When you’re a mom of littles, your house is bound to be a little chaotic. From toys scattered everywhere and little treasures being stacked onto shelves to those pre-baby jeans hiding in the back of the closet, our homes tend to fill up. Don’t worry! It happens. But what if there was a simple way to reduce the “stuff” that keeps piling up?
Hannah Beshara is a Black Hills mom of two – Hank (3) and Poppy (6 mo) – and is like many other mommas out there. She works, looks after her two children with her husband Max at her side, attempts to keep a clean and healthy home, and feels the mom guilt whenever chaos takes over.
“Motherhood is crazy – you go through so many emotions, and organization keeps me sane,” laughs Hannah. “I try to control the things I can – the things that I now will help me throughout my day.”
Study after study has shown that there is proven positive psychology behind being organized. According to researchers at Princeton University, clutter can make it more difficult to focus on a particular task. Another study in the scientific journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who described their living spaces as “cluttered” were more likely to be fatigued than those who felt their homes were “restful”.
Here are five steps Hannah takes to declutter her home, allowing more freedom and rest to her life.
Empty the Mess
Take everything out of the cupboard, drawer, closet – or whatever you’re focusing on that day. You’ll be amazed at what has accumulated over the years, months, or even weeks!
Split the Stash
Sort your items into two piles. All the items that have purpose (the things you need or use every day) and the items that bring you joy will go into Pile One. In Pile Two, place everything else.
“I’ve adopted the phrase ‘minimal-ish’,” said Hannah with a smirk. “It’s not super hard-core – we have more than a chair and a backpack full of clothes, but it’s just going through rooms and really thinking about why you have the items you do.”
Grab the Duster
Next step – clean (because you know you’re going to find crumbs).
“My son loves to help me clean,” said Hannah. “He will choose cleaning supplies like a vacuum over his toys any day.”
To ease the worry about the chemicals her child is ingesting and breathing in while he spends time cleaning with her, Hannah uses Thieves – a Young Living brand of cleaner that is chemical free. Her tip for other parents: do your research before you start using a product.
“I did a lot of research before I decided I wanted to use more natural stuff. There are a lot of studies you’ll be able to find,” said Hannah. “You know what’s best for your family, and if you find something you think will work – it probably will. And if it doesn’t, try something else. You’re not locked in.”
Replace and Organize
After the cleaning is finished, put back your purpose and joy pile – organizing it along the way. There are reasons clutter causes stress – and order can create a haven from it. Displaying sentimental items around your home can re-ignite the memories of experiences you have been through, completing an entire cycle of enjoyment.
Donate and Toss
Now you have your “everything else” pile. These are things you don’t really use – the clothes that don’t fit you, the gift you received for your wedding you have no intention of using. Just get rid of it! This step can be really hard, but it can also be very freeing.
“It’s in our nature to be attached to material things,” said Hannah. “If you have something you absolutely love – like a sweater – then yes! Keep it! However, when you have something that doesn’t fit you, it brings unnecessary stress to your life to make that item work. Once it’s gone, you won’t have those negative feelings attached to it.”
“Doing anything with kids can be difficult if you let the chaos take over,” said Hannah. “It’s difficult keeping organized and clean with little ones, but I think it is way more manageable than if I didn’t have those things in place.”
These five steps may feel like gigantic steps to take – especially when children are running around, but who says you need to do an entire room at a time? Start with a drawer, a cupboard, or a bookshelf and go from there. Take baby steps to bring order and cleansing to your home and life this spring.
By Jenna Carda
Photos by Jesse Brown Nelson
“I like to have a cleaning chart of things that I do every day and things that I do on specific days,” explained Hannah. For example, sweeping floor, wiping down surfaces, and small daily tasks are saved for when her littles go to bed or are busy playing with their toys. Free up your weekends by starting your own list of chores.