“Your home is your special place to live life. Whether you’re living in your dream home or a small apartment, the same rule should apply to getting yourself organizing: Make the most of the space you have.” – Melissa Michaels, Simple Organizing
As many of you know, I’ve spent the last year writing “Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation.” I’m passionate about encouraging women to embrace a life of welcome in their ordinary, everyday lives, but it’s so easy to allow the notion of social entertaining to hijack the true heart of hospitality. We assume we have to spit-shine our lives, our homes, our stories before we ever invite anyone over and I don’t know about you, but that will never happen for me. I’ll take real, authentic everyday life over that perfection.
Ever since I first started opening our door to family, friends, and yes, even strangers, the aspect of cleaning for guests and organizing has been one of the more difficult obstacles for me to overcome. I’ve always dreamed of a perfectly clean and organized home where everything has its assigned place. I’m still in awe of my friends that seem to have been born with the orderly gene where everything falls into place effortlessly. My mom has it and somehow our eldest daughter received it, but it may have skipped me a bit. I’ve tried. I’ve even done a “Clutter Countdown” series, which I re-read as I keep preaching to myself.
As a young mom, I believed that lie that our house needed to be deep cleaned and perfectly spotless before anyone came over because heaven forbid, I wouldn’t want it looking like five children lived here right? (Even though they did.) Wrong!
A warm and welcoming home where others feel comfortable means different things to each unique woman. Through the years, I have embraced the “good enough” mentality. Our home needs to be clean enough that your family and guests know you care about them, but not too perfect that they’re uncomfortable.
Since Just Open the Door is the heart behind welcoming people into your heart and home ( a very vulnerable place, I might add), I’ve realized simple organization in my main areas isn’t about making everything perfect or Instagram worthy spaces, but rather, it’s about taking action in simple ways to create a home that inspires us and works for our needs.
In this world of Pinterest perfect photos, getting organized can feel like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember, real life happens in the everyday, messy moments. Like a sink full of dishes that seem like work but they remind me of the life giving dinner I hosted this week where guests joined us at the table.
So while your home can be a comfortable and beautiful haven for the people you love, we don’t have to wait until we think everything is perfect or that door will stay shut. I make sure my bathroom, kitchen and mail living areas are clean and picked up. That’s it. Don’t stress about all the rooms. Close doors so people don’t want in. 😉
Melissa asked me to share a clutter confession. She knows I’m all about being real since I’ve shared both my beauty and bedlam moments for a long time now, but this is pretty pathetic. I can’t believe I am actually sharing this photo with you of the worst place in our house.
Yesterday, we hosted about thirty people for Easter and this is my Simple Organizing tip for hosting (which is why I need Melissa).
“Kids, grab everything you see laying around and run it up to the hall closet.”
The beauty of this is that you really can clear a space quite quickly when company is coming and no one every sees it, but I know. 😉
When I look at the reality of this much stuff out of place, it causes me to feel disorganized, stressed and overwhelmed in where to start tackling it. (Are any of you uncomfortable for me when you see this picture?) I know it’s all about taking baby steps and hopefully, seems worse than it is.
(This picture is my ministry of making you feel better about yourself. We’re all in this together and if you need a good laugh, read “How to Clutter Your House in 12 Simple Steps.” :))
No one wants to live long term with spaces like this, so Melissa’s Simple Organizing helps us create an orderly vision for our home and my desires is to create a warm, welcoming sanctuary that is functional and beautiful.
So here’s the fun part.
GIVEAWAY: now closed.
- What is your biggest area of clutter? (Leave answer in comment to be entered to win.)
- Follow me on Instagram at jenschmidt_beautyandbedlam. (Optional for additional entry. Let me know in comments & be entered to win.)
All week more friends will share their clutter confession and give you a chance to win.
I have trouble with our garage. We have lived here for 30 years and I still don’t know how to operate without a basement and attic. Where to store seasonal items, holiday treasures, canning equipment , painting, diy things I used to store in those places. Also it is an area that is out of sight out of mind.
