10 Ways to Simplify Without Becoming a Minimalist

You know how it can feel scary to take the filter off and write whatever is on your heart? That was how I felt last week, and I was floored by your enthusiastic response. Thanks for letting me take a few days to collect my thoughts here again.

Now we have our rally cry: “We don’t want to be consumed by our stuff!” We’re motivated to reduce and purge and toss. Yes, a good makeover is what we need! …but then reality starts to settle in.

1. Maybe there is no time for a proper clean-out. Getting rid of things surely takes time.
2. Or maybe you’ve been cleaning out stuff for ages, but there is still much more work to be done.
3. Perhaps there is no chance that your family will get on board with the idea.

If you’ve come upon a brick wall in your efforts to reduce and simplify, take heart.

I’m afraid we have the idea that if we can declutter enough, if we can reduce our possessions, if we can stop being concerned about having things, then our lives will become simple, and it simply isn’t true.

Owning fewer things definitely helps, but it doesn’t solve everything. The process of reducing doesn’t even end because there are always more papers or something to go through later.

But we do have a few other tricks up our sleeves. Let’s discuss home habits and what else we can do to simplify and make things easier.

1.  At our house each family member gets one cup in the morning and uses it all day. (“You want a drink, child? Where is your cup?”) At the end of the day there are four cups to wash, not sixteen.

2. There is no possible way, no chance, that I could keep my family’s stuff picked up all by myself. Even though I have seriously decluttered, there is still too much mess for one person. Keeping it all picked up is something our family does together, five minutes at a time with a song playing, and we all help to pick up each other’s things, not just our own. For more ideas on picking up, read the almost one hundred comments for undoing the mess.

3. Organize your stuff, but know when to stop. Organizing your stuff should save you time, not consume it.

4. Put hooks on the wall in the entry way so you have a place to hang coats and bags and keys. When your family comes home tired, it needs to be as easy as possible to put things where they should go.

5. Fake it. Move all the papers on your messy desk into a tote bag, or simply close the door to a disorderly closet. One day you’ll have to deal with them, but you don’t need to have everything simplified right this minute.

6. Don’t let the dishes pile up. I know all too well the feeling of “I can’t do the dishes because the sink is too full of dirty dishes.” It’s a downward spiral.

7. Keep your bag ready in the car so you have the essentials you need, without having to remember them every time you walk out the door. (Here are ideas for what to keep in your car.)

8. Box up half of your child’s toys and rotate them every once in a while. You don’t need to get rid of them, but they don’t all need to be on display or on the floor. Better yet, let your child decide which toys he is done playing with for a while. Do the same with children’s books.

9. Declare toy-free areas. My kids can play with their toys in their bedroom and the living room, but my bedroom and the kitchen get to stay toy-free.

10. Give up. I have a quilt that goes on the couch, and I used to keep it nicely folded. I was folding this quilt four times a day because I was the only one who cared. Why?! Now I just throw it on the couch and it looks fine.

Really, I’m not a minimalist, and you don’t have to be one either.

What home habits do you use to keep things more simple?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. I love you.

    This is exactly what I needed to hear at the exact time that I needed to hear it. Truly. Muchas gracias, lady. :)

  2. “What home habits do you use to keep things more simple?”

    My dresser is very tall, and is tucked behind the door to my bedroom — meaning that I can rarely if ever see the top of it. I no longer obsess about keeping the surface clear, about having every piece of jewelry perfectly placed, about having a scarf folded just so.

    This seems like a really small thing, but it makes such a big difference for me. I can handle hanging up my jacket, putting my shoes in the closet, and making sure laundry hits the hamper no matter how tired I am — which means that my minuscule NYC bedroom is an oasis separate from mess and fuss and turmoil on even the most hectic of days.

  3. I am starting to pull things our for a garage sale..I have one every year…it’s amazing to me how much stuff comes into this house.

  4. You are a life saver!! I have been getting WAY too wrapped up in trying to make everything clean, and decorated, and perfectly fung schwayed (is that a word? :) and its been killing me!! I have two kids two and under and a big dog…its just not gonna happen! Not like I need to give up and have my house become one of those hoarder’s show houses…but I need to not sweat the small stuff! Thanks again for the amazing reminder!!

