6 Things To Do Before Getting Organized

Today I wanted to talk to you about the steps you should take before tackling an organizing project. It is important to prepare before organizing a space so you are efficient in getting your spaces organized.

{{ONE}} First, you need to remove everything from the space. If this is overwhelming, work section by section in a space. For instance, while organizing the kitchen, work one cabinet or one drawer at a time – removing everything from that section. Sometimes seeing everything out in the open can help you realize how much you have. It is also easier to organize things into a space that is a clean slate.

{{TWO}} Next, you need to declutter. Are you surprised?? Have I said this enough?? You must declutter prior to organizing. There is no need to organize items that are no longer needed or loved. It is also silly to buy organizing tools prior to decluttering because you will likely not need as much as you think.

{{THREE}} After you declutter, it is time to categorize. Keeping like items together usually makes the most sense when organizing a space. Once you group things together according to like items, you may be able to declutter even further if you see you have duplicates of items.

{{FOUR}} Once you have everything categorized, then you can decide how you would like to organize those items – in bins, baskets, boxes, or drawer organizers. You will then need to measure your space to determine what size of storage containers you will need. And you thought you would never use math again! Measure twice, buy once! It can take some research and shopping to find the right storage solution for your space.

{{FIVE}} Next, it’s time to purchase your storage solutions – whether it’s bins, baskets, boxes, or drawer organizers – find what works for your space. My favorite places for storage containers are The Container Store, Target, and Amazon. I know there are several other stores that have great storage solutions as well!

{{SIX}} This next step isn’t necessary, but I always like to deep clean a space before organizing it. If everything is already removed from the space, it’s the perfect time to clean it! It’s always nice to put items back into a clean space!

Well, I hope this post was helpful to you if tackling an organization project seems daunting to you. Taking these simple steps before trying to get organized will help to make your organization project go smoothly!

Here is the YouTube video I shared on my channel in conjunction with this blog post.

10 Ways To Find Joy and Purpose in Homemaking

Whether you stay at home or work outside of your home, I believe you can find joy and purpose in homemaking. I was a stay at home mom and homemaker for over 20 years and I truly enjoyed it and appreciated my husband working hard to financially support our family so I could pursue homemaking.

Unfortunately, I think staying at home with children and homemaking is undervalued in our culture. It used to be common for women to stay at home during the mid century time period in America. Now I think there is a high value on financial compensation and many families are now two income families. In addition to this, the standards in America have changed with regards to how big homes are and how many possessions Americans own, making it a necessity to have two incomes to keep up. The average size of home in America in 1950 was about 1,000 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom according to an article from the Chicago Tribune. By the year 2000, a typical home was 2,000 square feet or more and that average just seems to keep going up!

I wanted to share with you 10 ways to find joy and purpose in homemaking! I hope this encourages you if you are a stay at home mom, homemaker, or work outside of the home but also work as a homemaker!

First, value serving your family. For me, taking care of my family is a way that I show them love. Your husband and kids will see what you are doing day in and day out. They may not always verbally thank you, but I think seeing you consistently taking care of the home and family has a big impact. Being a homemaker gives you opportunities to show your kids how to serve others as you are an example of love and care for your family.

The second way you can find joy and purpose in homemaking is to be content with where you are. Regardless of if you stay at home or work outside the home, have a positive attitude about your roles in life. We all can have moments or even seasons of feeling overwhelmed, feeling unappreciated, or feeling like what we do may not matter. The truth is, what you are doing is very valuable. Focus on being grateful, and this can help you to find contentment.

Number three is to see beauty in the mundane. Let’s be honest, homemaking tasks can be very mundane, but you can reframe your thinking by being present in everything you are doing. You can also make the mundane meaningful. One thing that I have done since my kids were very little is to pray for them while I fold their clothes, this helps this mundane task become more meaningful. If you don’t pray, maybe you could speak positive affirmations over your family as you do tasks to serve them.

The fourth way to find joy and purpose in homemaking is to acknowledge that it allows you to create a safe and cozy space for your family. I recognize that some people don’t enjoy decorating spaces to make them cozy, but perhaps you like baking and filling the house with the smell of freshly baked cookies or bread which also creates a sense of coziness. Perhaps just lighting a candle or turning on an oil diffuser will create that cozy feel. Whatever you do to create a soft space for your husband and children to land at the end of the day is valuable! It also allows you to enjoy the space you have created as well.

The fifth way is to recognize that it actually builds a lot of valuable skills. Managing a home, particularly if you have children and their schedules, is not an easy thing. It takes a lot of organization and executive functions to spin all those plates! Learning how to balance all of the responsibilities without a “boss” to direct you is actually challenging. There are a lot of little tasks that need to be taken care of, and a lot of little needs each of your family members have. Staying on top of all of this is a valuable skill set!

