Who has been there- school permission slip lost in sea of papers, hats and mittens buried in a pile of miscellaneous clothing, floor so covered in various shades of neon plastic blinking toys you barely remember what colour your area rug was.
For a really long time I lived in this chaos- okay, let's keep it real, I am not out of the organizational chaos that is my house yet. But I am light years ahead of where I was. Being more organized was a big motivation for our #canningreno- and I can honestly say that the steps we've taken to get more organized has ADDED years to my life. I have less aggravation when I am looking for items, I feel more peaceful and more ordered and more in control of my home AND MY TIME. Not searching for things in a lengthy frenzy is just so much better than feeling totally overwhelmed and running late because you can't find something.
In the past when I have worked with clients on full scale projects we have brought in a professional organizer to assist in the process. And I really believe in the process- sometimes you need someone completely objective to kick you into shape.
If you are in need of a kick start- here are 5 shortcuts I have learned via working with professional organizers and dealing with the chaos of 4 kids & 2 adults living in 1300 square feet.
1. ARTCHIVE APP FOR KIDS ART
This is honestly the best invention for space deprived, sentiment filled families! This app allows you to snap a quick photo of your kids' school masterpiece, tag it with their name, age and date, and then puts it into an album for you to "artchive" forever- and even print in an album if you feel so inclined. A clutter-free way to save and enjoy your kids' artwork. I discovered this after I was truthfully fed up with my own sentiment- I had real issues throwing away the adorable pictures drawn by my kids, but just do not have the space for more paper storage. This app could also be used for Christmas cards, post cards, love notes etc. Keep a few hard copy that are really sentimental and frame them- then Artchive App the rest. No need for boxes piled up in the basement!
2. BASKET AT TOP OF STAIRS
I'm trying to keep my main living space toy free. Of course, this isn't really possible as I live in 1300 square feet on my main floor- so during the day the toys migrate in. But at the end of the day- all toys and books etc. go in a massive wicker basket- like big time big, 2' high- and then the basket gets brought downstairs and put away in the appropriate spots in our newly renovated basement (which I designed with wall to wall closed storage). I keep another smaller basket at the top of the stairs for non toy things that belong in the basement- like the screwdriver that ended up left upstairs after building a kids toy, clothes the kids have outgrown that should be put in storage, etc. etc. Pick some pretty looking baskets so they integrate with your decor so even if they are in the space they look seamless.
3. BINDER AT FRONT DOOR
Massive MASSIVE pain point for me is paper. Similar to point number 1- I just never know what to do with it. Mail basically just piled up on my counters- if you opened the top drawer in my kitchen island you probably wouldn't be able to because papers would get jammed. So in a moment of utter desperation- I bought a white binder, some dividers, and a couple of those plastic envelopes that can go in a binder too. And now all papers that come into the house get hole punched and filed. The kids each have a tab for school related things (no more wondering if today is pizza lunch or not). Important receipts, business cards, coupons all go in that plastic envelope. I made a tab for my husband too for important things he needs to address. For my business I did the same thing in a separate binder- so every single piece of paper that comes into my house either from the mailman or from my kids' backpacks is dealt with within 5' of my front door, and within moments after receiving it. This is a massive win for my sanity!!!!!
4. ERRANDS BAG IN FRONT HALL CLOSET
You know when you have to take something to the dry cleaner, or return a library book, or need to match a fabric colour or something so you need to remember to take that item with you? This tip I learned from my organizer Nadia- put a bag that matches your decor- either a reusable shopping bag, or a simple tote bag- and that's where all these little items go. This way these "errands items" don't pile up on the front stairs, foyer table or counter. And you can grab and go without wondering where you put that item, saving you time and stress.
5. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE TO LOSE BY NOT DECLUTTERING
Again, referring to last week's post on what you have to lose by NOT doing something- if you hang on to that card, if you don't tackle the pile of papers, if you don't address the avalanche in your closet- what do you have to lose? I will tell you: TIME, SANITY, TIME DOING THINGS YOU ACTUALLY ENJOY LIKE HANGING OUT WITH YOUR KIDS, MORE SANITY. And what do you get to gain? You get to actually have a space you enjoy, that helps YOU live a peaceful, beautiful life, a place to create memories with your family. A home you can actually Instagram because it is not covered in crap (lol) !!!!
Question: What one thing might you do today to bring order to your home? Love to know in the comments below!