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How To Start & Finish Decluttering As A Mom

Make your home peaceful, creative AND easy to clean up.

This simple guide is everything you need to have, do and prepare for when you declutter your home as a mom. It includes the physical decluttering needs and planning, the emotional needs, timing, and getting your family on board.

    Meet the founder of motherhood simplified and creator of decluttering simplified

    Hey, I'm Krista

    I’m a mom just like you who has decluttered her entire home.

    I don’t teach decluttering in theory, and I will never ask you to do something in your home that I have not done myself.

    All the tips and strategies you find in this course have worked for thousands of other moms.

    I’m here to help you find that sweet spot of having enough, but not too much, so you can feel less stressed in your home. 



    Motherhood Simplified

    Short simple podcast episodes and blog posts to help you declutter your home

    Declutter your home in 5 steps

    Without knowing how to declutter your home, you won’t be able to stop cleaning up all the time, get and stay organized, or be able to feel at peace in your home. Instead, you will continue to clean up pointless messes, feel frustrated that your family doesn’t help you enough, and feel stressed and burdened in your own home. 

    You’re in the right place! I created this proven, 5-step process to help you declutter your home based on my research and experience over the past 11 years.

    We’ll cover everything from how to start decluttering to getting rid of it once and for all. I’ll also give you some things to look out for along the way, mistakes I made before I worked out this system, and ones I still see other moms with kids still at home making.

    Just follow the steps, and by the time you finish Step 5, you’ll feel like a pro and enjoy peaceful, fun AND easy to clean up home.

    Ready? Let’s go!

    Step #1:Surface decluttering

    In Decluttering Simplified I have moms do a surface declutter. It’s a set of strategic decluttering projects and checklists that will take you throughout your entire home and declutter the simplest things first. Think trash in the bathrooms, clothes that don’t fit, and long forgotten, unuseful and ready to declutter items buried in closets. 

    This not only gets the ball rolling with your decluttering, in a very non-threatening way. But it also gets you deeply familiar with what you have in your home, and how much. 

    Before you can declutter your home entirely, you’ll want to take your time with this critical first step.

    So, the first thing you need to do is create your very basic and surface level decluttering projects room by room and create a simple checklist to follow. Or you can get mine inside Decluttering Simplified.

    Here are some examples

    • Your spice cabinet. This is good because it will get you into the kitchen, you likely have a lot of expired or duplicate spices to declutter and you will naturally find it simple to complete, satisfying and likely to continue declutter under the sink, random tupperware, etc. The key here is to keep it simple, make progress and take mental (or literal) notes on bigger projects you’re excited to do in the kitchen next. 
    • The hallway closet. This is good because it is likely full of a lot of clutter. Closets are meant to hold our overflow, but I am guessing your closet has overflow already and so the overflow in the main areas of your home have nowhere to go. Clearing out these closet and storage spaces sets you up for success as you move through and declutter the deeper layers of your home

    For example:

    If you try to declutter your kid’s bedroom, you will likely find that the closet needs to happen before you can do the living space. That can quickly become a chicken or the egg scenario where you just end up shifting things from the closet to the room (or tighter into the closet), or from the room to the closet and never really make decluttering progress. 

    What to look out for:

    Many people skip this foundational step and then wonder why they’re not able to declutter their home. Don’t let that be you!

    This is a crucial foundational step that will set you up for success later on. And each step is a building block for the next, so don’t even try to jump ahead! 🙂

    All done with your surface declutter? Great job! Let’s move on to Step 2.

    Step #2: Active decluttering

    At this point, you’re probably thinking that this is going to take you forever. That you wasted your time doing, or trying to do a surface declutter. And you should actually just stick to trying to organize your clutter instead. Or wait until your kids move out.  

    You may even be wondering, “Can I actually declutter? Can little ol’ me really declutter my home? ”

    If you hang in there, it will gtt easier and you will see HUGE results, promise. What we’re doing is pulling this all together into a truly sustainable clutter free home for you. It took you time to accumulate all that clutter, and it’s going to take a little bit (not a whole lot in comparison) of time to declutter. 

    One thing that may help is to  track your decluttering progress as you go. I give several ways to track and document your progress inside of Decluttering Simplified. 

    Now it’s time to declutter the deeper layers of your home. 

    The reason this step is important is that it will help you declutter your home start to finish, and make it easier to make your home a peaceful, fun, creative AND easy to clean up space for your whole family. 

    Plus, you’ll have a system for keeping your home at a manageable amount of stuff that will be easy to organize, and keep organized. Plus it will be easy to get your family to know what they are responsible for, and keep up on that as well. 

    Here are some tips to help you move through this step quickly:

    • Create bit-sized decluttering projects for yourself by room and/or by category. 
    • Decide what order you will complete those decluttering projects.
    • Set flexible deadlines for when you will complete those projects and decide when and where you will be taking your excess stuff. 