Next, recognize that homemaking provides an opportunity to learn new skills. I know that since becoming a wife over 25 years ago, I have learned so many new skills! Mostly by trial and error, sometimes with the help of a friend, or even taking a course. I have learned how to cook, sew, organize, and execute administrative tasks! Not to mention, learning to take care of our children, which was really trial and error!! Before I had my daughter, I had never changed a diaper before!

For those of us who are stay at home moms or homemakers and do not work outside of the home, recognizing that staying home allows time to make healthy meals and exercise can also shift our mindset and help us to find joy and purpose in homemaking. I am so grateful to have the margin in my life to exercise several times per week. We also eat at home 6 nights a week because I have time to meal plan, shop, and prepare healthy meals!

The eighth way to find joy and purpose in homemaking is to surround yourself with like minded friends for encouragement. If you are constantly hearing negative feedback about your role as a homemaker, it can wear on you. Surrounding yourself with friends who also value homemaking can help you to also value it. I have been really grateful to always have friends in my life who were stay at home moms or homemakers!

Number nine is to remind yourself that in the end your children will be grateful for all you did. I think back on what my mom did to make our home feel warm, welcoming, safe, and cozy and even though I did not realize it as a child, I recognize as an adult what she did was intentional – in spite of my mom being an elementary school teacher! Even if your children don’t appreciate it now, they will one day appreciate all you did. If you don’t have children, your husband will be grateful for the effort and energy you put into making your home cozy and safe.

Lastly, to find joy and purpose in homemaking, acknowledge when you feel undervalued and remind yourself of the aforementioned things. As I mentioned, it is not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued or feel like what you are doing doesn’t make a difference. In those moments, it is helpful to remind yourself of all the things mentioned above!

Well, I hope this post was encouraging or inspiring to you today! Oftentimes, to be joyful and content in anything, it’s about a shift in mindset. Being grateful for the things we have and the roles we play in life.

15 Things I No Longer Purchase

If you are new around here, you may not know that I have been on a long, slow journey towards minimalism. I’m learning the balance of making my home cozy, but also not owning an abundance of stuff! I’ve been learning what areas in my home it makes sense to own less, and then there are other spaces where I’ll be honest I like to have a variety – like clothes and shoes! One thing that I have found helps with keeping a minimal home is not just what goes out through decluttering, but also what comes in. I wanted to share with you 15 things I no longer purchase now! Not purchasing these items has helped to keep the inflow of items down. With that said, some of these items are consumable as well. All of these items are things that I used to purchase.

{{ONE}} First is dryer sheets. I used to use dryer sheets, however now I use wool dryer balls. I purchased the dryer balls a couple years ago and I really love them! Not only are they more environmentally friendly than dryer sheets, I actually like them better for making my clothes smell better! I just use a few drops of essential oil on the balls prior to adding them to my laundry in the dryer. In addition, dryer sheets often have chemicals in them.

{{TWO}} Next is plastic straws. I have been drinking protein shakes for my breakfast for a very long time and I used to use throw away plastic straws. Several years ago I bought some reusable metal straws and I have never bought plastic straws since!

{{THREE}} The next item I no longer purchase is plastic water bottles. Well, I no longer consistently buy these! After the crazy winter storm here in Austin in 2021 I decided maybe we should have a package of bottled water on hand in case of an emergency! On a day to day basis our family uses a reusable water bottle. We have a reverse osmosis system in our home, so our water is purified and tastes great! I think it tastes better than bottled water.

{{FOUR}} I also no longer purchase cans of soda. It was quite a while ago that I began learning about the importance of eating whole foods and avoiding unnecessary processed sugar. This ages me, but I recall really starting to get into whole foods when I was pregnant with my second who is now 20 years old! I used to drink a soda every afternoon for the caffeine and I would often drink soda on the weekends with pizza or take out. I have stopped purchasing cans of soda to have on hand. We do purchase sparkling water, which is somewhat of a substitute for soda. We also occasionally have soda when we get fast food, but I no longer regularly purchase it.

{{FIVE}} The next item I no longer purchase is pre-cut food. Pre-cut food is so much more expensive than purchasing it not pre-cut. It was definitely something that was very convenient when my kids were younger and I was busier with their schedules. Now that they are older, I find I have more margin in my life to devote to cooking – something I love to do! Cutting up fruits and vegetables is very cathartic for me and something I actually enjoy.