  5. Denise C. says:

    Keeping things simple in my home. Legos, dolls, & Lincoln Logs are in my kid’s bedrooms. Have you ever stepped on a Lego or Lincoln Log at 4 a.m.? They HURT! I have a large blanket that I like kept in a big basket in our living area, it NEVER goes in there, I am telling myself it is ok if the blanket & some throw pillows are on the floor.

    I want my home to look lived in & well loved, if that means a small mess (particularly with my kids) then so be it. It’s a phrase I say to myself daily.
    :)

    • When we were moving, we kept finding tiny LEGO pieces under all the furniture. They were everywhere!

      • Denise C. says:

        My son got this firetruck Lego set for Christmas. Lots of TEENY, TINY pieces. LOTS of them. EVERYWHERE! Oy!

      • It’s the weirdest thing about legos, they can disappear and multiply at the same time. My son is 3, so right now we still have the big legos. I’m dreading the time when he starts getting the teeny tiny ones. I guess our home will have to have lego-free zones.
        Jennifer´s last post…Food Waste Friday

        • Take a receiving blanket or lightweight piece of fabric and designate it as the “Lego blanket” to keep in the bin. When you want to play with the blocks, spread out the blanket first and reinforce the rule to keep all Legos on the blanket! Clean up is quick when you’re done, as you can pick up the corners and pour the blocks back into the container. My now, 9-year old does this himself now! AND less little pieces lurking about to be stepped on.
          I credit my sister-in-law, Gail, with this brilliant idea.

      • Welcome to my world (smile).

  6. Baskets! I have a few baskets around our living room that hold things like cat toys, video games (and all that goes with them), and travel books/maps/pamphlets (we have a lot of visitors). When I need to tidy up the place, most of the things that tend to wander are simply thrown in their home basket. It’s not totally organized but looks much neater w/ little effort. Plus the size of the basket limits the number of things.

  7. the cottage child says:

    Aaayeee, the cups – yes, one all day. And a five year old is competent, turns out, to wash his own cup should he get it icky.

    Proper storage for what I know I want to keep, whether it’s a bookcase or a basket, or a sturdy plastic tote, is now a must. I don’t buy anything, nor do I attempt to store anything, unless its got a home, and either a daily purpose or a clear label. Cardboard is my enemy.

    I can’t always do one in/one out, but the minute I start to think “I really need another bookcase/storage bin/stack of hangers”, etc., I start adding very religiously to the out box.

  8. I have my biggest problem with my daughter’s playroom. The only saving grace is the fact that it is at the end of the hall upstairs and we keep the door when there is no one in there.
    I could pick up every day – the blocks, the puzzle pieces and the plastic dishes. But I don’t, because those 3 things get dumped as soon as she goes in there. EVERY TIME.
    I think I should package up the puzzles that she hasn’t grown into yet, and half the dishes (she doesn’t need 4 complete place settings) and that would at least lessen the amount I have to look at, even if I refuse to pick it up every day.

  9. You are so right! For me dealing with possessions becomes easier when I think about the things I really care about – family, friends, learning new things, reading books or watching movies. Nothing that I can own!

    By the way, I just had this Declutter Challenge over at my blog, Life with FlyLady. It includes decluttering sentimental things and how to get your family to declutter with you:

    http://www.lifewithflylady.com/declutter-challenge-1-getting-started/
    Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady´s last post…Most popular posts of February 2011

  10. Thank you for removing the filter last week. I am printing that post for my husband to read as we start going through a phase of major debt reduction. We both need to be on the same page with what we are trying to accomplish and how we should be handling it.
    Your post should help him see that the stuff shouldn’t be the main goal.

  11. A special closet for my husband. My husband is a police officer and I created a special locked closet for his ‘tools’. Before the closet he would come home every day and set his belt in the middle of our living room. We don’t have children, but I learned quickly that my husband didn’t put his things away because he didn’t have a place to put them! That was the key. Now I am pleased to find his closet neatly organized. :) I think having somewhere to put your stuff is half the battle.

