In a quick post on Instagram I asked if there was anything I could share on the blog that would be helpful or maybe just answer some questions, and I was surprised to get a lot of housekeeping questions!
I immediately thought that I shouldn’t write about this stuff because I’m not good at it, but then I realized I could share my problem areas and how I’m trying to overcome them!
I’ve always been a sprawler and one that was totally fine living in clutter. My mom reminds me that my bedroom was pure chaos for a lot of my youth, and when I was asked to clean it I would usually just shove things under the bed.
College wasn’t all that different for me, as far as organization goes, but I slowly got a little bit better over time.
With 2 kids, working about 20-ish hours a week, and plenty of other things to do (from playdates to other commitments), it’s gotten harder and harder to keep up with clutter. Not to mention I get a lot of stuff shipped to the house from brands as promotional packages (not complaining, just stating the facts).
So, enter problem areas:
- The kitchen (in general and also this one spot right by the door)
- My office
- My bedroom
I’ll tackle kitchen organization in this post and then write 2 follow up posts for the other locations!
In general, the boys know where to play and where not to play in the house. Our home is a little unusual in that there is an attached apartment off of the kitchen. The living room part of the “apartment” is where the TV is and where the boys play. Every other room in the downstairs is off limits for playing. That may sound extreme, but establishing the playroom from the very beginning made it really easy to stand by that rule. They are allowed to run around the whole first floor, but we keep the toys contained to the playroom. For me, it’s too dangerous to risk stepping on a toy carrying a pot full of boiling water to the sink so I don’t even allow that to happen.
The clutter, though, in the kitchen is Justin and my things. It’s mail, keys, grocery lists, sunglasses, our bluetooth speaker that we use constantly, papers, boxes, etc. Recently I was feeling overwhelmed by the state of the kitchen and took about 30 minutes to just put stuff away. There were 2 factors that played into this that may help you attack some clutter or piles in your own house.
First, I try to live by the rule of being “10 minutes away from clean enough for a new house guest to arrive”. Essentially, I should be able to gather up clutter and clean up enough in 10 minutes that I wouldn’t be embarrassed about the state of my house. Before you start to think that I always pick up my house before friends come over, let me assure you I do not! I actually love the notion that your closest friends are the ones you don’t need to clean for! They come over and don’t care about the mess because they know your life and what you have going on! So the “10 minutes to guest ready” idea is really to keep me from letting it get out of control, and sets me up to feel comfortable IF, in fact, someone new was going to swing by!
Secondly, I read an article about minimalism a few weeks back that asked why we sometimes feel like we need to have duplicates of things. I tossed that question around in my head a lot. And in the kitchen, I quickly saw that I had multiples of things that I simply didn’t need multiples of. Like coffee mugs! Spatulas! Mixing bowls! I spend 45 minutes a few weeks ago and picked out every single coffee mug I knew I could live without and was left with 5 mugs. I dropped the box full off at a donation center and never looked back. 5 coffee mugs is plenty. I have one if a friend comes over, and if I’m having a party I’d just buy paper coffee cups anyway so that solves that problem.
So with these two ideas in my head, I cleared the two piling zones that Justin and I are repeat offenders of and felt instantly ahead of the game. It’s been so much easier to KEEP those areas clean, and I told Justin that I was really trying to maintain a clutter-free kitchen so he’s joined me in that effort.
I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen, so looking around and seeing the clutter stressed me out. I love to cook and bake, and generally feel better about doing that now that I’m not shoving other things out of the way for counter space!