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Wicker baskets and clear vases on white shelf.

Hello, my friend! If you’ve landed here, I’m guessing you want to create a calm and tidy home.

You’re ready to conquer the chaos and transform your living space into a peaceful oasis.

First and foremost, I want to give you a big virtual high-five and a pat on the back. Life can get messy, but you’re here – and that’s a fantastic start. You’ve got this! 

So let’s not waste time. With a decent plan, a little time and a good to-do list, we’re going to make this happen.

Let’s dive into nine simple steps to get the clean, organized home that you and your family deserve.

1. A Little Pep Talk

First of all, remember that everyone gets disorganized. (Except those strange “born organized” people – a concept I can’t even wrap my head around.) Life is messy and unpredictable!

Maybe you were once queen of a clean house. But then you inherited a bunch of stuff you don’t need but can’t part with.

Or maybe you moved, had a baby (or two or three), divorced or started a new venture. And now that sucks all your time and energy.

Maybe you suffered an illness or terrible loss. You might be struggling to move forward.

Or maybe the chaos and clutter in your home is because of depression, ADHD, or another mental health challenge.

A messy home doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It just means you don’t have the right system to keep it clean, calm and tidy.

But you will soon. And now you also have me. 😊

2. Decide and Commit to a Calm and Tidy Home

Messy room before being decluttered and organized to be calm and tidy.

Before we get to the dirty details of creating a cleaner home, it’s essential to get into the right mindset. Commit to the idea of reclaiming your space and making it your safe haven

Imagine a life without panic cleaning, piles of dirty laundry, surprise guests catching you off guard, lost bills, or never-ending dirty dishes. 

Instead, picture calm, organized spaces that surround you like a relaxing getaway. A peaceful home that smells good and doesn’t stick to your feet! A home where every room is functional and beautiful.

You deserve it for your mental wellness, and so does your whole family. It’s time to make your free time truly restful and guilt-free, by having a home that’s under control.

3. Calendar Review and Scheduling

One of the keys to a calm and tidy home is dedicated time for homemaking. Because hey – if we don’t know when we’re keeping house, it probably won’t happen. Right?

Start by reviewing your daily schedule. Look for two or three short blocks of time, about 15-20 minutes each, that you can commit to on a daily basis. Feel free to skip the weekends like I do.

These time slots will become your non-negotiable appointments for household chores. This time will include anything from decluttering, to creating storage space, to the cleaning process itself. 

Doing just a little bit each day will keep your entire house in order – and your stress levels down! It’ll be great, I promise.

It all starts with you. This doesn’t mean that your messy home is only your fault (or maybe it is!), or that you need to do everything by yourself. But YOU’RE in control here. You’re leading the effort. Take charge! 

Because seriously – if you don’t do this, nobody will. Right?

Speaking of calendars, here’s a secret to making yours work. One of the absolute, most important things is to bookend your days.

What does it mean to bookend your days? Basically, it means to begin and end your day with a simple, personal routine that sets you up for success.

And it happens at basically the same time every day.

Your “bookends” support you and nobody else.  They provide structure and order that supports whatever else the day throws at you.

No matter how else the day goes, whatever “emergencies” come up, your bookends make sure your day begins and ends with sanity.

For example, my morning routine is to get up at 4:30, before the world is awake and before anyone needs anything from me. I have my coffee, feed the cats, read my email and check my calendar to plan my day. I attempt Wordle and share my sad scores with a couple of girlfriends. Then I work on my blog.

This all happens before I shower, work, clean, cook or anything else. It’s MY time, and nothing in the day can take it from me.

It puts ME in charge, so I can get ahead of my day – not wake up already running behind. I’m pro-active instead of re-active.

My bedtime routine (after face, teeth and hands) is to crawl into bed for an hour of whatever cozy mystery Randy and I are binge-watching on Roku TV. Then it’s lights out, and I read my Kindle Paperwhite for a few minutes till I’m drowsy. My ADHD brain needs that wind-down routine to quiet the noise, and the recurring pattern is its signal for bedtime.

Bam! It’s a setup for great sleep quality that would otherwise dodge my hyper brain.

Bookend your days, my friend. Set yourself up.

4. Assess the Mess

This next step involves some objectivity. It’s time to step back and identify places in your house that need attention.

  • What’s currently working well in your home? Are there areas of your home that you love? What are you doing really well? How can you incorporate that into other areas?
  • What’s a hot mess, and what areas need improvement? Is there anything critical that needs help NOW?
  • If you could wave a magic wand, what would your ideal home environment look like?
  • What functions does your home serve? Do you need a crafting area? A home office? A gaming station? Where can the kids do homework, and where can you park muddy boots?

