If you feel like you’re home is in serious need of organization, don’t despair! These five simple things will have you conquering chaos in no time, and they don’t have to cost you a thing.
Family life and chaos are always trying to buddy up, aren’t they?
The clutter in your house leaves you wishing you could just buy something to store it all out of sight. Or at least make it look better when you have to see it.
I think I need some shelves. Hmm, yes, more shelves. Maybe some racks. Oh, and don’t forget the bins, totes, crates, cubbies, drawers, compartments, and corkboards. That will fix it, right?
You almost seethe with frustration and can hardly focus on anything but the mess when it starts to take over. Maybe this new magical stuff will help you organize all the other stuff you already have?
But the clutter you see isn’t the only thing tipping the scales toward chaos. There’s schedule clutter, too. You know, all of the extras that leave you with the exhausting realization that your entire life looks like a rushed blur of day to day survival.
Running from one great activity to the next, cringing when you forget an appointment because you double-booked, and not even having room in your schedule to eat a secret bowl of ice cream before crashing at night.
Out. Of. Control.
Is this how it’s supposed to be?
Momma friend, motherhood doesn’t often lend itself to predictable days and consistently tidy rooms. If the cluttered house and the cluttered schedule sounds too much like your life, you’re not alone.
You might lack some crucial aspects of an organized home and life, though. These five things don’t have to cost you anything but could make the difference between conquering chaos and letting it reign.
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1. Fail to Plan, Plan to Reheat Your Coffee All Day
You know that joke about losing some brain cells every time you gain a baby? Mommy-brain is for real, but being scatterbrained all the time doesn’t have to be your norm.
If you want to be an organized mom who knows what she needs to do when she needs to do it, you need a planner.
Without some sort of way to plan your schedule, you’ll probably over-commit, lose track of your to-dos, and be stuck reheating your coffee all day because you can’t find a single spare minute to take a sip.
But before you start pricing fancy planners or getting carried away with bullet journal tutorials, remember the point of a planner.
You simply need a place to consistently write down all you have to do. Some sort of calendar helps, too. But it doesn’t have to be anything expensive or even an actual planner. It could be as basic as:
- a 10 cent notebook you buy during back-to-school season,
- sheets of notebook paper that you already own,
- calendar pages that you print from free online sources,
- a calendar and/or to-do app,
- scrap paper,
- a dry-erase or chalkboard wall calendar,
- or an inexpensive planner from an office supply store.
I use and love the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner. A busy mom of 6 designed this life saver, understanding that our schedules aren’t easily broken down into neat hourly segments and require lots of flexibility. The beautiful cover and layout make it a joy to use and the sturdy construction keeps it going strong all year. The modest price seals the deal. (You can see a full review here.)
Whatever you choose, the goal is to write down all the things you need to do somewhere, and do it consistently. Mommy brain, conquered.Motherhood doesn't lend itself to predictable days & consistently tidy rooms. Here's help.Click To Tweet
2. Thrive on Routine
Humans thrive on routine. Big humans, little humans, and groups of humans (like families!). We all do better with routines because we’ve learned good habits through them and stay on top of our jobs better with them. Then we feel accomplished.
In the home, routines are a powerful way to stay on top of daily and weekly cleaning jobs, keep a homeschool day moving, and end the day with peaceful hearts.
When you notice a certain job that never gets done or an area of your home life that consistently causes stress, brainstorm ways to create a routine around it. For example, if your 8-year-old can’t keep her room clean, help her develop a new morning routine that includes a quick 5-minute “power pickup” before breakfast.
Another example is our weekly cleaning routine. Our home, the one with *nine* people living in it, would be a chaotic, messy, cluttered disaster without this routine. It hangs on the refrigerator for everyone to see and looks like this:
Did you notice that my kiddos are doing most of the cleaning? Win!
If you don’t use a lot of routines right now, you’ll overwhelm everyone if you decide to create and implement five of them this week. So choose one simple routine that will really make a difference without being too difficult to start, like a quick 10-minute table cleaning routine after dinner.
As your family masters one helpful routine, add in another that meets a different need. In our family, we have a morning routine, schoolwork routine, weekly cleaning routine, overall daily routine, and very haphazard bedtime routine. Four for five isn’t so bad, right?