{{SIX}} Next up is magazines. I used to love magazines many moons ago before Pinterest and Instagram were a thing. I used to love home and home decor magazines for inspiration and even had a 3 ring binder that I would keep all of my magazine clippings in for home decor inspiration. Now I am inspired by photos on Instagram and finding ideas and inspiration on Pinterest. My in-laws do purchase Consumer Reports for us as a Christmas gift, but recently my husband and father-in-law had a conversation about how all of this information is easily accessible online, so it is silly to receive paper copies of this magazine, so we will no longer receive those after this year.

{{SEVEN}} Another item I no longer purchase is special events or holiday dishware. I used to have different dishes that were for specific holidays, only getting used once a year. Now I have all white dishes and serveware and can use napkins and table decor to make any holiday or event feel special!

{{EIGHT}} Along those lines, I no longer purchase special event clothes. I have several dresses in my closet to choose from and I use what I have on hand to make work for any special event or holiday.

{{NINE}} Next up is sale items. I used to be a sucker for the sale section in any store – clothes, shoes, accessories, and home decor! I would definitely get drawn in by the price and the “great deal.” Oftentimes these items didn’t last long and I would soon have a pile of things to declutter. Now I have different shopping habits where I am more intentional with what I bring into my home. Since I am not bringing as much into my home, I can spend a little more on fewer items that are more meaningful to me or I absolutely love. Don’t get me wrong – I will purchase something that is on sale if it is something that I love and would make a good addition to my home, but I do not shop sales just because there is a sale now.

 {{TEN}} I also no longer purchase souvenirs. To be fair, I will if it is something that is really meaningful, but I don’t purchase them just for the sake of having an item to remember a trip. I always take a lot of photos to remember trips!

{{ELEVEN}} Next, I no longer consistently purchase nail, brow, or lash services. I actually never did get lash extensions, so maybe I should not have included that, but it is in that same category! I used to consistently get my eyebrows waxed, but when COVID happened and a lot of those places shut down for a while I learned I could live without that! I didn’t ever consistently get my nails done, but I would get them done a few times a year and I have stopped going to get my nails done as well ever since COVID.

{{TWELVE}} Another item I no longer purchase is purses. I used to have a variety of purses and in different sizes and colors, but a while back I noticed that I really don’t like to take the time to switch my purse over to a different one and decided to only keep one. I use that purse basically until it breaks and then buy a new one. I tend to purchase a high quality purse so that it will last longer. I do have a smaller purse that can be a fanny pack, cross body, or clutch that I will use when we go out, but on the daily I only use one purse.

{{THIRTEEN}} I also do not buy the newest version of phone! I actually have never been one to purchase the newest available phone or electronics. I use my phone until it dies!

{{FOURTEEN}} Something else I no longer purchase is seasonal decor. I do have some seasonal decor that I have had for many years – some pumpkins, Christmas decor, and Easter decor, but over the last few years I have looked for decor that could be used year round. For instance, I have some brass deer which are great for Christmas or winter time, but would really work year round. I also like purchasing items that are a great color scheme for different seasons, but you could still use them year round. In general, I do not purchase new decor each year for every season.

{{FIFTEEN}} Lastly, I do not purchase things I cannot afford. Again, this is something we have always done as a couple and as a family. We have chosen to live debt free with the exception of our mortgage. Everything else we want to purchase we save up for. We don’t have any credit card debt.

Well, I hope this inspired you to think about items you could potentially quit purchasing, or at least made you think about why you purchase what you purchase. I would love to hear what things you no longer purchase. Do you have some of the same items on your list? Or do you have different items?

This is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post if you would like to check that out!

8 Healthy Habits In My Routine

In today’s post I wanted to share with you healthy habits that I have built into my daily routines. I’m not perfect at doing everything on this list every single day, but when something is a habit and part of your routine it makes it easier to pick it back up even when you get off track for a bit! I hope these ideas inspire you to come up with healthy habits in your routine!

First is that I get up in the morning and go to bed at night at approximately the same time every day. I know these are healthy sleep habits, but truth be known I might not follow through on this one if it weren’t for my little alarm clock… my dog! He keeps me honest because he likes the predictability of this routine. Unlike a lot of people, I do this even on the weekends when I don’t necessarily have to get out of bed. I do think it helps me to get more consistent good sleep to get up and go to bed at the same time every day. Of course as with any of these habits there are exceptions and times where I go to bed later and/or get up earlier.

Next is that I have a regular skin care routine both in the morning and at night. Taking care of our skin is important, especially as we age. The skin is the largest organ of your body, so keeping it healthy is just as important as doing other things to keep your body healthy.