With these questions answered, you have a clearer picture of your goals and what you need to work on.

5. Gather Your Resources

Now that you know what needs your attention, it’s time to gather the tools and resources to tackle the clutter and mess. You’ll want to have garbage bags, donation boxes, and long-term storage containers ready to go. These will be your trusty companions as you begin the decluttering process.

(At this point, don’t invest too much in organizing bins for daily-use items. We’ll first need to decide what you’re keeping, where you’ll put it, and the right size for the place it’ll live.)

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6. Declutter Like a Madwoman

Decluttering is where the magic happens! We all have way too much stuff. And it has a direct impact on our stress hormones, immune systems, mental well-being and physical health. Not to mention, clutter is just impossible to keep clean and organized!

Having less stuff in our physical space makes an enormous difference. With less clutter, it takes less time to not only create a clean space – but to maintain it.

Don’t worry, nobody wants to take away your cherished goodies. The goal here is to keep only what you need, love, and use regularly.

Here’s a simple acronym to help you decide what stays and what goes: TTTT – Toys, Treasures, Tools, and Trash.

  • Toys: These are the things that bring you happiness and get used all the time. They’re keepers.
  • Treasures: These are highly sentimental items that hold special memories, even if they don’t have a functional purpose.
  • Tools: These are essential items that you use regularly but may not hold sentimental value.
  • Trash: This category includes items that are non-sentimental, unnecessary, and can be donated, discarded, or sold immediately (as in, today or tomorrow – not “someday”).

By categorizing your possessions into these four groups, you’ll be well on your way to a clutter-free home.

Important: Many of us have a hard time identifying Treasures vs. Trash. This is because, for some of us, our “stuff” has emotional value. We love it all! But while that may be true, we probably wouldn’t miss it if it was gone. Consider letting it go. Remember that loving an item doesn’t mean we need to own it.

7. Organize, Sort, Store & Label

Organized closet with spaces for hanging and folded clothes.

Now that you’ve decluttered, it’s time to find a home for all your possessions. Make sure everything has a designated spot, and don’t forget to label your containers clearly!

The key to maintaining a tidy home is knowing where everything belongs, so you can quickly grab it when you need it. 

Now is when you’ll buy organizing and storage containers for individual rooms and spaces. Here are a few ideas:

  • Open, shallow divided trays for drawers. They can handle little things that collect on the kitchen counter or bathroom sink
  • Laundry baskets in any area that laundry tends to accumulate
  • Woven storage containers in the living room for throw blankets and extra pillows
  • Clear bins for the pantry and refrigerator to keep small, similar items that otherwise scatter between shelves
  • IKEA is a fantastic resource for organizing and great use of small spaces. Visit their showroom for some really clever ideas.

This step is all about making your home functional and efficient, so you can effortlessly locate and put away items. Think “easy order.”

8. Maintain Your Clean and Organized Space

Creating good habits and cleaning routines is crucial for keeping your home tidy. Make it a daily practice to put things back where they belong – especially those “danger zones” where clutter tends to collect.

Do a quick 15-20 minute cleaning session, two or three times a day, during your designated homemaking time slots (see Step 3 above). Set a timer, throw on some music, and breeze through your cleaning routine. 

Other family members and even young children can help. Give them age-appropriate jobs of their own and make it a family activity. Little kids love to help – so let them! Plus, it builds character, self-esteem and important life skills.

Also, make sure to create helpful habits and rules that will keep you on top of laundry and dishes. (Examples could be: One load every day, at the same time every day. All clothes folded and put away before another load starts. No dirty dishes in the sink.)

Consistency is key. Over time, these routines will become second nature, making it a simple way to maintain an organized, calm and tidy space.

9. Reward Your Hard Work

Last but certainly not least, it’s time to celebrate your achievements! All your hard work and dedication deserve recognition and reward. 

Set up milestones along the way, and when you reach them, treat yourself to something special. (Make sure your reward isn’t more clutter!) It can be a spa treatment, a manicure, theater tickets, or any experience that makes you happy.

This step is all about acknowledging your accomplishments and motivating yourself to keep up the good work.

Final Thoughts

Remember, achieving a clean and tidy home isn’t a one-time effort. It’s an ongoing journey.

Life will always have its messy moments, but with these nine simple steps, you’ll be ready to handle them and enjoy the peaceful, organized environment you deserve. 

So take a deep breath, give yourself a pep talk, and let’s get started on transforming your home into a clutter-free oasis. You’ve got this!

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