Your routines will look different than another family’s, and that’s totally okay. What’s important to you and your family may not be important to your friend and her crew. But the simple routines you create will help everyone in your home remember how they should use their valuable time and energy at every moment of the day.
And when that happens? Kiddos go to bed with the satisfaction of an imaginary gold star pinned to their jammies, and mommas go to bed with a happy heart.
3. Less is More is Really Right
You know that stage children go through when everything is precious? My five-year-old daughter is there. Every picture she draws, every trinket she owns, and every gift she has ever been given is a treasure from which she can never part.
Sometimes I need to pull her off to the side and gently remind her that when we have too much stuff, we can’t really enjoy the things we have.
Too much stuff creates this vicious cycle where we can’t keep what we have under control, which leaves us with disorganized messes, which often leads to anxiety and depression, which causes us to get discouraged or shut down. And what happens then? We can’t tackle the clutter and the cycle starts again.
I know it can be hard to get rid of things and minimize your possessions, especially if you’re concerned about needing something “someday.” But too much stuff steals your time, your energy, and your joy, and the “someday” you’re waiting for rarely comes.
You can’t organize clutter. It may not be easy, but downsizing your possessions plays a huge part in organizing your home and life.
Enjoy the things that really matter by downsizing the things that don’t.
4. A Little Help Can Go a Long Way
Momma friend, sometimes we take too much on ourselves.
You feel bad asking for help because you struggle to break away from this false image of the ideal homemaker who manages everything for her family, all by herself, from before sunup until after sundown, and she does it while wearing a perpetual smile and a really cute apron.
When my husband began offering to take the ironing pile to the dry cleaners for pressing, I refused. Why should we pay someone to iron the clothes when I could do it?
But really, it wasn’t the cost. Taking the ironing to the cleaners meant that I wasn’t keeping up with my job, and that meant I failed. Or so I thought.
The reality was that ironing all of my husband’s professional clothes wasn’t the best use of my time and he knew it. When the piles disappeared to the cleaners and ironing was suddenly off my weekly workload, I had to admit he was right. I needed the help.
Asking for and accepting help is not a sign that you’re failing your home or family. It just shows that you’re human, with limits. And we weren’t made to do this alone.Asking for & accepting help isn't a sign you're failing your family.Click To Tweet
Train your children to help you with jobs. Let a friend or family member who’s in a different stage of life lend a hand. Talk to your husband about how you can work together as a team. If you have the means, don’t be afraid to hire help!
No woman can manage everything in a busy home all by herself for very long. You might have to go through a difficult season shouldering much of the work, but that should always be the exception, and never the rule.
If he offers, let him take the ironing to the cleaners.
5. No Rest for the Weary Means No Order for the Home
When you feel like you have too much to do, what’s the first thing you’re likely to give up? (Hint: it’s not coffee.)
Whether you get up an hour earlier or go to bed later by two, when you’re to-do list is mounting, you’ll give up sleep. And that can be fine for a short time.
But if you regularly find yourself feeling unorganized and your home reflects that, too, you might need more rest.
You can’t think clearly when you’re sleep deprived. Your ability to make smart decisions and keep steady emotions dramatically diminishes when you’re too tired. No one can enjoy an organized home and life while also experiencing brain fog and roller coaster emotions!
Sleep is a crucial part of self-care and caring for your home and family. No matter how big your organizing task seems, don’t forfeit your rest for too long. It won’t work.
You can get more done in a short amount of time with a clear, rested mind than you can over many hours while tired, emotional, and mentally worn.
Sleep is vital for everyone, even busy mommas.
If It Still Feels Too Big
If you just read over these five things and feel overwhelmed, I want you to pause. Breathe. Take a step back.
Which of these would be the easiest for you to do right now? Focus on that, and make it a habit over the next 2-4 weeks. Then move on to the next easiest, following suit for each one.
We’re all learning how to be more organized. It’s okay to take your time. Little by little, one step at a time, you can create an organized home and life.
Even with little people in the house. And even without any extra shelves.
And if you’re craving some one-on-one mentoring, I’d love to chat with you personally during a Homemaking Coaching Session.