19 Years to a Clutter-Free Home

19 Years to a Clutter Free Home

19 Years to a Clutter Free Home


It’s possible, you know. You CAN de-clutter your home in only 19 short years. I am going to lay out an easy-to-follow plan. Don’t get discouraged. You can do this. I have not calculated the exact financial cost or adjusted it for inflation, but it’s somewhere around $257,498.42, give or take $52,629.75.  (That’s according to the US Government or a retailer that sells plastic containers. I can’t remember which.) You may have to adapt the plan for your individual situation, but if you will stick with the basics, you will be pleased with the results and will have at least ONE CLUTTER-FREE  ROOM of which to post a picture. Also remember that sometimes you have to take a few steps backwards to go forwards, but hang in there. It’s a good, solid plan with guaranteed results.

19 Years to a Clutter-Free Home 1




YEAR ONE: Start simple. Have a baby.

YEAR TWO: Celebrate the beginning of year two with a birthday party for previously mentioned “baby.” Invite baby’s grandparents. Move a baby-sized colorful plastic slide and a baby-sized colorful plastic car into your living room. Have a Christmas celebration. Allow your child to scatter the loot from this celebration, making a trail from his room to any living areas of your home. Recognize that there may be a problem. Make your first trip to a retail business with aisles of plastic containers. Attempt to put the loot in the containers. Repeatedly find child in the containers with the loot still creeping from his room.

YEARS THREE -FIVE: Add more babies. Have more birthday parties and Christmas celebrations. Move all plastic slides, cars, and any other marginally-durable toys outside to make room for the plastic kitchen, plastic dishes, plastic food, princess dresses, Hot Wheel cars, Legos, blocks, train set, and baby dolls.

YEARS SIX-TWELVE: Start kids in school. Add backpacks, lunch boxes, soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, pads, smelly socks, and mountains of papers to be filled-out, signed, and returned to the school. Turn the dining room table into a school project zone. Buy more plastic containers for colored papers, dried-up markers, shoe boxes, used panty-hose, toilet paper rolls, stickers, rocks, leaves and bugs. Designate a plastic container in your freezer for the bugs. Alert the Vatican after you perform your first miracle when you spend a week cleaning out your kids’ play areas resolving to match the 5 containers of dislocated toy parts with their mates. Buy 1500 plastic containers – one for each type of toy. Take 65 garbage bags of stuff to the trash. Give up and collect the remaining random items, which precisely fill the original 5 containers of dislocated toy parts.

YEARS THIRTEEN-FIFTEEN: Make some progress cleaning out closets. Give a bunch of stuff away. Take 100s of garbage bags of stuff to the trash. Declare you will never part with the Legos, the train set, the dollhouse…. and pack them away in brand new plastic containers. Realize that Christmas costs twice as much as it used to and the gifts are really, really small.

YEARS SIXTEEN-EIGHTEEN: Repeatedly say things like, “Will you take your athletic bag, backpack, shoes, clothes, homework project, smelly socks to your room? You know, when you go to college, you cannot just drop your stuff in the dorm lobby.” Nag kids to take their clean and folded clothes to their rooms. Witness them using the couch as their dresser when they come to find a particular t-shirt and leave the rest of the pile on the couch. Take their clean clothes to the bottom of the stairs, so that they have to climb over them to get to their rooms. Witness them climb over the clothes, come back downstairs, find a pair of shorts, and leave the rest of the clothes. Threaten to take their phones if they don’t take all of the clothes. Clothes magically disappear.

YEARS EIGHTEEN-AND-A-HALF-NINETEEN: Spend the summer buying things for college. Pack it all up. If it is your son, he will insist that he needs none of this stuff. If it is your daughter, rent a trailer for the trip. Drop them off at college. Come home. Change the sheets on the bed. Dust and vacuum their room. Celebrate your 19 Years to a Clutter Free Home. Sigh.


Still have kids at home and want to organize and have a clutter-free college search and application season? I have you covered!

The Planning for College Planner



19 Years to a Clutter-Free Home 2

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Hey There!

I’m Laura

Welcome to Almost Empty Nest! I began this blog in September 2014 after leaving my oldest son at college and realizing that my nest was emptying. Join me on this journey as we explore the path of guiding our children to adulthood and rediscovering ourselves beyond the mom years.


  1. Like!

  2. JBF helped you get some baby clutter out of your house! We can help others too. Anyone need tagging help?

  3. This is such a great article – and so true! I’m a big proponent of slow and steady decluttering because it’s true – the cost of a clutter free home shouldn’t come at the cost of our relationships.

  4. Well, this is very enlightening LOL. My kids are 6 and 2 and I’m beyond overwhelmed with the clutter as a stay at home mom. I’m constantly trying to clean things out and feeling like I’m getting no where haha.

  5. Still have a few years here until college. But your article just gave me a bit of hope for clutter free at the very least! LOL!! 🙂

  6. Laura, thank you for letting me know I’m on the right track! Except it backfired the first time! The daughter came back home with a baby! Now the 19 year count started all over again! sigh

  7. As a stay at home mama to 9, 4, and 3 year old kiddos, I have stepped on my fair share of Legos in the dark and made empty threats of throwing them all out in the morning. I am trying to balance the clutter with the calm of realizing that I will have the rest of my life to be organized after they leave in search of their own adventures. I’ll miss the clutter one day…right?

    • You will miss what the clutter represents, but not actually stepping on Legos 😉 I still have one at home – a senior in high school who will go to college in the fall. I go between being weepy one moment and then thinking, “If I have to pick up one more pair of shoes from the family areas….”


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