Living a simple lifestyle makes you feel free, liberated, and loving life. Achieving this way of living is possible, and it starts with your home.
Redesigning your physical space and making things readily accessible can have a direct impact on your wellbeing. Removing unnecessary clutter and possessing fewer items in your home that are accessible will improve how you navigate your home. Also, creating simple, practical systems and incorporating smart time-saving tools will reduce the effort and strain it takes to function in your space.
Doing so allows you to breathe, frees up your mind, and relax.
Your home should be your sanctuary, not another place where you have a long to-do list to tend to.
There are essential things you should do so that your home will become more simplified, and there are extra things that you could also add to make your home function much better.
In general, you’ll want to create a warm, cozy environment, which is easy to maintain. This allows you more freedom, not only in your time but also in your mind and heart.
Prepare your mind
You probably already have thought of making your life more simplified. It does start mentally, you must have the intention of living a more simple lifestyle, and this definition is your own.
By having this mindset, you are preparing yourself to be able to achieve the rest of the steps, bringing you closer to the lifestyle you desire.
Set yourself up for success, which means to know that this is possible.
When our home gets filled with an excessive amount of items, It can really hinder our motivation.
It feels as if it will not happen, it gets messy before it will get to a better place, and we’d rather live in a constants state of avoiding the mess.
Chiseling process of decluttering
The chiseling process of decluttering helps you not to get overwhelmed and suffer burnout and completely lose momentum.
Imagine it like you’re creating a statue of a person out of limestone. You’ll need to chip away bit by bit sculpting the stone into smooth edges and contours until you get your ideal form.
If you strike the stone too hard in one place, it will crack!
Carving stone takes patience and a bit of finesse. If you apply some of the chiseling stone principles to decluttering, this can help to preserve your sanity!
Declutter your home
Taking time to declutter your home seems simple enough. It’s this task that stops people from creating a lifestyle they dream of. It is a tough task to tackle, and you shouldn’t expect to do it all in one shot.
You probably look around, and it feels overwhelming, the accumulation of all the things you have, and you think to yourself where do I start!
Take on space where you either spend the most time in or the area you feel that will give you the most momentum.
Once you’ve decided on one area, then remove all items the shelves, closets, drawers, and sort through each item individually.
Go through each item and decide if it is staying or going. Create separate piles for your things you’re going to keep, donate, sell, or throw out.
This is a daunting task, but if you know that it gets messy before you can organize and clear up space, then you’ll be mentally prepared to take on this job.
Define your space
When you are ready, ideally before you declutter each room, determine what the purpose of each room is and the closet spaces
Each room can serve more than one purpose, but be sure not to have too many, a limit of three is enough.
When you set the intention for each of your room and closet space, you’re giving yourself a goal and idea of what items you will keep and which ones you will remove from the area.
Go by rooms
Once you have a clear definition of what each room will be for you. You can start going through each room and decluttering it.
You may have accumulated many things while living in your home, and usually, it’s a lot more if you have been living there for quite a while. To release the overwhelming feeling, you can start by going through each room, one at a time.
As mentioned earlier, be sure to take every item out before sorting. Decide which items belong in the room, in another place, and don’t belong in your home at all. While you are doing this, keep in mind the intention you set for each space.
Here are some ideas on how to make your room work for you:
The bedrooms in our home represent a time for rest and sleep. Create a space you want to come into at night time and ensuring that this space is free of clutter, items on the floor, and inviting for a restful night’s slumber.
Consider not having a television in your bedroom, and keep the bedroom for sleep and physical intimacy.
Go through your articles of clothing, deciding what to keep and not, and make sure that they have space in your closet or dresser.
Keep your dressers clear of items. If you need to keep items on your furniture or table, make sure that they are things that you use daily or add ambiance to your space.
Create space between your furniture, don’t squash them together. The negative space makes the room feel open, light, and airy.
Lessen the products that you use. Go through your current items and decide which product you use daily and get rid of the rest.
If you’re not ready to discard the rest of your products, then at least store the things you don’t frequently use somewhere in a labeled storage box.
Keep your medicine cabinet neat and organized, get rid of old medications, keep products you use daily, and store the rest away.
Use open shelving, especially when you have a smaller bathroom, to create the illusion of space. When you have cupboards, it makes space feel small, and you’ll have to open and close the cabinets.
It’s easier to clean open shelves, less effort, and housework, especially if you have minimal items on the shelving.
You may want to avoid furniture that does not have legs and sits directly on the floor. When items such as collapsible box ottomans sit on the floor dust can get caked onto the base. This can add another chore for you to deal with.
Non-cloth based furniture with legs makes it easier to deal with the build-up of dust and dirt.
Dining rooms are generally straightforward. It has evolved into a room where people don’t just use it for the intended purpose.
If you do use your dining room and it serves more than one function.
