When the new year is upon us, most people start thinking about their New Year’s Resolution for the coming year.
And I used to do the exact same thing.
Every December I would come up with a long list of all the things that I was going to do in the coming year to make my life better in some way or another….
And every year I failed. Usually sometime around January or February.
I continued to do this for a very long time, until one year a good friend of mine called me up and said “Hey, I’m going to do something different this year instead of the normal New Year’s Resolutions, and I think you would enjoy doing it with me.”
She had decided that instead of choosing one or several things to do for an entire year, she was going to give herself one challenge for each month of the year.
I figured that I could do anything for 30 days, so I was in.
That was about 5 years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
Which brings me to this post: my challenge to myself for January 2021 is to declutter my girl’s clothes and then KonMari fold them for 30 days.
And I figured while I was figuring it out myself, I might as well write a post about it and help someone else who wants to learn how to do KonMari folding as well!
If you want to watch me do the decluttering and learn to do the KonMari fold for kids’ clothes, you can check out this video:
The reason I decided to do this challenge for January is that, even though I’ve decluttered my girls’ clothing before, we receive a lot of hand-me-downs from friends.
And while this is awesome and saves us a lot of money… sometimes we end up with too many clothes in their drawers.
The clothes start getting stuffed into the drawer instead of placed neatly. And some items never end up getting used because the girls just wear their favorites all the time.
So instead of having clothes just sitting around, I will declutter them.
Now, when it comes to decluttering kids’ clothes, I don’t just load the car up and take all the decluttered items to the goodwill.
Instead, we have several little friends who are right around the same sizes that our girls are. So my first step is to check and see if anyone else needs any clothes in the size that we are decluttering.
Then, if no one needs anything, the clothes will go into the totes that I keep all the kids’ clothes in that don’t fit.
(Until we decide for sure that we are done having kids, we are keeping all the clothes that the girls have grown out of. We loan the totes to friends who need them in the meantime but ask for everything back once they are done… for now.)
Now the other reason that I am trying out the KonMari folding right now is that I think the girls (or at least the 5.5-year-old!) are old enough to learn the folding themselves. And I’m hoping this will make it easier for them to keep the drawers clean while also making it easier for them to find exactly what they are looking for without having to unload the drawer.
What to Keep in Mind With Kids’ Clothing
1) Let Them Be a Part of the Process
Don’t declutter their favorite clothes that they want to wear all the time… unless they’ve outgrown them or they are so tattered that they aren’t suitable for everyday use anymore.
As you are decluttering, ask their opinion.
If you have several long sleeve black shirts, ask them which is their favorite then pass the rest on to someone else, or put them away in your totes.
2) Have a Specific Friend In Mind
It’s a lot easier for my girls to get rid of clothing when they know exactly who it is going to.
Then I can ask them, “Do you want to share this with so and so?” instead of “Do you want to get rid of this?”
This works well if you have friends who are right around the same size, or if you have friends who are smaller than your little ones.
It just makes it a little easier for them to part with things if they know the person who will be enjoying it.
3) Keep About One to Two Weeks of Clothing
It can be hard to figure out how much you should keep and how much you should get rid of, but I’ve found having 1-2 weeks of everyday clothing is perfect for us.
This doesn’t include seasonal clothes like snow clothes, rain clothes, or swimsuits. These are the everyday clothes that they will wear all the time.
I find this is a reasonable amount of clothing that also keeps them from changing clothes way too many times in a day, but it also keeps them from running out of clothes.
If I have more clothes than that, the girls tend to think that every day is a fashion show and create waaaayyy too much laundry for me.
Now, if there are seasonal clothing, like shorts, I won’t be getting rid of them, but I will be putting them up higher in the closet so that they are more out of sight out of mind.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine would wear shorts all year long if I let them.
So when the shorts are in the drawer, getting dressed is just more of a challenge.
But I will keep everything in their drawers that is appropriate for the season that we are in.