  12. My rule is that everything I own has a home. If it doesn’t have anywhere to go, I get rid of it! Or if it is too important/special/useful, I find a place for it. That way, if something is out of place, I know exactly where to put it, instead of wandering around wondering where I could fit it; I’ve found that that is the easiest way to build piles that never get cleaned up.
    jennie´s last post…Living a Balanced Life as an Innately Unbalanced Human Being

  13. We moved from a tiny apartment to an even tinier one! Finding a place for everything has been near impossible. I refused to get a storage unit for some time until I realized we were shunning company and house guests to keep our clutter a secret! Now that we have a storage unit, we also have a guest bedroom! Slowly I am organizing things around here and donating what doesn’t fit our lives now. It’s nice to be able to have a social life in the meantime!
    Frances´s last post…Basic Corn Bread

  14. Lego tip. When we were little, my mom had us spread out white sheet first, then play with the legos on top of it. It makes for really easy cleanup, just pull up the corners and use the sheet as a funnel to dump the blocks back in the bucket.

    • I do the same – only I use a square table cloth. It’s big enough for both kids to sit on and work on their creations at the same time (and totally the wrong size for our current table – so it was re-purposed instead of becoming clutter). Unfortunately, they’re not tall enough to do the funnel thing yet, so that’s still *my* job.

  15. I have de-cluttering on my mind today…specifically toys. And I was thinking just what said, box some up and hide them away, then rotate out from time to time.

    I love your blog! Thank you.

    • As far as toy clutter goes. Have certain things put up for specific times. Things such as Legos, puzzles, other building sets, Barbies, baby dolls & accesories. Those things that have all the little pieces that can be such a mess. Don’t let them pull them out unless everything else it put away. And they have to put those away before getting something else out. This is taught in school and it is a very good thing to teach your kids. DOn’t let your toddlers have access to everything to pull and dump into a mess. Definitely not simple.
      These are my tips after having raised 4 children, and helped raise 3 grandchildren!
      Bernice
      Living the Balanced Life´s last post…Begin again- each and every day

  16. I think grateful thoughts everytime I use what I already have. I pick up before I go to bed and make sure there are no dirty dishes sitting in the sink EVER.
    I make my bed every morning, put all my dirty clothes in the hamper.
    I do the bathroom and ALL the laundry once a week.
    I don’t subscribe to newspapers or magazines.
    I grocery shop keeping in mind to use what’s in the cupboard and fridge already.
    I don’t buy clothing that has to be ironed.
    I don’t look in my husband’s Man Cave.

    • i hear you on the dishes! i used to be a “let the sink get full” kinda girl, not anymore. what wonders it does for my sanity when i go to bed each night with a tidy kitchen and sink : ) even better when it’s the whole house! it’s the little things

    • Denise C. says:

      A clean kitchen works wonders for my sanity! :) I make sure my kitchen sink is clean every night too. Even if my whole house looks like a tornado hit, having a clean kitchen is wonderful. :)

  17. We live in a small house with plenty of storage space. Nevertheless, I was accumulating baskets and plastic tubs of things all over the floors! It was becoming hazardous to walk through a room. Starting with my sewing studio (the easiest to organize because all of the stuff in it is mine), I have declared a Nothing On The Floor rule, and am putting up shelves and hooks and finding homes for things that had lived in “temporary housing.” Now I can find what I need and get to it, and I feel so much calmer in the open space. I am looking forward to getting this done with the rest of out house.
    jennifer´s last post…created

  18. Abut the rotating toys. It works for clothes, artwork and adult things too that aren’t tools or daily necessities. I’m reading an awesome book called “animals make us human” by Temple Grandin that in a round-about way can help you understand why that rotation works so well for children as well as adults. She discusses animals but we’re wired similarily for this particular need.

  19. i love when you say “organize your stuff but know when to stop” i fall prey to the addiction of organizing and re-organizing too much!!!

  20. So much wisdom here. With 7 children, we have to manage “stuff”. I, too, require my children to keep their things picked up. They also help do any and every chore they are old enough to do. Before bed, I need the sink and counters completely clean and, if there are a few things left out, I scoop those items up and place them in a dedicated space. They know if there are things there that belong to them, they are responsible for retrieving them the next morning.
    I Live in an Antbed´s last post…A Birthday Blessing for The Big 19

  21. I love this discussion! I found your blog last week while I had the ‘flu and quoted you on my FB page. :) To simplify, I’ve taken out of my house anything that is small, kitschy, non-meaningful, or requires upkeep (like silver that needs polishing or linens that need starching/ironing) to a consignment shop and have been making a tidy sum. If it’s not uber-precious, a book I enjoy, or a picture of someone I love, I have nothing on surfaces except good reading lamps. I’ve edited pictures on walls, keeping only the special ones. I’m investing in better cleaning supplies, because it makes my life easier. We invest in books will we reread, music to which we’ll listen often, healthy food and good cookware, and relationships.

