House Mix

How I simplified and organized my house, room by room

How I simplified and organized each room in my house - with printable checklist

I’m a moderate minimalist. I don’t want our home to be sparse and bare, rather selective and edited. Living simply doesn’t exactly come easy to me, but I’m learning, and it’s making my family’s life easier.

Some positives I’m seeing from living a more minimal life:

  1. Less mess to clean up.
  2. Saves money not shopping for unneeded things.
  3. Makes everyday life and trying to find things simpler.
  4. Helps use available space to its full potential.
  5. Feels peaceful in a clutter-free home.

Use baskets to organize books and paper in home office

Game plan

Simply put, the less you have, the better it will fit into your home and the less organizing you will have to do. These are my personal guidelines for owning and editing the things at our house:

Every thing needs it’s own spot to be put away. 

A place for everything and everything in its place, as they say. Bills, bags, books — each item needs it’s own space. If there isn’t a specific spot for an item on a shelf or in a basket somewhere, it will never be put away, and be left to sit out (right there on the counter, if your family is like mine!).

Try not to own more than one of something.

I understand this doesn’t work with everything, because we each have a passion or two that calls for extras. For example, my husband likes to cook and has, in my opinion, a knife or 10 more than we need. But I think he’d tell you I don’t need to keep 10 cans of paint sitting around in the garage for my projects. But when we were purging, we both agreed we didn’t need two weed wackers or five kinds of pasta strainers, etc. Ditch the duplicates.

If you don’t use it (or like it), lose it.

I held onto a modern white leather office chair that I loved, but had been ruined by my kids and cat with scratches and pen marks. I had a crazy idea that maybe I could recover it myself. Or that I could cover it with some sort of fabric tape. But I didn’t, and it sat around for ages. I finally realized I can’t salvage everything and if it’s not in use, it needs to go.

Some items might be difficult to part with if they have sentimental value. Only you know if it’s worth it to hang onto, but if it’s weighing you down, consider giving it to another home to love.

Keep it up.

It takes time to go through your house and cut out the clutter, and really it’s a never-ending task. Stuff will always find its way into your house — especially with kids! Take the time to keep evaluating and editing what you’re accumulating.

Questions to ask yourself when shopping to avoid clutter in your house

Shopping

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re shopping — and the same goes for donations or garage sale treasures. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it belongs in your space.

Is it something I will use on a regular basis?

Do I actually plan on juicing things weekly with this juicer my friend is giving away? Or will it just take up valuable cabinet space after I lose interest?

Do I already have something similar?

Don’t we all tend to buy a couple of the same pieces of clothing over and over? For me it’s stripes. I would really think I would be sick of them by now, but I’m not. I simply cannot walk by a navy and white striped top without taking a second look. I blame my mother. We both usually look like we’re ready to go yachting at the drop of a hat. A shame no one ever asks us.

Where will it go when I get it home?

If I can’t think of a place where it can have it’s own spot, then I probably won’t buy it. It will just add clutter.

Room by room

So you know my game plan, now here’s a breakdown of what I did to simplify and organize each space in my house:

kitchen

Organized kitchen with cabinets open

Before I minimized our kitchen things a few years ago, our cabinets were overflowing with gadgets and various types of tupperware. We couldn’t use half of them even if we wanted to because they were so buried.

Over a few nights, I pulled everything out of the cabinets and put it in the middle of the floor. I threw out or gave away about a third of it and then organized the rest.

Organized pots and pans cabinets with lids

We got a lucky break on these cabinet drawers. The previous homeowners put them in, and they’ve proved useful and versatile. As you can see, I only keep a limited number of pots and pans.

Organized utensil drawer with dividers

I used adjustable drawer dividers to separate utensils in the drawer beside the stove.

Organized kitchen cabinet with kid dishes and glasses

The kid dishes and cups occupy half of a cabinet shared with glasses. I try to keep all their dishes the same so they will stack well, and all the sippy cups the same so the parts will interchange easily.

Use a container for all the kid sippy cup pieces

I finally put a container in the cabinet to hold all the sippy cup pieces! It’s just not realistic to think I will put the cups together the way they should go before putting them away.

Organized glass tupperware cabinet

Before I cleaned out my tupperware cabinet, it looked as if I were some sort of avid collector. I tossed most of the plastic pieces (keeping a few for sending leftovers home with friends) and got a smaller glass set. The blue basket, above, holds the lids.

Having a leftover label in the fridge keeps them where we can see them so they don't go to waste

I put labels in the fridge to help keep it organized. For the shelves, I use labels for: ingredients, snacks, vegetables, fruit, and the most important one, leftovers. Having a specific place for leftovers keeps them from getting left in the back and going to waste.

Organized pantry with baskets from the dollar store

Visually, my pantry is a work in progress. (See my wire shelf makeover here from our last house.) But we’ve been using dollar store baskets for a couple years and they’ve worked great to organize things. I put labels on the most frequently used ones.

I put up a mini command center on a corner wall to help with scheduling and menus. Get the printables here.

I put up a mini command center on a corner wall to help with scheduling, menus and family info for the babysitter. Get the printables here.

Simplifying our kitchen went something like this:

  • Create a space for every appliance, pan, and gadget to go every time it’s put back.
  • If we can’t remember the last time we used a gadget or appliance, sayonora.
  • Get rid of the random dishes that don’t belong to a set.
  • Toss coffee stained, chipped mugs. Where do they all come from? No need taking up good cabinet space when you can’t possibly need all of them.
  • Limit the number of reusable water bottles. We currently have five.
  • Separate utensils used for cooking on the stove and gadgets into two drawers.
  • Put in drawer dividers.
  • Streamline kids dishes and cups. Throw away pieces that have seen better days.
  • Stop buying random sippy cups and buy only the same ones so they all the pieces fit together.
  • Add a basket for kid lids, straws, and pieces.
  • Toss the mismatched, stained tupperware containers and invest in a new, smaller glass set. That 60-piece set was getting me nowhere fast.
  • Add a basket for tupperware lids.
  • Put in baskets and labels for food in pantry.
  • Throw out old spices.
  • Put labels in the fridge. The most important label we use is “leftovers”. Leftovers would get poked in the side or pushed to the back and go to waste. If they’re all in one place, we know where to look so we can eat them first.
  • Start only buying the food we need for the week so the fridge stays organized and we don’t waste food.
  • Put a small basket on the counter for those little things that are always sitting around.
  • If there is still not enough space for everything, it means more has to go.

My messy junk drawer.

My weak spot? The junk drawer. I’ve chosen to let it go. After all, it is called the junk drawer.

