Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but distance learning may be here to stay, at least for a while. There, there now. Cry into your coffee if you must, I understand. If your situation is anything like millions of others’, your house has become a disaster zone. Trying to corral the chaos of having everyone and everything at home leaves you wondering if you’ll ever get your house, or your sanity, back.
As a mother of three, decluttering and organizing always make my heart happy. Usually, though, I “declutter,” AKA: throw away my kids’ crap, when they’re at school. It has definitely been more of a challenge with everyone all up in my grill these days, but I’ve learned it’s absolutely necessary to make space for all of us if I wish to avoid a civil war within the walls of my home. When we created a home office and remote learning spaces, it truly helped everyone stay focused and in their lane, so to speak! Here’s how you can do it, one step at a time:
Get your KonMari on
You’ve probably already heard of Marie Kondo’s famous decluttering method. Even if you’ve already tried this on your home in the past, do it again! This time, focus on making room for studying and working. This method includes donating or tossing items that don’t spark joy (MUST HAVE THE JOY), and keeping everything else. Sort through items by category to make it easier on your brain. For example: books, stuffed animals, office supplies, etc. If you are trying to make more space in your children’s room for their study area, spend a day (by yourself) creating organized groups of items. Then, have the kids go through them and put items in a box that they’ve either outgrown or aren’t using anymore. Don’t get hung up on which items to donate; give everyone boxes for “keep, donate, and I don’t know.” The “I don’t know” box will help you move through items more swiftly, then you can go back to them later.
Also, clearing out space in closets and cabinets can make more room for books, or even study nooks with a well-lit desk. We recently moved our daughters’ dresser into their closet which allowed more floor space in their bedroom. Now there’s room for a desk and chair! If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a whole unused room that looks more like a storage unit, it’s time to tackle that bad boy and put it to work!
Turn a room into an office/classroom
Once you’ve gotten a handle on your clutter, think creatively about the best places for working and studying. Forget about the kitchen table! The best way to achieve long-term success with a home classroom and/or office, as per a recent survey of top real estate agents from HomeLight, is creating space for everyone. This is why #HusbandWTF’s home office is in a spare bedroom and not in the actual office with me; we realized we both needed our own space to effectively do our jobs. Keep that in mind as you carve out a niche at your place: Home offices/study areas can be in spare bedrooms, basements, closets, or even in a corner of a larger room. If you have a spare room with a full bed (and the money to do it, obvi!), consider swapping it out for a space-saving trundle to make way for a desk.
When space is an issue
If you have an open living room it might be an option to use a room divider to section off an office/study area. Key factors for this area’s success are: a clear division from the rest of the home and designating it as a work space only. Don’t prop your feet up on your at-home desk and binge Netflix! Speaking of desks, these combo spaces usually can’t accommodate traditional desks, so get creative and consider a fold-away desk that disappears into a cabinet, mobile desks that can be rolled out of the way when company comes, or a 2-for-1 piece of furniture that doubles as storage as well as a desk.
While you might have gotten used to living among the chaos of an office or classroom that has taken on a life of its own, please know there is hope. It’ll be worth the effort, trust me! Start by spending a day decluttering (call me, I’ll help–I love this stuff) and you’ll be well on your way. I think you’ll also be pleasantly surprised at what less clutter in your sight-line will do for your stress and anxiety levels. A clean space is a calm space, so wherever you end up–in the closet, in a corner, or like royalty in a room all your own–keep it tidy. Good luck!
Disclosure: I’m pleased to have partnered with HomeLight on this article.
Feature image credit: Source: (Brett Jordan / Unsplash)