{Guest Post} A house of order

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

This is a guest post by Naomi, from the blog Seven Cherubs.

Often I have people come to my house who are totally shocked that nine people live here.  Not too many people say it, but some people.

They are amazed at how organised it is.

Notice I did not say how ‘clean’ it is.

A house needs to be ‘lived’ in and children make mess, it is part of family life and mothering.

I am referring to being organised.

I thought I would let you in on one of my secrets of having a house of order:

I simply call it A bag a day.

I am really good at getting rid of stuff.

In our house we are really good at acquiring stuff.

We collect school notes, toys, hand me down clothes, paperwork, leftover food scraps that can be found in all sorts of places, broken toys, empty boxes, books, linen and plastic containers.

For these item’s my rule is:  if I haven’t touched it for a while – it goes!

That means that if I haven’t touched it, picked it up, moved it then no-one else has either.

If it is still in it’s original place after several months then it simply does not get used.

To help create a house of order, every day I place an empty plastic shopping bag on the kitchen counter and I fill it up. I either fill it up with items to give away or with items to throw away.

This keeps our home clutter free and keeps me focused on having order.

When I feel that clutter is taking us over on a larger scale, I have a massive discard day.

I had one last week.

I threw out 6 bags of items and dropped off another 5 bags of items to the second hand stores.

I felt relieved. It clears my mind, gives me more space and less work and worry. 

We really do not need as many things we think we do.

I have many bodies in my home and other ‘stuff’ just gets in the way.

It drives me crazy to constantly be tripping over stuff, to have items falling out of cupboards and no space on my benches. It clutters my life and my mind. 

For me, one plastic bag a day is a really simple way to keep up with simplifying my home and to bring me some peace of mind.


About Guest Blogger

Seven Cherubs is a blog about how Naomi is learning to create an environment of happiness in her home as she raises her seven cherubs.  Her aim is to uplift and encourage mothers to find happiness in their parenting.

Find our guest: Blog | Facebook | Twitter


This post was written by a guest contributor. If you are interested in ‘being my guest’ please visit Be my Guest page for more details.

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Alyeesha Lee on Facebook September 25, 2011 - 7:27 AM

I love this idea and I picture so many bags from my house going. One question I inherited my mums clutter boxes of her 6 kids kids lives of things we made to casts and all that in-between stuff. I moved a year ago and go rid of much of her things as hard as it was but how do you part with the stuff that has a sentimental attachment? I am becoming my mum I have kept loads of my sons school things it’s a huge deal for him to achieve things as he has a disability so how do you choose what’s important on these items?

Raeleen Van Aalst on Facebook September 25, 2011 - 7:28 AM

Have been planning to do just that

Marita September 25, 2011 - 7:48 AM

I hear you on decluttering working.

Our grade 6 class has a once a term collection by Southern Cross Recycling to pay for their graduation (they get about 20cents per kilo). So I started saving up all our recycling to contribute to school. But it adds so much to the clutter having big pile of recycling building up. So now I get rid of it straight away and just save stuff for a couple of weeks before the grade 6 recycling collection day.

Michelle Sims on Facebook September 25, 2011 - 8:02 AM

Great post.

Jo @countrylifeexperiment September 25, 2011 - 8:10 AM

I do something quite similar, but I have to admit I am a bit sneaky about it. My kids are hoarders (the complete opposite of me) and want to keep every scrap of paper that ever enters the house, so I tend to pick up a bag once they are in bed and have a go around the house. I manage at least a bag a day, and I only have 3 kids!

We have started packing for our big move to the country and I have a box set aside for things we don’t want to take, so that they can be donated. Packing up and moving house is a great way to evaluate what you actually want and need!!!

Kirsty @MummyToFive September 25, 2011 - 8:14 AM

I love that idea! We gather a lot of clutter as well and it can be so frustration, so I’m always throwing things out and cleaning up! I love the idea to throw out a bag a day!

Jodie - Muddled Up Mumma September 25, 2011 - 8:57 AM

I only have 3 in our house and I still struggle with all the “stuff”…. am definitely going to give this a go. Thanks for the great tip Naomi.

Fiona T September 25, 2011 - 9:35 AM

I tend to do a big declutter every few months, but it makes sense to do a little each day. Might just try the bag idea and get on top of the piles that are slowly growing. Thanks 🙂

Jessica Williams on Facebook September 25, 2011 - 9:39 AM

Just an idea, encourage your little ones to wrap nana & pop’s, aunty & uncle’s presents in special child created kindy paintings and drawings, doesn’t hurt as much as throwing them out.