  22. Great post! I would like to be a minimalist, but I am not. With a husband and kids (11 and 9 years), who would not think of minimalism, it would be hard. I want a cozy home to raise my family in. Yesterday, I cleaned out my girls closets, they have a closet with 4 huge by-folding doors, so the length is very long. We use one side of the closets for storing my husbands stuff that he can not part with, he may “need it some day.” Plus, beach stuff and the donate pile is always in there. The other half is all the girls clothes, toys, crafts, ect. The girls have been wanting to have all of the closet space for their items and to have a reading nook in the closet. Yesterday was the day that everybody was at school and work and I took everything, I mean everything out of the closets. If it did not belong to the girls it went to the living floor to be donated/put somewhere else in the house. It was a long day. When my husband got home I asked him if I could get rid of some large, never used items. He did agree to 3 large pieces to donate and I am still working on the other items. Wish me luck! The girls closets are completely empty with everything the girls own in the middle of their floor. One, so I can think of a system for the closets(we rent an apartment, so more tricky). Two, so the girls can see how much they have and maybe would like to get rid of some of the things. I have told them what ever they want to get rid of I will sell to once upon a child and they can have the money for it. It gets the stuff out of my house and gives them some motivation to declutter. My youngest was crazy last night and this morning will all the stuff in the floor of her room. She just wanted to play with her ball. Maybe I do have a person on my side in my home. lol.

    • I am sorry, this looong post above was for your last topic. To make life simply in our home we…
      Make lunches the night before.

      Use our towels more than once.

      Throw the blanket over the couch instead of folding:)

      The girls are requested to read so many pages a day for homework, we do this in the morning after breakfast, everyday. Then the task is done.

      Stay home. If we stay home, it is easy to stay on top of everything. We are not in the stores buying anything that comes in the house.

  23. Fantastic post! I will be sharing it with my readers on Saturday during my round up post. Thanks so much!
    Kaye´s last post…8 Things We Will Do With Our Tax Refund

  24. It is so easy to become obsessed with decluttering things when what we really need to do is declutter our lives. Do your kids really need to be involved in half a dozen afterschool activities each? Do you really need to attend all those parties/lectures/concerts/classess right now? When we have children the “required courses” complicate life enough. Choose your electives carefully.

  25. My hubby and I each have a large bath towel that hangs on the back of the bathroom door. We do have other towels (for our teenagers and guests), but he and I use our towels over and over for the week. It cuts down on towel storage, clean and dirty, and it cuts down on laundry. We’ve done this for years.
    I am at home all day long and I use one mug (for coffee and tea) and one glass for water, all day long. If I could only get the teens to do the same!
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…4 ways to be like the Energizer Bunny

    • I do something similar. We don’t have one towel but we have a limited number (usually enough for each person to have 3 per week, I think?). I only wash towels once per week, so if someone doesn’t hang up their towel and they run out of their allotment…too bad, so sad. :)

      Hooks in the entry is my most favorite suggestion. We have a “command central:” everyone has a hook or two for backpacks/purses/coats and I have a wooden cubby with a drawer assigned for each person’s knick-knacks and loose ends. I also have a giant calendar above it all and small hooks for keys. It makes life SO much easier!
      Megan @ Faith Like Mustard´s last post…Bible in 90 Days Week 8 Recap

  26. Thank you for this! You’re right, less stuff does not equal a simpler life, though it does help. I think the main key to a simpler life is deciding on priorities as a family and then living life based on those decisions. Not letting the dishes pile up in the sink is a plus, too :) !
    Wendy´s last post…sanity savers 6- plan breakfast

  27. I definitely have a minimalist personality! Just this morning I was thinking about cutting off my long hair real short just for the sake of simplifying :)
    Practically…everything in our house has it’s place. I have a designated place, near the front door for stuff to be dropped off at goodwill….I probably average a grocery bag a week. It’s easy if it’s right there so I can just grab it when I’m heading out the door. And I have a specific basket for all borrowed items to go in, just to give them a place until we return them.
    Ashley´s last post…Sharing

  28. oh wow this speaks to me on so many levels. I want to live simply, but I love my stuff I have to admit. I don’t want to feel like I have to give up all my possesions to live simply. Rather I just need to be smarter about keeping and buying my stuff. I love the hooks idea; I am always struggling with flung coats and shoes when we get home. Question, what do you do with all the kid’s school paperwork? Thanks for another great post.
    Andrea Howe´s last post…Oscar anyone

    • Melissa Williamson says:

      As far as schoolwork….ditch it immediately it comes in the house, unless….you have a paper with a grade that you want to question or if it is a really, really special piece of art or a composition. (I’m a teacher and this is what I do with my own kids’ work). Both of my kids have bins in my office where we put special items. We sort through those in the summer to put in scrapbooks.

