As founders of The Home Edit, Joanna Teplin and Clea Shearer make a living organizing other people’s homes, including those of the rich and famous, like Gwyneth Paltrow, Busy Philipps, and Reese Witherspoon. They happen to be working moms too—with Joanna being the mom to son Miles, 8, and daughter Marlowe, 5, and Clea being the mom to daughter Stella, 8, and son Sutton, 5. While not all of us can have the duo transform our living spaces into Instagram gold (seriously, their account has 1.3 million followers), we’ve asked Joanna and Clea, in partnership with Viva® brand, to do the next best thing: share with us their greatest advice for conquering clutter when you have kids. This is a struggle they personally relate to so get ready to hang on their every word:
Staying clean and organized is by no means an easy feat. Yes, while looking through our perfectly curated Instagram feed may make it seem like we’ve got it all under control, with kids running around and busy schedules, keeping our houses organized can definitely be a challenge! And as our kids are getting older, the chaos is inevitable. But instead of breaking down in a panic, we believe in being prepared for any situation that might come your way. If you have a system that you trust and rely on, it makes conquering the unexpected that much easier. For us, staying organized is what helps us be not only the best moms we can be, but also allows us to put our full selves into our work! We absolutely love what we do, so anything that can help keep things streamlined and organized, is a win in our book. We can’t stress it enough but bringing kids into the editing process is the best way to create long-term healthy habits! Kids aren’t born organizing experts; you have to work with them and make it fun.
1. Choose storage solutions for your kids that foster their independence.
In other words, help them to help you! For instance, a divided turntable in the pantry allows kids to help themselves to their favorite snacks and pack their own lunches—talk about a timesaver to get them out the door in the morning. Any container that makes items easy to access is key.
2. Label every container so items are easier to find and everyone can agree on where things should be put away.
Sorting by color in ROYGBIV (aka the rainbow!) is another form of labeling, and is a pattern that our brains innately recognize, especially for kids! As a bonus, it turns the clean-up process into a game of color sorting. Seeing all their toys and games organized in the rainbow is also something that your kids can take pride in, which is key.
3. Have realistic expectations.
Every space doesn’t have to be social-media-worthy at all times. What counts is that the systems are functional and can be easily maintained. We can’t be upset at our kids or husband when they don’t face the chip bags the same way, as long as they place them in the right bin.
4. Store rolls of Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth,™ along with a multi-purpose cleaning spray, in spaces throughout your home that you clean frequently.
That way, whether you have 10 minutes to clean the bathroom before guests arrive or the kids spill juice in the playroom, you essentially just grab and go! It always feels good knowing that damage control is near.
5. Create a “Crisis Management Kit” and store it in a drawer or cabinet near the entryway.
Your kit should include items that will instantly avert a morning meltdown. Think back to past experiences and decide what will come in handy. We suggest using our Stackable Divided Drawers with Bin Organizers to keep everything contained and categorized. Some suggestions of items to include: toothpaste, toothbrushes, flossers, hairbrushes, hair ties, you name it. I can’t tell you the number of times my kids tell me they forgot to brush their teeth the minute we’re running out the door! Instead of making them run back upstairs, causing even more delay, we like to tackle all the “Mommy, I forgots” as close to the door as possible. As working moms, timing is everything so sticking as close to our morning schedules as possible is a priority.
6. Large floor bins add style to your space, while concealing clutter.
These bins come in a variety of sizes and colors so you’re able to perfectly match with your home aesthetic. And if you have last minute company, just dump in the things that are taking over your space—like toy trucks and stuffed animals—and no one will ever know!
7. Make sorting through mail easier on yourself by creating a command station with trays or “mailboxes” near the entryway.
The trays can be separated by members of the household or by category (bills, invites, coupons, magazines, forms, etc.), it all depends on your needs. Decide what can be tossed or shredded and throw it in the designated bin. Even if you don’t have time at the moment to fully sort and open the incoming mail, at least it’s categorized, meaning the hardest part is over!