5) Have All The Clothes Clean
Whenever I’m going through their clothes, I try to be all caught up on the laundry so that I can see everything that we have and I know how many pants, shirts, socks and everything else that there actually are.
How to Declutter Your Kids’ Clothes
1) Take Everything Out of the Drawers
The first thing that I like to do whenever I’m decluttering anyone’s clothes is to take everything out of the drawers.
This helps me to see exactly what we have, find any clothes that have been stuffed in the back of the drawer, and it helps me make sure that everything in the drawer also fits them right now.
2) Cycle Out All of the Off-Season Clothing
Once I have everything out of the drawers, I pull out all the clothing that doesn’t work for the season that we are in.
So since it is winter right now for us, all of the shorts are going to come out of the drawer and into the top of their closet.
That way, I don’t have to argue with them any more about it not being summer!
(No, honey, 40 degrees is not shorts weather. No, let’s not wear shorts over our pants. Because it’s winter and shorts are summer clothes. Because you’ll get cold and then you’ll cry.)
*PRO TIP* Find a way to keep favorite seasonal items in circulation.
My younger daughter’s favorite little summer skirt could be relegated to the summer clothes, but we’ve found it looks really cute with a pair of leggings and can be worn all year round!
3) Eliminate All the Obvious 2nd Choices
The first thing that I knew was going to be going to someone else was all of my 2.5 year old’s jeans.
She won’t wear them.
My girls love wearing “soft pants” and will only wear jeans when I force them to. (Because we can’t go to the park if you won’t put them on…)
I will keep one pair of jeans for cold days because I can put their long underwear beneath them and keep them a little warmer… but I know that she won’t choose to wear them.
4) Put Away Everything That Is Too Small
Everything from the hats to the swimsuits to the snow clothes, if it doesn’t fit, it goes to someone else or into the bins.
If it is a favorite item that doesn’t fit anymore, I will give them the choice of if they want to give it to someone else or if they want me to put it away to keep it safe in the bins.
They usually decide to give it to a friend, but it makes them feel better to have a choice if they are having a hard time parting with it.
5) Lay it Out
The next thing I did was I laid out all of the pants on the floor together.
When you lay everything out, it is so easy it see exactly how many you have… and how many you need to get rid of.
We started out with 12 pairs of pants (yikes!). So we knew we needed to narrow it down.
6) Ask the Child
After I laid everything out, I asked my younger daughter to come in and pick out which pants she wanted to keep and which ones she wanted to pass on to her friends.
She had very clear opinions (even at 2.5-year-old!) and knew exactly which ones she was ready to pass on.
We started off with 12 pairs of pants and narrowed it down to 7, which is a much more manageable number for her since she only really used those ones anyway.
How to Fold Your Kids Clothes the KonMari Way
So I had tried KonMari folding before… and it hadn’t worked.
But after watching a couple of tutorial videos, I think that the reason I failed came down to a translation error.
Marie Kondo says to fold your pants in half, fold them in half again, and then to fold them in half, and in half again.
… uhhh what?
Well upon close inspection of what she’s actually doing, it goes a little more like this:
Fold them in half so that the pants legs are on top of each other, fold them in half again.
Then fold them in thirds.
And that mathematical difference, solved the problem for me!
I think the easiest way to learn how to fold each different type of folding is to watch a video.
You can watch me fold each type of kids’ clothing in the video. And you can check out the timestamps to find the type of clothing you are looking to fold:
And here is the tutorial video of Marie Kondo herself showing you the basics of the folding.
The most challenging thing to figure one for KonMari folding my kids’ clothes (once that whole translation thing was cleared up) was the underwear.
And I think that’s because for little kids they are… well… really little.
So after watching a few videos, I realized that it will be easier to stick with my old way of folding their underwear and socks.
The underwear just weren’t big enough for all the folds.
