For years I have struggled with clutter and keeping an orderly home. Nowadays the house stays clean, and I can have guests over at the drop of a hat. Finally! But how did I get here?
First thing in the morning I put anything away anything left out from the night before.
I love waking up to a clean house! For the last couple years, my routine has been as soon as I come downstairs, while the coffee is brewing, I put away the few items that the kids might have left out. Next I fill the sink with sudsy water for the breakfast dishes and any glasses from the night before. After breakfast everything gets cleaned up and put away, then we are ready for homeschooling.
The kids wash most of the dishes they use.
Two household jobs that I have always done for our family are hand washing dishes and mopping floors. Now Christian does all the mopping, and Sophie washes dishes sometimes. But a few months back I asked the kids to wash their own dishes right after they eat. I've been doing this, too. They don't always do it, but they do it enough that it has cut my dish washing time in half. I keep a small dish drainer on one side of the sink and when I'm in the kitchen I quickly put away the few dishes in it. This has helped so much!
I gave away all our books that we can get at the library.
I have a weakness for books, but I rarely read a book twice, so they just sit on the shelf. I used to to have two large bookcases chock full of books-plus boxes of homeschooling books that weren't being used. Now I only have a few books, and the kids have a number of books they own kept in their rooms. All of the extra homeschooling books and educational materials are going to a curriculum sale next week! Our librarian has told me that they can get almost any book I want through inter-library loan.
I went through every closet and drawer in our house and gave away or threw away all duplicates, or things we don't need or use.
Even though my house is kept clean, the closets and drawers were messy most of the time. Filled to the brim with duplicates of everyday items and stuff we weren't using or didn't need. I went through everything! This took me about two weeks. I also organized and put all like items together.
I organized the Fridge
This is what inspired me to go through every area of my home. There was no rhyme or reason to where our food was placed in the refrigerator. I asked Sophie to label on post-it-notes things like eggs, meat, veggies, breads, milk and juice, and leftovers. It only took a few days for us to put things in the right spot. Now leftovers are being eaten!
Every item has a home.
I didn't think this would ever happen. It was because we owned way too much stuff! The answer was just getting rid of it! Now I can easily find anything in our home. And I know what we have, because we don't have too much.
Saying no when friends want to give us things, and not buying new things.
This is a new one, and it's a challenge! Today after church a friend wanted to give me a couple pairs of shorts for Sophie. She does need shorts, but I new she wouldn't like them. Normally, I would have taken them anyway, and they would have sat in my closet for a while. I was strong and I said, "No thank you". One day this week we went to our neighbor's play, and there was also a book fair going on. Sophie really wanted a book, but I said, "No, we can get it at the library".
I have the kids put their things away after using.
This is taking some time, and I still put things away from them. I'm trying to be more aware and remind them to do it. I know we'll get there.