DECLUTTER AND ORGANISE YOUR LIFE
Compiled by Robyn, South Africa ~ © January 2006
Parable of the Kankucho Birds ~ The Kankucho birds live deep in the snow mountains where the weather at night is freezing. One bird said "We are going to build a nest for our home tomorrow morning, so that we will stay warm at night". When morning came, it was a sunny warm day and all the birds began singing and playing. They forgot about the nest and cold at night. They played until dark and when it started getting cold, all the birds were shivering without nests. Unfortunately, they kept doing this over and over again; and at the end of each day, they could only sigh and say "I wish we had a nest to keep us warm." The Kankucho bird reminds us that it doesn’t benefit us in any way to procrastinate and put off things for another day.
It’s a great time for decluttering and organising our homes and lives! When we are feeling drained, tired and overwhelmed we probably need to get rid of clutter! This makes us peaceful and changes the positive energy in your home and your personal life! Organisation is also an important part of successful homeschooling. You can have the best curriculum, books and accessories but if you can’t find them, they may be wasted and never used! Decluttering pertains to different areas of life including our homes, finances, computers, learning areas and even to our personal lives. Below are some tips, links and articles to get you inspired!
I have a morning and evening routine. The morning routine is to make the house look presentable for the day. The evening routine is to tidy up after the kids are asleep and prepare for the new day. On a good day, my routine goes something like this. Firstly, in the morning, I always make my bed. Then I start with the room I dislike the most, mine is the kitchen. Once that is done, everything else feels more like a breeze. Get your family involved in doing the housework/tidying up. Find a system that works for you. Many people use chore charts with daily duties. If you are lucky, your husband will play a part too. I play a tidy up game with my girls, which works wonderfully. First we sing the song “Tidy up, tidy up, everybody everywhere, tidy up, tidy up, everybody do your share!” Then we tackle a room at a time. What I do is pick up every item that doesn’t belong in that room and call out the room and place it belongs in. For example, “bathroom, bathroom, washing basket, washing basket”! They take turns grabbing the item and running off as if it’s a race to put it in the correct place. Of course this only works if you have two competing! Once we’ve gone through every room, and all the items are in their correct place or almost, I go round and do a quick neaten up. I am lucky to have a housekeeper a couple of times a week to do the actual cleaning. My housework in between consists mainly of laundry, sweeping, mopping, wiping and the bathrooms. My evening routine is basically tidying up of the kitchen after dinner and the toys/mess from the day. I then sit down at my computer to prepare myself for the next day.
I actually enjoy springcleaning!! I find it very therapeutic. I try and tackle one room at a time. I do this either all in one day if I’m in the mood or the recommended way of 15–30min every day until I am finished. A nice way to do this is with a cup of coffee and some inspiring music so that it feels more like relaxing than work. It’s even better if you have a portable phone and can catch up with friends while working! Just tackling one area at a time, such as a cupboard or bookshelf, works well. I have found that buying or making one new thing for that room (such as a new cushion, lamp shade, or even just a new coloured bulb) will give you the inspiration you need…
I love the 4 box de-junking method I have just read about and am definitely going to put this into practice. One of my major clutter problems is having lots of other people’s left-behind things lying around my house. These can sometimes lurk around for over a year!
Here is the 4 box de-junking method: Get four boxes and label them
something like this -
(1) Return to Others (2) Give Away/Sell (3) Store/Keepsakes (4) Recycle/Throw Away
As you declutter your home, make a decision about each item you pick up and place it in the correct box. Indecision is often the biggest problem in dealing with clutter. If you haven’t used something in over 6 months, chances are that you won’t need it again. Get rid of it. As soon as your box is full, deal with the contents. Put give away items in the car to take to a charity. Put storage items, as well as sale items, in clearly labelled boxes in your storage area. Drop off at the recycle centre or quickly throw away the rest without a second thought. Whenever someone pops in to visit you or you go out and about, look through your box to see if you have something to return.
If you plan weekly meals and do weekly shopping where possible, life becomes much less stressful and you will save yourself time and money. Look at your evening/late afternoon schedule for the week. Will you be out any nights? Do you have any late activities that may not allow you time to cook dinner? Take these into account when choosing your meals for the week. From your list of favourite easy family meals, choose five or six for the week (make double portions for freezing whenever possible). The busy days may be leftovers, going out, or frozen meals. Write out a weekly shopping list including all dry ingredients for the week and household cleaning/toiletries for the week. If you have space, buying your milk in sachets to freeze for the week is a good idea. Sliced bread also freezes well and can be popped straight into the toaster in emergencies. Buy your fresh ingredients for the first 2 or 3 days and then you need only go back to the shops once again in the week for fresh ingredients for the next 3 days. When freezing your meals, use suitable containers and label them with stickers with the date and meal on them. Use within 3-6 months of freezing.
– free weekly menus for busy cooks
Slowly getting rid of your debt and sorting out your finances helps a great deal in clearing and de-stressing our lives. Write a list of debts and together as a family, decide on a game plan for paying them off in as little time as possible. Draw up a monthly budget and find as many ways as possible to save money. Borrow things rather than buy wherever possible!
A great deal of my homeschooling stuff is on my computer. Things can be easily saved and forgotten when my filing system is not working for me. Use as many folders and sub folders as necessary to be able to easily access and find the things you need. This should be done under ‘My Documents’ as well as under ‘Local Folders’ in your email program. ALWAYS REMEMBER to do regular back up! (Note to Self!)
A happy and peaceful heart and mind is something we all strive towards. Declutter your personal life by forgiving, letting things go, loving, having more fun and spending time pampering and honouring yourself. Let go of perfectionism, which holds you back and stops you from getting anything done. To help accomplish the above, spend time alone doing your own quiet time or meditation. Some more tips – laugh, be kind, be grateful, talk less-listen more, sleep more, spend more time with positive people, exercise, dance, enjoy the simple things, learn to say no, delegate, live one day at a time, don’t rush, ‘be’ instead of do and love.
Other Useful Links & Websites
by Crystal Millar
(hs mom to 8 children) - lots of excellent articles and tips!
When you walk around your home do you feel relaxed, in control and surrounded by things you love and that reflect your life today? If not, then probably your home is being taken over by clutter… read more…
- Organize your home with these easy organizing tips ~ excellent budgeting tips, cleaning tips, gardening, organising, home decorating, recipes, time management tips and more!
– Get organised, Clean house, Cut Clutter, In the Kitchen, Family Matters and more – the editor is a homeschooler.
Flylady.net is full of wonderful tips on keeping your house organised in as little time as possible. The FlyLady takes you by the hand and gently leads you step by baby step through her housecleaning and organizing program. Check out Fly Lady’s 27 Fling Boogie to help you declutter your home.
THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED JANUARY 2009
Graphics on this page by:
"It is never too late
to become what you might have been."
-- George Eliot