As a family of eleven we tend to accumulate much more than I'd like. Here is my solution to attacking clutter:
1. Read books by Don Aslett (they are amazing) on decluttering your home (to gain momentum and ammunition when feeling weak).
2. Grab box of garbage bags and begin running through the house like a madwoman.
3. Lock yourself in rooms furiously stuffing clutter into bags while children knock on the door and ask if everything is okay and if they could come in.
4. When trying to decide whether or not to keep stuff (I gave myself only a few seconds for each decision) I asked myself the question Don Aslett suggests using "Does this bless/inspire/enrich my life? Do I love it? Is it me now?" instead of the old question you usually find in organizing books "Have I used this within the last year?" ---I hated that question. He said there's lots of things we don't use within a year that we need to keep. No wonder I would get discouraged asking this question to myself, besides the fact that it's simply boring!
5. Have 3 piles--throw away, give away and keep.
6. Children and husband hide in other room for fear of being stuffed into a bag and taken out to the trash.
7. When all clutter is bagged immediately have children throw out the garbage, the ones to give away have them load up the car or van(so they won't try to rummage through anything and retrieve it) for the thrift store and the stuff you'll keep (make sure there's not a lot of this) go and put them where they belong. Remember, everything should have a 'home.'
8. In a moment of weakness, remind yourself that the more you keep, the more you waste of your precious time since you could be spending it enjoying life and its many blessings. You will be doomed to be imprisoned by your clutter and shackled to having to care for all the stuff you own if you try to keep too much.
9. After the room is done and bags out of sight, smile and know that a heavy burden has been lifted from you and mental clutter has suddenly been erased.
10. Celebrate by attacking another room!
11. Rest peacefully at night knowing you are a streamlining all your stuff so you have more available time and can say 'yes' to more of what is best in your life.
Need more help on decluttering? We recommend the book Home Management: Plain & Simple by Kim Brenneman:
Home--more than a house, a home is a place for rest, restoration, and relationship. For families with children, a home is a place for care, learning, and belonging.
Managing a busy home is a serious undertaking, with many tasks to face and obstacles to overcome: the laundry monster, household clutter and cleaning, caring for babies and little ones, menu planning and mealtime routines, town outings, bill paying--and so much more!
This sensible and straightforward how-to manual is filled with systematic procedures, easy-to-understand organizational advice, with tips and hints for managing a bustling home with greater efficiency--all in a way that honors God and builds family relationships.
You can find this book HERE.
Do you have any decluttering tips that you would like to add?
We'd love to hear them--please share them in the comments below!