Along those same lines, I have a habit of drinking lots of water every day! Drinking water definitely helps with skin health as it keeps your body and therefore your skin hydrated! I personally aim for about 80 ounces of water per day, but definitely take into account your activity level, how warm your climate is as sweating equals needing more water, and your body size. On most days I only drink coffee, electrolyte drink (powder that I get on Amazon that is sweetened with stevia), and water. I like to have a refillable water bottle with me wherever I go to help get enough water for the day. Yes, there are some days where I drink other beverages, but my habit is to focus on drinking water!

I also include the habit of spending time quietly in thought and reflection first thing in the morning prior to doing anything else. For me that includes reading my Bible and praying. I do this before checking email or social media notifications. This helps ground me for the day ahead. It puts me in a mind frame to handle whatever I have to tackle that day. I know this one might not resonate with everyone, however I believe spending time in quietness and reflecting on life is a good practice. If reading the Bible (or some other spiritual book) and praying is not your thing, you could journal your thoughts and feelings or spend time meditating on positive things.

The next daily habit I have is to reset my kitchen after I drink my coffee and spend time in the Bible. Typically we run our dishwasher after dinner, and since I have older kids (and a husband!) who like to get snacks after dinner, there are sometimes dishes ready to be loaded into the dishwasher in the morning. I like to unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning and reload it with any dishes leftover from the night before. I also like to just take the opportunity to wipe down the counters as well.

Another habit I have incorporated in my routine since I was in middle school is getting exercise. I typically exercise at least 5 times a week and do both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. I do have a video on my YouTube channel where I share specifically what I have been doing in my exercise routine! You don’t have to do anything strenuous. Especially if you are just starting out with an exercise routine. Just walking around the block is better than doing nothing. Also, you don’t have to join a gym to have a good exercise routine. Sometimes joining a gym or class helps with accountability, but there are plenty of great options to get exercise at home, including YouTube videos.

After my workouts I will drink a protein shake and take supplements. I like making a variety of different protein shakes with different ingredients, making it less boring to drink everyday. I think getting plenty of protein and getting the right nutrients for your body is important to feel your best. Definitely consult your doctor about what works for you, or what nutrients your body is missing. I work with my GP doctor and my chiropractor to be on a regimen of supplements that my body is lacking. Simple blood work can determine what your body needs. 

The last healthy habit in my routine that I wanted to share with you is that I take breaks. I think it is important to give your body and your mind breaks. Sometimes knowing the break is coming is all you need to push through to get tasks completed. I build in breaks throughout my day – having a coffee break in the late afternoon for 30 minutes to an hour (depending on what my schedule allows that day) can be very helpful. I also choose not to do any work on Sunday and use that day to take a break from social media as well. Giving my body time to rest and recharge. I often end up taking a nap on Sunday afternoons, which is probably much needed! I also choose to take breaks from working out and typically only work out five times per week, allowing my body and muscles to recover the other two days of the week.

Well, I hope this list of healthy habits in my routine gives you some ideas of things you can incorporate into your daily routines. Like I mentioned, I am not always perfect at all of these things, but when I have an “off” day it’s easy to get back to these healthy habits since they are part of my routine!

Here is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post.

Reducing Visual Clutter

Does your external environment cause you anxiety? Do you struggle to focus because of external clutter? Today I wanted to talk about visual clutter, the impact it has on us, and how to reduce it.

For many people, visual clutter is distracting. The reason is because our brain is constantly processing our environment. Visual clutter can have an impact on our mental and emotional health, resulting in us not being as efficient and productive as we could otherwise be.  Clutter has been linked to cortisol production, the stress hormone. Research from a 2009 study out of UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) has shown that women who perceive their homes to be cluttered tend to have unhealthy patterns of cortisol levels. Interestingly, men did not have the same cortisol response with regard to clutter. This could potentially be because women tend to take on more of the household chores even if they are also working full time. Clutter is also linked to lack of self control, resulting in unhealthy eating habits. According to a Cornell University study from 2016, stress triggered by clutter may also trigger coping and avoidance strategies, like eating junk food, oversleeping or binge-watching Netflix.

So what can we do to reduce visual clutter? I wanted to share some ideas for you to reduce visual clutter in your home today.

First, the obvious one: declutter your possessions. When you have less, it is easier to clean, store, and organize your items. This can be easier said than done, so I suggest doing this slowly over time. If we try to declutter all of our items at once, we can get overwhelmed and experience decision fatigue. Slowly but surely as you declutter your possessions, you will have less visual clutter.

