Please welcome Shalom Mama’s new contributor, April from Holistic Homemaking!
Clutter stresses me out. I get cranky and easily irritated if things aren’t where they need to be. I used to think this was me being Type-A, but research is showing distinct links between stress and clutter or disorganization. Simply downsizing or organizing can do wonders for stress and help create a more peaceful, calm home.
If you are overwhelmed by the chaos and stress clutter brings in your home here are some guiding principles to help you pare down and simplify, room-by-room:
Kitchen & Dining Rooms
Use appliances that serve multiple purposes. Instead of a coffeemaker use a french press or a pour over coffee dripper. A high quality blender can also be used as a food processor.
KitchenAid mixers are not just great for mixing cookie dough; they are great for making whipped cream, pasta and even ice cream if you have the right attachments … and they save lots of room, not to mention money.
Strainers, casserole pans, platters, cookie sheets, and even entire sets of dishes can seemingly multiply over time. Pass the extras along and free up some space in your kitchen.
Lose the unused
99% of items purchased by consumers are no longer in use after six months. 80% of items we purchase we never use. Items that haven’t been used in six months or more need to be given to a new home.
Ditch the TV (or keep only one for occasional use)
The research is there to show the negative impacts of television on children and families. I know when my family goes unplugged for a few days life seems so much more slow, simple and peaceful.
Store items in zones. Books go on bookshelves. Media go in storage bins or in an entertainment cabinet. Storage ottomans make great places to hide children’s toys when not in use. Display photos instead of tchotchkes. Donate books and media you don’t use.
Bedroom & Closets
Set the scene
Bedrooms should be places of relaxation and rest. Find a new location for desks, computers and televisions. If you have a side table, keep one lamp and one item to read on the top. Move other books to bookshelves elsewhere in the home, and recycle magazines/newspapers.
Go easy on the bedding
Keep two sets of bedding per bed, and one pillow per person per bed.
Don’t forget the closet
Donate clothes, shoes and accessories that no longer fit. Take an inventory of what remains, keeping tally of how much of each item you have. Keep your favorite items. With the rest keep what will help you get through a 2 week period.
Keep what you are truly going to wear and use. Don’t hang on to an item solely because there is sentimental value attached to it or you hope to fit in it again one day. If you haven’t used it in 6 months or longer it needs to go.
In our home we follow the “one toy in, one toy out” rule. If they get one or buy one, then they must get rid of one. We use this approach with clothing as well.
Remove old, unused, and expired items
Cosmetics and other toiletry items can go bad over time. I like to make a habit of doing this every 3-6 months.
Do we really need a different shampoo, soap or toothpaste for each person in our family? Castile soap is a great option that is gentle on all skin types. It can also be used when shaving. Coconut oil can be used as lotion, aftershave and even conditioner.
Keep 1-2 towels per person who uses a bathroom. Keep 2-3 items (total) as bath toys for the kids.
Need more advice? Here are some helpful tutorials:
- The Guide to An Organized Kitchen
- 5 Steps To An Organized Bedroom
- 10 Steps To An Organized Linen Closet
The less “stuff” I have the more at peace I feel. Things are easier to locate when I need them, and it helps me and my family enjoy the simpler things in life. My hope is that you can experience these joys as well. Happy simplifying!!