Decluttering with Little Ones Underfoot and This Week’s Assignment

How are you doing with this declutter project? I’m just going to admit it – I’ve been in a cooking mood lately so making things like biscuits with sausage gravy, muffins, pizza (including the sauce!), and cookies from scratch has gotten just a little in the way of my decluttering goals. But like I said in my last post, nobody is behind in this challenge. That includes myself, right? 🙂

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

I do plan to buckle down with more organization this week, but in the meantime my family has been enjoying some delicious meals.

Speaking of organization…

I’ve asked you to send me your questions, concerns, and biggest house-cleaning hurdles. I’m so excited that I’ve been getting feedback on this! I plan to answer as many questions as I can during this series, and even if I don’t turn your question into a blog post, I will get back to you directly, so please ask away!

Today’s comment is from Sierra.

“I am so excited for this series! My biggest hurdle is TIME. I have a 3 year old and twin 10 month olds that keep me busy! However, I know that if I can find the time to put into organizing and implementing new systems, it will pay off and I’ll get that time back when I am able to care for my house and family more efficiently. Looking forward to your tips!”

Sierra, that’s a great attitude!

You are correct in thinking that when your house is organized and clutter-free (or at least low clutter), you will save time.

After thoroughly decluttering my own home last year, I was surprised to discover that I spend less time cleaning than I ever have before, yet my house is cleaner than it ever has been. Maintaining a clean house is definitely much easier than creating a clean house!

Having small children underfoot makes cleaning a little trickier, especially when they’re following behind wanting to pull everything out that you just put away! I’ve done it myself though so I do have a few suggestions for you:

1) Give your children your attention before you clean. Spending 20 minutes reading a book or playing on the floor with your kids will go a long way in filling their little love banks so you’ll be able to work more efficiently.

3) Have your kids sleep at the same time,
if they’re not already. This may feel impossible, but if you invest time to get your children on the same sleep schedule that could free up a lot of your time each day.

4) If your three year old no longer naps, instate a quiet time. This is a time where non-nappers play quietly in their room or lay on their bed or the couch with a small pile of books. It gives children a time to rest and Mom a time to complete extra tasks or to rest.

5) Strictly limit TV time. This way your kids can enjoy a movie when you need to work quickly and you won’t feel guilty for allowing too much television.

6) I very gently suggest that you honestly evaluate your schedule. Are there time-zapping things you could minimize? Phone usage, television shows, the Internet, or even fiction novels? Of course, rest is a must for enjoying life, but if you’re spending very much time doing unnecessary things, then you could cut back on some of those in order to fit in more cleaning.

7) Consider the possibility of hiring help. When my children were smaller and I was working with my husband at his computer business, a homeschooled teen girl came in as a Mother’s Helper for five hours once a week. She did this for almost two years and while she was in my home, she helped my kids with school projects, she cooked dinner, took the girls out to play, and helped me clean. Those five hours gave me enough breathing room in my week to not feel like I was drowning under my to-do lists.

8) If you can’t hire help, consider working with a friend. Maybe you could take turns babysitting so the other could clean. Or you could go to each-other’s houses once a week to help each-other declutter.

9) Remember that decluttering is a time investment. You’re taking away from a little time with your kids now so you can spend extra time with them as soon as your house is decluttered.

10) Involve your children as much as possible. I love this toddler chore list on Giving the little ones a simple task to do while they’re close to you can keep them occupied while also providing valuable training.

11) As you consider the above ideas and evaluate your schedule, you may come to a realization that this may genuinely not be the best time to declutter every square inch of your home.
Just having a three year old and ten twin month olds makes for very full days! Enjoy your babies. If you do need to declutter, focus on your problem areas first. Think about your biggest disorganization time-wasters. Laundry piles? Losing shoes and keys? The kitchen cupboards being a mess? Whatever is slowing you down and making you feel inefficient, those are the areas you’ll want to really focus on now. Areas like holiday storage closets may just need to wait.

Did I miss anything? What advice do the rest of you have for Sierra and for other moms in a similar stage of motherhood?

New Assignment

This week’s assignment is to organize your bedroom and home office space. Remember, you do NOT need to take my suggestions about which rooms to clean (the important thing is just to make progress). But, going through the parent’s areas before the kid areas will set an example and precedent for your kids. “Remember when I got rid of things in my room, and how nice it looks? Now we get to make your room that nice!”

Decluttering your bedroom and home office space includes cleaning out your closet, going through your clothes (if you haven’t worn it in the past year, get rid of it!), and sorting through any office paper clutter.

I’d love to hear how you’re doing on this challenge so please leave a comment or e-mail me to let me know. And don’t forget to submit your questions so I can answer them!


  1. Our son is seven and besides working outside the house – which severely limits our time to do anything – the biggest issues we face are numbers 5 and 6. There are so many ways we could better spend our time. I also think that something people with young kids need to not do is be too hard on themselves. Allow for times that the house can just be dirty. Your kids are far more important.

    • Thank you for your comment, Mick! I definitely agree that we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. Even after my giant declutter project last year, my home still gets messy – it’s just easier to clean it back up now that there’s not clutter all over the place 🙂 And I think that’s the main thing; when we spend so much time maintaining clutter, or looking for lost items, it’s time that we could be spending on better things instead, like playing with our kids (like I mentioned in tips 1 & 11). At that point, cluttering is not just time spent, but time invested.

  2. Hi, Davonne, I followed your link from Nony’s Decluttering Party. It’s my first time visiting. I am not a mom, but I feel your response to your reader’s question was very thorough and filled with a lot of encouragement. I especially like how you let her know it is okay to not declutter every space of her home at this time. I am certain she will find your suggestions very helpful. I’ll be back to follow along on your challenge. : )

  3. I love the advice you gave in answer to this reader’s question, Davonne. I especially like #7. Once my older children were capable of taking over some of my everyday tasks, it eased my load and I could focus more of my energy on areas that had been neglected. My older girls were able to help other families such as yours from time to time – such as the time our oldest daughter went to stay with my sister to help with the household when a new baby joined their family.
    Stopping by from the Declutter Party. Have a blessed weekend!

    • Thank you so much, Linda! I’m sure that was such a blessing to your sister – I hope my daughters are able to bless others in that way some day!

  4. Thank you for the great and helpful post! I especially appreciate the simple reminder to focus on the areas that are the biggest time wasters. I can SO easily get caught up in organizing the craft closet when I should be cleaning out my children’s dressers. 🙂 I so appreciate you taking the time to address my specific needs!

    • You are very welcome, Sierra – I’m so glad this article was helpful to you! Thank you for commenting to let me know. And I’ve been there, done that with organizing the less important stuff first 🙂


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