10 Time-Saving and Practical Decluttering Tricks for the Perpetually Busy Parent

Decluttering can feel extremely overwhelming as a busy parent. But being preoccupied doesn’t have to mean living in chaos and clutter. A tidy space can help you stay organized and productive and even reduce stress levels.

Small steps are the best way to start decluttering when you don’t have much time. You can spend only 15-20 minutes at a time if that’s what you can make time for. Keep it simple and attack one area at a time.

You do not need to spend 2 hours or a whole day purging unused items. Here are some simple decluttering tips for parents to start decluttering and keep it that way.

1. Create a Morning and Evening Schedule

busy mom creating a schedule in the kitchen to focus on
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One of the most important things you can do to get your home organized and under control is to create a schedule for what needs to happen. This will help you take care of the basic maintenance and stay on track with it. A morning and evening schedule will prepare kids with predictable actions. Implement them gradually, and repeat them every day until they become second nature – when you get up off the couch, you fold the throw blanket.

2. Start Small

woman folding clean blankets in the living room
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You don’t want to try to make a huge change and shift all at once. Start small – one habit at a time, one action at a time. You can also start with one area of the house and add more to your schedule as you go. As you see the effect of decluttering on one area, you will be inspired to take care of other spaces as well.

3. Assign a Day

a busy mom doing general cleaning on an assigned day
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For areas requiring thorough decluttering and cleaning, you want to assign a day and schedule time to take care of it. Try choosing a weekend day so you can focus on it. It doesn’t have to be every weekend. Start with one weekend a month.

4. Set a Timer

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Nothing works like a deadline. But what’s even more fun is trying to beat a clock. A great way to get kids to clean up their rooms is to set a timer and see how long they take to finish. I have started to use this concept as well. If I know I have to clean up my kitchen but don’t feel like it, I set a 15 or 20-minute timer to do whatever I can and stop at the end of the timer.

5. Keep Locations for Donate/Sell

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What should you do with items that don’t fit or that you will never be able to wear again? Create a basket in a neutral location for donations. So, if you try to wear something and figure out it doesn’t fit, put it in that basket immediately. Every 3-6 months, you can take the donations to the donation centers or list them and sell them.

6. Sort Through Paperwork Regularly

busy mother sorting through important paperwork
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One of the biggest sources of clutter is paperwork. There are mailers, coupons, bills, kids’ artwork, permission slips, school notes… the list goes on! Not only does it look extremely messy, but you can also miss or misplace important papers. There are multiple ways of handling this:

  • Create a sorting system
  • Go paperless where possible
  • Create specific storage for specific types
  • Shred any necessary documents right away

7. Get Rid of the “Just in Case” Mentality

woman having indecisive thoughts on keeping or throwing out clothes
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We keep items that aren’t useful just in case we need them one day. With this mindset, clutter builds, and organizing can get overwhelming. Toss out those jeans that no longer fit and the serving dish you used once but never picked up again.

8. Create a Place for Everything

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It is easy for something to turn into clutter if you don’t know where it goes. The key to having a decluttered or organized space is to have a spot for everything. Labeling things makes a huge difference as well – especially in the kids’ rooms and closets so they know exactly where to put their belongings.

9. Clean out Closets Seasonally

busy mom cleaning out her closet
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Make sure you go through the closet during seasonal changes by removing those articles no longer being worn. Let your answers to these questions guide you to decide if you need to keep it or let it go.

  • Have I worn this in the last twelve months?
  • Do I like it?
  • Does it work with other items in the closet? Does it make me happy to wear it?

10. Reward for Decluttering

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Rewards make everything more fun. This is the reason why kids get stickers for doing a good job at school. Set small goals and related rewards. Rewards don’t have to be huge expensive things. They can be as simple as watching a movie as a family, getting to have your favorite meal, or going out for ice cream.

15 Best Chores for Tweens and Teens

teen boy loading the dishwasher
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Let’s explore the importance of teaching kids responsibility & self-discipline through age-appropriate chores and tips on helping them understand the value of hard work with these 15 chores for tweens and teens. See them here

25 Best Kids Room Organizing Ideas

mom sorting toys in kids room
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Are you struggling to keep your kids’ rooms clean and organized? These tips and DIY kids room organizing ideas will help you take back control of the mess! See them here.

12 Simple Ways to Organize Small Kitchen Counters

organized small kitchen counter with shelves on the wall

If you’re short on countertop space and looking to optimize your area, there are ways to solve the problem. Whether it’s a place for small appliances, maximizing your work zone for food prep, or keeping your cooking utensils organized, here are 12 simple ways to organize small kitchen counters. See them here

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Anika Gandhi is on a mission to declutter and organize all the things around her and is here to inspire and encourage you to do the same!

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