I totally understand the out of sight, out of mind issue 🙂
I currently have an unused bedroom (except for guests) that is full of moving items…we are going to sell our current house so it is full of junk from the decluttering needed for photos, items to take for summer as I go to our vacation home up north, and “new” items for the next house that I have found at yard sales, thrift stores, and on Craigslist. Hopefully we don’t have too many guests over the summer as that room and the closet are packed.
Those unused bedrooms almost become storage units, don’t they?
My closet is a hot spot. By the time I’ve kept the rest of the house in order, I can’t seem to get the master under control. And we just relocated to a new house without a basement or adequate storage space, so the garage has become a bit of a dumping area. Currently it’s a pile of stuff to get rid of, but getting it posted to sell, who has the time.
Empty rooms and garage. Making two homes into one has us overwhelmed.
My garage…wait…no, my basement. it’s a toss up really. 🙈
We have recently downsized and I cleared out over 30 years of stuff!!! It was overwhelming to say the least! Now after being in our new and smaller place, I find that the laundry room is becoming the “catch all”. After all, the washer and dryer offer flat surfaces to load up!!! I am trying to keep them cleared off, but it is a daily battle!!!
I have a closet right off of our living room. It’s so cluttered and it keeps catching more stuff. Thankfully it has a door 😉
The closets throughout my house are where extra clutter seems to end up. If I don’t know what to do with something, I seem to put it in a closet to do something with it later but then I never do.
Our garage doubles as a playroom for our kids when it’s raining, so it’s constantly in a state of disorganization. It’s also a convenient place to stash things before company comes over. And our bedroom — my side beside the bed becomes a catch-all for bags that need unpacking and piles of paper. I’d love a copy of Melissa’s book — it looks beautiful!
My garage!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!! It’s so scary!!!
We’re going to be moving in June and I’m highly motivated to make it disappear : )
The people whose home we’re purchasing are selling all of their stuff, as in ALL OF THEIR STUFF, and going on staff with a traveling ministry. They’ll be living in a school bus! Isn’t that inspiring?!?!
Also, some of our friends just had a 25 cent garage sale and made enough to buy new shoes for their 3 sweet kiddos. I’m going to do 50 cents for the first day and 25 on the next!
Wish me well ; )
Our bedroom. It is the one place that is always private. We keep that room closed off when guests are over, so it becomes a quick place to set an unfolded laundry basket (or a million other things).
My kitchen island! It drives my husband crazy, so now he moves everything to the table.
My garage! It’s our only storage area and Wisconsin is COLD in the winter so things just get tossed in without really being put away.
My clutter challenge seems to revolve around the “sentimental” items. It’s hard to know what’s actually worth keeping! (Follow you on IG 😀)
My kitchen is my biggest issue when it comes to organising. Trying to keep things easily accessible with the family involved can get difficult.
Oh and yes I am following you on IG 🙂
My biggest clutter problem is the garage right now. It’s a maze to walk through. Still holding out that I will get a car parked in there one day. It’s just so easy to close the door and not look in there.
My clutter problem area is the garage. It seems to be the magnet for everything. I have tons of baskets that are used when we are “cleaning” for guests that never get emptied. Plus it storage for seasonal items, Extra household products, plus I’m and ex couponers so lots of stuff that was a must buy. I clean it out at least every other month then it get filled again. A never ending battle.
Already following on IG.
My worst clutter area is on top of the piano where all the mail gets piled. Well, that and the garage that is so full of stuff that you can’t even use it to park the car in. 😊
I already follow you on Instagram
My biggest area of clutter is our Kitchen and spare bedroom. We are working now to de-clutter the bedroom because we have baby #2 on the way and will need that bedroom. I follow you on Instagram!
My office gets cluttered between schoolwork I bring home to organize and our family information. It also becomes the place to stash stuff. Always on the to do list, but gets moved down further and further.
Spare bedrooms are my biggest issue!
I already follow you on Instagram!
I have two biggest clutter areas: the front closet (Fibber Magee’s closet had nothing on this one!) and the never-ending struggle with paper clutter (good thing we’re so “paperless” these days… ;)).
