Home is where the heart is.
But it’s also where everything else lives, too – the Legos, the art supplies, the overflowing drawer of sippy cups, and the piles of paperwork and mail.
In short, home may be where the heart is – but it can also feel downright messy and overwhelming.
But it’s a new year. And maybe this year is the year to accomplish your goal of a home that feels less like an episode of Hoarders and more like an hour of Fixer Upper. It doesn’t have to mean you have to spend all your waking moments on your hands and knees scrubbing carpets and toilets. (Ain’t nobody got time for that.)
Here are 4 easy habits that any mom (yep – even you) can integrate into her life for a home that feels less overwhelming and more peaceful.
These 4 areas seem prone to the most mess in family homes. You don’t have to do them all at once. Choose one at a time until they all become part of your routine. I promise they will make a huge difference in your home – and they take only minutes.
And as a bonus – most of these are things your kids can help with. (That’s why you have kids, right?)
Related: Don’t miss these cleaning tips for the lazy mom.
CLEAR YOUR COUNTERS
I’m convinced that cluttered countertops in the kitchen makes your entire home feel chaotic. (Here are three reasons your home doesn’t look put together.)
In our home, junk goes in the recycling bin, art gets scanned and recycled (or filed for the sweetest pieces that I can’t part with), and important documents get filed. (Check out Meghan’s post about how to organize kids art.)
Once you have a home for all those piles, it only takes a few minutes a day to clear your countertops. And this goes a long way to a more tidy home. If you want extra credit – grab a towel and wipe the crumbs off the countertop while you’re at it. (Or make your kid do it.)
MAKE YOUR BED
For some reason, making the bed has become a habit people love to hate. Every time I share this as a secret to a more put-together home, people moan and groan.
But here’s the truth – it literally takes only minutes to make your bed. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t even need 150 throw pillows. But I promise you that once you establish a bed-making habit, you won’t regret it. It’s typically one of the first things I do every morning, and it sets the tone for a productive day. Plus, it instantly makes your room look tidy – distracting from that pile of laundry still sitting in the corner.
And this is also a habit that your kids can also do from a young age. Encourage your kids to make their beds, too. My son’s bed never looks perfect, but making the bed is a good way to instill the importance of tidying up and taking care of his things. (And I think it also helps him appreciate the things mom does around the house, but that may just be wishful thinking.)
WORK ON THOSE LAUNDRY PILES
Laundry can become one of the biggest sources of stress of for moms – it’s amazing how many dirty clothes, blankets and towels that tiny little creatures can produce.
That’s why a daily laundry habit may be the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. (And it may also avoid those panicked mornings with no clean socks.)
Instead of waiting until there are 14 loads piling up, I try to work on SOMETHING every day. Sometimes, that means I wash and dry a load. Other days, I fold and put away clothes. I spend less than 20 minutes on laundry a day, but it keeps it very manageable. And it also avoids the dread of laundry day.
TACKLE THOSE TOYS
I have four simple tips to help you tame the toy overload in your home:
- Contain them to one area.
- Have a home for every toy you own.
- Regularly put them away.
- Make your kids responsible for clean-up.
This isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s so easy that you’re probably doing an eye roll right now. But the problems in my home come when we don’t live by these toy rules.
When we have toys in every room of the house, it instantly becomes chaotic. (And you can never find the toy your child needs.) When you don’t have spots to put the toys, it will never be neat. And if you wait to clean up until it’s a total mess, you’ll be overwhelmed and give up.
So, start a nightly routine with your kids – everyone helps put toys away where they belong. Kids pick this up way earlier than you’d expect. And my son soon realized that he may not want to take every toy out of the bins at the same time – because those toys will need to get put away – by him.
And if you have too many toys to contain – it’s time to purge. (Check out my decluttering tips for real people.)
Keeping your home neat and tidy in the new year doesn’t have to take tons of time or cause you loads of stress. Instead, start with a few of these simple habits – you’ll be amazed at the difference they make.