The general intention of this room is to gather around.
Keep the space clear so that chairs can easily be moved, keep the top of the table clear, use a single centerpiece, something light you can lift when you need to wipe down the table.
For example, growing up, we used it as my homework table. Make sure before you serve dinner, whoever is using the space clears their items off.
Remove anything which isn’t dining room related. If people use it for homework space or workspace, make sure not to keep any documents on the table, but put them where they belong. In their bag, or a drawer nearby.
If you have a China cabinet, for example, go through each of the items currently in it. Decide which ones are most important, and what you have duplicates of, and keep what you want, making sure items have designated space.
Have a little table or space where you can leave your key, wallet, and ID cards, so you can quickly grab them and go, and easily place them down when you come home.
Don’t allow your shoes to pile up by the front door. Keep them out of sight by storing them. At most, have one pair there. If you can store everything, it is much better so that when you have to clean the floors, you don’t have to think about having to prepare the floors before sweeping, mopping, or running your robot vacuum.
The kitchen may be the toughest room to tackle generally. It is continuously being used and it’s the place where people love to congregate.
If you have a kitchen table, that’s where you most likely eat or do work.
The kitchen is also infamous for having that “junk” drawer where we dump everything in.
Within your kitchen, although it seems like you should sort it in sections, it is best to do the same strategy as before. Take everything out.
This also includes what’s in your fridge and freezer.
Take all the big-ticket items out of the cupboards and sort through every piece one by one.
You’ll be surprised how many of the same or similar small appliances you own. You’ll find things in your kitchen, that it feels like you went shopping that day.
Here are other tips for making your kitchen a functional room:
1. Multifunction appliances
Keep items that serve more than one purpose; for example, an Instant Pot is a great kitchen appliance. Instead of owning a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, bottle sterilizer, you can use this one multiple functioning pot.
A blender like the Vitamix is also an excellent investment. YOu can use it to blend smoothies, use it as a mixer (if you’re not a hardcore baker, it is sufficient), make soups, and dips.
2. Keep the counter clear
Everyone in the household should make it a priority to clean up after themselves once they finish.
3. Have ready-go-to recipes on hand
Have some of your favorite recipes written down with the ingredient list. Take the initial time to put them together, almost like your recipe book.
Digitize your recipes. It allows you to take the thinking out of things. It frees up your mind space. You can look at the recipe and see what items you need to buy since your kitchen will be organized at this point.
Having recipes means you can get others in the household to help start cooking too. Instead of one cook in the house.
Prepare weekly menus. Instead of having to think about what to make that night. The Sunday, for example, decide ahead of time what you’ll make for the week.
If you have a home office, an area where you work, pay bills, or area for the kids to do homework.
Repeat the process of removing all items out from the area, closet, drawers. Sort through each thing and only keep things that are important and belong to this office space.
Keep your desk clear and minimize the number of documents in your household. Learn how to go digital – go to the digital section of this article.
Any documents you own ensure they have a proper storage place, such as a filing cabinet.
I have many friends that tend to keep everything else in the garage except for their cars. It has become their own storage facility for a mix of things.
Our garages get filled with items we don’t use daily, junk we’ve collected over the years, things we don’t want to take the time to sort, so we dump them into our garage. Things we say we’ll get rid of but never do.
Go through your garage and go through every item to see if it is something you should keep or not.
Anything that has been stored away for a very long time, and you have forgotten about it for many years, you may consider getting rid of those items.
Once you made your decision on which items are staying, ensure that each item has a proper home. Use storage bins, adequately labeled so that you can easily find what you are looking for when you need it.
Pegboards work well for hanging a variety of items.
Try to get as many items off the floor as possible. Once you reclaim your floor space you can start parking your car inside your garage again.
Trust me, you’ll feel good simplifying your life by parking your vehicle inside the garage and away from the elements like snow or rain.
My car would get covered with snow due to not parking in the garage because it was always packed with junk. I would really get stressed out cleaning the snow off my car when I had to leave for work.
Eventually, I took the time to clean and organize it.
When I started parking in the garage it really made a difference emotionally. I didn’t feel that dread in the morning if it did snow that night. I would always drive away with a snow-free vehicle.
Here are some things to consider when decluttering your garage:
1. Items that you hold dear, and have a special place in your heart, you can take photos of them and have the photo as the keepsake.
2. Organize your sports items. Sort through your sporting equipment, and decide which items you use and which ones are ready to be donated or sold. Having some sentimental sporting goods is fine to have, such as an old bike or baseball glove you want to pass down to your kids. Be truly honest with yourself,
are you holding on to something useable to pass down or do you just have a hard time letting go?
3. Owning plenty of tools and supplies may take you a much longer time. But, by sorting, you will find all the items you were looking for before. And you can place them properly where they belong in the future, it will take you less time to find anything you need.