Kitchen table & spare bedroom
My office is terrible! It used to be my spare bedroom until my daughters stopped sharing rooms last summer. 12 years of using that room as a hide all is a hard habit to break. Now it’s all in my office which I can hardly use
Following you on IG
My biggest area of clutter…so a few years ago we moved our two big kids downstairs as we anticipated the arrival of baby #3. This left us with one extra bedroom on our main level which I had every intention of turning it into a craft room. Well…about 3 years later, we’ve dubbed this room my “crap” room! Everything gets dropped in there…a few weeks ago I finally picked it up enough so there’s at least a walking path through it all lol! It’s so bad…so so bad! It needs some major help!
HA!! Love that and yes, we have a room like that too although the closet has stolen that name.
The constant clutter battle for me is the mail on the kitchen counter. How and why do we have so much mail? I try to pile it in a basket to keep it from spreading out too far. Eventually it gets too big & I move it to the bedroom while I still avoid actually dealing with most of it. When I do finally deal with it, most gets shredded or thrown in the garbage!
Biggest area of clutter is our front entry way. It’s a pile of shoes, boots, coats, sports gear, and musical instruments.
I also follow you on Instagram.
You are inspiring, and I love the “hide it in the closet” cleaning strategy:) In my home, our very small kitchen island has turned into the drop zone for mail, items for projects, and general clutter. I get frustrated with it but I am also guilty of doing it. Can’t wait to read the new book!
My cluttered areas are anywhere there is paper – the office, the reading room, the rec room, the kitchen, the garage, the master bedroom, to name a few 🙂
The idea of “a place for everything” calls to me, it is just the implementation that puzzles me!
Any flat surface is prone to clutter in our house!
Office area, papers I can’t decide on or have time to organize.
My closet is a hot spot. By the time I’ve kept the rest of the house in order, I can’t seem to get the master under control. And we just relocated to a new house without a basement or adequate storage space, so the garage has become a bit of a dumping area. Currently it’s a pile of stuff to get rid of, but getting it posted to sell, who has the time. Follow you in IG.
My biggest area of clutter right now is my bedroom.
Urgh….a small kitchen counter next to the fridge. Small enough that it should stay clear, but it seems to collect piles that need homes. Thank you for the reminder, tips and opportunity!
Oh my, I wish I had just one clutter area but I have multiples. My rooms may look neat and nice but don’t open a closet or drawer, lol. My most troublesome areas are the closet pantry and home office bookshelves.
I struggle most with clothes clutter. With 2 boys and 3 girls we seem to have every kid size either in use or will be needed in the future as hand me downs. This has over taken my house and if I am honest, sometime s my joy. But I am working on weeding out what we don’t really need or love and we have declare d a spending freeze for clothing.
You make me laugh, “This picture is my ministry of making you feel better about yourself.” You’re the best, Jen. Thank you so much for your support!!!! I love your post.
And I’m SO pumped about your book, friend!! WOO HOO!
I tend to sweep all the kitchen counter clutter into a box and shove it under the bed when having company….only to find it months later……so, clearly, none of that stuff was important in the first place!
Clutter is a CONSTANT battle for me…
My dining table catches everything. I try hard to go thru JUNK but it NEVER stops coming in.
My 6 (grown) children think I should ‘keep’ all of their childhood items that they want to keep BUT don’t want it at their house!!! Thanks for sharing your closet! Be grateful for a place to stash ‘stuff’ in a hurry!
Our master bedroom is my biggest clutter struggle. When something doesn’t have a home of its own yet or can’t be put away yet for whatever reason, it all ends up in piles along the wall on the floor on the side of the bed you can’t see from the doorway. And, that side of the bed is mine. It has been a never-ending struggle that with Simple Organizing, I am hoping to soon banish! Thank you for reminding me that perfectly perfect homes aren’t the be all, end all. ♡
My garage makes me cringe…we thought we were moving, so boxes of items we cleared are out there waiting for me to go through and decide what to keep! Love your honesty Jen, and look forward to your book! (Empty nester Mama of 4/sentimentalist hoarder.)
I have a closet that is packed with pillows and throws! It needs help!
I would say my basement collects everything. Its a mess.
My office is cluttered – has leftovers from decluttering other room as well as boxes of files which need to be reviewed and shredded. Someday.
Biggest area of clutter is a tie between the kitchen and master bedroom 🙂
You have a closet, we have a guest room. If there is a guest coming it looks great. The rest of the time it is a repository for items on their way to Goodwill, posted for sale on Facebook and Craigslist, and for everything pulled out and not put back up between holidays. I just need to have guests stay with us every week!