Follow House Mix on Instagram for project sneak peaks.

closet

Closet organization

Before we moved into our current house, we lived at my parents house for five months. We naively thought we would be there for a month or two, so I only packed a suitcase full of clothes for myself. I brought my favorite everyday pieces and a few pairs of shoes.

Much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed having less clothes to choose from. And it was much easier to get dressed when there were only my favorites hanging in the closet. They weren’t buried in clothes that I might wear at some point or hated to get rid of because the tags were still on. I also got more creative and put combinations together I hadn’t thought of before. (See some of my mix and match outfits here.)

I loved the simplicity so much that when we finally did move into our new house, I donated a huge portion of the clothes that had been in storage. After only keeping my absolute favorites, I actually didn’t have a whole lot more hanging in my new closet than what came out of my suitcase at my parent’s house. I will probably add a few things to what I have now — but when I do make a purchase, I will make sure that I absolutely adore it and that fits well.

One treat I gave myself for clearing out my closet was to buy matching no-slip hangers because I didn’t need as many. (Costco had them on sale in the store at $7.99 for 35.) It could be a good thing to only have a set amount of hangers too! I counted about 100 hangers in my closet (not including coats). My goal is try to keep it somewhere around that number. (I should add, however, that I live in southern Florida and don’t really switch out clothes for different seasons.)

How I simplified and organized my closet

Tops and shoe organization

I like to hang my tops from sleeveless to long sleeve, and then by color.

Closet organization - put ballet flats in a drawerJPG

Putting ballet flats in a drawer keeps them organized and saves the cubbies for wedges and heels. I use the drawer below this one for flip flops.

Use drawers to organize jewelry in closet

I used dishes and pretty drawer dividers (TJ Maxx) to organize jewelry in flat drawers.

Here is my closet simplify list:

  • Take everything out.
  • Examine every article of clothing and pair of shoes.
  • Donate what does not fit well.
  • Donate what you wouldn’t buy now.
  • Donate clothes that are no longer your style — or age. I just hit my mid thirties and had to get rid of some party dresses that made me look like I was trying to be 22. Not what I’m going for.
  • Donate what you have too much of. How many pairs of jeans does a girl need? Which ones do I actually wear?
  • Limit T-shirts to one drawer. Any overflow goes.
  • Determine a number of hangers that fit your closet and wardrobe and try to stick with that number of hangers in the future.

I few ideas to slim down your closet over time:

  • Try turning all the hangers around in the closet. After wearing a piece, turn the hanger facing the other way when you put it back. You can see what has been worn the past year, and donate what hasn’t.
  • Stop buying multiples of the same item. (Stripes, Kate! Stripes.)
  • Or try to stop buying clothes for six months to a year and realize what you already have in your closet.

bathroom

Glamorous white master bathroom

Staying at my parents also taught me that I have way too many products. I did fine with the basic things I brought to their house. I didn’t need half of the things clogging my bathroom vanity.

Glamorous bathroom accessories and styling

Store pretty things like a set of brushes, a few pieces of jewelry, or perfume bottles out in the open and save cabinet cabinet space for the less attractive necessities. P.S. Here’s one way to shorten a lamp cord.

Bathroom drawer organization - makeup in bowls

Once I put the makeup I only wear on occasion in another container, it made it easier to organize and access my everyday makeup in one drawer.

Bathroom organization - hair straighteners

I got so sick of all the cords of my hair straighteners and curling irons tangling together that I ditched all but two of them and cleared out a drawer just for them. I separated them with a tray.

Bathroom under sink organization

After I used up and threw away products I didn’t use, everything fit easily under the sink.

Bathroom organization with small clear storage boxes

I sort of went crazy in my house with small, clear storage boxes from the dollar store. There are definitely more beautiful storage containers out there but I prefer these because I can see what’s inside without having to open them. Also, you can’t beat the price. These are things that I don’t use every day.

Here was how I sorted out my bathroom products:

  • Throw away all the older or expired bottles — perfume, makeup, masks, nail polish … That will get rid of more than you think!
  • Pull out makeup only used on occasion out of the drawer and put it in another container nearby. Then I can simplify my everyday makeup and see it easily.
  • Limit myself to 2 sets of shampoo and conditioner. And subsequently, only buy another set when one has run out.
  • Limit myself to 3 or 4 hair stylers — curling irons, hair straighteners, hairdryer, etc.
  • If I haven’t used anything left in the last 6 months, get rid of it.

See a full tour of my master bathroom (with before and after pictures) here.




linen closet

Bathroom shelves above toliet create extra storage

In our new house, I eliminated the linen closet in the master by turning it back into a man closet, so we got creative with storage and put shelves over the toilet. This left no room for the random towels or wash cloths that tend to linger in the linen closet. I don’t exactly want to look at that orange and brown floral towel from who knows where up there. All our towels had been around quite awhile, so they became “garage towels” and we started with a new set. (I’m also told you can donate unwanted towels to animal rescue shelters.)

  • Get rid of towels and wash cloths with stains or frayed edges.
  • Donate or make “garage towels” out of the few odd towels that don’t match the set.
  • For now, we will limit ourselves to six towels in the master bathroom and four in the guest bath. (That’s not counting beach towels.)
  • Pitch sheets that have started looking dingy or are no longer used.
  • Rotate the towels so the get the same wear and will eventually all be ready to replaced at the same time, keeping the set the same.
  • Limit ourselves to two or three old blankets for picnics or “tents” with the kids. Why do I keep them all?

home office

Ikea Micke desks in home office. Gray walls Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal

These Micke series desks from Ikea have decent storage, but not too much. It keeps us in check from too much clutter.

Home office drawer organizer

Drawer organizers work wonders with office supplies. This one is from Ikea.

Home office file folder organization in Ikea micke desk

Tackling the file cabinet might be the biggest office challenge. Label folders clearly and shred what is outdated.

Office space is something I think varies widely from house to house. I’ll just share what worked for us:

  • Get a file cabinet or drawer.
  • Assign the following folders: house, health insurance, cars, taxes, financial, each child, pets, manuals, receipts for purchases under warranty.
  • Go through every paper and toss what is no longer needed.
  • Whatever is left goes in the appropriate folder.
  • Create or update family folder with important numbers and documents: social security cards, birth certificates, titles, emergency contacts. (I put this in a separate place than the office area for safety.)
  • Take out items that don’t belong in the office area.
  • Throw away pens and markers that don’t work.
  • Store small office supplies (paper clips, Post-its, tape) in a drawer organizer.
  • Put like things in drawers (all paper is together, all dvds, cds).

For more on our home office/play room (including before and after pictures) go here.

Gift wrap and art station organization

I wish I had space in our office area for a gift wrap/art station, but I was able to set up shop in a corner of our garage.

