nothing at the Container Store, Ikea, Walmart, Amazon, or Target that will make your space bigger. So until you find that magic wand or a Mousekatool, you have to get rid of things. Once you’ve pared down your belongings, THEN it's time to clean and organize. If you’re lucky, you will have found a few organizing tools while decluttering that you can use.
- Good news / Bad news. Decluttering is an endless job. You will have to continue weeding out the excess, but it should never be as hard as it was this time. Some everyday tips to make this easier: Every night, do the dishes, wipe off the counters, and scrub the sink. You’ll be so pleased when you walk into the kitchen the next morning. Try to have 5 minutes every night where everyone gathers and puts away their belongings. If you have cleared the surface areas in your home down to the best, favorite, and necessary, cleaning will be much faster and easier — leaving more family time and more you time.
Big goals, people, big goals!! You can do this, one bite at a time! Guess it’s time for me to get busy on my closet. Worst job ever! Anyone want to help? :)
Nana (formerly known as Stephanie Cowan)