Having gone through each room and doing your best to part with things that are sentimental to you. Keep in mind that everyone is different. If some things you hold very dear to your heart, please keep them. It should not be a painful experience to part with things.
The main idea is that you learn to let things go, which do not serve any purpose in your life.
Indeed, most of us do not enjoy doing chores. And even if we do, it doesn’t mean we want to be held captive doing things to keep our home tidy and clean.
There may be days when we do want to clean since it can be therapeutic. But we for sure don’t want our home to dictate to us when that should be.
Unfortunately, our home gets messy, we live in it, and dust and things can pile up.
Rather than devoting our time to doing every single chore, we can reallocate some tasks.
One of the most time-consuming tasks is sweeping and mopping floors and rugs. You can eliminate the chore of sweeping by using a robot vacuum and the task of mopping by using a robot mop.
Although it doesn’t eliminate deep cleaning, the weekly or maybe bi-weekly task can be taken off of your list of things to do.
Declutter your closet
Remove all your items from your wardrobe and go through each item and decide if you will keep it.
If you own multiples of an article of clothing, ask yourself if you need more than one. I suggest keeping one to two and let go of the rest.
Items that you haven’t worn in 6 months or over one year if you live in a seasonal climate, you should remove from your collection.
Once you’ve sorted your items, and when it’s time to put them back where they belong. You can use some of these tips to organize your closet and drawers better:
1. Use thin hangers they take up less space in your closet
2. Put multiple items of clothing on one hanger
3. Use storage bins for loose items
4. Use dividers in your dresser drawers to organize your things
Once you have defined your space, you can visualize how you want the area to look and feel.
By removing furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose, but just takes up space, you clear the area.
Being able to have more space around you, changes the feeling in your environment
Less furniture also makes it much easier to clean. You won’t have to struggle to move furniture to clear around it.
Have furniture that is easy to clean. And ideally have high legs, so that you can easily clean underneath them.
Actionable steps – start letting go of things one at a time
You can begin your journey now by deciding on what you believe you can handle.
Take on one room and decide what you want that space to truly represent.
Gradually start taking out all your items from their storage place and sort through them.
Do it bit by bit, and soon enough, you’ll notice your space has changed for the better.
The beginning is challenging, but if overcome the transitional mess in the beginning and stay focused on your intention of living a simple life. Then you’ll be able to get all this done in no time.
Go digital and automate
As you go through all the items in your home, start making a pile of things that you can digitize.
- any paper documents
- cards and letters
- take pictures of some items that hold memories, but you are ready to depart from the particular item
Get comfortable with going digital and use applications that free up space in your home and make it functional.
Here are some ideas:
- Go through your emails and start unsubscribing from newsletters
- Use a digital application such as google shopping list where you can add any groceries and supplies you need to purchase. A great thing about using this feature is that you can share it with family members and they can add to the list and also know what to shop for
- Use a digital calendar to keep schedules organized and use it to set reminders of necessary appointments. Another great feature of digital calendars is the ability to share it with others. You can even use your calendar to set monthly or yearly reminders of things that you need to do, such as car oil change reminders.
- Create checklists. Use digital checklists so that you can free your mind of the list of things to bring and do. For example, have a set checklist for items to pack when you’re ready to go on vacation. It’s there and always available, so next time you’re ready to go for your trip, you don’t need to re-create the list.
- Use an assistant tool. Use Google Home or Alexa on your phone or a physical device in your home. Utilize it by telling it any appointments you want to add to your calendar. Add things to your shopping list or ask it to read to you the steps for making your favorite meal. It can also be used as a digital photo frame.
- Automate your bill payments. Any bills you have, especially if they are consistent each month, take that bill off of your to-do list and automatically pay it out of your bank account or credit card.
- Use IFTTT. IFTTT is a cool way to create custom automation in your home. for example, you can do things like make your house lights turn on and off periodically when you’re away on vacation. This helps to make people think you’re home. Hopefully, when a potential burglar sees this they leave your house alone. You will need a few smart home devices to make things like this work. Smart bulbs, smart hub.
Buy less stuff
During the time of decluttering your home, you will want to stay away from shopping for a while.
The only thing you may possibly purchase while you are re-organizing your home might be a few storage boxes, shelves or other organization tools.
You probably have plenty of things at home that may already serve as storage compartments. This is why it is best to go through all your items before you organize. You never know what hidden gems are in your possession.
There are many things in your home you can repurpose and use as storage bins.
By purchasing less stuff, you don’t allow things to accumulate in your home. Therefore you don’t have to go through this process of decluttering frequently.
We accumulate so many things over the years and put things where it is convenient at that moment. When we declutter, we end up finding multiple of stuff we didn’t even know we had or needed.