      Myself, I fall into the trap of trying to become a minimalist, but it’s.so.much.work.decluttering. AAGH! I just want to “get there,” ya know? I want to that point where I can stop making decisions about the stuff in my junk drawer, and where I have a place for everything. Will it ever happen? Maybe not, but maybe that’s ok.

    • My kids aren’t in school yet, but I do have a tip for how to deal with all of their art papers:
      Tip for Photographing Your Child’s Art

  29. Did I ever say I love your blog… well I am saying it again: love it!!! Decluttering has become a way of life… don’t know how it happened but I spend a good portion of my life sorting and moving from one decluttering project to the next. There is almost a rhythm of clothes one week, papers the next, surfaces, drawers, repeat…
    We have a donate box at the front door and when we pick up at the end of the day you can be sure there will be at least one thing that ends up in the donate box…
    What really helps us stay sane is zones… particular toys in particular zones, so nothing is dragged around the house: crafty things at the kitchen table, duplo and lego in the kids rooms, library books on the library shelf in the bedroom- I guess it is a place for everything and as time goes on we get more refined at it and packing up really does get easier!!!
    As for blankets on the couch – aaah!!! They always look so lovely and glamorous in other folks houses but with eight kids and they each have their own couch blanket… well I got an old chest as a coffee table and just toss them in and shut it… I love if they are folded within but what I can’t see I don’t have to know!!!

  30. Love this! I have been trying to take notice of my habits and plan for them. For example, I had this hand-towel stand next to my sink. I have a giant mirror that prevents me from installing a proper towel ring. All that stand ever did was frustrate me as I had to repeatedly “arrange” the towel on the stand several times a day. Now, I keep my towel on the counter. It is more convenient but better yet, it saves me the annoyed feeling every time I wash my hands. That, I love.
    Michelle´s last post…Eclectic Nature-Inspired Mantel

  31. Suzanne says:

    I really appreciate how you empower your kids to make the decision about which toys to rotate out.

  32. I also use one glass all day long, but…I have to admit, I kept it a secret because I thought other people would think it was gross! Thank you for giving me the courage to be out and proud about my re-usage! :)

    I used to follow FlyLady’s advice, and plan to get back to some of it when I get home. Going 100% FlyLady was a bit overwhelming and the style of her website turned me off, but there were a few things that I found REALLY helpful. 1. Do one load of laundry every morning. (Oh, it was so much easier!) 2. Go to bed with a clean sink. (I’d run the dishwasher every night.) 3. Pick up for 15 minutes every day. (No matter how busy my day is, I can almost always find 15 minutes…and if I can’t, I can certainly find five.) 4. Identify hot spots and keep up with those every day. (Coffee table, kitchen counter, dining room table, and bathroom counter were my hot spots.)

    My next task, inspired by your post, is to not be perfectionist about it, but to do the best I can on any given day and give myself permission to be human. Hallelujah!
    Maggie´s last post…When is a Vegetable Garden Not a Vegetable Garden

    • I think reusing glasses is just fine, but if someone in our family is sick, I’ll wash them more often during the day. Otherwise a little rinse will do.

      • Absolutely!  I find that I’m becoming more and more skeptical of our culture’s obsession with cleanliness, and the potential effect it’s having on both our immune systems and the environment.  There was a great article about this very thing on Simple Organic recently, called 15 Things I Just Don’t Clean.  There’s real value in having the conversation, and saying out loud that this kind of thing is more than okay; it’s sensible, simplifying, and puts us more in the experience of living with nature (microbes included) rather than in fear of it.
        Maggie´s last post…The Knitting Will Continue Until Morale Improves

