Homemaking | Preparing Your Home

I shared on my Instagram feed how one of the most asked questions I get is about how I keep my home so clean.  When I posted about it here, I was again blown away by the response and how many mamas would love encouragement in this area.  And, since that post, I've gotten more DMs asking me the same question... "How do you keep your house so clean and clutter free?"  I shared last week about expectations, so if you missed that post- check it out here.

I don't think anything I do is incredibly mind-blowing, but maybe I can give a bit of inspiration to you to help kick start your spring cleaning or organize your thoughts/plan.  One of the first things to do before beginning the actual cleaning is to prep your home.  There is nothing worse than getting yourself pumped up to clean, only to find that you can't clean because there's so much JUNK everywhere.  You have to prep your house for the cleaning, and if it has been awhile since you've done this, acknowledge beforehand that this will be "work" and that it will take some time to do the preparation.  AND, it's okay that it's not fun, it's just part of life and part of having a home that's easy to maintain (I have to tell myself that all of the time- it's okay that it's not fun). :)   

So here are a couple of Prep Steps to do prior to beginning your cleaning routine:

Declutter- There... I said it... DECLUTTER.  I realize that decluttering is a huge trend right now, but aside from it being trendy, it's also necessary.  Do you want a home that's easy to tidy on the fly??? Declutter so there isn't so much to cram in the closet when your guests are pulling into your drive unannounced.  

I declutter constantly.  If I have a "hot spot" that I am always fighting to keep clean- it's time to  
declutter.  Here's the key, declutter one space at a time.  Start with a room that doesn't bog you
down and declutter.  Have a box for items you want to give away and a trash bag for trash.
Don't spend 10 minutes pondering each item or this will take you a century and you will quit
before the job is done... have you used it lately?  Does it serve an important purpose?

A sidenote... I am not a very sentimental person.  My mama and mother-in-law are constantly
concerned about things I part with. :)lol  For me, a clean home is so much more important to
me than a trinket I was given.  There are a few things that I hold near and dear and most of them
are handiwork pieces from my Nene (like that Bambi quilt on my daughter's bed in the above
photo).  Otherwise, I don't cling to things very tightly.  Not everyone is like this, but the burden
of keeping things just in case is too much for me. 

Decluttering Kid's Hot Spots-   The way I do my decluttering is to work from room to room.  I usually do one floor and then move to the other floor (upstairs and then downstairs) and I work fast.  The areas that I declutter often are the kids' closest and their drawers.  I am seasonally doing this.  If I stay on top of things, it doesn't take me long, but if I wait too long it takes a bit more time.  I don't hand down Liam's clothes because I don't have another boy, but I do hand down the girls' clothes to the next girl sibling.  Julia's closet has a tote in it that gets all of the hand-me-downs for both Julia and Guinnyth since the two older girls share a room and they don't have space in their closets for a tote.  This tote contains the gently worn clothes for both Guinnyth and Julia to have later on.  This saves us money, too, because I usually have some clothes for the next season stored for them and we don't have to buy entire wardrobes.  Again, I don't keep clothes that have holes or are so faded that they need to be tossed.  
Once the clothing is sorted and taken care of, we move on to the toys/closets.  Each kiddo gets      
one tote/bucket/basket in their closet for toys.  ONE- that's it.  I don't have a million totes and make them sort all of their toys.  They have one tote and everything gets tossed in that tote and
hidden in their closet.  This makes it easy and quick when it's clean up time and it keeps the
mess at a minimum because they don't have so many toys that the room becomes a disaster
since all they have is one tub of toys.  Every once in awhile their toys get out of hand and I
have to pare down.  If your kiddos are pack rats, send them to Grandma's house for a day and minimize the mess.  I, personally, just set my kids up with a movie and then get to work.  Do
you have a kid who loves Every. Single. Toy?  I have one, too, and she gets over it after a day,
or so.  It's okay to help them see that they don't have to hang on to everything.  Things we have
have different values, and we can teach our kids that.  Some things are worth keeping, some are
not (i.e. the rocks found at the park that magically made their way into my child's drawer). :)

Decluttering the Bathrooms- We only have necessities.  We don't have a ton of towels- just enough for us and a few for if we have guests.  They are all the same color so I can sort and put them away quickly.  We keep our shower supplies simple and condensed so it is easy to wipe the shower and bathtub down weekly.  Our counters are clear from clutter and easy to wipe, as well.  Our current bathroom is big, but our last one was very small and we have the same amount in here as we did in our tiny bathroom.  Keep things simple and it's so much easier to keep clean.

Conceal Things- This is a tip that I throw out like candy when telling online friends how my house looks so tidy.  Baskets with lids. Drawers. Closets.  Keep things that you don't want seen concealed.  Your home will automatically look tidier.  We have toys in our living room, but you'd never know it because they are tucked away inside of a basket.  See that basket that Brownie is chilling on??  It's is hiding our toys.  Those are all of the toys we have in our living room.  They are easy to pick up and I rarely have a struggle with the kids when it's clean up time.  We do have a toy closet in our basement area and it has tubs in it for the kids to put those toys in, too.  It is hidden behind closed doors and when we have company, you don't even know they are there.  So, you see, it isn't that we don't have any toys, we just keep them tucked away and we seasonally go through them to weed out the broken, un-needed, tired toys.  If it's birthday time, or Christmas, the toys get a huge purging prior to bringing in the new stash.

So, grab yourself some baskets at the thrift store, or grab some Hobby Lobby coupons and hide
those toys.

Vacuum up the Dirt- My last, and most gratifying, tip is to vacuum your house.  Like, the entire thing... shelves and all.  :) This is such an easy way to make your home feel instantly refreshed after you have just decluttered.  I take my hose on my vacuum and the brush attachment and dust the baseboards, window sills, doors, and the corners of the rooms where cobwebs like to hide.  I get the perimeter of every room and under all of the furniture.  I know this sounds like it takes a long time, but I promise it will make your life so. much. easier. in the long run.  It is so easy and will instantly make your room appear cleaner.  I do this prior to wiping down any room I'm about to clean (this includes bathrooms, which get so much hair around the perimeter, closets, behind toilets, etc). There's nothing more annoying than sitting on your hands and knees, ready to wipe down the base boards, and after one swipe you have a nasty, dirty rag.  Vacuuming the little bits and dust bunnies will help so much. :)
I sincerely hope that this was helpful and not totally overwhelming.  I can honestly say that once you've done this the first time, if you stay on top of things every once in awhile, it doesn't take that long to maintain the home.  I homeschool, run a home-based business, and keep a home with 4 kiddos underfoot 24/7... decluttering and paring down is the only way I can keep my home from taking over my sanity. 

I have more things coming up ahead, so I hope you will stay tuned.  If you have any helpful input, please comment below and share with other mamas.  My next post will be about my cleaning supplies.  Those, too, are kept simple. :)

1 comment:

  1. I have that exact Bambi quilt that my grandmother made me....and I'm 42 years old! I, too, am not an overly sentimental person and can part with things fairly easily. But, I have held on to that quilt all of these years.