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I spend entirely too much time maintaining our stuff. Straightening, picking up, cleaning, fixing, replacing: stuff.
Too often my kids point out that if something breaks, we can just get a new one. Because we do. We never stop to think–did we really need that in the first place?
Impulse buys are at an all-time high thanks to the ease of delivery services selling everything from ice cream to recliners. I feel guilty every time something arrives in the mail for me or I unload another bag from the car. I have this deep-seated feeling of — I don’t really need this.
Our rooms are crowded, closets overflowing and we toy with the idea of adding on…so we can house more stuff. How did we get to this point?
GETTING BACK TO THE BASICS
If you can relate at all, I have a few ideas that might help us start spending less time dealing with the stuff in our homes and more time living in them.
Minimalism isn’t ever going to happen in my house, but simplicity is definitely attainable.
Challenge yourself by all means, but don’t set yourself up for failure by taking on too much too fast. My strengths are organization and creativity, not in cooking and cleaning, so I’m not going to prioritize cleaning the baseboards and making dinners from scratch. I’ll stick to the basics.
HOW DO I SIMPLIFY MY HOME?
- Make a list of every space in your house and tackle no more than one area a day. Take everything off of the shelves or hanging in the closet and only put back what you need. It doesn’t seem like you have 30 t-shirts until you lay them all on the bed.
- Make a pile of nostalgia and donations. Nostalgia can either go in a box in storage or take a picture and donate the item.
- Clear off counters. Less stuff, less stress. Hide it away if you can to create a sense of tidiness.
- Be realistic about organization. Will you really keep up with a pantry of labeled glass jars or categorized toy bins? Condense as much as you can. One big tub for all the toys in each kid’s room? If that send waves of relief through your body, DO IT.
- Really give some thought to overflow in each room. How many toys do your kids need? How many blankets, knick knacks, movies and books do you actually use? Can you donate 10%? 25%? 50%? Keep in mind, the less you own, the less time spent managing it.
CREATE A CLEANING ROUTINE
- Commit to 1-2 simple chores a day. Each afternoon when I pick up the kids from school, we have a snack and watch 30 minutes of a show or play outside to unwind. Then we set aside 15 minutes to do our chores before playing a game or going back outside. During this time they pick 2 chores from their list and I do two of my own (see sample lists below).
- Implement a 10 minute family cleanup before bed. Set the timer and set a goal. “10 minutes to get everything off the floor or it gets melted by lava! GO!” It makes a huge difference in my stress level and my kids’ productivity when their rooms are clean and clothes are laid out for the next morning. I can also go straight to coffee instead of dishes when I clean up the night before.
Print the family cleaning schedule below to customize:
Be realistic when you make your cleaning schedule. Stick to the basics. Save deep cleaning for another day. You can even mark a date on the calendar for “Family Cleaning Day” to make it less of a hassle and then celebrate with a trip to the movies or something fun.
For a simpler chore chart, print the cleaning schedule below:
BE A MINDFUL CONSUMER
- Don’t buy things to fill up the empty spaces you’ve worked so hard to create. Find your pitfalls. I waste money on sweets when I’m grocery shopping if I’m hungry. I’ve found grocery pickup services work better on my meal planning and my wallet because I stick to a shopping list.
- Unsubscribe from sales alerts and unfollow retail on social media. Do you really need to know every time something goes on sale? And is it really a discount if you weren’t planning on buying it in the first place?
- Write a list of things you’re allowed and not allowed to purchase. In cleaning out, you may realize you have 3 tubes of toothpaste and 10 hair products. Make your own rules. I’m working on not buying any more books until I read the ones I have, and taking a few months off from buying clothes.
Want to learn more ways to simplify?
- A Year of Less by Cait Flanders
- Flow magazine
- Magnolia Journal
- Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Chore Ideas for kids
- Cait Flanders’ One Year Shopping Ban
- A Simplified Life by Emily Ley
BEFORE YOU GO…
Now that you’ve planned your cleaning schedule, where will you fit it in? Read up on How to Create a Daily Routine.
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You’ve got this!