Play area

Home office and playroom together with Ikea furniture

A family friend commented on how many toys our kids had a couple years ago. Slightly defensive, I explained that I buy nearly all of their toys at the consignment store for next to nothing. I remember his response exactly: “So it’s ok to spoil them as long as it’s cheap.”

Ooooh, that stung. But I wasn’t angry, because I knew he was right.

I don’t think I consciously linked that comment with minimizing our toys, but it was a turning point for me. Slowly over the last couple years, I’ve bought less and less, and edited more and more. I have found that the boys have more concentrated and creative play for longer periods of time with less toys. Maybe they aren’t as distracted or overwhelmed now that they have fewer toys? (I know I am!) 

Not only did I stop buying so many toys, but now I also sort and put certain toys in baskets on the high shelves in their closet — mainly the toys with lots of pieces like blocks, play food, and puzzles. And equally as important, we put all the pieces back as soon as they’re done playing. It took a little bit of training (for all of us), but it’s working so far. They seem to play with the sets or activity longer because it seems more special because it’s not out all the time.

After putting the kids to bed at night, I used to just leave all the toys out, scattered across the floor. Who had the energy for all that? But now that there significantly fewer toys, I’m more motivated to take a couple minutes to do it.

Ikea kallax shelf can go horizontal or vertical for toys and books

If you’re in a place you’d like to start cutting back on toys, here are the steps I started with:

  • Get rid of toys that don’t work or have missing pieces.
  • Donate toys your children are too old for instead of keeping them in the toy box mix.
  • Give away those toys that you thought they’d love, but just don’t get much attention.
  • Recycle the little cheap plastic toys brought home from a party or restaurant.
  • Sort the play sets with lots of pieces and store them out of reach so they don’t get scattered about.
  • Put concentrated effort into thinking about and limiting birthday and Christmas presents to special selections. (These are our favorites.)
  • Ask family members to buy tickets to the zoo or swim lessons or museum visit, etc. instead of more toys.
  • Don’t get mad when they buy them toys anyway :)

kids closets

Kids closet organization

The baskets on top and the shoebox-size storage boxes below help keep toys organized. We try to take one thing out at a time and put it back when they’re done.

Keep kids toys sorted up high and take them out one at a time

The bigger sets of toys are completely out of reach. These dollar store baskets have held up seriously well over the last couple years. I bought about a dozen of them and use them for all sorts of kids stuff.

Use clear dollar store containers to separate toys with lots of pieces

More smaller clear storage containers! When all the pieces were at the bottom of the toy box they boys didn’t play with them. After I took them out and separated them, they’re more interested.

When I started out as a mom, I packed the dresser and closet full of clothes for my first newborn. But after being overwhelmed by what still fit and what matched what, I scaled back. Way back. I was also a little disillusioned by the similarity in most boys clothing. Would you like blue and green stripes or blue and green plaid? If we had a girl, I’m sure it would be more of a struggle!

Here is how I organize our boys’ clothing:

  • To handle hand-me-downs from one son to another, keep clear bins in the garage with 2 sizes of clothing each.
  • Do not keep clothes that don’t fit them in the dresser. Once I realize a shirt is too snug, I place it in a basket I have off to the side in the closet, and then on occasion put it in the appropriate garage bin.
  • Only buy a limited number of tops and bottoms. Just to give you an idea, when my oldest pushes through to a new size, I buy him probably 12-14 shirts, 6-8 pairs of shorts, 3 or 4 pairs of pants, and 4-6 sweaters/long sleeve shirts. (Again, we live in Florida, so we can get away with less layering.) After a growth spurt, I hit our local consignment shop, and then maybe pick up another top or bottom off the sale rack as I’m out an about. But it’s not a constant thing I’m looking for. Once he has around this amount of clothing, I simply stop. When you buy most of it at once, you can also make sure it can all mix and match together.
  • Same with shoes. They usually have sneakers, crocs, sandals and something fun like a bright pair of Converse.
  • Laundry works differently for every home. Around here, I keep a basket for each of them and wash them once a week, keeping them separate. For me, this is easier to keep their things sorted. For my daily cleaning schedule, Go here.

 

And so …

My house still gets messy (a lot) and dishes still pile up around the sink (a lot), but now with half the stuff, it takes half the time to pick up and put away. It’s not as overwhelming. I’m determined to not let material things be the center of my life by allowing them to consume my time, attention, and space.

Here is a printable home organization checklist to help sum things up:

 Home organization and simplify printable checklist, room by room

Click image to download high-res version.
Sources: Canisters | Hanger | Box |Basket
Post contains affiliate links.

 

Grocery shopping and feeding a family on a tight budget - How to budget, shop sales, plan a menu and stockpile

See more checklists and printables

I would love to stay connected with you on Instagram and Facebook!

147 Thoughts on “How I simplified and organized my house, room by room

  1. Priya on July 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM said:

    Hey Kate,

    First time here and I am so glad I visited. Your design posts are so informative and inspiring.. Thanks for this post..Just what I needed in the middle of de-cluttering..

    You have a very beautiful home.

    Priya

  2. Kate on July 3, 2014 at 7:32 PM said:

    Thank you so much, Priya. I’m glad you stopped by! I hope de-cluttering goes well :)

  3. This was the perfect post for me this morning! 3 of my 4 kids are off to camp and I needed some organizing inspiration since that’s my battle plan for the week. I love your emphasis on simplifying. I think that’s the key. OK- off to read this 20 more times then break out the Good Will bags & storage bins :-)

    I’ve shared this via several TMB social networks too- Pinterest, Google+ & Twitter.

  4. Anne on July 8, 2014 at 10:33 PM said:

    This is a great post! You are so talented! I found your blog via Pinterest a few weeks ago and I’ve been reading all your past posts.

  5. Kate on July 8, 2014 at 10:46 PM said:

    Thank you! So kind of you to leave me a note.

  6. This post is so thorough and so helpful! Thanks so much for “walking” me through every room.

  7. Fantastic and extremely impressive! Great job!

  8. Whitney on August 7, 2014 at 7:59 AM said:

    Hi Kate!
    Did the shelf that is under your bathroom sink come with y
    our cabinets or did you purchase it some where?

  9. Hi! The shelf was here when we moved in. The previous homeowner took a regular shelf and cut out a U shape where the pipes are before he installed it.

  10. You so nailed it with simplified and organized!! Your house is beautiful and I couldn’t stop say ooh and aah .

    Pinning it !