The next one goes along with the first. Be intentional with what you keep and what you bring into your home. When you are intentional with what comes into your home, you have an idea of where the item will go and how you will use the item or what purpose the item will fulfill to you. Sometimes people get into the habit of purchasing anything they find beautiful without intentionally thinking about its purpose. This is when it gets difficult to find a place for everything we bring into our homes. I have learned to enjoy and appreciate items visually at the store, acknowledging that you like it and it is beautiful,  without having to take the item home with me.

Next, group like items together in bins or baskets. When smaller items are stored away in bins or baskets, there is less visual clutter.

Choose uniformity when organizing and storing items. Get uniform food storage containers, cleaning bottles, and storage bins. When you have uniform jars, bins, and bottles you eliminate bright colored packaging, making your space feel more calm.

Have a place for everything. If you have a home for each of the items you own, they are less likely to get left lying around your home. When things are put in their proper place, your home feels less chaotic and less cluttered.

Another principle you can implement to reduce visual clutter in your home is maybe one (or a few) is better than an abundance. Throw pillows are a good example here (although admittedly I likely own too many of these!!) Maybe having 2 on your sofa is better than having the entire sofa lined with pillows. Or perhaps it’s home decor. Maybe having a small vignette of 3 items grouped together is better than the entire piece of furniture being covered in home decor.

Lastly, storing items away in a cabinet or drawer instead of leaving it out can reduce visual clutter. For me, I like to have a spot in my cabinet to store things like our toaster, the blender, and other large appliances. In the bathroom, you can have space for your items such as make up, a hair brush, toothbrush, and facial products in your bathroom drawers or cabinets instead of housing them on top of the counter. This will immediately reduce visual clutter in these spaces.

I hope this gave you some practical ideas on how you can reduce visual clutter in your home today!

The YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post.

My 6 Favorite Organizing Tools As a Professional Organizer

Today I wanted to share with you 6 of my all time favorite organizing tools as a professional organizer.

First up is BINS OR BASKETS. Anyone who has been to my home, or who has hired me to organize their home, can attest to my love of bins!! The number one thing you can do to get organized is to categorize. The easiest way to do this is with bins or baskets. My favorite bins are white plastic bins from The Container Store. They come in several sizes, are cost effective, simple, and durable.

Using UNIFORM HANGERS will always immediately make your closet look more organized. There are so many choices, from wooden to velvet or even plastic – as long as they are uniform it is just more pleasing to the eye.

Next is LAZY SUSANS. Using lazy susans throughout your home is such an efficient use of space to keep like items contained. They come in all sorts of sizes, and they can also come with a standard lip or a deeper one depending on what you are storing. I am currently obsessed with clear acrylic lazy susans!

I also love GLASS JARS. These are especially great for food storage like pasta, rice, or baking items. I love the Fido brand, but I also really like the simple Ball Mason jars as well. When using the Mason jars, I purchase white plastic lids to make taking the lids off and on easier.

Another item I love to use is UNIFORM CLEANING BOTTLES. Whether you choose clear or amber glass cleaning bottles, or even plastic ones, cleaning bottles look so much more streamlined and simplistic when they are all uniform.

What organization project is complete without LABELS? I love using labels for practical purposes so you know you know what is in the container, but I also just love the look of labels aesthetically! There are so many different options for labels! I love the label made by a Cricut, and I also love the look of just an old school embossed label!

Well, I hope this gave you some ideas on how you can take your home organization to the next level!

Here is the video I made with this information! It is a giveaway collaborating with several other YouTubers, so definitely go enter to win if you are reading this blog post close to the time it is posted! *Giveaway ends June 15, 2021*

My 25th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 25th wedding anniversary. When you’ve been married this long, sometimes people say things like, “what’s the secret.” But honestly, I don’t think there is one secret. To tell you the truth, I don’t even feel like it’s possible that we’ve been married that long! I will share with you my thoughts on being married this long.

9,131 days. 

1,300 weeks. 

25 years. 

7 vehicles. 

6 apartments. 

3 kids. 

2 dogs. 

2 homes. 

This is us.

You know, I really think “secrets” are a myth. I think there really are only obvious answers. When people say things like “how do you stay looking young and healthy?” I joke – “It’s a BIG SECRET *insert sarcastic tone* – I eat healthy, exercise, drink lots of water, and get good sleep.” It’s the same with a lasting marriage, there is no big secret – you remain loyal when times get tough, you forgive, you ask for forgiveness, you give grace and compassion, and show humility. That doesn’t seem to be a big secret to me.

But, HOW do you do that. That is all easier said than done. I will share with you that I can’t imagine being so dedicated to my marriage if it weren’t for my faith in Jesus. In Philippians 2:3 it says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others better than yourselves.” This is one of the principles I strive to live by. In all relationships, but especially in marriage. Believe me, there are times when I have to fight to believe this and live it out! It is certainly not always easy.