    What to look out for:

    When I first started decluttering my home, I hilariously thought it would be best to get rid of the big things first. That was a disaster. 

    I’ve also had the opportunity to peek under the hood at other mom’s decluttering process (before they got my help) And in the process, I’ve seen common mistakes people make that hold them back from decluttering their home. 

    Many of them relate to this step:

    • Decluttering sentimental things first. Instead of going for the things that are the hardest to make decisions on and are NOT the things overwhelming you in your day to day life,  you should declutter the stuff in your daily life that is in the way – think laundry, dishes, toys. Make room for your sentimental items and get practice in decision making. Decluttering is a skill so build up to those harder decisions like sentimentality. 
    • Thinking that something “declutter the kitchen” or “declutter the house this weekend” is a good enough plan. You’ll get better results if you break each room and category down by project. “Declutter the kitchen (or house)” is your end result, NOT your plan. Your plan should have small enough projects for you to do in the cracks of your day like “declutter the tupperware, then pots and pans, then pantry”. As a mom you need to be able to do this slowly and over time. 
    • Not setting a flexible due date or scheduling in time to declutter.  If you find it hard to commit to decluttering at regular intervals, try setting a deadline of say 4-6 weeks so that when inspiration, and timing hits you can easily get back into decluttering. This is why it’s so important to have your projects mapped out so that when you DO get time, you aren’t wasting it trying to figure out what to do. 

    Just keep making progress on your decluttering projects as much as you can, and consistently as you can and you’ll be on the right track.

    Step #3: Take a break from decluttering

    Are you starting to get excited? I hope so. We’re just about there. 

    You may be feeling a bit skeptical of the process, and that’s perfectly normal. Any time you’re trying something new, it takes a minute to process it. Just be patient and stay with it. 

    Next, I want you to take intentional time to NOT declutter, or worry about decluttering.

    While you’re doing this, make a note of how often and how much you are bringing back into your home. 

    There are many moms who declutter, but REclutter just as quickly and so they think decluttering won’t work for them.

    Also take note of how much clutter actually left your home. Another reason moms think decluttering doesn’t, or won’t work for them is because they aren’t actually decluttering. They are cluttering shifting and moving things from place to place inside of their homes. 

    Take this time to enjoy the work that you have done, and notice what is and isn’t working for you in your home. 

    For example:

    Maybe you decluttered half of the Tupperware in your kitchen and were feeling SO relieved. Now you realize that you still don’t use most of it and want to declutter more Tupperware during your next big active decluttering stage. 

    If you want, you can join Decluttering Simplified. I created it to help you declutter your home without getting stuck in the clutter shifting, or REcluttering cycle

    Click here to Join Decluttering Simplified so you can get started today!

    What to look out for:

    It may be hard to stop decluttering. Once you start and feel the relief it can almost become addicting. But I often see moms replace the overwhelm and distraction of clutter with the distraction of decluttering. Don’t let that be you. 

    The point of decluttering is to enjoy your home and your life with your family.

    Step #4: Prepare for your next round

    We’re just about done. There are just two more steps. And these are actually the easiest!

    Here’s what to do next:

    You’ve taken some time to live with the level of clutter in your home, post-decluttering. By now you should have a good idea of what is working for you and what is not. And an idea of what would be good to focus on next.

    Maybe you majorly decluttered toys, but your kids still are not playing with most of them and you can do another pass of them.

    Or maybe you thought you really needed all of those clothes in storage. Now you see most of them don’t fit and are not the right season or style for anyone in your home any more. So, you are ready to declutter them.

    And my favorite, maybe you were holding on to things for “just in case”. You now realize those potential scenarios are never going to happen and if they do they are just minor inconveniences anyway! Now you can declutter them. 

    What to look out for:

    No matter what you do, don’t stop and think that you only need to declutter once and you’re done forever. 

    If you do, you’ll only risk becoming another mom who does a lot of work to get her home under control and then feel bad that it never really worked. So just trust me that getting ready for your next active round of decluttering is important and will be so much easier the second time, and eventually this entire 5 step process will become second nature. 

    Keep going! You’re nearly there.

    Step #5: Repeat the process

    This is the last step. And really it’s just step one again! 

    But you might find that you can just skip step one entirely. The surface decluttering phase is often the hardest the first time, and not always necessary to do again. But for many moms it’s also a really great way to get back into decluttering if it’s been a while or you’re out of a particularly demanding season of life. 

    Here’s how to get the best results with step 5:

    • Be flexible with this. Decluttering really is a skill and the more you go through this cycle, the easier it gets and the more you can bend the rules of each step. 
    • Celebrate the way you are creating an entirely new lifestyle for yourself and your family. 
    • Look forward to the process and how you feel once it’s done and you get to step 4 when you get to recover and rest.