    Yasmina

  11. Great article! I’m not a grammar Nazi, but sometimes I can’t help myself and I thought you might want to update your post. Loose means something isn’t tight or secure, as in, “the knob is loose”. Lose means you can’t find it or to get rid of it, i.e.: Did you lose your keys?

  12. Yes, that makes more sense! Slipped by me, thanks.

  13. Janene on August 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM said:

    Great ideas! This is not an organizing question, but what it the color of paint used in the toy area?

  14. Thanks! The color is Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal. It’s a great dark gray with a slight warm undertone.

  15. Found you from Pinterest, this is a great post! Loved reading it and book marking it for future reference!

  16. I LOVE this. We just built our dream home, actually a little smaller than the one we had been living in for 13 years. I began the entire process thinking exactly as you have. I want to be able to breathe, store less, clean less, use less. We have purged (before move) and am doing it AGAIN after move. So far so good. I’ll be posting pics and sharing in the weeks to come. You have given me encouragement and inspiration!

  17. Where can I get the wicker baskets you have in your header image for this article? I love those!

  18. I got the basket at Target. I think it was part of their Threshold collection, but it’s been a few years and I don’t see it on their website anymore. Ikea has some great baskets about the same size too.

  19. This is exactly what I need. Thank you so much!

  20. This is great! We are getting ready to move and I have been purging. I am so excited to see what we end up keeping, and using your tips to keep it simple and organized. I have two small children and am easily overwhelmed by the amount of toys that they have, and will be defiantly scaling back on what we keep when we unpack.

  21. Angela on August 13, 2014 at 11:06 PM said:

    What are your kids ages? I have a 4 month old and a 20 month old and I’m honestly not sure how many toys we need. We’ve cleared out a lot, but I still feel like we’ve got too many. Plus I know our littlest one is going to need what we still have so I don’t want to get rid of anything permanently.

    Also, I’ve got a super strong urge to purge so this was really helpful to see and think through. Thanks for the great tips!

  22. Hi Angela! My boys are 16 months apart too! They’re 2 and 3 now. You might have to keep baby things stored for the little one for a year or so, but then they’ll start playing with the same toys because they’re so close in age! (At least there’s one thing easier about having them so close together ;) I gave away and donated a lot of toys when I was purging, but most of them I kept in their closet, out of reach for use every once in awhile (so all the pieces weren’t always all over my house!). The important part to me is focusing on buying much, much less as we move forward.

  23. Noreen on August 14, 2014 at 7:28 PM said:

    Beautiful! I’m a organized person and I’m always looking for new ideas and also enjoy seeing organized homes. My children are all grown now, but we have grandchildren now. I thought my toy days were over. Loved your ideas for organizing toys. I will be using some of your tips. Your home is beautiful.

  24. Thanks so much, Noreen. I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a note!

  25. theresa on August 15, 2014 at 8:07 AM said:

    You are inspiring. Great tips!

  26. Pia Sarabi on August 21, 2014 at 11:42 AM said:

    Thanks for this post Kate!
    I want to be an organized person but, when I am in the moment to start I think that is imposible for my home. Your great ideas inspired me to start now, in the simply things. Its the start of something new in my home and my life!

  27. I LOVE this; thank you so much for the details & the great photos.

    I have one “toy” I noticed you don’t deal with *yet* or just didn’t show a photo of:

    LEGOS.

    They consume the boys’ bedroom (shared), no matter the bins I’ve given them, the shelving to display, the desktop to work on. They are all over the place & when “cleaned up” it all still looks “junky” to me. Any ideas? Thx!

  28. Legos. I think their organization is the plight of every mother of boys! We’re still in the Duplo stage, but what about something like a couple of these for under the bed (so you don’t have to see them) or this.

  29. Patricia on September 1, 2014 at 1:42 AM said:

    It felt so freeing when I let go of some things recently. Your blog is so refreshing. I am anxious to tackle my closet tomorrow and go forward from there. Your ideas are so good.

  30. Love this article – great ideas. :-)

    Don’t throw out your old towels an washcloths, though. Even if they are stained and have tattered ends, your local animal shelters, rescues, and feral cat TNR programs would love to have them, and it’s less going in the garbage dumps. :-)

  31. Ok! Great idea, thanks for sharing.

  32. Hi, I love the way you did everything. We’re pretty organized here too! Where did you get the metal draw on wheels in your office? Also good idea in the bathroom under the sink. I don’t have draws there so I have to put everything under the sink anyway! But it still looks like a mess since I have too much stuff!!! But everything is essentially “back stock” and I eventually use it. Meanwhile, I have stopped buying those items, but it does, for sure, create clutter! I am going to try your method. What’s a good place to buy those clear containers that you used under your sink?

    Thanks in advance!

  33. Hi! I got the metal drawers at Ikea and the clear containers at the Dollar Tree. Good luck!

  34. You have a beautiful home. I am curious why you buy your oldest son so many clothes? With only 10 towels in the house, you must do laundry fairly frequently. Why do you choose for him to have 2 weeks worth of clothing?

  35. I do about two to three loads of laundry a week. One for my husband and I, and one — sometimes two — for the boys. We each usually use one towel a week and I throw it in the load I’m doing anyway. I chose to have less clothing for the boys so I will spend less time folding and sorting it. And less time when it comes to figure out what fits and what does not. I’m sure they’ll want more clothes when they’re older, but right now they don’t even notice what they’re wearing! For me, it makes things much more simple.

  36. I LOVE how you painted your cabinets white. They look so pretty, and it makes your house look so bright and airy.

  37. Le *sigh* – how I wish I had that amount of space! Lucky you!
    Great post, love the pictures, not short and sweet but keeps you reading to see all that you’ve accomplished. Amazing!

  38. Heather on October 19, 2014 at 5:06 PM said:

    Love all your ideas!!! Where did you get the 3 big pictures in your office? Love them!

  39. Thanks, Heather! I made the artwork and put them in large Ikea frames. You can read about it in this post.

  40. I so very enjoyed reading your post, this is perfect for me as our house is struggling with too much stuff. My goal by the end of this year is to get us all much more organized (so we have more time to do other things!). Thank you so much for sharing.

  41. Great! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me a note :)

  42. Love your ideas. I too use clear storages boxes in bathroom and closets.

    But, one towel a week? I use one a day! Lol!
    So bathroom storage is one of my problem areas; I guess.

    And way too many clothes. But I do color coordinate. So have more than one top for each slacks/skirt.etc.

    Your ideas are super!

  43. Laura Schmit on October 28, 2014 at 12:02 AM said:

    So glad I found your blog. I am trying to declutter my home… with a full time job, school and 2 small children (5&6), I find my time so limited. Question: Do you save any of the children’s toys for “nostalgic” reasons? How do you decide?

