How to organize when you don’t know where to start and what to focus on to see progress
If you’re looking to organize a messy house with kids, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll look at how to get started, what to do first, and how to focus on what’s important. We’ll look at the different rooms in our home, what you should focus on, and what tools you can use to keep everything in check.
Organizing your home with kids is a never-ending constant battle. Because your life is consistently changing, and so are the kid’s needs, which is why I believe in focusing on the most used areas in the home first and areas that are necessary for daily activities.
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Sure, I would love all my storage areas to be in tiptop shape, but it’s not a top priority. What is a top priority should be the places in my home that we consistently use to function daily to increase my productivity in running my household with ease. Once those areas are in order, it free’s up more time to focus on less used areas as I can.
How can I organize my home quickly? Start with the obvious – the big stuff, like a filing cabinet for papers, a pantry for food, a recycling bin, a place for trash, a place for donations, a place for items you don’t have a place for!
With those out of the way, you have a clean slate to work with. So, start with a big box and label it “junk.” Put everything in there! Books, CD’s, DVD’s, old shoes, old magazines, old clothes, old electronics, old kitchen appliances, old shoes, old kitchen appliances, old books, old CD’s, old DVD’s, old furniture, old decorations, old clothes, old curtains, old anything!
One of the most important tips when organizing your home is to start with a blank slate and take time to think about what you need and want from each space. Once you identify those needs, decide on small steps to achieve your goals gradually, and think about what you would like in each room.
For me, everything starts in the hub.
Focusing on what you need to focus on
As a mom, I spend more time in the kitchen than in any other room in our entire house. And with that being the hub of the entire home, it makes complete sense that it should be the first place to start.
From cooking meals to homework sessions. It has taking me a long time to realize this as we are always on the go. But the daily frustration of falling pots and pans. Stale food in the pantry because it was buried by other stuff was not a good sign.
I have begun redoing my kitchen and started with a family command center first. Why? Because It was fun, motivating, and one thing that could increase my productivity as a mom. If you need some awesome ideas on creating your own command center check out these 9 inspiring ideas.
How you use your home can be divided into two categories: how much time you spend at home or in a certain room and what activities you do at home or in those rooms.
Think about how much time do you spend in your house? The more time, the more you need to organize it accordingly. Write down, what activities you do in your house and certain rooms? The more activities in one room, the more need for the organization since the area needs to accommodate those activities.
For example, do you have a kitchen desk or allow the kids to craft in the kitchen. You might need to create storage spaces for office supplies or crafting items.
Decluttering is the key to easy organization
Most people don’t realize just how much clutter it can involve when organizing a whole home. And let’s be honest, that’s a lot of stuff! Here are the steps to three different kinds of home organizing.
First, you need to find a place to store your stuff, whether a shelf, drawer, hanging organizer, etc. Next, organize your stuff by category. For example, you can have one shelf for all the kitchen utensils and a designated drawer for your socks.
Last, you can organize your stuff by time or frequency of use so that daily essentials could have a designated place close to the door for easy access.
Organizing Your Place One Room at a Time
So our starting point is clear when it comes to families’ needs. We need functional spaces that provide clear access points, easy-to-grab tools, and are simple to manage. It’s just a fact you don’t have time. And organizing now saves your future self hours later. Plus, you’ll be a less stressed-out mom.
Get your kitchen in shape, start with the most used items. I think the pantry can make a huge impact. I did a small revamp a while back, but it flopped. So I will be redoing the entire thing. You will have to come back to see the post later.
So here is the order in which you should organize your kitchen from the most used items to the least used items.
- Under the sink
Start small and don’t pull out everything from the pantry focus on one shelf at a time. Then move on. The same goes for cabinets. Do only one cabinet at a time.
Since the kitchen is a shared space with all family members, be sure to declutter any extra things your family is no longer using. Create spaces for kids to help foster their independence.
Get rid of the extra dishes you no longer use and use easy-to-pull-out systems that even toddlers can follow. Because the goal is you want everyone to return items to their proper places. That’s the only way to keep this organization going strong.
Also, reduce the extra huge appliances to have more space to store what really matters. If you need ideas on what to get rid of, check out my list here.
