One of my New Year's resolutions was to thoroughly declutter the house. I knew I couldn't do it without a plan, so I found a great one. I luckily discovered A Year of Decluttering Missions. There is a great calendar with 15 minute daily missions, and I choose some days to do more. There are great articles on how to declutter, how to organize, and other cleaning information. It has helped me so much. The house feels lighter and freer, and it is much easier for me to keep it clean.
I also have a general cleaning schedule each week to help keep everything under control. I have made it a priority to keep things neat and tidy, without going crazy about it. I vacuum and mop twice a week, more if needed. I dust once a week, and deep clean the bathroom once a week. Every day I wipe out the sinks, scoop the litter, wipe down the table and counters, and do some laundry. Once a week I clean the fridge out, clean the garbage cans, clean all the mirrors and change the beds and bath towels. The kids help with some chores too, and it has made a big difference.
I have found that the house smells fresh most of the time, just by combining the wonderful natural cleaners and this cleaning regimen. When is gets a little smelly I spray my homemade essential oil air freshener and it takes care of it quickly and easily.
We have cleaned out so much of the basement, and gotten rid of many things we had been holding onto for too long. After many trips to Goodwill and lots of bulk trash pick ups we feel finally like our possessions are not possessing us, and we are really starting to feel so much more control in our home. We are starting to hang more things on the walls that we want to see, and we are getting rid of knick knacks that we don't LOVE! My new rule is that if it gives me stress to find a place for it, its place is outside our home. We have gone through and organized all our curriculum materials, and started using more of them.
We also replaced all of the mini blinds, which makes a big difference in how clean the house looks to me. And perception is a lot of it. The house feels less full, and more tidy, and that makes it easier for me to feel comfortable here, and easier for me to clean. I know I get overwhelmed with clutter, so I knew clutter needed to go. Once I got started it got a lot easier. The first few things were hard to let go of, but the more I put in the give away box, the better I felt. Now we are very particular on what we keep. We don't have an attic, and I refuse to pay for storage, so we need to simply have less. I am finding that a little bit of minimalism is improving everybody's moods. CJ and Eliza are having a much easier time keeping their rooms clean. That has been a load off my shoulders.
I am looking forward to warmer weather so that I can declutter and thoroughly clean the car, the deck, the porch, and the garage. And of course to get started on yard work. I want this summer to be full of outdoor fun in our yard. I want to have a big party with a ton of kids running around in the sunshine. With green growing things all around, and not much work to do in the house. And I feel well on the way to making the dream a reality.