  44. Laura, I’m afraid I haven’t gotten that far! I have most of the baby stuff saved in a box for our next one, so I haven’t got rid of too much yet. But I think I will keep a few of their favorite toys as they get older. My mom has started pulling out a few things from my childhood for the boys to play with at her house and it’s so fun! Let me know if you figure out a good system!

  45. Stunning – love that I am drawn to the less-ness and not specific organizing bins, etc – thank you for sharing!

  46. Thank you so much! Less-ness. I kinda like that.

  47. Really fantastic job!!! I am a Professional Organizer and was really impressed. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  48. Wow, thanks for the thumbs up from a pro!

  49. Today is the first day I have ever seen this blog, and I am in LOVE! Everything you do is where I would like to be..from your posts on being a SAHM, to your budgeting including tithing, to keeping things looking beautiful while not dedicating your entire day to cleaning and thus ignoring your kids, to simplifying while not being bare bones like a lot of blogs I have seen lately…Everything is perfect. I could go on. I think I’ve been reading posts for the last hour now….oops! Please keep it up, God bless!

  50. Jessica, your comment makes my day. Seriously. Thank you!! God bless you too.

  51. Hi Kate,

    I just came across your blog and especially this post. Since I am a very organized person anyway, I recently became totally convinced with the whole living-organized-and-minimalistic-idea. Since I am only 24 and don’t have kids yet, my room/apartment is not that messy after all. Still, I have a move coming up (due to finishing my studies and getting a job in another city) and I want to leave all my furniture (which I have been living in since 13) behind and take only the stuff, I really love, with me. This post gives me so many ideas for the future in general and how to furnish and organize my new home and which supplies I really need and which I don’t.
    Extremely helpful! Thank you! I haven’t found a blog, that is that accurate and to the point. I love it!
    Julia

  52. Julia, I’m so happy you found the blog helpful. I wish you the best on your new adventure!

  53. Instead of getting rid of the old towels or using them as garage towels ( because you can only have so many of those!), consider donating them to your local animal shelter. They will appreciate towels and blankets.

  54. Great. I’ve now included that in the post :)

  55. This an excellent application of the Five S principles of operations management. Applying it to your home makes the “operations” of your home run much more smoothly.

  56. Thanks for the tips and the printable! Will use and declutter again and again and again! LOL ! Stuff does seem to accumulate and multiply in my house!

  57. Melissa on December 30, 2014 at 1:47 AM said:

    Wow! I stumbled across this article via Pinterest and was very impressed with how you presented the information. I’m currently in the process of organizing my entire house from top to bottom. I’m planning on spreading it out over the course of the year. I’m starting with the master bedroom. I’m on day 4 or 5, and I’m planning to do something related to purging or organizing every day. I really need to focus on purging, which is always a challenge for me. But you’ve given me some great ideas, encouragement, and motivation to keep going. (I just love the pictures!) Thanks!

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your articles!

  58. Even the germans take a look here :-) Thanks for givin me some energy to start this in 2015. Great project !!!

  59. Elizabeth Killip on January 2, 2015 at 3:59 PM said:

    I love this blog post! I’m going to start implementing a plan like this!

  60. Isabel on January 3, 2015 at 11:14 AM said:

    Growing up my family began to realize that we had no more room for a single new toy. A creative and helpful way to limit the amount of stuff that comes in through birthday parties is to turn the party into a toy drive for Toys for Tots or a food drive for your local food bank. It was a very rewarding experience to have as little girl and my party even got put in the news paper across the state because I raised so much to donate to the Food Bank. This is a way to teach children about giving, limiting influx of stuff, and good for your community.

  61. I love this, Isabel! Thank you so much for sharing this great idea.

  62. BEST POST EVER!!!!!! Beautiful home, and beautiful organization skills!!!! Thank you SO VERY MUCH for taking the time to break this down like you have. You have inspired me to get into gear and make some very important, but necessary changes. I have been overwhelmed as we are moving soon, but this really puts things into perspective and now I’m looking forward to the task of sorting things out and getting simplified!!!! This was EXACTLY what I needed. Thanks a bunch!!!!!!!!

  63. Jacqueline on January 15, 2015 at 9:26 AM said:

    Thank you so much for this post! Going to start soon to de-clutter and organize my apartment!

  64. Your playroom and office are my absolute favorites! The organization makes the spaces clean, functional and look like great places to work (: plus you’re teaching your kids valuable lessons about not having excess and appreciating what they have by cleaning out the clutter…yay! Thanks for sharing!

  65. Congratulations on your successful organization project! I enjoyed reading it, & I appreciate the time it took to document it all. I am in search of another such article from someone with smaller closets though as mine is less than half the size of yours & I share it with my husband!

  66. Dhiina on January 30, 2015 at 8:35 AM said:

    Hi! I love your minimalistic approach to organizing – very inspiring! I was wondering why your pictures don’t always coordinate with the text under the pic, like when you’re pic shows your file cabinet drawer while the description text underneath is about organizing toys – there’s a few of these in your post and they threw me off a bit, otherwise a great post :)

  67. Hmmm. Sounds like maybe it didn’t load correctly? Maybe try reloading the page? Sorry for the confusion!

  68. I just found this article via pinterest and it really spoke to me because this is exactly what I’ve been trying to do. It initially takes a lot of effort but makes life easier in the long run. Thanks for a great article!

  69. Summer on February 3, 2015 at 3:33 AM said:

    I’m so impressed with your post! It’s written perfectly for someone like myself who likes to have a little bit more specific steps and pointers. I just got done jotting down what definitely applies to me and my little garage apartment (no kids, just puppies!) and can’t wait to see the end result. Thank you!

  70. That’s great, Summer! It feels so rewarding to be in a newly organized space and purge what you no longer need. Happy organizing!

  71. I love your blog it’s funny I work at dollar tree and I’ve never really thought about our little plastic storage containers…I definitely need to get some for my bathroom most definitely!

  72. Kara Lozano on February 4, 2015 at 5:59 PM said:

    Thank you for stressing the idea of minimalism. My organizing style is pretty much exactly like yours and one of my biggest pet peeves is when I run across an article by a professional organizer that uses a hundred different containers and labels in one room just so they know where all of their stuff is (Alejandra Costello). There’s no way people use that many things on a regular basis!

  73. This is an AWESOME post!!!! I really enjoyed reading it. I have a new blog and will be starting a new series next week on decluttering. I have similar ideas to you, but I was still able to learn a few things. I’m a new mom, so I found your ideas for toys really helpful. I think our toy situation was about enough to drive me insane ;). Thanks again!!

