12 Tips to Declutter & Organize Your Homestead - Melissa K. Norris

12 Tips to Declutter & Organize Your Homestead

By Melissa Norris | Homestead-Life

Apr 20

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase. Regardless, I only link to products we use on our homestead or believe in.

The call for a de-cluttered and organized homestead and kitchen is strong ya’ll. Whenever I see that quiz floating around that says you have to pick one wish to come true from the 4 options, having a house cleaner always is the one that my finger hovers over.

If you’re like me, you love the way your house looks when you finally get to tackling those piles of clutter, spot of mess, and it looks shiny… only to return to its state of mess within a few short days (or hours). You may surprised to see part of the answers and strategies I use originate back from the homesteaders and housekeepers of 100 years ago.

Actually, beings this is the Pioneering Today podcast, I doubt your surprised by that at all.

Listen below to  Episode #138 of the Pioneering Today Podcast,where we teach families how to grow, preserve and cook their own food using old-fashioned skill sets and wisdom to create a natural self-sufficient home, with, or without, the homestead.


This is part 2, if you missed part 1 go here Episode #137 Natural Homemade Cleaner Recipes 17 Spring Cleaning Hacks

This time of year I’ve got the tomato plants nestled up under the grow light in the living room, seeds waiting for the soil to warm up, and the perennial plants are just waiting to burst out and grow. Which means shortly, I’ll be in the hustle and bustle of harvest and preserving season, so getting my kitchen and homestead into shape now is important.

12 Tips to Declutter & Organize Your Homestead from 100 Years Ago

Pick a room or area. This may seem simple but if every room in your house needs some attention, you can quickly loose heart before you even start due to overwhelm.

Choose the area that you use the most and is most critical to your way of life. Say what?

For me, the kitchen is the room anyone sees when they enter our house. It’s where I spend the most time as we make pretty much everything from scratch, pack lunches, preserve the harvest in the summer and fall, and I film a good portion of the videos for the Pioneering Today Academy members and our live podcast episodes on Facebook.

If the kitchen is in a constant state of disarray, I tend to procrastinate or put off wanting to get to cooking. If you a have to clean up a mess before you even start making a mess aka cooking, you’re not going to look forward to it. Plus, I get all tense if someone drops by if the kitchen is littered with piles of this and that, dirty dishes, etc.

That is not what I want for my life. I want to open the door, hand someone a Mason jar full of tea, kombucha, or coffee (whatever your pleasure) and soak in their company. Some of you are thinking, well you can do that, it’s about the people and relationships, not the condition of your house, but know what, if my house is messy, it does bother me. I’m not talking it has to be picture perfect, but I want it to be tidy.

Pick your place. 

You’ve got your room, pick one area. If it’s the kitchen, make it the counter tops, set of bottom cupboards, set of top cupboards, spice cabinet, you get the picture, pick a spot and attack it first.

  1. Take everything off and out, totally clear the space.
  2. Wipe it all down and give it a good scrubbing.
  3. Evaluate every piece before you put it back. Does it get used daily or weekly? Can another item be used instead of it? If it broke today would you go out and immediately by it again to replace it? Does it belong here or make the most sense? (Listen to Episode #129 7 Tips to Organize & Build Your Homestead Food Storage & Kitchen for more in depth tips on pantry and cupboards)
  4. Everything must have a designated home and space.

You’ve done it, the area is de-cluttered, life is good and my house will be perfect from here on out. Sounds great and I hate to bust the bubble, but ain’t so.

Clutter is a magnet for more clutter, you need to have a system that keeps counters and surfaces clear of anything that doesn’t belong there for lasting change.

Here are my 3 rules for keeping the kitchen de-cluttered and tidy.

  1. The sink must always be empty. No piling up of dirty dishes. Especially true for supper dishes. I used to let the pans or pots soak overnight because I was tired and didn’t want to deal with cleaning them.
    But I’d wake up in the morning to a dirty dish. Even though I was letting the pan sit and soak, it took much longer to scrub it clean in the morning than if I wash it out at night before the food has had a chance to stick. Remember our magnet rule, one dirty dish easily becomes five.
  2. Clean dishes do not sit in the dishwasher. As soon as the dishwasher is ran (yes, this homestead kitchen uses a dish washer for everything except pots, pans, and cast iron skillets) it is emptied out and all clean dishes put up.
  3. Anything on the counter or kitchen table that doesn’t belong there has to be cleared before bedtime. This makes wiping down cupboards and tables easy. It also keeps you accountable. If you don’t have a place for an item that’s sitting out, you need to create a space for it or decide if you should be keeping it.

Confession: I don’t always feel like sticking to these rules. The end of a long day and we just rolled in from a child’s game, the last thing I want to do at 8 o’clock at night is stand at the sink and wash out supper dishes, dry and put them away.

I’m going to let you in on a secret, and this works for getting me to exercise or do anything I’m trying to talk myself out of or dragging my feet to do or finish (I’m sharing this advice from Kathi Lipp author and host of the Clutter Free Podcast)

Will my morning (or afternoon/evening self) be happy with this choice?

While I might not feel like washing the dishes in the evening, I know that my morning me will be oh so happy my evening me spent the 10 minutes to finish cleaning up the kitchen.

My morning self might not really want to get her sweat on with a workout… but my evening self (not to mention the years down the road self) will be glad I did because I sleep so much better if get a good sweaty workout in.

See how that works?

To keep your places clutter free you need to come up with some strategies. You just saw my kitchen strategy but what about the other rooms and things in your life?

Shared from my book Hand Made: the Modern Guide to Made-from-Scratch Living 

100 Year Old Wisdom for Organizing Your Homestead

Back in the pioneer days, each day of the week had a certain task.

Monday wash day

Tuesday ironing day

Wednesday mending day

Thursday market day

Friday cleaning day

Saturday baking day

Sunday church and rest day

Thankfully, it doesn’t take us a full day to do laundry anymore (unless you’re really far behind) and I don’t need a full day to iron. Honestly, I maybe iron 4 times a year peeps.

But scheduling things for certain days or even certain times of the day ensures it gets done and keeps your life and homestead running smoothly.

I do one load of laundry every day. In the morning I pop a load into the washing machine. If weather permits, it gets hung up on the line as soon as its done, if I’m using the dryer, in it goes. The afternoon that load gets folded and put away. No piles of clean clothes on any surface in the house. This way, I’m never behind on laundry and don’t have piles of dirty laundry in a room that I have to cringe when I walk by.

When I was working my day job, I didn’t have time in the morning or evening to get a full load of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away. I would wash and dry in the morning and then when the kids got home from school and I got home from work, we’d fold and put them away. I’ve stuck to this even though I’m now working from home.

Same deal with the dishes, they’re getting done every day (or going into the dishwasher until there’s a full load to be washed an immediately put away).

I do designate certain things to days of the week though. Market day is Friday (and I try to keep that to only 1 or 2 Friday’s a month) or in other words, the day I do any grocery shopping.

Meal prep and baking for the week is Saturday. Almost all our meals are from scratch, so this means muffins, bread, waffles, pancakes, snacks, all of this is baked Saturday so we’re ready to go for the coming week.

Saturday also tends to be my deeper cleaning day, toilets, scouring sinks and the bathroom, plus dusting.

For a full room by room de-cluttering plan as well as a full chapter on simplifying, get your copy of Hand Made: the Modern Guide to Made-from-Scratch Living  (would you be so kind as to leave a review while you’re there? Amazon will show the book to more people based on the numbers of reviews, thank you kindly) and snag your bonus goodies here.


About the Author

Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.

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