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If you are feeling like your life is crazy busy and you’re on the edge of a major meltdown, this post is for you! The following ideas are intended to bring a sense of calmness at home and help simplify life. These are actionable steps you can take in 7 days to pave the way towards your new, less-crazy life! The best part? You can power through and implement them each day for a week, or take your time implementing them one at a time over the course of several weeks. Getting through these steps should not stress you out- they are meant to do the exact opposite. Simplify, so you can breathe.
One very quick thing you can do is implement the One Hour Power Clean method into your weekly routine. You can read my quick post on it here. It is a great way to begin to simplify because once you’re done, nearly everything will be in its place and your house will be clean! (If you have kids, here is a Mini One Hour Power Clean for them- no one is getting off the hook when it’s time to clean up their stuff!)
Day 1: Identify the Problem Areas in Your House.
One area that seems to be a problem in most peoples’ houses is shoe clutter. As soon as you walk in the door, Bam! Everyone’s shoes are piled by the door. Figure out what type of shoe organization solutions your space will allow- there are so many options!
We have a huge basket by the door. This makes it easy for people to flip their shoes off right into it, and it takes up very little space. The basket below is perfect for shoes. It’s almost 20″ tall and will be able to hold several pairs!
If you have room, an entryway cabinet is definitely the way to go. The piece below provides storage drawers and baskets that would be perfect for shoes, while doubling as a bench. This multi-functional cabinet would look great in any home and is a fantastic storage solution!
Another great option if you are tight on space is a tiered carousel rack like the one below. It is less than 12″ wide/deep and takes up very little space. My daughter has this one and it has held up perfectly for the past few years. It holds 24 pairs of shoes, so there is plenty of space even for larger families.
The other area that seems to accumulate the most clutter in the entryway is family stuff: backpacks, keys, mail, paper…you name it. If it comes into the house, more times than not it gets thrown into a heap. Create a command center to simplify your family’s “life.” A space for keys +coats and backpacks + a space to store important papers = instant simplicity. The command center below can be customized for your family.
If you search “command center” on Pinterest there are hundreds of ideas. You’re sure to find one that fits your lifestyle perfectly! Once everyone is on the same page all of the unnecessary questions like, “when is Sam’s game this week” will go away. A command center not only allows you to simplify your life, it also gives you permission to stop having to remember everything for everyone. Regain some brain space!
Go through your house and identify all of the problem areas. Once they are identified, start addressing them. If you can’t purchase organizational items right away, determine which areas are most important and start there. Think outside the box and repurpose items you already own if money is tight.
Day 2: Keep Your Dining Area Clear of Clutter.
The table is the center of family togetherness. Keep the dining area cleared of clutter so your family can enjoy eating meals together without being crowded out by random clutter. If you have to decorate the space, consider keeping it simple with items you typically need during dinner, such as salt & pepper and napkins. Our table has a galvanized tray to contain items we typically use:
Day 3: Dedicate an Empty Box To Use for Donations.
If you’re like the rest of us, you probably have items you no longer use. When you come across such an item, put it in the donation box. By eliminating items you don’t use anymore, you are able to simplify your life. Once the box is full, take it to the thrift store of your choice. Be sure to get a receipt for taxes!
Day 4: Meal Plan.
No more stressing over what’s for dinner when you meal plan in advance! Download a super basic meal planning list here. It takes a little time to plan a week’s worth of meals in advance, but it’s easy to do using Pinterest. Create a “What’s for Dinner” board and save Pins to it as you come across meals that look good (and easy!!) for dinner. While you’re watching tv, choose your meals for the week, and as you do, start your weekly grocery list. You can download a super basic grocery list here.
Years ago I used to plan “this is what we will eat on Tuesday, this is what we will eat on Wednesday,” and so forth. If I got to Friday and didn’t feel like eating or cooking what was that day’s meal, the whole plan went out the window, which meant take out or delivery, which defeated the purpose of the plan! So I started eliminating the day and just picked 7 dinners. Each morning I would pick whatever I felt like making for the night and that was that. No more last minute take out. This worked really well for us when all of our kids were still living at home, but you’ll need to figure out what works best for you and your family.
Now, since it’s just me and my husband 90% of the time, I pick 2-3 meals a week, prep everything on Sunday, portion everything out and put it in the fridge! It’s super easy, and a huge time saver throughout the week. Check out our “Meal Plan Like a Pro” round-up post here – it’s been shared on social media over 50,000 times! By choosing meals in advance, and prepping them in advance, I have been able to completely simplify dinner time in our home- it’s been fantastic!
Day 5: Address the Mess Right Away.
Don’t let messes pile up! It is so much easier to address them when they are small. After dinner, load the dishwasher. When the laundry is done, fold it. If the garbage needs to go out, take it out. Even if you are tired, you’ll be happy the task is done and you don’t have to deal with it tomorrow. Simplify today, smile more tomorrow!
Which brings me to Step 2 of Day 5: If It Takes Less Than Three Minutes, Do It Now.
Yup- don’t put off the things you can knock out in a few minutes. Unload your dishwasher while your coffee is brewing. Gather up toys while you’re reheating lunch in the microwave. Tidy up the bathroom while you’re supervising bath time. You get the idea- if there is something, anything, that can be done in a few minutes, just do it. It will go along way in maintaining your soon-to-be-simplified life.
Day 6: Prepare Everything You Can the Night Before.
Eliminate most of the morning chaos by getting stuff done the evening before! Choose outfits, pack lunches, set the table for breakfast, prep ingredients (or at least make sure you have everything you need) for tomorrow night’s dinner. You get the idea. Take 30 minutes in the evening to simplify your morning. I have found that it’s easier for me to pack lunches when I like what I’m packing them in. If you’re the same way, take a look at how cute this thermal twill lunch tote from Thirty One is!
Day 7: Say “No” More Often.
I know it’s hard. As someone who used to volunteer like a mad woman everyone could count on, I know it is really hard to stop saying “yes” to every request. I’ll share what did it for me. An acquaintance of mine who lived in the town next door to mine, once called me (which was unusual) to “let me know” that her town’s women’s club talked and thought it would be so nice if I joined them. <raised eyebrow> This was not my town, not a club I had expressed interest in, and a call from someone who wasn’t *really* a friend of mine. I immediately thought, “Oh my god. They are inviting me because they know I will do everything!” And I said, “Oh, I’m sorry, but I just have a lot on my plate right now so I’m going to have to pass!” That was the end of that, lol! I have *never* heard from her again. Too funny- and I am SO GLAD I resisted because that would have added a million more things to my To Do list. Ever since then I have really taken a moment to evaluate what I say “yes” to. If it’s something that speaks to me, or a favor to a very good friend, I’ll do it. If it isn’t, I pass without guilt. After a few times saying “no” is easy. Give it a try. You can start with your kids: No, you cannot stay up for 10 more minutes. Goodbye! 😉
That’s it. Simplify in 7 days. Like I said, you do not need to do all of this in a week. Implement one or two ideas each week, tweaked to fit your life, and in a couple months you will be so much less stressed!
Ready for more ideas designed to make your life easier? Then be sure to check out these posts, and also our Self Care 101 board on Pinterest. It has hundreds of ideas from other great bloggers!