Also, marriage has not always been easy! That’s when I have learned to lean into Jesus and trust that He is refining me and making me more like him through my marriage. It also helps me to not put all of my hope and faith in a person {{my husband}} but recognizing that he is human and will let me down at times.

Loving someone unconditionally for 25 years is not easy – and I’m not just talking about me loving my husband, I’m talking about my husband loving me! It goes both ways. We both believe in the 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 passage regarding love. We may not always feel it, but we have to keep coming back to this passage:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.”

I will assure you – romance fades, hormones change, the honeymoon stage is just a phase – BUT, none of that compares with building a beautiful life with that person you fell in love with, had romantic moments with, and for a while couldn’t keep your hands off each other! We have so many wonderful and beautiful memories! We have spent the last 25 years building our family, which God intertwined our very beings together through our children and all the memories. 

You will always be my person. I love you David. Forever and always.

Six Decluttering Tips To Give You Momentum

Decluttering can be difficult and daunting. Sometimes it’s just getting started that is the hardest part! I wanted to share with you six tips to help you with the decluttering process. At the end of this blog post I will share with you a PDF printable document with a list of spaces in your home that you can declutter!

The first tip is to get rid of old things you are replacing immediately. If you are replacing an item, whether it’s a broken toaster, or a worn out set of dishes, immediately put the old items in the donation bin. You don’t even have to think about if you should or shouldn’t since you are replacing it with a new item. If you don’t get rid of it immediately, you may end up forgetting and having duplicates of the same type of item in your home.

The second tip is don’t second guess yourself – once it’s in the donation box, it stays there. It can be tempting to revisit the donation bin and second guess if you made the right decision. I would suggest if you have items that you are on the fence about to have a separate bin where you can store these items for a fixed amount of time (usually 6 months is a good amount of time), then move them to the donation bin once you realize that you didn’t miss the items. Usually there is a reason you initially put an item in the donation bin, so don’t second guess that gut instinct.

The third tip is don’t declutter other people’s stuff – you’re not responsible for it! Allow other people – whether that’s a spouse, children, or other family members living with you – to declutter their own items. It’s very important to allow people to make decisions about their own possessions. If you declutter someone else’s things, you risk having tension in the relationship and there is a good chance that they will bring more things into the space when you declutter their items without permission.

The fourth tip is to start with easy/non-sentimental items. It can be very time-consuming and therefore discouraging to start with decluttering sentimental items. When decluttering items that you don’t have a sentimental attachment to, or they are easier to replace, it makes the decluttering process go more quickly. Oftentimes with decluttering, you just need momentum to continue the process. Starting with something like decluttering kitchen items will make it easy and quick to make decisions giving you confidence moving forward.

The fifth tip is to set a timer. This makes it feel easier, like you’re not going to spend the entire day decluttering. Setting a timer allows your brain to know that you will only be working on this project for a finite amount of time. Sometimes decluttering projects can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to declutter everything in one space all at once. Decluttering a few items is better than none.

The sixth and final tip is to have fun! Don’t overcomplicate it! Can decluttering be fun?? A couple of months ago, I played the Minimalism Game to declutter my home. If you’re not familiar with this game, you spend one month focusing on decluttering. On day one you declutter one item, on day two two items, on day three three items, and so on and so forth through the whole month. You end up decluttering over 400 items! This was a fun way to get things decluttered from my home. You could also enlist your family members’ help for items that belong to the whole family – like movies or games. Maybe take a vote on each one, and the majority wins! Or perhaps you could have a contest with other family members to see who can fill a box or bag of items to declutter the fastest! There are many creative ways to declutter that are fun and make it not as stressful as it could otherwise be!

I hope these tips gave you some inspiration on how you can declutter in your home today! Use this free printable to give you ideas on different spaces in your home that may need to be decluttered.

10 Things To Deep Clean In Each Room For Spring

Today I wanted to share the 10 things I like to clean in each room for spring cleaning! To be honest, I don’t specifically “spring clean.” I choose one room in my house each week to deep clean and declutter – meaning, usually my whole house gets deep cleaned and decluttered every three months or so. But, each of these items on the list I clean (for the most part, read on for exceptions) each time I deep clean a room. Be sure to scroll to the bottom where you can find a printable PDF document with all of these items on a check list! You could print it out once and stick it in a plastic protective sheet and mark off each item with a dry erase marker as you go, or print it out each time you have a room to deep clean! Happy spring!!