And, while I love the KonMari folding for my own socks (or lack thereof), I decided to leave theirs in the fold and tuck style. (Especially since the biggest problem we have with getting ready is finding socks that match. 🙂
You can check out Marie Kondo’s tips for folding the items in your underwear drawer here:
Good luck with decluttering and folding! Let me know in the comments how it goes for you and if you like KonMari folding your kids clothes or if you are saving that for the grownups!
You’ve done your research, you’ve read the posts, and you know that decluttering is something that would be good for you and for your family.
The only problem is that now the holidays are just around the corner…
So should you start decluttering now, or should you wait until the new year?
In this post, we are going to go over the pros and cons of both options. And by the time we are done, you should know if it is best for you to start decluttering right now… or if it is best to wait until January.
Let’s start by taking a look at Decluttering before the holidays.
The Benefits of Decluttering Before The Holidays
1) You Will Stop Procrastinating
It can be really easy to keep putting something off that you know you should be doing… even when you know that something will improve your life.
Starting today will keep you from putting decluttering off for one more day.
2) You Won’t Have It Hanging Over Your Head
If you wait until after the holidays, it might be difficult to fully enjoy the festivities because you know that you will have a big project to start when everything is over.
Think about when you were in school and the teacher would assign a large project that was due right after Thanksgiving. Was Thanksgiving much fun? Or was it stressful?
If you wait until after the holidays you are kind of assigning yourself a project that will be hanging over your head in the same way.
Getting started will get rid of this feeling!
3) You Won’t Feel As Stressed
There are many studies linking clutter with stress, especially in women.
That’s because women tend to take on more responsibility for keeping the house clean than their male counterparts.
And when you have a lot of extra clutter, it’s really hard to keep your house clean.
So if you want to feel less stressed during the holidays, get started decluttering today!
4) Your House Will Feel Cleaner
Decluttering is the biggest secret to having a house that is clean all the time (check out this post or this video for more details about the other 6 secrets!).
I go into detail about how decluttering can help you keep your house clean in this video, but essentially if you want to effortlessly keep your house clean, start decluttering!
Even if you aren’t able to complete your project before the holidays arrive, just getting started can make a huge difference in how clean your house will feel.
5) You Will Have Space for Any New Gifts That You Receive
If you typically exchange gifts for Christmas, you will have more things coming into your house.
And if you have started decluttering already, you will be able to find a place for the new items much more easily!
The Downside to Decluttering Before The Holidays
You Will Have to Pause From Time to Time
I could only think of one downside to getting started right away, and that is that you will *most likely* need to pause your project from time to time.
Obviously, you don’t want your house to be in shambles during those times, so you will need to put everything you are working on away for a couple of days or even a week during the holidays.
For some people, the idea of stopping and starting might be frustrating enough that it would be better to just wait until the can do their project from start to finish without any interruptions.
The Benefits of Waiting to Declutter
1) It is Easier to Declutter Toys After the Holidays
If one of your biggest areas to declutter is your kids’ rooms, it might make sense for you to wait until after the holidays.
It is easier to declutter toys after the holidays for a couple of reasons:
The first is that it is much easier to get rid of old toys when you just received some new ones. So if your kids receive toys for Christmas, it will be easier to talk them into parting with some of their old ones.
The second reason it’s easier to declutter kids’ things after the holidays is because you can talk with your kids about how many children didn’t receive new toys like they just did.
As you do this, you can also talk to them about how it is good to give things to people less fortunate than we are.
2) You Don’t Have to Pause
If you wait until after the holidays, you won’t have to pause your project for different holiday festivities that are bound to come up.
Some people (like your’s truly) don’t mind taking breaks here and there as long as they are able to get back to the project quickly and keep moving forward, but other people find it very frustrating to be interrupted.
If you don’t like it when you have to take a break from your projects, then it may make a lot of sense for you to wait until after the holidays to get started.
The Downside of Waiting
1) You Might Just Be Procrastinating
Often we know when we need to do something, but it’s really easy to say “oh I’ll get started on this after the holidays.”