Tara @ Mum-ments September 25, 2011 - 10:09 AM

Love this idea im a bit the same just recently when i went through all the clutter in my room i had a plastic bag on my bed and i was BRUTAL i just chucked it all in and forgot all about it

DanniiBeauty September 25, 2011 - 10:16 AM

Great post! I do the same. I have a garbage bag that sits in my hallway cupboard and I fill it with clothes the kids grow out of or that we don’t use etc… and every month or so I take that to the salvation army.
I also throw away something everyday when it comes to kids toys, papers, books etc – things that haven’t been played with for a while or that I find behind the couch etc….
My motto is clean as you go….throw out things on the spot rather than waiting until it piles up!

Tina ~ Tina Gray {dot} Me September 25, 2011 - 10:25 AM

Great post, Naomi. I do this as well. I’m very liberal about tossing stuff away and am slowly, very slowly, teaching the rest of the family to be less hoarder-like.

Kate @ Puddles and Gumboots September 25, 2011 - 11:09 AM

I’m very big on throwing things out regularly, but I’m not as systematic as that. Great idea, I think I will start doing this 🙂

Jo Carson on Facebook September 25, 2011 - 11:17 AM

To Alyeesha Lee …. Take photos. Store photos in a few different places. Eg on comuter, on external drive, on CD, on DVD, print the photos and store in a shoebox or other box.

Robyn September 25, 2011 - 11:48 AM

I have 8 children and do almost the exact thing, but I use a box. Every week without fail there must be boxes of goods that leave our house. We are always blessed with other people’s no-longer-needed-goods, but the house quickly fills up. I always say that our house is tidy, not necessarily clean!

Seven Cherubs on Facebook September 25, 2011 - 12:42 PM

Thanks for all the lovely comments ladies and I so love your additional suggestions…awesome work!

Mumof 2 September 25, 2011 - 2:46 PM

Great idea. Something we tend to do in our home is gather toys the kids are outgrowing and anything else lying around the home and list them on sale sites eg. Gumtree. Free to list, local to your area. Make a couple of dollars with things that are no longer of use to your family and use the money putting it towards things you now need..

Melissa September 25, 2011 - 6:07 PM

My family is tiny compared to yours, but this would be a fantastic system for me too. We have far too much crap. Recently I was going through the boys’ rooms and got quite ruthless (I’m generally very sentimental). Joel was the one holding back.

But then come house inspection time (we’re renting) there’s always a panic, because we just have too.much.stuff and nowhere to keep half of it.

I might try this, see if a day at a time manages to escape Joel’s notice.

Bern September 25, 2011 - 7:46 PM

I so agree with your bag method – I do it too. I have also put up new Ikea expedit shelves – if the books and dress ups don’t fit in it – then there is way too much and time to bag some for friends and charity. Clutter can be so overwhelming, thanks for sharing!

Glasgow Mummy September 26, 2011 - 5:34 AM

What a simple but fantastic idea. Great post. I try & declutter every few months but really should try and do it more regularly to keep on top of things.

Leisha September 26, 2011 - 6:01 AM

I love this post! We have a garbage bag that either hangs off the back of the front door or is near the front door on a hook. Everytime we come across something that is no longer fitting or used or loved, it goes in the bag/s. Once a week that bag/s goes to the charity shop. During school holidays we have a massive reorganisation of the kids’ rooms and a big declutter (especially now to October) in time for the new lot of goods being received over Christmas. The kids and I do it together so that I can help teach them “how to organise” for when they need to be able to organise their own homes.

Wanderlust October 24, 2012 - 2:26 PM

Great post, Naomi! I so agree that too much clutter can weigh us down. When i lighten my load, i also lighten my mood.

Meegan Harvey October 24, 2012 - 3:04 PM

Great idea Naomi! I am going to start doing this tonight!

Julie July 9, 2013 - 11:15 AM

Awesome post, we have a family of 7 visiting us right now. I am soooo glad I have nagged and organised the life out of kids (at times) and that they know how to
1. clean up after themselves,
2. behave in someone else’s house and
3. Ask! (for help, for permission, for things that don’t belong to them)
* I do understand that our guests are visiting and that everything is new to them, but a LITTLE manners wouldn’t go astray!!

Its nice to hear my kids say to me, “thank you for nagging and teaching us”

Narelle Peake Fousketakis July 9, 2013 - 10:38 PM

I love this idea… we are having a de-cluttering this week. It is really a freeing experience. Study is a complete mess and well 4 kids with toys – drives me nuts that they just leave stuff everywhere.


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