The first thing I like to do when deep cleaning a room is remove the drapes/curtains to wash or at least to shake out if they are not machine washable. Or even take them to the dry cleaners if you feel so inclined! At this time you can clean off the drape rods and finials as well. Remember when I mentioned the exceptions… I’m going to start with an exception right off the bat with this one. I don’t typically clean the drapes every single time I deep clean a room. I will do this once or twice a year.

The next thing I clean is the ceiling fan or light fixture in the room. Ceiling fans especially are prone to collect dust. I have an e-cloth extension duster like this that I like to use to clean fans. After I use this duster, I will go back with an all purpose cleaning spray and paper towels to get the remaining dust. I like using the all purpose cleaning spray to make the room smell good!

In addition to the drapes and ceiling fans/light fixtures, I make sure to vacuum the room, paying special attention to the edges and corners. I use the extension on my vacuum cleaner with the angled edger piece to get into the edges and corners of the room – something that doesn’t get done each time I vacuum a space.

Something else I do in each room when I am doing a deep clean is to dust the baseboards and clean the walls if necessary. We have a room with Wainscoting, and the trim definitely harbors dust which needs to be cleaned. I just use an all purpose cleaner and a microfiber cleaning cloth for this.Sometimes you just have to get on your hands and knees to get a space cleaned!

Next I will dust all of the horizontal surfaces in the room – shelving, dressers, entertainment centers, end tables, and anything else you may have which collects dust. Typically for wood surfaces I will use a specific wood cleaning product, and for painted surfaces I will use an all purpose cleaning spray.

I also like to be sure to clean the windows – at least the inside of the windows – and the blinds if that is applicable. I use a glass and mirror cleaner on the windows with a microfiber cleaning cloth, and I go back over it with a glass cleaning cloth – both I got from e-cloth. For the blinds, I use an all purpose cleaning spray and a microfiber cleaning cloth, however I have been wanting to get a specific blinds cleaning product as cleaning with the cloth can be very tedious.

In addition, I like to use my extension duster to clean the cobwebs off the ceiling whenever I deep clean a room!

Next I clean the inside and outside of dressers and cabinets. I like to take everything out and declutter as I go. While items are out of the cabinets and drawers, I take the time to clean it out with an all purpose cleaning spray.

Like I mentioned, the next thing I do is declutter. It’s always good to go through items and get rid of anything you are no longer using or loving!

Lastly, I will mop the room if it’s wood or tile, and use a steam vacuum if it is carpet. It’s always good to get a deep clean, especially with carpets!

I hope this gave you some ideas for things to deep clean in one of your rooms today! Be sure to check out my Deep Cleaning Checklist printable if you need guidance while cleaning a room!

Chaos To Order, Sustainable Room By Room Organization

Today I wanted to share with you how I keep our home organized room by room! There are several different organization tools that are helpful in keeping your home organized. But, there are also some everyday practices that will help in keeping your home organized.

The first thing I wanted to talk about is decluttering. I won’t be-labor this point as I know I have several blog posts about the value in decluttering. When getting a space organized, there is no sense in organizing items that you no longer love or are no longer useful to you. I’m sure by now you have all heard of Marie Kondo’s Konmari method of decluttering. I don’t necessarily like everything about her methodology, however I do like the idea of decluttering by category. Some people get overwhelmed by pulling everything out in one category, so I suggest working one room or space at a time as well. Start with items that are easier to declutter – like kitchen items, which don’t have sentimental value and work your way up to sentimental items. Generally, the process of decluttering gets easier as you gain momentum. Also, it’s important to note that each room or space in your home will need to be revisited. Unfortunately, decluttering is typically not a one time event but rather a process as most homes continually accumulate items.

I wanted to talk a little bit about a system I learned many years ago from the book The Fly Lady. She has lots of great advice in her book, but the thing I have implemented into my routine is creating “zones” coordinating with different spaces or rooms in your home, and each week choosing one zone to deep clean and declutter. I have 12 zones in my home, and by choosing one zone per week my entire house gets deep cleaned and decluttered every three months. It’s not only important to stay on top of decluttering, it’s also important to stay on top of your organization systems as things can get misplaced or in disarray over time.

My number one advice for client’s is to have a place for everything. When each item in your home has a place, it makes cleaning up and putting things away more efficient and easy. I love to use bins, baskets, and lazy susans throughout my home to house items which are alike. For many of these bins, I use labels, making it easy for everyone in my family to know where things are and where they belong.