    What to look out for:

    The first time I did this to post-decluttering regret. I used to move with our family once or year or more. And I had a really good system for packing up each room of our home and every time I got to the kitchen, I would have to decide what to keep and not keep, and every time the pie pan would not make the cut.

    I make a pie about once a year, maybe. But it never failed that I would say, “the pie pan does not stay”. I would donate it or gift to a friend, and when we would get to the new home for some reason we would need a pie pan.

    I never really learned my lesson, but also at the moment, the pie pan didn’t fit. 

    Some people might get to stage 5 and think they have made a mistake by decluttering something and I just want to encourage you and say you know what? You might. But it won’t be that big of a deal. Every time I was able to find or buy a new pie pan, and nothing bad happened. 

    Many more good things happened when I decluttered. Like not having to spend all day every day cleaning up pointless messes, shoving things into cabinets that don’t fit and feeling chronically frustrated in my own home.  

    What am I saying? It actually worked out even though it was minorly inconvenient.

    I want you to know that decluttering your home is one of the best decisions you can make. Especially if you’re struggling to keep up. And the net positive is SO big in comparison to one little mishap you might come up against. The biggest lesson for me in all that was that I am resourceful and always have what I need, when I need it. And I can get it if I need to. It’s been a really great lesson in self trust.

    Bonus! Enjoy the decluttering process, and include your family

    And finally, here’s a Bonus Tip just for you! 

    I just had to include it because it can really make or break decluttering your home. 

    Include your family. Lead by example. Show them that you are leading them toward a life that is simpler, more fun and easy for everyone. A life with less stress, overwhelm, confusion and frustration.

    And as much as possible learn how to enjoy it. I know, it’s ultimately still just a chore and not really fun, but it feels SO good to have done. So focus on what feels good to have done, not only what feels good to do 



    Key Takeaways

    Congratulations! You just learned how to declutter your home. Follow the steps above to have a peaceful, creative, fun and easy to clean up home, instead of a home that makes you want to run and hide. 

    I’ve given you all my best tips, tools, and techniques to help ensure your success. Just knowing them isn’t enough, though. It’s time to act and get the results you’ve been dreaming about! 

    Click here to join Decluttering Simplified.
    You can watch this free training first to learn more about how to create your very own decluttering plan as a mom and then hop into Decluttering Simplified to start taking action on it! 

    What is minimalism for families?

    Look, I know you're not new to decluttering, or minimalism, but sometimes when you focus or learn about something, you lose track of the finer details of keeping up with your day to day life, let alone decluttering or reducing your consumption. 

    Next thing you know, you're too overwhelmed and bogged down and think you’re the only one who hasn’t “figured it out” yet. 

    Don't worry, that's what this blog is for. Also, trust me, you are NOT the only one who hasn't quite figured this out yet. Most people haven't actually.

    I will explain simplicity for families, not just minimalism, and why you need to know all about it so you can make your home peaceful, creative, fun AND easy to clean up. 

    What is minimalism for families?

    At its simplest form, minimalism is the word most of us recognize and strive for because it is known. it's like calling a tissue a Kleenex. It's a tissue but we all know the brand “Kleenex”. The idea of minimalism is that you have less stuff and therefore, also less overwhelm, mess, burden and stress. But for families specifically minimalism can feel out of reach. 

    And that makes sense— when you have more people in your home, you will automatically have more stuff. Being a minimalist seems like something only afforded to those without children, and a high disposable income to be able to get things as needed. Which is why I prefer the term simplicity instead. 

    Simplicity is attainable. It means reducing things down to their smallest viable form. We learned this concept in math… why 18/36 when you could simplify it and just call it ½? This is what simplicity offers families, the concept itself is really just minimalism… simplified. We’re distilling it down to what works for us, rather than a large jargony concept trending accounts promote on Instagram but don’t really apply to our real lives.

    Do you want to learn more from me about how to declutter your home down to the simplest form for you and your family? Decluttering Simplified does exactly that with a step by step plan and support to help you make decisions based on your real life, not some arbitrary minimalist standard. 

    Why Should You Care About minimalism for your family?

    I'm all about letting people live however they want and however works for them, and I can't make you care about minimalism or simplicity, but let me give you some truth bombs real quick to show you why this might be worth your time as a mom.

    Minimalism, or simplicity is important because:

    • It reduces your daily stress, burden and frustration in your own home. 
    • When you declutter you create better consumption habits not only for you, your children and their future selves, you also help shift our culture away from consumerism and materialism which has gotten pretty harmful. 
    • It makes your home, and life more peaceful, fun, creative and makes your job as a parent so much easier. Instead of taking your frustration out on yourself or your kids (because no one ever helps clean up) that becomes a doable task for all of you, and allows you all to play, create AND clean up, easily. 