One of my kitchen counters seems to always be loaded down with mail, receipts, library books— you name it!
You have a closet, I have a guest room. It is a resting place for everything on its way out of our home and headed to Goodwill or a Facebook or Craigslist sale.
I started following you on IG too! Beautiful pictures!
I’m a closet stuffer. My closets need some TLC and are on my long to do list and keeps getting pushed down the list as I add more items. sigh
Definitely my closet!
My craft room table is always filled with paper of all kinds and whenever company comes I stack the papers together and hide them in my closet. And if I want to work on crafts the papers are shuffled to another flat surface.
I’m also following you on Instagram.
just inside the entrance doors. shoes, mail, bulletins, purses, dog leashes at the front door and garden shoes & gloves, dirty socks, dog bowls & leashes, flashlights and packages at the side door. newpapers, books and magazines on every table in the house. my husband’s desk is covered in mail and notes and my mail sits on the stairs at the front entrance.
My drawers need to be uncluttered!
I stuff them full and they tend to stay that way!
Our office is the catch all for everything from paperwork to electronics to recycling. Even when we clean it up it gets crazy all over again within a week. We really need to find a place for things and work harder on putting them back in their place.
My most cluttered area right now is our hallway as I work on organizing… I might to buy this book! Followed you on IG. 😊
Well I think. We all have different clutter at different times. Right now hanging over my head is my home office/used to be playroom. Not cluttered usually since the grandchildren are too old for a playroom and I don’t use the office too much but it’s cute! At the moment it is a mess. We got a king size bed and had to get rid of a dresser with 9 drawers! They are stacked in that room waiting for purging and organization!! I hate knowing it’s waiting for me ive been planning and gradually working on it !!
My desk/office/laundry room is the area that seems to be constantly chaotic! I need a better system for storing things in mid-process since my desk is small. I already follow you on Instagram(@confidentparentcoaching). Congratulations on your new book!
Thank you so much, Jenny. 🙂
Shoes! I have tried all sorts of systems and I cannot beat this beast!!! And I’m following you now on Instagram!
The top of the washer and dryer in the laundry room from the garage and if you make it past there then a small kitchen counter just beyond the laundry room. Both are typically piled high with stuff!
My books! They are scattered on different shelves, in piles and on nightstands in several rooms. I often can’t locate a book I know I have or I buy a book I already own.
The unfinished upstairs is THE WORST!…Things go up there ” until we can get to them” It is overwhelming.
Closets in extra bedrooms. Ugh!
I have three of those closets!! So full of stuff.
Yep, I wish that closet in the picture was my only disorganized one 😉
the dropping off room – which is suppossed to be the guest bedroom. Items get dropped off to be put up later and later usually happens just before guests come.
I SO relate to your very real photos!!! I did exactly what you did/do when my kids were young: clear the clutter and shut doors! I am not naturally a tidy person, but I have made small progress in most areas of my very small house. It’s hard for me to pinpoint the worst area. I am targeting the bathroom and kitchen now (interiors spaces–closets, cupboards, and such), but it really would be good for me to clear out the storage areas of my house to make room for what I DO want to keep! Our computer room has become a catch-all, with unfinished projects of various kinds thrown in there for lack of a better place. Yes, the big picture is overwhelming and discouraging, but the small victories are exhilarating! =)
Yay for small victories. 🙂
My hardest part of the home to keep uncluttered is the area where mail is brought in, seems impossible to keep clear.
Right now my biggest clutter is our guest room. It inherited lots of stuff from our recently redone office.
My problem area is my laundry room/”everything else that doesn’t have a home” room!! I need Melissa’s book!
Ok, it is definitely my scrapbook room. I have desks, cabinets, paper holders, small drawers, rollaway carts. Well, you get the picture. I have a place for everything. I get it all organized and then sit down to do some scrapbooking and the creature juices start flowing. I just can’t take the time to put things back where they belong after I use them. New pictures I’ve developed go in there and in a few days I don’t even know where I put them. Paper is piled on the floor and I can’t find what I need. I have even found a gift I have bought for someone still in the bag, waiting to be gift wrapped and that person’s birthday is long gone by. I guess my problem is consistency. I need to straighten up before I leave the room for that day. I am going to do better!! 😉
Oh, yes. I forgot to tell you I joined you on Instagram. I love your quotes. They made me smile.