The problem is that after the holidays there will be something else that you can say you will start after…
Until before you know it, it is just before the holidays again and you still haven’t gotten started decluttering.
If you feel like you might just be procrastinating, get started now.
Even if it isn’t perfect and you don’t have all of your ducks in a row, just getting started will move you so much closer to your goal.
2) You Don’t Get to Enjoy The Benefits of Decluttering
You will still feel stressed in your home, your house won’t feel as clean as you would like it to, and you’ll still have a huge project hanging over your head.
Whereas if you just get started, even if it isn’t completely perfect by the time the holidays get here, it will still be better than it is right now.
What Would I Do?
With all of these pros and cons in mind, if I were beginning my decluttering journey right now, I would choose to start decluttering before the holidays.
There are two reasons for this:
I don’t like procrastinating. I do much better when I just get started once I have decided to do something.
Now that I know what it is like to live in a decluttered house (and let me tell you, it’s pretty amazing!) I would want to get to the end result as quickly as I possibly could!
If you are the type of person who doesn’t like to pause projects when you are working on them, it would probably be best for you to start after the new year…
Just don’t wait too long, I promise, it will be worth it when you are done!
If you are ready to change your life with decluttering, but aren’t quite sure where to start, I would love to work with you!
If you know you want to declutter, but just need a little help getting started, check out Decluttering 101. Decluttering 101 is a one-hour, private coaching call where I help you develop a game plan for tackling your biggest pain point.
If you want to be sure you see your project through from start to finish, check out Kick Your Clutter to the Curb. Kick Your Clutter to the Curb is 12-week coaching program with weekly coaching calls and unlimited text and email support.
Have you ever wondered why it feels like you are always cleaning?
No matter how much time and energy you put into making your house look nice, it is dirty again before you even turn around.
If that sounds familiar, then you *probably* have a clutter problem.
Clutter can creep slowly into our homes and into our lives. Usually, we don’t even know it is happening… until we are in way over our heads and have no idea how or why the mountains of stuff got into our house.
So what can you do about it?
Well, you have three choices:
One common choice is to ignore the clutter. Keep cleaning all around it and spending your days, weeks, and years, putting everything back in its place. For extra points, you can also welcome more clutter into your house with open arms by purchasing new things often and having mounds of presents at each birthday party, Christmas, and any holiday in between.
The second option is to complain about the clutter. Let everyone within earshot know that you are tired of it and want there to be a change. You can get extra credit by planning to declutter and telling everyone you are going to do it, but never actually getting rid of more than a garbage bag full of things here and there.
The last option is to kick the clutter to the curb! This is the path less traveled because, well, it takes some hard work. But let me tell you, it is worth every minute.
Every day new research is showing how clutter affects not only our time and money, but also our mental and emotional well-being… especially for women.
Want to have a clean house all the time without spending every spare moment cleaning? Declutter it.
Your house will instantly feel much cleaner and lighter, I promise.
It can be hard to declutter when you are overwhelmed by the mess. But that is just when you need to do it most.
In this post I’ll tell you:
How to know if you need to Declutter.
How I Got Started with Decluttering.
10 Steps to Start Decluttering TODAY!
And if you prefer to watch instead of read, here is the video that goes with this post:
So how do you know for sure if you need to declutter your house?
6 Signs That You Need to Declutter
1. It takes hours to clean… And It’s dirty again before you even turn around.
2. Thinking about cleaning your house stresses you out.
3. Your feel stressed instead of relaxed in your own home.
4. It seems like you are cleaning all the time… but no one would know that if they came for a visit.
5. Everywhere you look you see things. Toys, trinkets, collectibles, or anything else that has congregated in your house.
6. The thought of having a clean house all the time sounds magical to you, but it doesn’t seem possible for at least another 10 years.
I needed to go back to what I had intuitively done as a child.
I needed to set limits on the amount and type of things that I would allow to take up residence in my house.
So let’s get into the 10 simple steps that you can take to get your sanity back!