The first space I want to talk about is your entryway – whether it’s at your front door, back door, or both! Typically this is a “drop zone” – a place where everyone sets down their everyday items and takes off their shoes. You want to have organization tools which will accommodate this. Hooks for purses and backpacks, a shoe rack or baskets for shoes, a key holder for keys, and bins to hold things like hats, scarves, and gloves. Having a space for each type of item works well, or perhaps you can have a bin and or hook for each family member. These are items that are notorious for getting lost, however if you have a place for these items, each family member will know where they go and where to find their items.

The next location I wanted to talk about is the living room/family room. In this space, it’s important to have functional furniture to store different items that belong in the room, such as game consoles, video games CDs, movies, remotes, and blankets. Once again, if items have a place, everyone will know where to find them. Blankets can be stored in an aesthetically pleasing way such as in a basket, on a blanket ladder, or draped across the sofa. If you’re like me and like to have a variety of throw pillows, you can choose to purchase pillow covers when possible, making it easier to store when not in use. In addition to this, if you like using different decor for different times of the year, find creative ways to store these items. I have a dresser in my office where I store all my extra decor that is not in season. I do have two large bins storing my Christmas specific decor, which I store in the attic. A trick I like is to use dual purpose decor. I use wood bead strings around my Christmas tree as garland, but when it is not Christmas season I use the beads as decor in other areas of my home. Also, you can find a lot of versatile “Christmas decor” that will transition into the winter season.

TV Console with space for Living Room items.
I store extra pillow cases in our side tables in the living room.
I store my extra home decor in a dresser in my office.

The next space I will talk about is the kitchen. This might be one of the most important places in the home to find an organization system that works well for you as it allows you to be more efficient in meal planning, getting groceries, putting away the groceries, and meal prepping. It’s helpful to have your kitchen organized in a functional way. Store items where you use them. I have a corner of my kitchen where I do most of the meal prepping, and that is where all of my utensils and dishes are stored. Organizing your pantry and refrigerator/freezer space by category helps to keep everything contained and easy to find. I have chosen a variety of bins, boxes, and jars to store items in my pantry. Taking pantry items out of their packaging and decanting items into streamline jars and bins is a more efficient use of space. Using labels will make it easy to put things away, and allow family members to know where items go. It also just looks more appealing! In the refrigerator and freezer, you can use bins to keep things in order, and again using labels so everyone knows where things belong. This also keeps your refrigerator more clean, so if anything spills or leaks, it is contained in the bin. Lastly, using drawer organizers helps to keep drawers neat and easy to maintain.

I also wanted to talk about the office. This is probably one of the most difficult spots to keep organized, primarily because often offices become overrun with papers. Again, organization systems help to keep everything in its place. If you have drawers in your desk, invest in drawer organizers, which can be fairly inexpensive. Having little compartments in your desk drawers to store all the little office type items will help to keep your desktop clean of clutter. Dealing with paper clutter can be time consuming and overwhelming! Definitely invest in some sort of filing system for important documents, whether that’s a filing cabinet built into your desk drawer, or some sort of external accordion style filing folder. Additionally, you can use an app like Adobe Scan, a document scanning app, to keep digital records of your paperwork, eliminating a lot of the paper clutter! In my opinion, it’s so much easier to get work done in a organized and tidy space!

A couple of other spaces that often need organization systems are the laundry room and the bathroom linen closet. Having bins to house like items is definitely helpful in these spaces. I store all of our medicine in three separate bins which are labeled, making it easy for family members to find which type of medication they are looking for. Folding your sheets and towels in a uniform way will also help to keep your linen closet in order. I have a YouTube video where I show you the way I fold sheets so they will look neat in your cabinet! This might not work for everyone, but we own two bath towels per person, two hand towels per hand towel hook, and two sets of sheets per bed in our home. One for in use and one for in the laundry or in the cabinet. Having a system like this will cut back on clutter in this space.

The final space I wanted to discuss is the closet and/or dresser. This is another space that can be hard to stay on top of as we often have a constant flow of items coming in. Again, it’s important to make it a habit of going through your clothing items and donating anything you no longer wear or love, anything that is too small or too big, or anything that has a hole or stain. One of the easiest ways to make your closet look more organized is to invest in uniform hangers. It’s up to you to decide how many! Everyone is different in the amount of clothing they have space for and want to own. Also, finding storage systems for shoes, off season clothing items, and anything else you store in your closet is important. As far as the dresser goes, I want to mention the Konmari method again. I have found using the Konmari folding method to be the most efficient way by far to store clothing. More clothing fits in the space when folded this way, it’s easier to find what you are looking for, and once you learn to fold in this way it is very efficient to get your clothing folded. Once again, I have a tutorial YouTube video on how to fold Konmari style!

I hope this gave you some ideas or information on how you can get your home organized and functioning efficiently today!