Our master bedroom!
I follow on IG!
My laundry/mud room is just off our garage and though we have plans for hooks/cubbies and other functional drop zones, they don’t exist yet and so the floor and my folding table become a clutter mess! I cannot walknthrough the space sometimes because of the piles of coats/hats/shoes/tennis rackets, etc. that space is a disaster! (I follow you on Instagram :))
My greatest challenge is my closet! Besides clothes I also have plastic file boxes with dividers waiting for me to divide and conquer my papers!
Controlling clutter in my home office. Always inundated by paper (most which need to be kept)!
For me, it is my bedroom closet. No matter the rearranging, I cannot get it organized, making it very hard to get at what I need to, on a daily basis.
jslbrown2009 at aol dot com
Following on instagram as https://www.instagram.com/lisalubrown/
jslbrown2009 at aol dot com
The office is by far the most cluttered space of our house. It seems as though whenever I make some progress in getting the clutter cleared away it grows more before my eyes. It’s almost to the point of I’m scared of starting this again only to be in the same place in short order. Need some help with this for sure!
clutter everywhere! I’m like a hoarder in the making. (I already have the cats) I think my biggest problem is just not throwing things away. I am a hoarder of empty shampoo/product/bodywash containers in the shower for sure.
Our kitchen is the worst spot..mail, unwrapped containers, etc.
My biggest area of clutter is the guest bedroom – or dumping ground for the clutter in the rest of the house!
I follow you on instagram
When my son moved out his bedroom became a catchall for everything that didn’t have a specific place. It’s a disaster.
I follow you on instagram!
The table in our sunroom. We are empty nesters. It is a long table. My husband has decided to move from his office to the far end of the table. He has his own business and works on bids and invoicing, etc. right there. In order to get rid of this clutter I would have to get rid of my husband.
At least when we are entertaining it disappears so I think I will keep him around!
My biggest area of clutter is in the basement
Every closet in our house is disorganized and piled full of stuff. My daughter’s room is, too, because it became a catchall when she moved out, but she is back and only has half of her room to use because the other half is full of my stuff. I’m slowly making headway, though. My parents came to visit for a week and my mom said she was impressed with my organization. I also did not get the organization gene, so I have to work harder than my mom and my sisters do, lol. My dad is the most organized of us all, though!
I’m now following you on Instagram! @anniebidia
Since I have no desk for mail, bills, etc. the one small counter top in my kitchen to the left of the fridge seems to always catch all the misc. items!
My hall closet is a disaster. Like, a cinema-worth disaster, the kind you open and stuff avalanches out. (Hides face in shame)
Thanks for this! 🙂 It’s fun.
it is our laundry room its so big that its the catch all room from pruning shears to a desk to tools to clothes this is my bad area
i follow you on instagram
Ohh this would be awesome! I haven’t set foot in the container store bc I’m afraid I would want it all!
I struggle to keep my kitchen clean and free from clutter.
My Craft Room!
Also, I follow you on Instagram!
My biggest area of clutter is my utility/work room. Besides being our laundry room, it is my crafting and sewing space and desk. It’s right off the kitchen so it’s a good place to stash things and close the door. I get it looking spiffy and all of a sudden it’s piled up again.
My biggest area of clutter is my bedroom.
I follow you on Instagram.
My biggest trouble spot is by far the bench at my entry way! It is designed to be the spot where I sit and out on my shoes, but I don’t know if I’ve ever done that! I mostly just dump everything there and when it gets out of hand (ie falling into the floor), then I tidy it up. Definitely not sustainable!
For a while it’s been a part of my kitchen counter, my little “command center” that seems to catch everything
Unfortunately, an entire ROOM in my very small ranch house is filled with clutter: books, craft supplies, kids’ school papers, LEGO, stuff to sell on eBay and the like, etc., etc., etc.
I follow on Instagram.
