Decluttering with Kids
Most of us Mum’s know the feeling when you’re sitting on the couch looking around the house at all the things that need to be done but feeling so overwhelmed that you have no idea where to start.
If you’re anything like me, you will get a burst of motivation and you finally decide to make a start. You are making some progress when the baby starts to cry, he wants a feed. No worries, I’ll feed the baby then get back to it you think. The toddler however has other plans, he hasn’t napped today so is having a meltdown at every little thing. A few hours pass with lots of screaming and tears and you feel exhausted, physically and emotionally drained so you sit back down on the couch and cuddle the toddler, you feel guilty! Guilty that you shouted and guilty that you never finished the job you started earlier.
Now the toddler is settled and ready for bed, the baby wants feeding again and you know that there is no chance of finishing the job today. Tomorrow is a new day you think, then tomorrow comes and the cycle continues.
Although it isn't the most important thing in life, having a less cluttered home will help you to have a less cluttered mind. Imagine sitting on the couch cuddling your kids and not having to stress about when you’re going to be able to sort out the laundry, bathroom or kitchen cupboards that have years’ worth of accumulated junk.
I have put together a few tips to help you get through the overwhelming task of decluttering your home.
- Write a list. What rooms need your attention, list them from the room needing the least attention to the one needing the most and include a snapshot of what needs to be done. Below is my list.
Kids Bathroom – This was a quick project as I have not long cleaned it out, there is one small cupboard which I re-organised and threw a couple of things away that were broken or empty.
Ensuite Bathroom – Another quick project as it has also been cleaned out not so long ago. Ditch the out of date products, organise whats left so it's neat and easy to find.
Laundry - My linen cupboards need attention, I have enough towels to last a family of 10 for a lifetime and queen sized sheets that I no longer use as we now have a King Bed
Levi’s bedroom – Since Levi sleeps in our room I have used his room as a bit of a storage space for things I wasn’t quite sure what to do with and to hide away when I have visitors. Levi is my last baby so as he grows out of his clothes I donate or sell them.
Lucas’ Bedroom - This room has a double wardrobe and has been accumulating bits and pieces for a few years now.
Living room – There isn't too much to do in here, a couple of cabinets and drawers that need a little attention. My children's toy area is also in the living area and is overflowing following Lucas' 3rd birthday and Christmas.
Theatre Lounge - I have a pile of paperwork and random things that I have stacked in a corner hidden from plain sight.
Kitchen - The pantry is my biggest job in the kitchen, I declutter it at least once a year but it builds up again quickly. I also plan to have a quick scan through my cupboards and reduce some of the excess kitchenware that we don't use.
This is my pantry before picture!
Entry cupboards – This is where I store my business products as well as paperwork and other random bits and pieces with no other home. Although the space isn’t too big it will be a big project.
Master Bedroom - My drawers and Walk in Robe need my attention. I have far too many clothes, 70% of which I never wear. I would rather donate them to someone who can love them.
- Pick a place to start. I suggest starting with the smallest room, this will make it more likely that you are able to get through the task without interruptions from start to finish. Once you have tackled the first task you will feel accomplished and more motivated to keep going.
- Choose a time of day that you know you are less likely to be interrupted, do your older kids have school or day-care, when does the baby have his longest nap of the day, when is your partner home to help with the kids?
- Finish one task before starting on another, even if you get interrupted mid-way through. I am terrible at this one! I often get halfway through something and end up distracted with something else. Perfect example is when I fill the kitchen sink to wash the dishes, the water is too hot so I go and put a load of washing on and before I know it, its bedtime, the water in the sink is cold and the dishes are still dirty *facepalm*
- If you get interrupted, don’t sweat it. Our families will always come first, so if they need you go to them. The junk will be there when you are ready to get back to it.
You might be wondering what to do with everything you have now decluttered, below are a few tips to help you.
Sell – Perfect for items that still have plenty of life, but you no longer have a use for. I put all my proceeds from sales into a jar. I have not yet decided what I will spend it on yet but that will come in time.
Donate – If you don’t want to deal with the hustle of online selling, donate to your local second-hand store.
Recycle – Check your local council guidelines as to what you can recycle, check out your local drop of points for REDcycle (soft plastics) and TerraCycle.
Landfill – I put this last as the goal is to avoid any unnecessary waste going to landfill, but sometimes this is inevitable.
I hope this helps you to make a start, happy decluttering.