How Does She Do That? Michelle Duggar’s Home Organization Tips
by Melissa Caddell
Michelle Duggar, mom of 19, helps control the chaos in her home with these organizational tips:
If you can keep the laundry and the kitchen running smoothly and have a place for everything in your home, it goes a long way towards controlling chaos.
Laundry: I made a decision a long time ago to have only one color of socks for the girls (white) and one color for the boys (black). We have lots of different sizes, of course, but it sure makes matching easier. The older girls have cute matching socks for their outfits, but they keep track of them separately. We do the sock matching game by dumping a laundry basket full of socks in the living room, and then we set a timer and race to see who can match the most pairs.
When we built our house, we decided to give up a bedroom and to use the space off the laundry room to make a community closet. It just didn’t make sense to transport clothes all over the house, so everyone has their dressers in that family closet and picks their clothes out the night before. It simplifies life. I didn’t set out clothes last night for some of my little ones because we got home late, and it made the morning hectic!
Kitchen: One of the things that has helped me the most in the kitchen is having a spot for everything and labeling where it’s supposed to go on cabinets, shelves and drawers. That makes it easy for everyone to help with cooking or cleaning up. I have a friend who taught me to write up the instructions on how to do tasks in the kitchen and put them where everyone can see them.
You can put them in plastic sleeves in a notebook or hang them in the sleeves on the wall in the kitchen. I write up how to do kitchen tasks — from setting the table to how to hand wash the big pan. Then, I show my kids how to do it, teach them how to do it and then watch them do it. By the third time, they are ready to do it on their own.
Clutter control: My mom was such an organizer, and she taught me a lot. She always said that if you don’t have a specific place for something, you probably don’t need it. There were a lot of things in my house that I was hanging on to that were weighing me down. And I was just shifting them around from place to place. I finally went through and got rid of things that I couldn’t use in the next 6-12 months and I de-cluttered my house. By doing that, it saves me so much mental anguish! I had three boxes as I de-cluttered: trash, keep it and organize it or give it away.
Things that I don’t need to be out for frequent use (like a punch bowl or appliance) got boxed up. Then, I labeled the boxes and numbered them. I have a note card box, and I write the contents of each box on a card so I can find things quickly when I need them. I do this in every room in my home. My older kids do it now because they’ve seen the process for so long. Keeping it simple is the key for me.
Melissa Caddell is a writer, speaker and coffee drinker. She and her husband, Casey, are raising three delightful, chatty girls (ages 12, 9 and 4) in the ‘burbs.