We do not have much closet space or storage in our home. We have a galley kitchen and a few cabinets. We have to put some of the appliances and gadgets used for cooking and baking on a baker’s rack which make the kitchen that much smaller.
Loved this it made my morning, I’m the queen of type of straightening much to my husband’s dismay😊
Stuff it and run lovers unite! 😉
My bedroom closet and my kids
My closets and junk drawers are a mess!
The hall closet is the “stuff-it-al- in” clutter space in my house.
My office is atrocious, it is so unorganized and cluttered. So is the master bathroom =/
My closets are a nightmare to keep organized, thanks.
Sadly, I have at least three closets that look worse than yours! And I’m the queen of shoving all the clutter in when company is coming, but then I also forget it’s there and it just piles up. Thanks for the giveaway!
Following you on Insta!
My problem areas are the kitchen and dining areas where there are so many spaces to hide things in all those drawers and cupboards.
Follower now at Instagram!
My closets are bad!! I’m following on instagram!
I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one in this constant decluttering mode.
My bedroom is my downfall. I also have my desk in my bedroom and between coming in and changing clothes and stacking make in my desk it seems like a never ending clutter zone which causes me stress.
Oh my word! I don’t even know where to begin. I have a very small home-which I love-but little storage. I think my biggest problem is where to put my cast iron and extra pots and pans in my kitchen. I’m big on cooking for neighbors and friends and can’t quite bring myself to get rid of anything.
Any or all help appreciated?
P.S. Im following on instagram now 🙂
I guess my biggest area of clutter is my end table. I tend to put everything there! School stuff, work stuff, craft stuff and then wonder why I can’t find it all!
our second bedroom is the “closet” for a catch-all hiding place.And it is almost always cluttered from my “de-clutter program! Sad to say my program gets side tracked or delayed.
I so appreciate your transparency Jen – my area of clutter tends to be my sewing crafting space – it is also our guest area and it’s always too cluttered. I miss having a basement to hide stuff – it ruins my ‘system’ … usually if we were not using something, it went to the basement and if we didn’t use it in a year, it went to the charity shop. No basement means too much clutter! In fact, ‘Goodwill run’ is on my list for my hubby to do tomorrow! I’m inspired by your book to make our home ready for biblical hospitality – not waiting until it is a showplace, but clearing the clutter so that there is at least a place to sit!
My kitchen island is the worst area for me!
My daughter’s room slash guest room is always a hot spot! Things go there on their way to the attic and often never leave!
No question it is my office. Everything winds up there. (put it in the office and Mom will fix it).
Our laundry room also doubles as a pantry and a “catch-all” room, especially since my parents have been living with us for the past 9 months (temporarily). It’s so full of shelves and clutter and stuff that it overwhelms me every time I walk into it.
My sewing room/guest room attracts clutter like fleas on a dog!
My problem areas are my bedroom and my sons. I am not good at organizing so they do feel and look cluttered. I can really use some help with that.
I follow you on instagram @deallieb
Totally discouraged as I glanced through the various comments. Trying to choose the worst room is stressful enough. Every room is horrible. I guess if I had to choose one it would be our master bedroom.
I have so many rooms in disarray too, but it’s all about little baby steps. I picked my main living areas and went from there. We’re all in this together.
My sewing space never seems to be as organized as I would like it to be.
The hall closet! I just can’t keep the zones in there to stay orderly!
Our master bedroom for sure! We have no closet space and nowhere to put most of our clothes and other items in our room. Too much cluter everywhere!
There’s this buffet in our dining room that holds all the things that are cleared off the dining room table so we can eat there. Unfortunately, once an item goes on the buffet, it never seems to go off the buffet….
We moved five months ago into a larger home with more closets. Keeping the closets and the junk drawer in the kitchen organized is something I need to work on. Getting rid of things I have been saving just in case I might need it some day is my downfall. Even though a lot of things were purged before the move, there are many items that still need to be discarded, donated or that need to be organized so that they are easy to find.
Laundry Room (if I have to pick one!) #prissylilystudio
Just came across your blog. Playroom and garage are the hardest rooms to keep up with a dual career household.
The trunk of the car is my hotspot! Too easy to toss things in there for goodwill, the park, the beach, drive-in movie–and then never get them out.