Bathrooms are the next most used rooms that you use. Getting ready in the morning and for bed each night, they can easily get gross when you are rushing out of the door each day or trying to wrangle multiple kids in the bath each night.
If you have only one main bathroom for all household members, this must be organized quickly. Over crowed bathroom counters are an eyesore and can limit the much-needed space.
Simple storage solutions can help with that, such as a tall shelving unit. I got mine from HomeGoods.
Everyone should have a place to place their towels, toothbrushes, and body products. Maybe that is caddies for each person under the sink or pull-out drawers under the sink—another idea is a shelving system that holds each person’s stuff.
We want room for the following items in our bathroom:
- body products
- hair products
In bathrooms, we want clutter-free counters and room for everyone to take care of their needs.
And if you have more than one bathroom for multiple people, that’s great news as you can organize each one based on those needs.
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3. Paperwork/Incoming mail
Keeping your office clutter-free or just an incoming paper method system is important.
Having systems and routines will 10x your productivity and reduce the stress of managing a home.
And the reason why we focus on paper systems next is the amount of paper that comes into your home from little ones, and daily mail is overwhelming. And then you are faced with the questions of what items I should be keeping from my kids.
If you don’t handle it sooner than later, you will soon have a paper pile mess. And that can become so overwhelming to tackle for anyone.
So decide if you want an inbox for everything, hanging files for each person, or maybe an accordion folder-to-file box. Anything that is going to help you sort the papers the minute they come into the house.
But again keeping it simple so that you can manage and so that everyone involved knows where to places incoming documents. Even I have a simple system, and sometimes I find the piles will start and need to take a minute to recoup. We are far from perfect, but something is better than nothing.
Within the home, there are a lot of areas the whole family uses together. Like the living room, basement, loft, or main areas of the home.
And what we keep in these main areas and the need for keeping it neat provides room for your family to gather, relax and play together.
One of the things that can hinder these spots is kids’ toys. So you will want to find simple ways to organize your kid’s toys.
Create spaces for books, board games, magazines, and all kinds of things your family uses.
Playroom/Family rooms are best kept to zones to help keep the room a place everyone can enjoy at the same time. Think zones—kid zone, Tv zone, etc.
The last thing on our list is the areas that each person uses on an individual basis. Such as bedrooms, closets, maybe offices if you have them.
For each bedroom, start with decluttering and keeping only the necessary things to help avoid overcrowded rooms with no place to rest.
Limit toys in kids’ rooms are possible, and use storage space like under the bed to help keep items that are used rarely in a neat space. Offering the opportunity for the bedroom to be truly put together when let’s say, guests are over.
When organizing your closet, there are some things you need to hold onto, some things you can donate, and some things you should throw away. Make sure you’re putting your most used items toward the front of your dresser, closet, etc. Closets should be limited to a certain amount of clothes to help keep from overstuffing your closets and to help keep future decluttering sessions a breeze.
The best way to organize closets is to use a color-coding system to help maintain order and ease when picking out clothing options.
It also makes it fun for kids and allows you to see what clothing you own.
Use cubes, drawer separators to tame messy drawers. Check out these closet organizing hacks.
How to not get overwhelmed?
So if the list of to-do seems overwhelming, here are some simple tips to stay motivated?
Be accountable; don’t organize alone; make sure you have people you can hold you accountable to. Get everyone involved.
Remember to tackle smaller tasks one at a time. Don’t try to organize the whole kitchen on the weekend. That motivation will die quickly, and so will the steam to keep going.
Release the timeline and be realistic with how much you can get done. There is no magic timeline of when you should organize your whole house, so don’t pressure yourself to get it all done with unrealistic expectations.
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Please put it in your calendars by blocking out the time you will work on your organizing goals. Chances are you will find that when it’s put down as a priority, you will tackle the task.
A more organized house can be great for your productivity. It can help you work better, and it can help your creativity flow. Even if you are cleaning a few areas at a time, it can still impact your life. The organization makes everything easier. It allows you to keep everything you need with you, rather than having to go back and search for things. It keeps you on schedule. And it’s a great feeling knowing everything is in its place!