Family Life, Home Organization

4 Tried and True Tips for Cleaning Out When You Feel Overwhelmed

We’ve all been there– when all of a sudden the organized chaos of your house turns into genuine, all-out mayhem. The stacks of holiday cards tucked in their envelopes so that you can record the addresses, the piles of presents stacked in the corner waiting to find their proper places, the heaps of clean but now wrinkly clothes where you tried on six different outfits before finding the perfect one for that holiday party…

If you find yourself thinking,”I want to get this under control, but I just don’t even know where to start!” then I’ve got a few tips for you!


B’s Tip! Think about whether or not you’d be better off cleaning out with the help of your children or when they are away. Sometimes, having extra hands can make things go a lot faster! Other times, your kids might talk you into keeping things that you’d be better off letting go. 

1 Make a battle plan. Pick a place in your house to start– maybe it’s your kid’s bedroom and you work forward or maybe you start at the door and work backward. Deciding on a flow will help you isolate challenge by space and help them feel less overwhelming.

2 Make a “Stuff Central Station”. Make a clear place in your house where you can stack up any and everything that is out of place. You don’t want this to be an out of sight location, or it might never get undone! However, you also don’t want this area to be in the way of life in case the clean out takes more than one day. Make a sweep through the entire house and take anything that is out of place or doesn’t have a proper place to Stuff Central Station.

3 Isolate and conquer. In addition to needing to find good places to store all of that out-of-place stuff, the New Year is a great time for systemized cleaning out! Go in to each room, and instead of thinking, “Ok, I need to clean out the bathroom,” make a list of isolated tasks and tackle them one at a time: “Ok, in this bathroom I need to clean out two drawers, two lower cabinets, and the towel cabinet.” If you complete all of those areas in one go– great! If not, then that’s ok too. You’ll have a complete list of areas that need attention, and you’ll get to them! Don’t forget– before you go to clean out a room, gather all of the items from Stuff Central Station that belong in that area. That way they are sure to find a place of their own!

4 Use baskets and bins to organize your space– and to provide yourself boundaries. Having small organizational bins and baskets will keep your storage areas visually neat, but the other added benefit of having bins and baskets is that naturally provide you with boundaries. This is especially helpful if you struggle with holding on to items “just in case” or find yourself accidentally hoarding vegetable peelers. If you have a little drawer divider and tell yourself, “Ok– here is where all the note pads in the house will go!” and all of a sudden you have more note pads than you have space in your divider? Well, then you have to many note pads, and it’s time to get rid of some of them.

 B’s Tip! Always check your local dollar store for organizational bins, drawer dividers, and small plastic baskets. These inexpensive options are great for inside drawers, cabinets, and closets. If the basket is going to be visible in your home, probably better to buy some of the nicer ones from a home goods store (but take your coupons!). 


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