10 Tips to Get Your House Organized in 2021
I vividly remember a time when my house was clean and organized. This was pre-kids, I had just read Marie Condo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link) and implemented the concept across my residence. I still fantasize about how that clean organized house, will one day be a reality again. However, Marie Condo now lives far away from our house. Far, far away. While I know that it is impossible for my house to look like it did before kids, I decided to make some changes. During the last few weeks, I have scoured the internet for tips and tricks on how to organize my home despite living with two tiny humans who even on their best days are always working OVERTIME to keep our house the opposite of clean.
Here is what has worked best:
1. Less is more
The less you have, the less you have to clean, organize, and find. Minimalism is spreading like wildfire because it works. It works to keep life organized and simple. We hold onto things because we think we may need them and feel a sense of discomfort in the thought of losing money on something we may not get any joy from. As a result, we hold on to things left and right. To the point we do not know where things are when we need them or even worse, we buy things we already have because we can not find what we already purchased.
Personally, my home is the world of stuff right now. With two kids under 2 years apart, between baby and toddler things, I sometimes feel like I am drowning in a Toysrus. To solve this problem, I have found the most effective way for me to actually get organized is participating in the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. The idea is that you fill 40 bags of unused things in 40 days. For the phase of life I am in, I did not pressure myself to fill these bags in exactly 40 days. Instead, when I fill a bag, I put a tally on the whiteboard in the kitchen and place the bags in the garage. When I get to 5 bags, I donate.
2. Donate, Sell, or Trash
When I tackle an area, I bring 1 tote and two trash bags into the room. One bag for donations, one tote for selling, and one bag for trash. Oftentimes, I feel guilty getting rid of something that was expensive and barely used. To help with my guilt, I have found putting it into the sell pile makes me feel better. Then after a few months, if it has not sold on Facebook Marketplace or I did not get around to selling it (typically what happens), I am more willing to let it go because I know it would be helpful to someone else.
Keep it simple. Yes, Pinterest is great but do not let Martha’s picture-perfect playroom fool you. She has a housekeeper and a nanny to color coordinate all those toys into separate bins, every day. For my sanity, I keep toys in large toy totes likes these (Toy Totes) (affiliate link) on the main floor. Every night before my 2-year-old goes to bed we clean up. We do try and sort the Legos into one area but I don’t go crazy. It’s not worth my time. My kids may not be the type-A kids in preschool but I can live with that.
4. One spot
The coats, the shoes, batteries, baking items, decorations. Keep all of the same things in relatively the same spot. This tip also helps you see how many you have of that specific item. You may not make an impulse buy on a cute umbrella when you know you have eight at home right by your door. This keeps you organized and your life simple.
One thing I have been doing when I implement this trick is not to be quick to buy storage containers for these items, as well. Oftentimes, when I organized, I would immediately buy storage containers to find something else I could have used, several days later causing more clutter. Now, I save boxes and will place the like items in this box until I find or buy a storage solution that actually works for me.
5. Ears Open
Anytime I am around anyone with kids or someone who is pregnant, I see if they need anything that I could give or loan them. I was very fortunate in the amount of people who offered me things for both my kids and I do my best to pay it forward. It also helps me clear out my clutter. Especially when I have more than one of something, I take note, and then anyone that shows interest, I send it home with them. I have done this with toys, binkies, swaddles, carriers, and clothes. I would rather have someone else use something than have it sit and take up space in the hopes to be donated or sold “ONE DAY”.
6. Wait to Buy
The other side of clearing out clutter is limiting what comes into your house in the first place. I do my best to only buy what I need and restrict impulse buying unless it’s something that is perishable. This also includes donating or returning gifts that do not work for our family. I always appreciate any gift, the thought is what counts but I also know that several gifts would cause me more stress than happiness. As a result, I know they may be a great fit for someone else and ultimately, keeps your house organized.
7. Make a list
I keep a running list of the things that are bothering me and need to be DE cluttered and organized. I.E I just did my pantry and junk drawer this morning. I find adding a problem area to a list makes me feel more in charge and I can tackle overtime instead of feeling overwhelmed in the moment. A relaxed mindset leads to keeping your house organized.
8. Say No
Yes, that’s so nice of you to offer extra plates from Grandma Lou’s favorite cousin but no thank you. I refuse as often as possible. Sometimes I will try something that someone offers us and if it is not useful, I pass it on. It IS okay to say no with a grateful heart and not feel guilty about it. Remember, there is typically a reason it is being passed down to you to begin with.
9. Keep a Gift List
Be prepared. From the second you get pregnant, you will have more gifts coming into your life than you anticipate. Everyone loves getting gifts for babies and kids. I recommend keeping a list on your phone of things that you notice they are into or are in need of. I am also a big fan of asking for experiences.
For the past two Christmas’s for example we got memberships to the New Zoo, The Green Bay Botanical Garden, The National Railroad Museum, and The Children’s Museum in Green Bay. These really are the gifts that keep on giving. Even gift cards to Kidz Town, Get Air Trampoline Park, or Chuck E Cheese can go a long way for the whole family and they do not take up space, keeping your house organized.
10. Set the Timer & a Routine
When I feel as though our house can not get any messier, I set the timer for a few minutes on the Alexa or my phone and clean up as fast as I can. It really is amazing what a few minutes can do to organize and straighten up your home and bring you some much-needed peace.
Now that my oldest is over two, I make a habit of having him “help” me and my husband pick up all his toys before bed. This keeps the house clean routinely and also helps us enforce some good habits. At least that’s what we try to do…some days my toddler is more into taking all the toys out again but one day I am hoping it will click!
Remember this is a new year and it is possible to feel more organized and in control, we can do this!
For tips on indoor activities to do with your toddler, check out 25 Indoor Toddler Activities.