THE BLOG

15 Decluttering Tips For Busy Moms

04/23/2015 01:31 pm ET | Updated Jun 22, 2015

Sure, you're not really in love with all this clutter in your home.

Having stuff all over the place isn't something we like because not only does it clutter our physical space, but it also clutters our mind and our emotional state. In fact, it can even affect our ability to focus and process information.

And a study at UCLA also showed that dealing with the clutter in their homes elevated levels of moms' stress hormones. So the less we have, the better for our health.

But how can you deal with clutter when you're already so busy with your job, your commute, meal preparation and your kids?

Here are 15 powerful tips that will help you declutter your home so you can be more focused and feel in control in your new, clutter-free environment.

1. Feel good and positive about decluttering your home

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine showed that letting go of our clutter is literally painful. That's why the first step is to be prepared before getting started so you won't just get discouraged and quit.

2. Break it into baby steps

Instead of wanting to do it all in one day, declutter one space at a time: a drawer, a book shelf, a closet, a room. This is the key to not feeling overwhelmed.

3. Schedule Decluttering Sessions in your calendar

Schedule a two-hour decluttering session on week-ends every other week, as you see fit. This can include a quarterly Toy Decluttering Session when you get rid of broken toys and give away old ones to the kindergarten or to friends and relatives.

4. Enroll the whole family

The first person you can enroll is your husband. Then, enrolling the kids as they grow up helps avoid more clutter and sets them on the right track for the future.

5. Stop buying stuff

Before taking out your wallet, ask yourself: do I really need or want that? 80% of the time, you will probably see that the answer is "No, I don't".

6. Get rid of the "Just In Case"

Kitchen items, clothes, a baby crib, just in case I make this Korean dish one day, just in case I'm invited to a wedding in January, or just in case someone comes over to visit with a baby. Figure out whether something will be more useful to you or to another person, and sell it or give it away.

7. Declutter your memorabilia

This souvenir you brought back from Paris ten years ago, these books you loved in your teens but that you'll never read again, this little black dress that no longer fits after two pregnancies... all this often keeps us stuck in the past and can prevent us from moving forward.

8. Run your closet items through these three questions

Have I worn this item in the last twelve months? If you no longer like it, get rid of it. Is it appropriate for this season? If not, store it for the next season. Does it work with other items in my closet? If it can't match with other pieces, give it away.

9. Make your bathroom an inviting space

Take only ten minutes and put empty shampoos and shower gel bottles in the trash, clear out your beauty product shelves and your medicine cabinet, and the bathroom will be a lot more inviting.

10. Create a laundry routine

This is a good remedy to overflowing laundry. Set a laundry day when you wash all the clothes. It will free up some time on other days and make you feel in control instead of constantly feeling overwhelmed.

11. Make it a rule to not put anything on the floor

Nothing on the floor is a great rule for avoiding clutter. It will put you in a good mood when you no longer see piles of clothes or other items everywhere in your home.

12. Assign a place for everything

If things are all over the place we lose them, we buy them again, and we end up creating more clutter. A box for paper and pens, books on shelves, kitchen tools in drawers, clothes in your closet; a dedicated place for every item will also save you a lot of time looking for things.

13. Create an "I'm not sure" box

In this box you can put things you'd love to declutter but you still have some emotional attachment to them. After a few weeks or months, go through the items and make a decision.

14. Declutter your busy-ness

This is about decluttering all the things you do: do the kids really need to attend every play date? Do you really need to be doing everything yourself? Can you try to say No a little more often? If you're less busy, you'll probably create less clutter in the first place.

15. Act as if your home was already clutter-free

Go to a room in your house and look at it. Mentally take notes of what you'd like to declutter. Imagine the room already clutter-free and think about how you'd feel about it. This will set you in the right mood to start taking action.

Anne Ricci is a mom of two with a dietician training who is dedicated to helping women declutter their diet and feel good in their body. You can join her tribe at AnnesHealthyKitchen's Community.