“I will never do this when I grow up”

If you think back to your childhood growing up. Can you remember certain aspects that you vowed you would NEVER EVER DO when you were an adult? And goodness forbid you would NEVER EVER make your own kids do it. I certainly do. Now 20 years later….I’m eating my own words.

As a mom of 4, our house tends to get messy quickly. I clean, and literally minutes afterwards, it looks like a tornato has swept through my house. When I say “clean,” I should clarify that. I mean pick up. I spend so much time picking up after my family, that it constantly feels as if I never get to the actual cleaning part.

My goal is to eliminate most of the pick up part of “cleaning”. So instead, that time is spent actually cleaning and then moving on to better things. I for one love a clean house but don’t actually love cleaning 🙂 If you are in the same sinking ship, keep reading and let’s see if this might help you as well!

Ever since kids entered our daily life, I have struggled with trying to keep a tidy home. I’ve spent countless hours searching Pinterest for “hacks.” I’m finally ready to make some changes and simplify! So here I am, ready to implement a method that my mom implemented with us growing up. Although I can’t say that the rest of my family is going to be excited. It will be a process and take some adjustment. But nothing will change if nothing changes right?!? So here we go!

What is OHIO?

The idea behind the Ohio Method is simple; Only Handle It Once. The follow through is more difficult. Think, how many times does that t-shirt on the bedroom floor get handled before it finally gets to where it goes? Two? Three? Or the empty Costco box sitting on your kitchen floor from unloading groceries? Maybe moved four times before it finally makes it to the recycle bin?

Only handle it once refers to putting something away the very first time. When your kiddo takes off their shirt at the end of the day, instead of tossing it in the stuffed animal basket, or at the bottom of the bed; put it where it goes the very first time. And no that doesn’t include just throwing it in the dirty laundry for me to wash. It means, if it goes in a drawer, fold it, and put it away. Use hangers, hang it up.

Acknowledge your area of improvement

Boxes are my downfall. Taking the time and energy to go to Costco, is an endeavor. I finally make it home with boxes full of super-sized items. After taking 40 minutes to put everything away, and I’m left with a Minecraft worthy assortment of boxes spewed across my kitchen floor.

Usually I make it as far as to stack them inside each other. From there, the stacks usually get moved around my kitchen, then down to my craft room (because it is out of immediate sight), then to the garage, then months later….into my car to actually make it to recycling. Any idea how many times I have to kick those boxes out of my way, or trip over them in the middle of the night? Yeah, it is ridiculous.

Instead, I should be taking them out to my car right after the last item is put away. In all honesty, what is 5 more minutes of breaking down boxes and loading them in my car for recycling when I’ve spent the last 2-3 hours shopping, loading and unloading groceries? Its nothing.


Every time you touch an item and move it to another place that isn’t its “home”, you are not only wasting your time but adding extra work to your already busy plate. I don’t know about you, but my goal is to simplify my life and have more time for the important parts of it. If it takes less than 5 minutes to do, then just handle it once and be done with it.

It will be a couple weeks of adjustment, and feet dragging from other family members I’m sure. However once the habit is formed, think about how relaxing it will be to be in a house that is constantly picked up? Obviously a huge part of that is organizing your home and determining a home for everything. If you are looking for suggestions on how to go about that, read this post. But for now, one thing at a time.

Where to start

Step 1 / Habits

Think about one habit per person in your family that causes clutter around your house. For me its boxes. Hubby leaves clothes all over the house, specifically on the chair in our bedroom. My 11 year old discards his clothes when he’s done wherever (like father like son ;). My 6 year old loves to do projects that start in point A of the house and end at point Z; leaving a trail of craft items all along the way. My 4 year old…..she leaves tiny toys from her games in every nook and cranny around the house. Now make your list for your family.

Step 2 / Taking responsibility

If each person tackles just one habit….that already is a great place to start! Have each member of the family choose one area they are going to focus on to start off. From there it is more simple. Just a simple word, “OHIO,” can act as a reminder when you notice something left or dropped. No nagging, asking multiple times or giving in and doing it yourself.

Eventually it will be applied to anything and everything. Anytime someone in the family touches an item, they follow the OHIO method.

Step 3 / Follow through

The use of a simple, one word reminder gives the chance for us to remind one another when we notice something. For the person hearing the word, it’s a chance to quickly find a home for the abandoned items.

No more conversations, convincing or getting mad over asking for items to be picked up. Simple works well with both kids and adults giving everyone a fair shot at success with this!

It may just be the organize freak in me….but the idea of a single world helping me achieve a more organized and relaxing home sounds amazing!

What methods do you use in your family to control the clutter?


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