10 Steps to Get Started Decluttering
1) Decide Why You Want to Declutter
Your ‘Why’ can be anything. But it needs to be something.
Decluttering just for the sake of decluttering will only lead to more decluttering down the road.
In order to truly get a handle on the clutter, you also must curb your purchasing habits. And if you don’t know why you want to have a clutter-free home, you will simply continue the same maddening cycle of purchasing and decluttering.
You may just want to declutter for the simple reason of having an easy to clean house. Or you may also want to declutter because of something more philosophical: like a desire to reduce your carbon footprint.
I have two reasons that I want simplicity in my home:
First, the amount of time I spend cleaning my decluttered home is greatly reduced. This gives me more time for the important things in life. Like spending quality time enjoying my family, instead of just cleaning up after them.
The second reason that I choose to live minimally, is that I want my children to have a simple childhood.
I want them to appreciate and take care of what they have.
I want them to have toys that bring them joy and encourage imagination. (See my Intentional Gift Idea Post for clutter-free toy recommendations.)
And I want them to havememories of playing at the park, going on hikes, building blanket forts, and laughing until their sides hurt.
I don’t want them wasting their childhood fighting over an endless pile of toys or worrying about which toys belong to which child.
Whatever your reason for decluttering, take a couple of minutes and write it down. If you grab my Streamline Your Home Quick-Start Guide, there is a page where you can do this, or you can grab the nearest notebook and jot it down.
That way, when you are up to your elbows in the process and you are wishing that you had just let it be, you can easily reference the reason you are decluttering and remind yourself why you want to stick with it!
Trust me, it’s worth it!
2) Pick a Method
When looking at how you want to declutter your home, you should choose what will work best for your personality.
There is no wrong method to use, as long as you pick something that you can stick with until your task is completed.
I personally combined three of the methods when I decluttered and it worked well for my personality.
Don’t spend too much time deciding which method to use, just go with your gut!
Here is a quick rundown of the different ways to declutter your house:
Option 1: Slow and Steady
If you don’t have a lot of time to commit to decluttering, this method is for you.
If you choose this method, you are going to carve out a small amount of time every day (or every week if you are really short on time.)
Look at your daily schedule and decide when you will have your 15-minute decluttering session.
Every day, set a timer for 15-30 minutes and tackle whatever you can in that time. Keep going back to the same area session after session until you feel like your space is clear and comfortable. Then move on to your next area, or room, or category.
This is a great way to declutter without losing steam.
Just be sure that you have the dedication to stick with it for a while since this method will take you the longest.
Treat you decluttering time like it is an important appointment that you can’t miss.
(If this method sounds like it would work well for you, check out Simply Streamlined! We use this method in the program to completely streamline your home in just 15 minutes a day!)
Option 2: Speed Decluttering
This method is for all of the overachievers out there. You know who you are. While most of your friends spend their weekends relaxing, you are checking things off your list.
If you want to do a speed declutter, set aside a week or a weekend to tackle this project.
I recommend setting a timer for each section of the house so you don’t get stuck in one area too long… but you probably already knew that didn’t you?
Pro Tip: If you want to minimize distractions, see if the kids can stay at Grandma’s house for a few days!
You will most likely need a few of these sessions to completely declutter your home, but this is a great way to get started and make a lot of progress right away.
If you want to Completely Declutter your home in 8 Weeks or Less, check out my program Cluttered to Calm!
Option 3: Room by Room
I love this method for decluttering because, well, I love making lists. And checking things off my lists makes me happy.
This method is great for list-makers because it breaks your house down into tiny little manageable chunks. (And each chunk is an item on your checklist for you to check off!)
For my fellow list makers out there, here’s how you do this method:
Grab a notebook or your phone and write down every room and closet and area in your house that needs to be decluttered. (Or you can grab my Cluttered to Calm Checklist or Spreadsheet if you don’t want to slow down long enough to make your own comprehensive checklist!)
