Five children living at home. Two grandchildren who visit often. Homeschooling (endless piles of papers and stacks of books). Writing (edit copies, piles of research). Worship Team (music).
Can you spell clutter?
More importantly, can you control clutter?
As much as I hate clutter, it invades my home on a regular basis.
To keep clutter at bay requires organization and tidying up on a regular basis. These two things are very different from cleaning. Yes, cleaning is important, but it will not control clutter.
Let's talk about clutter control.
The first step to clutter control is organization.
Every item in your home should have a place. Pots and pans should go in a cabinet. Silverware in a drawer. Clothing in drawers and closets.
Organization should include a place to put shoes when folks slide them off, a docking stations for phones and laptops, and a dump zone for purses, briefcases, and bookbags.
Many times we have mess because there are things that we use or do in our homes that have no designated spot. Analyze your messy zones. Why are they messy? Provides homes for everything in your house.
Storage totes, especially clear ones, are awesome to use to store papers, clothing waiting to be passed down, art supplies, and school supplies. Each of my children had their own school drawer that held textbooks, reading books, papers, and assignment folders. They brought their school drawers to the dining room table each morning and returned them when they finished school. It ended the school stuff lying around.
The second step to clutter control is tidying daily.
When the children were little, we would tidy everyday before Daddy came home. Even the toddlers would pick up their toys from the floor and put them away. Cups would be cleared away to the kitchen.
When I walk into a messy room, I take a deep breath and realize that it is most likely twenty minutes away from tidy. If the whole family works together, it's only five minutes away from tidy.
Set a "tidy up" time once a day, but also teach children this important rule: If you get it out, put it away. Obeying this rule alone will bring order to a formerly messy house. If Mom knows that after the messy project, everything will be tidied up and the table will be clean again, she can relax and allow creative mess.
If your home is out-of-control. Plan a family meeting and tell everyone: "We are going to work together to organize and tidy up this house. Everything needs a place, even our shoes when we slip them off. Let's make a plan." After making the plan, execute it. Everyone helps.
When my children were little, we cleaned together on Saturday mornings. I would say, "It's time for the Curtis Cleaning Machine to get to work!" I tried to make tidying up and cleaning fun, not stressful. I learned if I had a good attitude about organizing, tidying, and cleaning, my children would, too.