    Important: Don't think that minimalism and simplicity mean you have nothing fun and will never get to be creative again. It’s actually the opposite because you have TIME and energy to actually DO the things you have been wanting to do. Instead of feeling stressed about pulling out crafts because there is already a mess, or having too many projects started already. Or having to clean up before you start – whether that is cooking, exercising, or even just relaxing on the couch. 

    The truth is, having less stuff to manage gives you more time for doing and being. 

    Clutter in The Home

    How clutter affects you and your family, is just as important as understanding what exactly minimalism is and why it's essential.

    Let me give you a real-world example:

    So many families have way more dishes than necessary, and it leads to unmanageable amounts of dishes. 

    This post particularly is interesting to me because we are also a family of 7, who eat all of our meals from home. Some of our kids are in school but parents with kids in school know that’s really not as much time away from home as people think… summers, breaks, and days off aren’t that much different as far as our dish volume goes.

    And it’s 100% because we practice minimalism, or in my words, simplicity for our dishes. 

    Simplified dishes for large families (not minimalism)

    When I started Motherhood Simplified as a family of 5, we had a set of 6 daily dishes. One large plate, small plate and one bowl per person. This gave us enough of a buffer to get through most days without needing to run the dishwasher and we wash pots and pans immediately after meals. Because it’s a good habit to have, but also because we don’t have enough pots and pans NOT to. It is a self correcting scenario.

    Now as a family of 7 we have a set of 12 dishes because that’s how many dishes come in a pack. We still have to run the dishwasher at least daily (usually twice) in order to have enough dishes for all of our meals. And it works. 

    We can’t fall behind and it by default helps us maintain good habits. 

    I am sure you have many questions about this like what about guest dishes? What about cups/water bottles/sippy cups? 

    And I answer it all in this mini course, super simple routines that work. I share all of the nitty gritty details of how to simplify your dishes and kitchen based on your needs and family size, but also laundry routines and morning/nightly cleaning routines. 

    Check out Super Simple Routines That Work right here. 

    Tips for Minimalism and families

    Raise your hand if you are still not sure that having less stuff will make your motherhood simpler Be honest! 🙋‍♀️

    That's no problem; here are some extra concepts for us to break down:

    Mindset shift #1:

    You probably think that having less will mean you will be deprived in some way. Or you will need something and not have it. You will get rid of something and not be able to replace it. Or you or your kids will be missing out on something by having less.
    Understandable, because we live in a consumerist society full of expert marketers. They use tactics that make you fear not having enough and being deprived.
    Your real power comes from knowing if you ever have a need, you will be able to have it met. Whether you get creative, use something else, ask a friend or realize it really wasn’t that big of a deal to begin with. And your “need” was really more of a minor inconvenience or FOMO. 

    Mindset shift #2:

    You think that having more stuff, makes your life easier. Having back ups for if you lose something is simpler, but let me show you why that’s not true, especially if you have a lot of kids.
    I have 5 kids. That means 5 sets of snow gear. 10 gloves, 10 boots, 5 hats, 5 snow pants, 5 jackets. If I got backups for everyone, or even half of them I have massively increased the money I am spending, the space I am taking up, but also the mental load of having to deal with kids “losing” things, when really they just don’t want to find it, or did not put it back like they were supposed to. Taking their back ups, and then losing those back ups. Me getting frustrated that we can never find our stuff, and my kids are “irresponsible”.

    Having one set per kid requires them to keep track of it, to put it away appropriately and to dry it immediately when coming in.

    Now, I am not saying you have to do it my way, but I am highlighting how often we think having more will make life easier, and it really does the opposite. 

    Here’s an invitation to help you simplify the stuff you have and create simple and sustainable habits around your home with my mini course Simple Routines That Work.

    Super Simple Routines That Work specifically supports you with laundry routines (and stuff), kitchen routines (and stuff), and your morning/nightly routines and habits with your family. Minimalism is focused mostly on what you have, simplicity adds in the sustainable behavior around it all.

    Key Takeaways

    Let's wrap this up, shall we? The key takeaways to remember from this post are that minimalism for families is really beneficial. And often misunderstood to be something that is too out of reach for the average family, and it’s not!

    Motherhood Simplified exists to show families how to declutter and simplify their homes and lives. If you want to take on the title of minimalist, then go right ahead! But it’s not required.

    Pssst, don’t forget, you can also check out my Super Simple Routines That Work course. It includes laundry routines (and decluttering), dish and kitchen routines (and decluttering), and morning and nightly routines. 

    This mini course makes the day to day life simple, so that you have the time and freedom to go do as your please the rest of your day!! 

    Click here to get Super Simple Routines That Work now.

    Oh, and come say hi in the Facebook group and join the Motherhood Simplified crew!

    Come Say Hi!

    A sneak peak at what clutter free life as a mom looks like


    Even if you have little time, energy or day to day support