For example, I would write down:
Under Ross’s Sink
Under Kassy’s Sink
I like to be specific so that I feel like I accomplished something even if I didn’t get my entire room done. (Maybe that’s cheating, but it worked for me!)
I found decluttering category by category especially useful for my clothing. When I fold my clothes and organize my dresser the way that Marie Kondo recommends, it is much tidier and I know exactly which clothes are clean in my drawer.
I found it difficult to grasp the folding technique from her books, but I found these YouTube videos helpful.
Marie Kondo recommends starting with decluttering Clothing, then minimizing Books, then simplifying Papers, then downsizing what she calls “Komono” or “everything else”, before decluttering any sentimental items.
According to her book, the category of Komono includes kitchen supplies, bathroom products, toys, and anything else that does not correspond to one of the other categories.
When I tried my hand at the KonMari method, I needed additional categories that made sense for me. I added in a category for my kitchen, my bathrooms, my garage, and my children’s toys.
Pro Tip: If you choose this method, I suggest adding as many categories as makes sense for your home.
3) Give Yourself a Deadline
Most people are naturally procrastinators. Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fit in the time we give it.”
Essentially that means if you give yourself a year to declutter your house, it will probably take a year.
To avoid having the decluttering process take an eternity, give yourself a deadline and be punctual with it.
Since you might be anywhere on the spectrum from “I just want to get the toys organized” to “I’m so sick of clutter that everything in my entire house needs to go!”, and you may have a lot of time or no time at all to declutter in, I can’t give you an exact amount of time that this should take for you.
To make this decision, look at the amount of things you will need to go through, the size of your house, and how much time you can dedicate to the process on a weekly basis.
If you are ready to dive in and get the Decluttering done once and for all, check out Cluttered to Calm if you want it done in 8 weeks or less, and Simply Streamlined if you can only dedicate 15 minutes a day!)
4) Write Down Your Plan
You can also just grab that notebook you used above and answer the following questions:
1. What is your overall goal with decluttering?
2. What order do you want to tackle your clutter in?
3. What method would you like to use to declutter?
4. How will you sell items that are still in good shape?
5. Where will you donate items that you can’t sell?
6. How will you know when your decluttering process is complete?
5) Choose a Start Date
Set aside a day, an afternoon, or 15 minutes.
Don’t worry if you have to keep coming back to an area (or a drawer!) for a few days.
Choose a date and time that isn’t too far in the future. Starting while your motivation is strong will help keep the process going until you have completed your goal.
Pretend that the decluttering time on your calendar is an important business meeting that you can’t reschedule or book over.
Then stick with it!
6) Get a Babysitter
If you have young kids and are pretty sure that they will slow you down, see if a friend or grandparent would watch your kids for your first decluttering session (especially if you are tackling a large area!)
The more that you declutter, the more you will get used to getting rid of things and the more you will be able to downsize with distractions.
But at first, it’s nice to be able to focus!
7) Get Three Containers
On your start date, get three receptacles.
One is for things you want to keep. One is for things that you don’t want to keep, but are in good enough condition for you to sell or donate. And the last one is for trash.
After each decluttering session, throw the trash away, put the donate container into your vehicle, and list any items you are going to sell.
8) Find a Home for Everything that Stays
After each decluttering session (and before you start the next one) find a permanent home for each item that you decided to keep.
Just because something has always been stored in a certain location doesn’t mean that it is the best place to keep it.
Marie Kondo advocates for storing things in the place that you use them most, and I love this idea.
9) Remember That it Takes Time
No matter your intentions and/or the method you use, decluttering takes time. Even if you decide to do speed decluttering, it will take a lot of work.
Sometimes in the middle of the process, it might feel like things are getting worse before they get better.
Stick with it. I know it is hard, but you can do hard things!
I promise that you will thank yourself when you have finished.
10) Just Start!
The only mistake you can make when you begin to declutter is putting it off.
Throw out the idea of perfection and go for it!
Even doing one 15-minute decluttering sweep through your house will make you feel lighter and happier.