How to Make Your Home More Managable
If you’re like me, it can be hard to keep your home under control. Between the constant activity and needs of the family, the messes and disorder are literally unending.
However, this frustrating cycle is changing for me. That’s because I’ve discovered an extremely liberating concept to make my home more manageable.
It goes something like this:
If you can’t keep up with your stuff, you have too much stuff.
You see, there are two ways of living (really three):
- Have too much stuff, and always be one step behind in the organization, care and maintenance of said stuff
- OR, Have less stuff and be on top of it.
(…the thrid way of living is to have a lot of stuff and pay people to take care of it for you. For example, renting a self storage unit from a local storage facility for the stuff that you want to keep. Alternatively, you may use commercial recycling containers and send your old belongings to local recycling centers.)
So what’s the trick? You may have guessed it.
Get rid of excess stuff. Keep only what you can manage well.
Believe me when I say, I am applying this trick to my home and life. It has changed things for us in such a great way. I am much happier, ecstatic really, with the results and more confident as a housewife.
My stress has decreased and I’m more productive. Our quality of life is definitely higher.
How to Determine “Manageable”
So what’s manageable for you? Are you content with your home’s current average state of cleanliness and order? If not, I firmly believe you have too much.
So start getting rid of stuff. Keep at it ruthlessly until you find your “happy place,” or until you start feeling empowered, capable, and in control of the affairs of your home.
Where to Start
What bothers you the most?
For me, it was my kids toys. My two-year-old daughter was constantly stringing out about a bizillion various toy-set-pieces all over our home many times a day. After reading a blog post about a mom who took all her kids toys away and why, I felt motivated to make a change.
One day while Clara was napping, I took about 2/3 of her toys and stuck them in the corner of our unfinished basement. I thoughtfully left out a small variety of toys I knew she loved.
And you know what? She never batted an eye. She simply played with the toys available to her. Since then I’ve rotated a few baskets in and out, but the quantity of toys available has stayed about the same. As a result, the mess is much less. This has made all the difference for me.
Due to the huge success of “operation toy-reduction,” we’ve applied the same concept to other areas of our home. For example, we’ve all decreased our wardrobes, which somehow means less laundry (I don’t get it, but it’s true), and certainly closets are easier to keep neat and organized.
We have one set of plates. We have one set of pots and pans. We have basic utensils. We have cleared out cabinets of mismatched coffee mugs that we never liked, etc. All of these things make the kitchen much simpler to keep clean. If you need a pan, you wash it, because we don’t have two of the same size. Same for a spatula. See how dirty dishes just can’t pile up quite as much?
Our counters are mostly empty, besides a few pre-meditated items (…my coffee pot is a non-negotiable…), making them a snap to wipe clean. The result is a pristine, sparkling surface in a short period of time. People who come over think we really cleaned for them, when in reality, we “cheat” and keep it that way more-or-less all the time.
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We’ve cleared off most spaces where figurines or candles used to sit. Instead we have open surfaces with a few, well-place frames or decorations. This is actually quite visually appealing, and much easier to dust and keep looking clean. If you’re in need of roofing repairs, you might want to consider hiring the best roofing repairs services in Sanford.
So, how will you apply this trick to your home today? In what area of your life do you have too much stuff?
Do you ever wonder how some women make running a home look so natural?
I certainly have!
However, after many years of watching my friends who do this well, and after much trial and error, I’ve boiled it all down to 3 essential daily habits. With these 3 habits in place, a home can function pretty well! Without them, it will be perpetual catchup.
While I used to feel like a failure as a homemaker, I know feel a sense of success and satisfaction.
I’d love to share these 3 simple (secret) daily habits with you. If you focus your energy into establishing them, I believe you will achieve the same breakthrough in your homemaking that I did.
Can I share my secrets with you?
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Hi Katie, thanks for this nice post. Just came across it from your popular posts and I can say it’s packed full of useful tips. I love this quote so much, “Get rid of excess stuff. Keep only what you can manage well.” I’ve found that following this simple idea will bring more peace and there will be lesser things to worry about.