  74. nicole a. on February 6, 2015 at 3:57 PM said:

    What an amazing article. In the next couple weeks, I am going to imitate what you did…starting with a trip to the dollar store. Thank you.

  75. I love this post. Very good ideas. However, there is no way I can organize the way you do, because I simply do not have the space! Your pantry, closets and bathroom are enormous! I don’t have a space for a “home office.” This site gives me a few ideas, but I will keep searching for more “small space” ideas too. Keep up the good work :-)

  76. I love all your great ideas. I was wondering if you could help me unclutter my bedroom. How do I arrange all my little stacks of papers, notes, pens, books and organize this so it is easy to access with it being a small bedroom with only one nightstand to put stuff on and not much floor space? If you have any ideas that would help I would love to hear from you. Thanks.

  77. Oh yes, I do this too! How is it possible I’m reading three books at the same time? If you have space this or this are the first things that come to mind. I use them to hide clutter in several places at my house.

  78. Hi Kate, this was so helpful – we have lived over 30 years in a small two bed one bath house. In October we had a house fire and we are getting ready to move back in a few weeks. As you can guess we accumulated a ton of stuff in that period of time. Thankfully in the fire we didn’t lose much at all (just water damage house itself). I told my husband this is the perfect opportunity to get organized. Everything was boxed up – so we just need to empty one box at a time and decide keep it or toss it. I am so excited to “decrapify” my small space and I love your ideas! many blessings! Louise

  79. Oh Louise, I’m so sorry to hear about your house fire. I’m glad you didn’t lose much, but I’m sure it rattled you and gave you a lot of work. Your positive attitude says a lot about you. I hope your new space is better than ever.

  80. Marcy Ranfeld on February 15, 2015 at 8:34 PM said:

    Kate,

    Totally loved this post! I am feeling super motivated to get rid of stuff!! =) We are in the middle of putting a large shelf in our toy room and I am so pumped to start using it! I boxed up all the baby toys and put them in the basement! {you never know when we may be blessed with another!} I am going to use some of your ideas in my house this week! Like get rid of some of the 15 pairs of pants my son has!!! Thanks so much!! I will definitely be peeking on your blog again!

  81. Misch Ertel on February 16, 2015 at 9:04 PM said:

    I was looking for suggestions on how to simplify and organize my home and happened on your blog. Very nice!
    I am also from Indiana [Elwood, Indiana — in the Anderson, Muncie area]. And I live in South Florida [albeit the East coast — and aren’t we enjoying beautiful weather right now?]. My husband, however, is another Hoosier.
    Anyway, just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed visiting your blog. You have many great ideas.
    Thank you, Misch

  82. Misch, my fellow Hoosier/Floridian, thanks for dropping me a note! We are having lovely weather — a little nicer than good ol’ Indiana this time of year. So glad you stopped by :)

  83. yoir home organization ideas have saved my sanity! I’ve spent the last three days de-cluttering and organizing like a crazy lady, but my home has never looked nicer. Thank you for your ideas and the inspiration I needed to tackle the Random Things monster.

  84. Oh good! Thanks so much for letting me know!

  85. Anonymous on February 22, 2015 at 11:23 AM said:

    What is your kitchen back splash? I love how clean the solid color on the walls and back splash makes everything look.

  86. I actually painted the existing back splash with oil paint! This post has all the how-tos.

  87. Great resource for home organization!!

  88. Jennifer on February 25, 2015 at 12:02 AM said:

    Came across this post on Pinterest! I love it considering I have named 2015 “The Year of the Purge”! I’m a stay at home mom of three and one year old daughters. Clothes, toys and books are the biggest thing I need to tackle. I plan on going room by room as you did. I’ll be heading to the Dollar store soon for containers as well. Thank you!

  89. Thanks for the post! I’m in the process of moving and really want to get off on the right foot, so this was great inspiration. I did want to add, however, that you usually can’t recycle the plastic toys kids get from parties (cheap Oriental Trading Co. types) and restaurants. Unfortunately they aren’t labelled for recycling and cannot be recycled the vast majority of the time. I hate it and I wish I knew a better way to deal with them. So far my strategies includes 1) buying enough food for the family and splitting rather than doing kids’ meals (saves money too) 2) putting a couple toys in our emergency kit so the kids will have some form of entertainment in an emergency situation, and 3) giving out party favors that I would want to receive instead of bags of cheap toys at my kids’ parties. I would love more suggestions though because I never seem to know what to do with them. I hate to throw them away but always end up doing it eventually. I imagine Goodwill and others already get too many and nobody really buys them so donation doesn’t seem like a good option. Any thoughts?

  90. Lovvvve these storage ideas so so much! Best tips I’ve seen on Pinterest! Thanks so much, definitely will be coming back to this blog! :)

  91. Karen on March 9, 2015 at 6:14 PM said:

    How did you make the “U” shaped shelf under your bathroom sink? That looks amazing!

  92. Kate on March 9, 2015 at 9:26 PM said:

    We got a lucky break and the smart homeowner before us cut the U shape out of a regular shelf.

  93. Kate,

    This was a beautiful post. I love clutter free living, and so does my hubby so we both lucked out in finding each other. I can definitely adopt some of your tips. I love a clutter free closet as well…I am in the process of getting a whole new wardrobe with pieces that can mix and match well (dresses, sweaters, pants). Your tips on kids shopping is fantastic. I too think that they don’t need a ton of clothes. They grow too fast! Thanks again for your post :-)

  94. Rebecca on April 13, 2015 at 10:44 PM said:

    Great ideas. I have been in the re-elected mode myself. I have 3 kids that 22 and 15 months apart, between themselves. I remember standing in my son’s room about two years ago nearly in tears because of all the toys and mess (after having just cleaned it). It then dawned on me that other than the furniture, nothing that was in that room would still be there in two years. He would have outgrown the clothes and toys. You know what, 2 years later, it’s all gone. I am ashamed to admit that we removed nearly 1 ton of garbage from the house and garage. We gave away, sold, recycled, and donated what we could…but who wants a box of 20 year old moldy college text books? There are a few things that I have learned about keeping kids organized, change with the kids. If it’s not easy, the won’t do it. If a 4 year old can’t open the latch on their big of puzzles, they won’t open the bin. Most kids will not keep everything pretty and neat. You will find crayons, Monopoly pieces, and random “prizes” from school in the Lego box. I have one child that is notorious for stash and dash, and another that leaves a trail; but I try to remember that they only have a few years of childhood. I teach them to clean up, to organize, and to take care of their things, but sometimes the mess can wait. My friends with grown children tell me I will miss the mess…hmm.

