CleaningDeclutteringHouse & Home

First Week of Decluttering Baby Steps

I’m not going to lie….this decluttering thing sucks. I’m on a mission to get my house in order and actually KEEP it that way but it is a ton of work. Because I am adding tiny steps one at a time, it isn’t so bad but I have to keep up with it – that’s where I have the biggest problem. It is so so sooo easy to say to myself, “Oh, I’ll get it in a minute.” That minute turns into many minutes and then the next thing I know it’s the next day. That little chore has now multiplied and then I really don’t want to face it. I’m trying hard to not do that anymore.

I mentioned yesterday that I have started hand-washing my dishes. Coming from me, that is a big deal. I don’t normally hand wash anything and pot and pans would have to “soak” until I had to use it again if it didn’t fit in the dishwasher. Trust me, I’ve made things fit in there just so I wouldn’t have to clean it myself.

Running out of dishwasher soap after starting this declutter journey turned my thinking around. If I waited until I bought more soap to clean the dishes, I would have a mountain of them and they wouldn’t all fit in the dishwasher. I’d have to run the dishwasher a few times to get them all. Why?! Why not just wash the few that were in the sink by hand that minute and keep it from getting that way?! So I did…and I kept it up.

I’ve been hand-washing dishes for about 3 or 4 days now as soon as they become dirty. Even the nerdlings and hubs know not to even think about leaving their dirty dishes in the sink. We have been using the dishwasher as a dish drain – after we wash a dish, it dries in there. In the morning, I empty it, which is much quicker than a full load that I would have ran in it, and start over again. I absolutely LOVE walking into the kitchen and always seeing an empty sink that shines at me!

I have also been keeping the little things that get tossed onto the kitchen counters OFF the counters. This is what FlyLady calls a Hot Spot – those annoying little catch-all places . We have many of them in this house! When I happen to be in the kitchen washing a dish, I look for stray things laying on the counters and put them away, or have the nerdlings do it if it is theirs. It’s not perfect, but it is working, slowly but surely.

First Week of Decluttering Baby Steps


First Week of Decluttering Baby Steps

First Week of Decluttering Baby Steps

The door in this image above is to our bedroom. You can imagine how it felt to wake up and come straight out here to see a messy kitchen first thing in the morning. It would put me in a funk that seemed to linger on and bleed into everything I would do. It feels so great now NOT seeing that disgusting mess and my mind doesn’t seem as cluttered anymore!! It is also much easier to have spontaneous baking sessions with the youngest nerdling. She loves being in the kitchen but it was making her upset when I was always telling her “No, not today. The kitchen is a disaster!” You see how tiny the kitchen is, you can’t do anything when the counters have junk all over them. Dinner is also easier to make since I’m not searching for and then cleaning the pots and pans we needed and shuffling around junk on the counters.

To help me stay on track, I’ve set timers on my phone using an app called To Do Reminder. I’ve added in a few tasks that I need reminders for and it acts as an alarm clock for me.

To Do Reminder app

The tasks are:

  • Finish laundry (switching from washer to dryer. The next morning I fold/put them away while loading the washer)
  • Take meds/vitamins (I’ve always been horrible at this)
  • Clean kitchen/take meds/5 minute pickup (This is at the end of the night. The kids help get their things around the house and I finish any dishes, do a 5 minute pickup around house while they get ready for bed.) 

Having something like this is great since I am known to totally forget about things and lose track of time. This keeps me on track and hopefully make these small tasks a habit.

Chores Routine (so far):


  • Make bed (thankfully hubs is great at his part! I wake up to his side already made.)
  • Toss load of laundry in washer/fold load from dryer & put away
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Check/clean litter boxes


  • Wash dishes as we go
  • Switch laundry to dryer
  • Nerdlings do chores after their homeschool lessons and before dinner (sweep, pick up their things around house, clean/straighten up their bathroom)


  • Wash dishes as I make dinner then everyone cleans up together afterwards. (BIG help!)
  • 2 – 5 minute pickup before bed – everyone does this together to gather any stragglers around the house
  • Make sure sink is empty & shiny!

Next Week

I said that I wanted to add an extra step this week to the list. I am having a hard time figuring out which step to add since there is so much that needs to be done but I’m afraid of slipping back. I think for now I will continue on with what I am doing to make it a solid routine and then add something else in. I am leaning towards the dining room area since the table is always a mess. If the kids sit there to do any writing activities or art, they have a very small area to use. I can’t have that. You can’t be creative when there is clutter! So maybe this week I’ll do 2 minute hot spot declutter on the table with the kids (since most of it is theirs anyway) and then add it to the list for next week – KEEPING it decluttered!

A baby step to add for the nerdlings – 2 minute pickups in their bedrooms during chore time!

Do you have a hot spot that drives you crazy?

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Jess Benoit

Jess is a homeschooling mama of 3, wife, gamer, Whovian, Nerd

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