How would having a family home decluttering plan change your days?
We recently talked on our podcast (Love PLUS Money
) with Tracy Lynn of Declutter in Minutes and she shared so many great tips with us about how to declutter your home. We had such an awesome time with her and we’ve broken that conversation down for you here!
Big projects … like decluttering your entire home … can be overwhelming! Break it down into small steps. Think of those projects like a recipe. Recipes are a series of steps: do this first, then do this, next do this, and so on.
Tracy’s site, Declutter in Minutes
, is so named because you want to break the huge task down into minutes-long decluttering tasks, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. When you're looking at tasks in those small time blocks, it makes it easier for you to tuck this into the busy-ness of your day.
Focus on One Room Each Month
The first thing you want to do is break things down into a reasonable game plan. No matter when you're starting, you want to focus on one room each month for the year ahead. If you don’t have 12 areas, you can include the outside, your car, your schedule. The point is to have one area to focus on each month so that you're not freaking out about decluttering an entire home, you only have to worry about that one space for the next 30 or 31 days. To decide where to start, figure out where the heart of your home is. Consider where you usually gather and where you spend most of your time and make those spaces your top priorities. Also, considering the purpose of that room helps to make decisions about what stays and what goes easier.
Break It Down Even More!
Spend the first two weeks of the month actually decluttering (because it’s the decluttering that takes the longest). When you know exactly how much time you have, it's easier to break those projects down into the appropriate sized time segments. On week three, you clean. Now that the room is decluttered, cleaning becomes a breeze. You can dust, wipe down, vacuum with ease because the clutter is no longer in your way. Then week four is when you organize (that’s the fun part!) in your now clean and clutter-free space.
Where to Start?
Figure out where the heart of your home is. It’s not the same for every family. Where do you spend the most time. Where does the family usually gather the most. Make those spaces your priority spaces and declutter those in the first few months. Another thing to remember is each area that you're working on has a purpose. There's a reason for that space.
In the kitchen, for example, the main task in the kitchen is to cook, eat and clean up dinner, right? So, you're not going to find clothes, tools, toys in the kitchen
Knowing the purpose of a space helps you to make decisions about what stays and what goes easier.
Use a Planner/Calendar
Putting your game plan on a calendar or in a planner allows you to be more visual in the moment. Tracy even has a FREE Mini-Planner
so that you can set up a game plan that's not overwhelming and is actually enjoyable. And that's the whole purpose of this is to learn how to do things in these small bite sized pieces so that it is an enjoyable part of your day and it automatically ends up on your weekly schedule without you even realizing it. Also, it's not something you do and never do again, it becomes a part of your everyday routine.
“I declutter my same rooms year after year after year," says Tracy.
What About All of the Paper?
Baskets! Let baskets become your friend. For the paper that comes into your home every week, have two different baskets: a high-action basket and a weekly planning basket. If you have an item that needs to get taken care of ASAP (like a bill, for example) it goes in the high action basket.
Anything else goes into the planning basket (or the trash/recycling if it needs no action at all). Go through the high-action basket at least once a week (put this on your calendar/planner as well). Take whatever action is needed and either discard or file the paper.
The weekly planning basket has all of the other papers that have come into your home. This is for anything that needs to be included in your weekly planning, correspondence, recipes, etc. Schedule a time each week (or how ever often works for you) and go through that basket. Nothing gets forgotten because it’s all right there in one of the baskets and each basket is tended to on a regular basis.
“On Sunday when I do my weekly plan, I just take this big basket out. My recipes are in there for my meal planning, my planner pages are in there. I have pens and I have post-it notes and I have note cards and tape. Everything I need is in there. So I can sit on the couch while we're watching a movie and do it" offers Tracy.
And All the Toys?
Cycle the toys! Take all of the toys and divide them up into four piles. Keep the first pile in a big basket (like a laundry basket) or a plastic tote/bin with a lid. This is the Play Basket/Bin. It stays. Each of the other stacks gets it’s own bin or basket that is labeled #1, #2, and #3. These go on a shelf in a closet or in the garage or wherever you have room for storage. At the beginning of a new month, bring out the next bin in the cycle, dump it out, fill it with the toys that were used the previous month, and put the “new” toys in the play basket/bin.
So that’s a pretty brief breakdown of what we talked with Tracy Lynn about, but we definitely encourage you to get into the nitty gritty of all she has to offer by listening to the podcast, visiting her Declutter in Minutes
website, and downloading her FREE Mini-Planner
. You’ll find so much that can help you! You can also get our free download, 5 Things Successful Entrepreneur Families Schedule Weekly, by filling out the form below!