The last thing a busy WAHM needs is more work. Unfortunately, the extra work is usually unavoidable and has nothing to do with making a living. Household clutter is the perfect example. It can pile up and before you know it the cleanup is an all-day affair. You can get control of clutter and keep it from taking time away from more important pursuits with a new creative strategy.

The core of this clutter reducing strategy is a “game” of sorts that rewards good behavior from your family. The first step is to get everyone together to let them know about the clutter issue and how it’s affecting you. Explain the problem (and take responsibility for your part in it) and tell your family why it needs to be solved. This step is important because it gives your family the information they need to empathize with your situation. You’d be surprised at how much just the knowledge that you’re struggling will help. People, especially loved ones, don’t like it when they’re contributing to someone else’s dismay.

Once they understand the background of the situation it’s time to put a concrete plan in place. The first part of the plan involves getting everyone involved in the cleanup process. Tell everyone that when they pick up and organize they’ll have a chance to win points to go toward a prize. You can have more than one “prize,” because what motivates the kids probably isn’t going to get your husband excited. You can set up the point system in several ways, from time-based to room based. For example, you might award a point for every five minutes the family member spends decluttering. Alternatively, you could set a point value for an entire room or task and whoever does it gets the whole bunch of points. This will start cutting down on existing clutter, but the problem isn’t completely solved yet.

The next phase of the game addresses the source of clutter. By this point your family should be really into the game. Maybe someone has already won a prize (I like to do mine on a monthly basis). Now it’s time to add a new twist. Get your family together and tell them there’s a chance for bonus points. Everyone starts out with the same amount, but they start disappearing depending on behavior. In this case, the way you lose points is by cluttering things up in the first place. Every time someone cleans, they also take note of the source of the clutter. Did someone leave shoes out? That’s a hit to the point total. Mail piled up on the table? There goes some of the bonus! The amount of clutter will slow down big time when you introduce this part of the game.

At this point you should see clutter levels decreasing until they’re barely existent. This could mean the end of the game, unless you have another issue to tackle. Have fun!

Author’s bio: Lisa is a writer at, a price-focused search engine for finding cheap storage units.

 Image source: iStock
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