Keep furniture surfaces clear
Lots of items on your desk space, dining table space, and kitchen counter make it challenging to clean the surface quickly.
Minimal items make it easy to maneuver around to clean the area quickly.
To keep things simple, you’ll want to only keep items on top of your furniture, which have a purpose. For example, it could be because you use those items often and require quick access to them. Or, it’s a thing of beauty that adds something to the space.
Don’t rush to get everything done
Take your time while you are going through this process. It is a significant change for many of us and rather than allowing the feeling of frustration of guilt to come up. Allow yourself to enjoy each and every moment. Know that you are taking those steps towards making your life more enjoyable by being simplistic
There is no race to getting things done. It will get done in due time.
When you go through this process, make sure you don’t do it at a time in your life when you are restricted to a timeline. Don’t start it, when you’re expecting your in-laws to come over next weekend.
Organize your things
Use storage bins
Once you finished sorting the piles, of what stays, what goes. Then remove the items that you are selling or giving away from the current space you are now going to organize.
Everything you own and are keeping should have a place in your home.
Use boxes, containers, and everything to have a purposeful place. Use clear containers where possible. They allow you to see what is inside, so you don’t have to guess and open each box.
Properly labeling things ensures that you don’t waste your time having to search for things.
Invest in good quality items
Take time to invest in products that last.
Clothing, furniture, appliances things that you want to last you a long time and will make your life easier and less stressful, do research and find which is best for you and your budget.
Don’t always go for what is cheap, because sometimes it ends up being that you spend more money because it may break more quickly than something that has been known to last longer.
Decide what matters most to you
Knowing each purpose of your rooms, not everyone will own the same things.
One of the main things when simplifying your life is usually streamlining your wardrobe. But, if you enjoy fashion and changing things up a bit, make sure that you set it as your priority, you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Just make sure that each item you own, you enjoy it, and you’re not keeping it just for the sake of not being able to let it go.
Create your “me” space
A home that is open and spacious, even if it’s not a large home, brings about a sense of comfort and ease.
Think of when you go out, shopping or to a cafe, you enjoy places that have more space.
A lovely cafe or spa, for example, has a feeling of coziness because the space is open. There are less furniture and things all around it to distract you.
Fewer things in your home clears your mind. You don’t get distracted with all the things around your house.
Especially when those things can gather dirt, at times, you see it as something you have to attend to, meaning chores for you to do.
Tidy up right away
Clean up after yourself right away.
Simple things such as if you tend to put your clothes somewhere in your room, rather than leaving it on the floor on your bed or a chair, designate that space for a laundry hamper to throw your clothes in
if you have a central laundry basket, most of your family members don’t put their laundry until they have gathered enough clothes, so why not adjust to your habit,
In your kitchen area, be diligent and don’t allow things to pile up in your sink, and minimize the items on your countertop. Small appliances you don’t use often can be stored away.
Create a system for mail/bills/documents
Any documents you receive create a system for storing them away. An ideal solution is digitizing them and then shred or recycle the paper.
Add your bill due dates on your digital calendar to remind you when to pay them. Or automate your payments if they are a fixed payment each month.
At least once a week sort through your mail, don’t let it pile up and become overwhelming.
Keep your area clear
When you keep your home generally tidy, it becomes easier to clean when its time to do some deep cleaning.
Cleaning is much faster since you have fewer things to move.
Make your home smart
Turning some or many parts of your home smart is not necessary to make your life simple. For some, it might become more stressful dealing with learning new technology.
Using smart home devices can free up your time and replaces some specific tasks that you do in your home.
Allows you to use your smart device, and even if you don’t you can set up your temperature to save money
access while you are on the go, don’t have to turnaround and come back if you forgot, especially when you are heading out for vacation
Using smart bulbs in your home allows you to control them using an app on your phone as well as using an assistant such as Google and Alexa.
You can turn on and off your lights using a voice command, or the app. This frees up your hands to do other things.
For example, coming home from the grocery store, you can turn on the front porch light and foyer light right before getting out of your car and having a hand full of bags to carry.
There is also a proximity option. Your lights will turn on when you’re within a certain distance from your home.
Imagine waking up and going to the kitchen, and your favorite cup of coffee or some hot water for your tea is ready.
It’s like having your own personal barista at home.
With smart plugs, you can set your appliances to automatically turn on and off at certain times. You have basic control options(using off/on) using your smartphone.
Allowing natural light into your home makes the space larger and brightens up your mood.
If you have plenty of blinds or curtains in your home, rather than going through each room daily and opening them manually, you can install automated blinds, curtains or go one step further and use smart blinds.
You schedule the times, so they open automatically or use your smartphone via the app to raise them and close them.
It’s also an excellent way to get you up in the morning if you wake up when the sun is coming up.
If you have plants in your home smart blinds are a great way to give your plants its daily amount of sunlight needed.
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