wire bin with books

Clear the Clutter: Tips for Creating an Oasis of Calm in a Small Farmhouse

Tired of tripping over random piles of toys, clothes, and other items around your home? This is a common challenge, even more evident in smaller homes, and sometimes EVEN MORE SO in smaller quirky farm homes. As a Capricorn, I’m naturally orderly and cannot deal with clutter, so I make daily, weekly, monthly trips through the house to organize and tidy up. So, today, I thought I’d share some helpful tips for keeping your home looking and feeling calm and happy.


Less is Definitley More

Don’t go overboard when choosing furniture for a small space. Put your effort into pieces that serve both style and function to get the most bang for your buck and contribute to a clutter-free home. I like to pick two or three large items per room and keep the furniture minimal and functional. For instance, my buffet provides a great place to store dishes, as well as a nice spot to display seasonal décor. Furniture that does double duty as storage and as a display piece is perfect!

Edit, Edit, Edit

You must edit, edit, edit. Just as you do when you’re writing an essay and need to weed out and edit the extraneous stuff, you need to edit/weed out the extraneous stuff in your home! The best way to keep things neat and tidy is to get rid of everything you don’t use. To me, organizing is a kind of sport – it’s not about cleaning; instead, it’s about editing your inventory down to a list of the items you love and use every day. It’s easy to keep things neat and tidy when you have less stuff.

shelves with decor

Keep the Entryway Clean and Clear

The entryway is the first place you enter and the last place you leave. As a result, hats, jackets, leashes, keys, shoes, and sunglasses need to have a home (otherwise, they will end up in other places around the house or strewn around the entryway). Add hooks for jackets, leashes, and hats. Consider adding a key bowl nearby and a shoe basket or bench for easy shoe storage. What matters is having a place for everything coming in and everything leaving. The most crucial aspect of any organization system is compliance by the people living in the house – the system is only as good as the people who follow it, so be a drill sergeant and make your family members comply by putting their things away properly.

Think Vertically

Seeing a small room and focusing on the floor space limitations can be frustrating. Instead, get creative with your wall space! My entryway is small so I added a wall shelf with hooks where we hang coats, bags, and hats. The shelf above it can hold baskets of extraneous stuff like gloves or balls for the dogs.

Utilizing wall space gives you more storage options and prevents your room from feeling cramped.

Smart Storage

You can display some of your favorite items on open shelves, but make sure you also include functional cabinets so you can sweep away things before guests arrive. And don’t forget about toy boxes in the kids’ bedrooms. The bigger the toy box, the better! And under-bed drawers are another great way to stow away less-used or seasonal items.

bedroom with window and gas stove

The Konmari Method

This blog post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Marie Kondo and her books,” The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy,” both of which I read years ago and loved. She now has an entire company, Konmari, devoted to her method. I wholeheartedly support her, and I’m thrilled that it has become mainstream. Although the Konmari process goes against the American way of thinking, it conforms to what organization is about: reducing rather than producing. American consumers often buy in excess because they A) cannot see half of what they have and, therefore, B) do not know what they have because they have so much.

My favorite Konmari tip: In a drawer full of shirts, someone will almost always wear the same five or six shirts because they don’t want to even dig through the rest. The Konmari method suggests hanging up all clothes, even workout clothes (if the closet allows). This is EASY and helps you see all of your clothes! Since your clothes are no longer crammed into a tiny drawer, hanging them eliminates the need for an iron. It’s a win-win situation.

How to Keep it This Way

Once a year, I do a tune-up. Even the most organized of us sometimes get overwhelmed by our schedules. The key is avoiding the problem before it occurs. For example, work on bringing less stuff into the house. Make sure you only buy what you need and love. Items must either serve a useful purpose or bring you joy. Things that don’t serve either purpose should be donated.

Got some great organizing tips of your own? Please share in the comments below!

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