  95. A thought for you on the baskets and wire shelving. I took the 12 inch peel and stick vinyl tiles and put on the shelving. Just enough “sticky” to stay put on the wire shelves, easy to cut, and the baskets will sit nice and flat.

  96. I like that idea. Thanks!

  97. Great job, love it all!! in your office where did you hide the computer and lamp wires, can you post a pic of that please? Thanks.

  98. Thanks, Nan. The desk has nifty holes in the corners for cords and a tray underneath (behind the drawers) to hide them. Pretty clever.

  99. Dear Kate

    I really enjoyed your post. Congratulations! I found it in my research about minimalism…. really really interesting. Im probably linking your blog as a recomendation ir our next post.
    Much love!

  100. Debbie on July 5, 2015 at 3:10 PM said:

    Thank you so much for the step by step how to unclutter your house…I am going to do each step starting next week. I will need a uhaul to pile all the things I will be giving away! Don’t wan’t to have another garage sale…Tired of looking at it all and getting overwhelmed. It’s just gotta go!

  101. Kirsten on July 10, 2015 at 2:11 PM said:

    I love your ideas and advice. Many of these I have implemented in my own home. I have a roadblock, however: how do you convince those you live with (husband, kids) to get on board?! My family members like to hold onto everything- “just in case” or due to sentimental value. Drives me crazy and adds to the clutter.

  102. Kate on July 10, 2015 at 2:37 PM said:

    Kirsten, my husband is neat almost to a fault! He’s had to loosen up quite a bit after having kids — and meeting me :) And my kids are still young enough I manage all their stuff. I know those days are limited though! I’m all ears on the kids’ front.

  103. Thank you very much for your suggestions! They are practical and realistic for someone like me who has young children and household chores that take up most of my day!

  104. So glad you find them helpful!

  105. I so agree with Kirsten (10th July)! We are SUCH a messy household, especially now that my daughter and grand-daughter (age 15) live with us (it was two houses into one, so you can imagine…….!) Part of my problem is ‘hoarding’ and my grand-daughter is one of the worst. She just won’t get rid of anything, especially if it reminds her of when the lived in their previous house. My current study is a terrible mish-mash of all the hobbies I like to do, ie craft card making, painting, family genealogy, etc, and I really MUST streamline it so that we can fit a single bed in it for the odd visitor. The storage is a mish-mash of various chunky wooden shelving (from our previous house), metal shelving, drawer cabinets and storage boxes. Without spending a fortune we haven’t got, I just can’t get my head round how to re-organise this lot. I’d love it to all look streamlined but I don’t think the OH would countenance spending money on it now at our age (71). So a think a general sorting out of box files and every drawer of the cabinets is the only thing I can do and gradually whittle it all down to fit what I already have. Being somewhat disabled doesn’t help either as it takes so LONG to do anything. Sorry, I didn’t mean to moan, I type so quickly that my thoughts come out in a rush! I shall read, and re-read your blog Katie and MAKE myself DO something about the clutter in my study at least!

  106. You can do it Mary!! It’s funny I read this right after I walked through my garage and know I need to do SOMETHING there, but feel overwhelmed. I’m going to start with one bin. You should start in one dresser or one file cabinet. Maybe if we do one thing a day we’ll get there! Good luck.

  107. Fantastic post. With three (messy) kids I sometimes find it overwhelming trying to keep things organised and tidy. Really liked your ideas, very practical. Really gorgeous home.

    Thanks for sharing.

  108. Lovely useful info here, just recently retired and time to put these ideas to use.

    Thanks for passing this on to us.

  109. So glad you find it useful. Congrats on your retirement!

  110. This is the greatest organization tool I have found yet on Pinterest or otherwise! As a mom of three who works full time, I find it overwhelming and difficult to stay on top of my organization game. You truly put together a thoughtful, realistic, and sustainable list of ideas that I feel I can totally accomplish. Amazing job and thank you for providing such a great guide!!! So amazing!

  111. That is so encouraging, Andrea! Thank you.

  112. Faythe Arnold on October 23, 2015 at 1:21 AM said:

    Would just like to say how lovely your “voice” is in your writing. Also, your great photos and detailed lists make the difficult job of being organised appear within reach and do-able, even for a very average homemaker like myself, so Thank you 😊

  113. Wow, Faythe. That makes my day! Thank you.

  114. WARDROBE basket really nice.

  115. This article is inspiring! :)
    Thank you for sharing your ideas.
    Looking for sites to help me with my new room.
    It is a bit small but by having read your post, I concluded that there is truly no room too small for an organized person.

  116. Kristyn on December 30, 2015 at 4:19 PM said:

    Love this post! Thanks so much for sharing! :) I’m not sure if you answered this already or not as there are loads of comments on here, but I’m curious where you got your glass food storage set with the blue lids? I’m in the market for some currently, and love the look of the ones you have!

  117. They’re called Frigoverre. I found them a few at a time at TJ Maxx and Marshalls for good prices, but it looks like they’re making them with white lids that can be found on Amazon or Target. I really like having the glass pieces because they last longer and you can even use the bigger pieces as serving dishes and then just put a cover on the leftovers!

  118. Sangita on January 8, 2016 at 10:23 PM said:

    It is so wonderful to learn of such organized people shows how much you love your home snd family , Thank you for the inspiration and boost of confidence. I am looking forward to getting started on our home.

  119. Thank you so much for meticulously posting your home reorganization/makeover. I have two teenage boys, and things have piled up through the years. We are on a rampage, tossing and purging, and you’ve given me some brilliant ideas as to how to organize what we keep, not to mention the encouragement to keep on tossing!

  120. If you are seeking a cost-effective and safe self storage solution for your domestic or commercial needs, we have what you need right here at Triden Self Storage in Devon. Our self storage units in Newton Abbot offer you secure storage space for a range of uses, while also ensuring that you can access your containers at almost any time; offering you completely stress free self storage.

  121. I am SERIOUSLY obsessed with this post! I can’t wait to use it in my own house. I have been wanting to simply for forever – and I have been little by little, but I get overwhelmed easily. THANK YOU for this. THANK. YOU!! Love your blog!

  122. Kate, I thoroughly enjoyed your blog ! Sooo helpful, as a mother of 4 daughters, three of them in college, and a 7 year old (foster daughter we adopted in 2010), I am back living the toys everywhere nightmare. But I am now inspired and am going to simplify my life thanks to you! Thank you for taking the time !
    From a South Floridian as well! : )
    Jane

  123. Jane, I have such respect for you, offering your home to a child in need. Wow. Thanks for your sweet note, I’m so happy I inspired you :) Best to you and your family, Kate

  124. Hi Kate,

    Your home is really beautiful and it’s here amazing way to represent, as step by step.. I like it .. in this post through cover all informative information..