I love these thoughts and do try to apply them……. but the one place I struggle with is clothing. Could you possibly give more thoughts/ ideas on maybe what constitutes a wardrobe? This is especially frustrating with my children’s clothing. We have too many, but I have a hard time managing them!!!
My best advice is stick to sets! Pair everything up (bottoms and tops) and store them that way. Then put all the strays aside for those days when you need a second shirt or whatever, but try to stick to 8 or 9 sets of clothes per child. That’s what’s helped me anyway!
I’m about to move and the funny, as in not funny AT ALL, thing is I hadn’t completely moved into THIS house, when my 14 month now, and I moved in with us dad last year. The idea of de-cluttering has been something I literally fantasize about but seems to allude me. I hope to be able to carve out time to get this done and made a priority soon before we end up moving a bunch of stuff we don’t need/want/use!
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I completely agree! If you’re having trouble managing your home, you have too much stuff. I have been working through decluttering our home. Love being able to pick up all my daughter’s stuff in under 15 minutes!
Yes! That is so nice!
Loved this! I’m naturally a packrat so it has been hard for me to scale down. I’ve recognized the unhealthy emotional attachment I have to a lot of my things. It’s been a year since I started to purge and life is so much simpler but I still have a long way to go!
That’s awesome! Isn’t it so freeing? Purging has lead to nothing but more purging for me. Good luck!
What a great read! I feel like I’m always donating stuff. I just love the simple look. My kids have so much toys that they barely play with so I’m getting rid of those. Also getting rid of duplicates around the house.
Sorry. I don’t know why it added a link to my recent post. I’m new to this thing lol. I didn’t realize I had to uncheck the box.
Lol –I’m glad it did! That gives us a chance to find your blog too! Thanks for stopping by!
That is so good! That’s pretty much what I’ve done, and I’ve never looked back! It’s so nice to have just what I need and use and no more.
Love this article!! I found you on Pinterest. I am a military spouse and everytime we move I declutter. Each house has different storage and lay outs. We are currently in a very large house yet I still feel we need to purge. We just found out we will be moving yet again this summer so that means decluttering with a passion. I love when things are organized and we can find things!!! I would be a hoarder if we didn’t have this lifestyle and often I anguish over money spent. However, most things can be easily replaced with a small amount of money at the thrift store or super stores. Less things means a clean organized house and a peaceful mind!!
Tina -that is such great insight! I can hardly even imagine that lifestyle since my parents never moved and I’ve never moved houses in marriage. I admire you for staying on top of your stuff and finding freedom in simplifying! I’m currently prepping for a new baby, and my clutter (which seems to be constantly rebuilding) is really getting under my skin. I just took a good pass at it this week, but I have a feeling I’m not done! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting and many blessings on your upcoming move!
Thank you so much for your post! We have five wonderful children that understand the concept of clutter and it bothers them as much as it does me. We started when they were toddlers to put things away and if they didn’t have a place for them they needed to make a choice. As many parents we put the toys, clothes etc away and exchanged them out as they grew. Now as our youngest is 7yrs. we don’t have to change things out she does it for us.
As far as my husband goes I think we are in the same boat, but as he’s gotten older the more organized he wants to be. If he can’t find it, it means there’s to much stuff. He now see’s the benefit’s of everything in it’s place. I’m not saying that there isn’t room to grow, but we see progress.
Thank you once again!
That is so encouraging! I hope to be there one day with my children. Thanks for sharing your insight and experience!
This has to be one of my favorite posts on the internet on homemaking! I printed off your article and keep it in my homemaking binder. I continue to reread it to encourage myself to keep getting rid of stuff- until I feel like our home is manageable! Its getting closer, but I still have more to get rid of. Thanks again for writing such a great article.
Thank you so much Mrs. W! That is probably the nicest post comment I’ve ever had. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂
I want to say bravo to you young lady. I inherited 3 generations of junk and hoards. I am trying to simplify a day at a time. Like this article. Peace
OMG – It doesn’t matter how clean my house is is constantly feels cluttered. We have little cupboard space and our kitchen benches are covered with everything from the toaster to the blender juicer coffee maker the my husband doesn’t even use anymore and everything that goes with them tea coffee sugar butter Vegemite salt pepper. When I mentioned to my husband about cleaning out the cupboards of coffee mugs – we have over 20 I swear – he says but what if we have 20 people over – and I don’t want to have to do more dishes any tips on how to deal with horder hubbies ?
