Organize Your House AND Your Life

If you are like me, towards the beginning of every year you decide it is time to clean out the over-stuffed closets in your home. While that may sound like a very simple task, I can tell you personally that it is indeed NOT.

For me, cleaning out one closet leads to another closet, which then leads to sorting through the junk drawer in our kitchen, which then makes me decide to clean out our medicine cabinet, and so on. Until all of a sudden half of my house looks nice and neat, and the other half looks like a huge tornado hit it.

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This year though when I got the itch to organize our house, I decided I should also try organizing my life in general. Over the past two years, I have been doing a lot of work on myself. While sorting through bills and old magazines, I have also been sorting through what is really important in my life. I discovered that de-cluttering and organizing our house has actually, in turn, helped me de-stress a little. Going through things and throwing stuff away has been quite therapeutic.

While making my house a whole lot less messy and my life a little less stressful, I had a lot of friends and family give me advice or ideas to help me with both areas. Some of them were not so helpful and didn’t really make much of a difference, but some of them were great and really effective. So here are a few of the things that were extremely helpful while organizing my house and my life.

Organize Your House: Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose


Go through your bookshelves and decide which books you want to keep. If you have read them already and haven’t touched them in a couple of years, it’s definitely time to pass them on to a friend, donate them to Goodwill, or to your local library. You can also take them to your favorite resale shop so others can purchase them and enjoy them just as you did.


Examine your make-up bag and take out everything you use daily. Keep those items and save any products that you use on special occasions as well. The rest of it, toss! Make-up only lasts so long and no one wants to put something that has expired on their face!


Look through the issues you have and decide if you want to recycle or donate them. Many nursing homes, libraries, and medical offices will take magazines off your hands. Rip out just the articles that you want to keep, and create a binder so you can read it later. Check to see if you can find a digital copy of it and pin it to one of your Pinterest boards. Then you won’t even need to waste your time searching and ripping pages out!

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Recycle extra notebooks or notepads sitting around, or let your kiddos use any of the blank pages that are left. One great idea is to rip out blank pages and staple them into a book for your kids to write and draw on. Kids LOVE to be authors and illustrators, so not only does this help you, but it also keeps them happy and occupied while you clean out the next area.


These are the items that are the hardest for me to get rid of! One of the things that was the most helpful for me was to get a medium sized box to store them in. Anything that I couldn’t fit into the box, I had to get rid of. Having a limited amount of space helped me really decide what things were the most important to me. As for the art work that your kids make, keep a few that are your favorites. All the others: take photos of them. Use the photos to then create a book of your child’s art that they can have and keep in the future. Websites like Shutterfly and Snapfish make this a fun and easy process to complete.

Organize Your Mind: De-stress, De-clutter, Dance

Daily Yoga or Meditation

The combination of deep breathing techniques and specific yoga poses can help you release any frustration you are holding onto related to work, family, or anything else that is bothersome in your daily life. The mental silence of meditation can help your mind relax and assist you in becoming calm as well.


Aromatherapy is known to help people de-stress and relax, as well. Light your favorite candle or use your favorite essential oil to help lighten your mood. Good smells lead to good thoughts, so try it and see if it helps you become a little happier on a day where everything seems to be going wrong.

Chew gum

This is one really easy thing to do. As odd as it sounds, there is research that has found that chewing gum can lower your cortisol level. That in turn can lesson the level of stress that your body is feeling. So choose your favorite flavor and chew away!

Drink tea

Take a break from your busy schedule and enjoy a nice glass of tea. Drinking either green or black tea can give your body extra antioxidants and reduce the amount of cortisol that your body produces. Cortisol is directly related to the amount of stress you are experiencing, so less cortisol equals less stress.

Practice your religion

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go to church. Religion of any kind can provide a sense of community. This could come from being a part of a spiritual online group or simply by joining a local prayer group. There is also some research that suggests being part of a religious group can help you lesson any mental health issues you may be experiencing.

Listen to music

We all have a song that we love and that makes us feel good every time we hear it. Play that song as loud as you like and sing along! Music is proven to lessen anxiety and stress so listen to whatever you like: country, oldies, rock, hip-hop…it doesn’t matter!

Move your body

Exercise as often as you can. We all have crazy busy days where exercise is just not going to happen and that is okay! Just make sure that you make some time during the week to partake in whatever form of exercise your prefer. One simple way to fit in some movement is when you are listening to music like I mentioned above, DANCE! Dancing is especially fun when no one is watching, so when your kids are napping or your husband is out scooping snow, turn up the radio and dance away. You will find yourself in a better mood and ready to have fun when your kids wake up and your husband comes back inside.

So after reading this, what idea are you going to try first? Hopefully you will find them as helpful as I did. Before you know it, your house will be clutter-free and your life will be a little less stressful!


Melissa was born and raised right here in Iowa. Although she grew up in southwest Iowa (about as close to Missouri and Nebraska as you can get!), she has called eastern Iowa home for 15 years. She and her husband Eric live in North Liberty, along with their 4 year-old daughter Kennedy. Melissa attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her BA in Early Childhood Special Education and her MAE in K-6 Learning Disabilities. She currently teaches kindergarten for the Clear Creek Amana School District, where she has taught for 14 years. In her spare time, Melissa loves to be outside playing or working on projects in their yard, spending time with family and friends, and baking up goodies for her family. She also enjoys taking walks with their two dogs, plump beagle Lenny and shy dachshund-beagle mix Cooper. Life as a full-time working mommy keeps her very busy, but Melissa wouldn't have it any other way!


  1. Good ideas! We do a lot of them already and are in the process of major cleaning right now, too. When the oldies are on the TV, things go much better–love the oldies, especially us!!


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