  125. thankyou i got a perfect idea

  126. Wow, what an inspiring post!! We can all strive to be more organized in our daily lives and live a more simplistic life!! This post definitely gave me a confidence boost to get rid of even more stuff and not to mention your beautiful home…

  127. Marie Welch on March 4, 2016 at 6:47 PM said:

    HELP!!! I need some help in getting things ready for a move. I am trying to get my house organized and cleaned so I can sale my house and move back home. I hope you can help me. I have been going in circles with this. Please email me any kind of help. Thank you in advanced.

  128. Kate on March 4, 2016 at 7:08 PM said:

    Marie, I wrote a whole moving series you can find here: http://www.housemixblog.com/moving-guide/

    I cover home staging, change of address, services to stop, and organizing checklist. Best of luck with you move!

  129. Hey thanks for putting together this huge list of ideas for house make over in a day!
    real estate services in thrissur

  130. This must be best thing I’ve read today. I have been overwhelmed with the clutter and mess in my house – and was almost going to hire a professional organizer. But I think your post and the beautiful pics might just do it for me. Thank you a gazillion times! May I ask where you got the wooden shelves for the kids’ and master closet from? And was it easy to install them by yourself or did you need to hire handyman? I feel we don’t have enough storage solutions so stuff just lies around forever.

  131. WilliamCito on May 6, 2016 at 3:11 PM said:

    Thanks so much for the article post.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

  132. Stephanie on May 30, 2016 at 1:46 AM said:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this blog,it is really helpful.I am planning to organize my house pretty soon and my bathroom is the biggest challenge.I got some caddies from better living that I am planning to use soon but I was confused as to how to use them.Great work!!

  133. Belgin Karahan on June 7, 2016 at 4:46 AM said:

    Wonderful solutions

  134. HI I loved you’re ideas! I have a junk dwarer suggestion: I turned my junk dwarer into a tool dwarer and no junk! So it houses a lot but it’s all handy simple tools. Rubber bands, measuring tape, tape, scissors, hot glue gun, extra keys, screw driver, eye glasses repair kit, I have little compartments and an organizer so each thing is in its spot.

  135. Laura, this is a great idea! One of these days I will buckle down and do it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  136. Sarah on July 19, 2016 at 1:26 PM said:

    I love that you are not an extreme minimalist. So many posts on simplifying make it too extreme for me. I want simplicity, not starkness. As a growing homeschool family, we will always have a lot of some things. I’m okay with that. I’m just working on making it simple enough to be manageable. Thanks for the tips.

  137. Kate on July 20, 2016 at 9:39 AM said:

    Thanks, Sarah. Kids always have stuff. So much stuff! I can’t imagine the added paper and supplies with homeschooling! Best of luck with simplifying. It’s so freeing.

  138. Masuka Magambo on August 21, 2016 at 6:36 AM said:

    Hi there. Great read! You are a normal person and I LOVE that! Realistic goals and helpful ideas! I tried to print your organizing list room by room but was not able to. Please advise. Thanks Kate!!!

  139. Hi Masuka! Try downloading the file to your desktop and then print. If that doesn’t work, let me know :)

  140. This is an AWESOME post!!!! I really enjoyed reading it.
    Villas in thrissur

  141. Anonymous on September 16, 2016 at 8:33 AM said:

    That post was exactly was I was looking for ! This is really helpful and really inspiring and motivating !

  142. Anonymous on September 29, 2016 at 11:04 PM said:

    Any idea where you bought those three prints in the home office? Love them!

  143. Yes! I explain the bird art in this post.

  144. waymire on October 9, 2016 at 7:20 PM said:

    Does anyone have suggestions for dealing with family members that are just plain slobs? When the kids were younger I had things under control.. for one I had more hands to help, and I had “trained” them to keep things picked up and relatively clean. I was also younger and had more energy, and the husband was away for work a lot. Present day.. I’ve created two monsters and I’m living with them now.. the youngest dd (13) and the husband. My older dd is one of the sweetest people on this planet (I know, I’m her mom.. but it’s true). I had no idea until she moved out that she was doing everything for her younger sister. Everything. I was doing the same with the husband so I guess I don’t have anyone to blame but myself. Now that it is just us in the house I’m going nuts.. mess everywhere all the time. I simply do not have the time and energy to do all the housework, care for our pets and farm (we do rescue so there is always something needing to be nursed and cared for), take care of social responsibilities (I became the head of a community action group that takes up a couple of hours of my day), and chase after their mess. I gave up a couple of years ago and just stopped.. I figured they would eventually get tired of living in mess and change. I was wrong. Short of moving out I’m at a loss. I’ve tried talking, I’ve tried threatening, I’ve had flipping meltdowns, I’ve thrown things away.. nothing changes. Not only am I ashamed to have anyone over to the house.. I just can’t stand to live in it day to day. It would take me a month to clean and declutter at this point.. which I’m willing to do but not if it’s wasted effort and it would look the same in another month.

  145. I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling with family clutter. It is NOT easy to find a rhythm that works for everyone, and it’s exhausting doing it all yourself. I read this article by Real Simple, “How to Live With a Messy Person (or a Neat Freak) and Not Go Insane” and it has some helpful tips for spouses. And this article from Focus on the Family has some practical ideas for the whole family that I want to steal for myself. Sending you my best, Kate

  146. I think you may have just simplified this organization thing for me to actually get my hinny in gear and actually make the attempt once I feel better again! I live with 4 kids, 3 of whom are teenagers, and a 7 year old pack rat! My house is out of control and everyone in the house feels disorganized in our personal lives as well! I know that this is a MUST for us! My 7 year old son will struggle as he can remember every single toy, who gabe it to him or how he obtained it, and why even a piece of trash has the slightest bit of vale, how do you recommend I combat that? Also how did you handle those “special/important” school papers, projects, and keepsakes that are from your kids or that you just can’t say goodbye to? With 4 kids and even some of mine and my husband’s own I find that there is quite a nice “collection” going on of those items. Maybe now I know where my 7 year old may get some of his pack rat tendencies from, lol!
    Thank You for sharing!!

  147. Hi Val! Taking pictures of things of sentimental value is a big deal for our family. I am trying to save their “precious” artwork with a photo collage I can make on my phone. See the post here. At the end of the school year you could tell him in advance that he can choose five (or whatever feels right to you) pieces of artwork to save, not all of them. As for other things, let him take a picture of them. Help him make a scrapbook or photo book with his favorites that he can save. I make a yearly one for my family like this. I think expectations are a big deal. Set boundaries in advance so he knows what to expect and what he needs to sort through. Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

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