If it was me, I’d get rid of the extra mugs without asking permission (making sure to leave his favorites) and get a package of Styrofoam cups for unexpected guests. If my husband asked about it, I’d let him know that’s it’s been easier to stay on top of the dishes and that I’m ready should we need more cups for any reason.
This works if you are a housewife but if both you and your husband are both working full time at jobs like landscaping or construction it doesn’t matter how much stuff you have. It’s just hard to manage the basics.
Thanks for chiming in and offering a different perspective!
Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.
Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.
LOL I Love this article. I have been “after” my husband for years, trying to get rid of our collected stuff. We moved in with his parents 10 years ago and own more things than we have space for, wedding presents we’ve never been able to use due to lack of home ownership. The hubs’ idea was to get more storage containers. My idea was to roll in the giant brown trash can and start discarding like a crazy person. We each definitely had to compromise. We’re still at it, and I appreciate the fact that you finally clarified for me what is was I was searching for. Manageability and less stuff. I almost feel relieved just having the clarity and would now like to leave work early just to organize and remove a few things that have literally never been used. Praise Jesus and *high five* !
Yay! I’m so glad to hear it! I hope you find that manageability. I’ve decided I need to purge again. I’m getting there! Thanks for stopping by.
Yes!! Me too!! Having just the word “Manageability” now gives me a destination to head toward. I’ve decluttered, and then my husband would go behind and ditch a few more things and we would feel like we made progress when we donated stuff to Goodwill and hand a full recycle/trash bin that week. But now 3 months later we are both feeling overwhelmed by clutter, and we haven’t bought much! We planned on another weekend declutter-thon but I think having the end goal of “can we and the kids manage a nice home with this amount of stuff?” is the way to actually make an accomplishment! I know how Erin felt about wanting to get strait to it, if it wasn’t bedtime I would attack the entry way, for now ill just do one counter and tell my husband about the concept of “Manageability.”
I am in a bit of a quandry with this. If it were up to me, I would toss like 90% of the stuff in my house. Virtually EVERY surface – wall, counter, shelf – has STUFF on it and not just some things but a LOT of things. It drives me insane. But most of it is 1) because hubby and I didn’t plan on having kids and now we have two, so two rooms’ worth of stuff is now “around the house” and 2) most of the stuff is my husband’s stuff, which he collected during the 10 years he was single before we got married. He has compromised and we do have less than we did. I don’t want to be rude or disrespectful and just toss things or pressure him to get rid of things (I’ve actually done that a few times and then he ended up needing the item later and then I felt bad.) It’s frustrating.
That’s a hard place Corrina. I feel for you. It’s so nice to have uncluttered spaces, but ultimately keeping the peace is the priority. I hope you can find some stuff to get rid of, but if not, I hope God gives you contentment. That would be a struggle for me I know.
I can’t agree more with the less is more decor! I hate dusting 🙂 and the less you have the less to maintain! I think the simpler the decor the more impact it has when done right. I do have a old dresser in our dining room (being used for homeschool storage) and there is some decor on it with picture frames and such. But I call it “controlled chaos” b/c it’s in one place and all flows together 🙂
We do the same with our toys (I to read that post about taking toys away). I just brought up a doctor kit and stuffed animals from the basement this morning. The kiddos have been playing doctor all morning. My daughter even made paper stickers to give the animals after their check ups!
Thank you for another great post Katie! I came across your blog from your guest post on MSM. Really enjoy reading 🙂
“the simpler the decor the more impact it has when done right” I have found this to be true as well. I recently redecorated with this philosophy as my guide, and I am so pleased with the results. Others seem to really like it too.
Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment! I look forward to getting to know you more.
Love it! I recently did a ruthless closet clean out, and some how it erased that feeling of looking in my crammed-full closet and thinking “I have nothing to wear.” Paradoxical, but true!
I know! I found the same thing. It’s weird. I am pretty excited about it!