January 24, 2013


hi friends, i have some thoughts on keeping our homes simple, clean & less cluttered. i really believe that the way our home "looks" affects the way we "feel" in it. if there is a lot of clutter, toys everywhere, dirty clothes thrown on the floor & dishes piled in the sink... it adds stress & leaves us lacking the ability to enjoy each other & be creative as a family. if my house is a mess i usually end up just thinking about how messy it is & not "being with" my family. all of that is not at all to say that our house is spotless, because it is actually quite messy at times & i love when the boys pull toys out & play & enjoy being little ones. but isn't it easier to think when your space is clear of clutter? it sure is for me! so here are a few tips...

1. the goal is to first get your house rid of things that haven't been used for over a year. yes, you'll want to hold on to a few things from childhood & a few things that hold sentiment, but limit yourself to how much of that kind of stuff you'll hold on to. only keep the things that really hold value to you. so to break it down...
-tackle one room at a time, or if that's too overwhelming... just one area in one room at a time. i would start with the room that is most lived in, whether that's the living room, play room or kitchen. if your most lived in area is less cluttered it'll help in bringing peace to your home & maybe bring motivation to get the rest of the house together. :) 
-so start by making 3 piles... 1) donate 2) trash 3) storage. everything that is left in the room should have a set place. don't just leave things laying on the floor. your kids will soon begin to learn where things "go" in the house. so when you ask them to put something away they will know where to put it. 
-keep only the things that are most used in your home visible. everything else should be stored in the room that you use them in. so if you're working in the playroom & you've already sorted the toys that you are donating, trashing & storing all the toys that are left should have their "regular spot" in the room. the toys that are played with the most should be the only ones that are visible, all the other toys should be stored in closets, etc.
-simplicity & minimalism is so important to remember when sorting through rooms. you will want to hold on to a lot more than you actually need at first. you may need to go back & sort through your house again. & i actually think our homes should be purged at least once a year. i end up doing it about twice a year... just because it's my personality to get rid of stuff & clutter drives me crazy. :)
2. now that your house is purged... work on organizing. what makes most sense in the setup of each room? what makes things more convenient for you as you go about your day to day? what will help you keep it picked up? 
-put your laundry basket in an easy access spot so you can throw dirty clothes in there instead of on the floor.
-have a regular spot for shoes that is convenient for everyone so shoes don't end up all over the house. 
-make sure your laundry room & kitchen are efficient so when it's time to get laundry & dishes done the process works smoothly & quickly.
3. toys! toys are the thing that adds the most clutter to our home... obviously. ;) 
-so we've always taught the boys to keep the toys they have out to a minimum. 
-also, before they pull out something else that has a lot of pieces to it they need to clean up the other toys they have out. all of this is teaching them to be organized little fellas & to be faithful with the things God has blessed us with. 
-the rule is... all the toys can be played with anywhere in the house, but before bed we put them all away in the playroom. no toys "live" in the living room or their room (other than their drawers of cars). :)
4. helping them play...
-i think it's so important to setup toys, craft supplies & books to encourage our kids to use their imaginations. if everything is all just thrown in one spot & there's a ton of toys & books then they will probably be overwhelmed & maybe not play with the toys, crafts or books because they don't know where to start. 
-we rotate toys in our house. i have a bin of toys in storage that i will pull out & put some toys from the playroom away & pull out new ones. this keeps the boys from getting bored with the toys they have & it keeps things less cluttered.
-i don't like throwing all the toys in a bin when we clean up. we usually put all the pieces that go with each toy together as we put them away. maybe that's a little ocd, but i believe it helps them as they play. 
-i have a little pile of their books in the living room that i rotate out on a regular basis so they have easy access to books even if they're not in the playroom. 
-i like to have the playroom setup in a way that is inviting to them & just begging for them to play. ;) toys are easy to get to, not a ton of stuff on the floor so they can walk around & get to what they're wanting to play with, chairs for them to sit & read, etc. 

all of these are ideas. :) do what you want with them. my gracious Father has made me more laid back with 3 crazy little boys & i'm still learning. :) i was always so worried about toys everywhere & dust & dirty toilets. but above all of this, we need to be IN their lives... teaching them, shepherding their hearts, loving them & if the house gets a little messy or the layer of dust is too thick... take a deep breath & remember what mothering is about (i'm talking to myself here ;)). His grace is sufficient. & enjoy being a maker of your home. what a gift & high calling! make it HOME to them & make them ask you when you're out running errands, "can we go home?" :)

what's one tip you could share about keeping your home simple?

i have some exciting news coming next week!!!!! ;)


Anna said...

great tips! I so need to do this again in our home. having more definitely creates more stress!!

thecozycomposer said...

"A place for everything and everything in its place" We like to use book shelves for storage. We move a lot (husband training for ministry too) and purge at least once a year. We have found that really we don't need a lot of toys to keep our kids entertained. The top shelves are for my 4yo daughter's paper, crafts, and special toys (that her little brother can't break). The lower shelves are filled with my 1yo son's toys and books.

Also, when it's time to pick up I like to use an empty laundry basket to collect toys or random items off of the floor. Then we can put them away more efficiently.

What are your thoughts on stuffed animals? I think we have been given 99% of them and I've even donated a lot already. I think they are sneaking in some where (*shifty eyes*) haha!

allison barker said...

good thoughts! our family is soooo not about stuffed animals! each boy has one stuffed animal that is "theirs" but they just dont really play with the other ones we have. i'm hoping if we have a little girl she'll enjoy them. :) i get rid of them on a regular basis too.

justicepirate.com said...

I really love this post.
My family was always very cluttery and my mom raised me on sentiments. I became very materialistic as a child because of it, and stored loads of things in "memory boxes" (very large ones at that) for years. I was heavily convicted by the young rich man in the Bible not really being able to give up what he had, so I went on a spree right before I had my firstborn and rid of most that I owned. It is hard however to have this mentality when my husband had grown up much of the way that I had. Thankfully he started to feel free when he rid of a lot of he had. We don't have a lot in our home and people always notice that we have a bit of an emptiness in our home (my friends make fun of my naked walls which I would love to put scriptures throughout the walls).

This post was inspirational and I really want to start working on them, because my children are becoming the way I was, due to my parents constantly buying them things regardless of me telling them to STOP because they have an OVERFLOW of toys that don't even fit in their displays at home. It is very frustrating because I often will have them give up toys, and I deal with tears at times, but I want them to value having little so they can focus and appreciate us and God more.

Anyway, I only own ONE of my childhood toys which my boys play with (a small 5 inch pound puppy I had in the 80s). I love that you put things in three piles as I do as well. The problem is to GET to the donation place. Thankfully a new one opened up only 4 minutes away!

Thanks for the reminders!!

sarah j. said...

thanks for the encouragement! i'm feeling the need to purge again, as we bought this house a little less than a year ago and i'm noticing that cupboards and closets that were empty when we moved in are quickly filling up. also feeling called to pursue adoption this year and so we will be needing the space. :)

for keeping incoming toys limited, we've taken to asking the grandparents for memberships to the children's museum & the zoo at holidays. a wonderful gift that my boys LOVE but doesn't result in a lot of stuff in the toy box. plus its always exciting when grandma & papa can come along and enjoy the gift with us!

if ever i think of purging something, but i can't quiet bear the idea of giving it up, i put it in a box and tape it shut with the date it was sealed on the top (and a label of what's inside). if i don't go tearing into the box within a year, then i really don't need it. this also works well for husbands that are SURE they use something that you never see them use. ;)

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