I’ve always loved organization, order, rules, lists, and all that jazz. But since having kids, I have to admit that not only is my life chaos, but so is my house.
I don’t want to make excuses for the disarray that our house has become, but I’m going to. Long story short, we moved to our current home when I was 15 weeks pregnant…with identical twins. We had a four-year-old, a dog, two cats, and two full-time jobs. After five months on the market, we also had a home that we were renting to a couple moving in before our current home was ready. That meant a couple of weeks in a hotel with the said four-year-old, dog, and very pregnant me (oh yeah, and my husband was there too!).
When we moved in, we stashed basically everything in the basement, except for clothes, toys, baby stuff, and furniture.
We enjoyed having some minimal living for a while, but it was always like this looming cloud that we still had so much to unpack.
When I was pregnant, I didn’t have the energy to get down to the basement to unpack fully, and after the twins were born, doing any kind of unpacking was generally laughable.
Well, the twins are now almost four years old, and I finally feel I can breathe a little (in between all the arguing, of course).
The new year began, and even though I never make resolutions, I did have a goal: Get the junk out of my house.
I started following some organization pages on social media and was so inspired that I pretty much ran down to the basement and began throwing away tons of stuff we no longer used. Basically, I began organizing my life: one closet at a time.
I ripped apart kitchen cabinets, the linen closet, the bathroom closet, and the kids’ closets, as well as my own. Before I got too far into the process, I began documenting my journey on my social media. Because who knows when I’ll want to go back and look at how bad my closet was, right?
Donations, dump runs, plenty of bins and baskets, and of course the wonderfully-timed demise of our water heater (basement flood anyone?), and everything behind closed doors are in decent shape. I can find my kids’ clothes (when they make it out of the laundry baskets, of course!). There is no longer an avalanche of pots and pans every time I open a kitchen cabinet.
Our home is nowhere near finished, but it’s a whole lot more organized.
I gave myself however much time it took to finish a project instead of rushing through it. This has been a lesson to my kids that chipping away at a problem or project can make a big impact.
My children have started voluntarily organizing their things, asking what they can do to help, and taking pride in contributing to the household in whatever way they can at 8 and 3 (and 3!).
Originally, my goal was to get the junk out of my house, but I think it has changed into something even bigger: My children get to see my persistence, patience, and pride in my accomplishments, as well as their own.
Looking to organize your home (and your life)? Here are a few tips I’ve found useful:
1. Pull everything out of the area you’re organizing first. You can’t know the best way to put anything back or how it will fit until you start with a clean slate.
2. Purge, purge, purge. Throw out or donate everything you haven’t used in the last year. If you keep everything, there’s going to be no easy way to organize it or keep it that way.
3. Have an idea of your end goal before you start putting anything back in your space. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, and you can change your mind. But don’t be afraid to move things around to see where things fit best before you start loading up your closet or cabinet again.
4. Follow a few home organization pages on social media. You’ll be able to get an idea of the styles you like and some really helpful tips on how to make the most out of your space.
5. Try to design your space in a way that it will be easy for you to maintain it (i.e., Put things back where they go when you’re done with them). It’s really easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day, but a daily or weekly refresh of the space makes maintenance a breeze. When everything has a specific place it “lives,” you’ll always know exactly where everything belongs and fits best.
6. You don’t have to finish a whole project in one sitting. It’s ok to take your time on something and work on it when you can. You’ll reach the same goal in the end, whether it takes you twenty minutes or twenty days.