  33. It’s all about balance isn’t it – never let any task build up to the “overwhelming” stage, get to it before this happens. I wholeheartedly agree with your comment – KNOW WHEN TO STOP – do not let being/becoming organised consume you. As my wise mother always advocates “everything in moderation”! I set my trusty time when spring cleaning/decluttering – this limits me to a set time and keeps my mind focussed on the task at hand. Once the bell rings – move onto something else. M
    Mandy´s last post…Glass bottles and kindred spirits

  34. I was just talking to my 12 yr old son last night. Sometimes you have to work with the problems. For years I have been trying to get to our family to put away their shoes… we all take ours off the moment we walk inside. And I barely complied with my own rule! So evetually when we put in some shelving units in our laundry room, I added two baskets. One for all of our youngest’s shoes, since he was too young to really look for his shoes when this started. And one for the rest of us. I only make people put their shoes away when it gets too full but really, we all wear the same 2 pair again and again.

    We live in Arizona so swimming is a daily activity 6months fo the year. During those 6months, my under the washer drawer holds all the swimwear for everyone (the other 6months it holds hats and mittens which my kids seem to think they need even here). Used clothes ho up when tthe kids go up after swimming and Wet suits get tossed down “splat” from upstairs. I wash or rinse them all right away and put them back in the drawer. Makes packing to swim elsewhere quite quick too…. thought often I put last years swimsuits in the trunk for real emergencies.

    • And swim towels or couch blankets go in a nice wicker basket in the living room depending on the season.

  35. I make sure I do the dishes at night. Up until very recently, I had a dishwasher which has now died; so it’s dishes by hand. I have an expectation that I don’t have to do anything with dishes from meals I haven’t eaten (which is generally abided by, I must say). Also, we have an ANT situation which is another huge incentive to make sure all the surfaces are clean and tidy!

    And I make my bed every day (unless someone is in it); and encourage the kids to make *their* beds as well. Smooth, flat surfaces attract the eye, and give the illusion that the rest of the room is tidier than it is!

    I’m also not averse to ‘paying’ my older child to pick up after his brother! I won’t pay him to tidy up his own mess…but I *will* pay him to clean up after other people!

    Now if only I could get my kids to not undress like strippers!
    Jodi´s last post…Viva la Revolucion!

  36. Thank you! That is all really good advice. I’m trying to make a peaceful, uncluttered space for the kids to really enjoy playing and being creative. I suppose the fact that there is room for them to drag their duvets out into the living room to make huts means that it’s working – even if we have to remake their beds every night!
    Rosie´s last post…App Appeal

  37. One thing my mom taught me as a small child is that everything has a place, then you can find it when you need it. I am having trouble teaching my husband where the place is, he puts things back willy-nilly and this frustrates me.
    I always try to go to bed with a clean sink.
    Thank for your posts, Florence is wonderful. Go visit Sienna at dust. Enjoy!

  38. I love this post as I am all about decluttering and simplifying and how they can work together. I have managed to greatly reduce the amount of clutter in my home by removing one thing a day every day last years and am continuing to do so five days a week this year. My home has never been disrupted by the process because lets face it how much mess can you making finding just one thing to declutter each day.
    The ten tips in this post are great I especially liked the idea of picking up together to music. If you make a chore into a fun activity for the kids it is a lot easier to convince them to participate happily. I wish I had been better at that when mine were young.
    I also like the idea of one glass a day. Because all our glasses are the same I made beaded ID hangers for on the side ours so we could identify whose was whose when we go back for them. Surprisingly my husband and 19 year old son have cooperated very well with this.

  39. I tell myself that every little thing I actually put back in its place is a step in the right direction; it doesn’t matter if it seems futile in the overall scheme of the apartment. Our apartment is on two floors, so I also try to ask myself before I go up or down if there is anything that I should be taking with me– bringing up the clean kitchen towel, or taking down a paper that needs to go in the spare room. It’s a really small efficiency thing but it helps!
    Meghan´s last post…Escher in het Paleis

  40. In a homekeeping book I recently read, the author said she treats her home like a puzzle. Cleaning up is returning the pieces to their proper place. For some reason, this really resonated with me. I tend to get distracted while tidying up, and jump from room to room, but this idea has helped me focus. Starting the laundry and making sure dishes are done first thing in the day also helps.

  41. One habit I am trying to stay on top of is to start a load of laundry each morning. If I wait later in the day, it seems the laundry is always sitting on my bed waiting to be folded at bedtime (NO FUN!) So, if I start it first thing, it is easier for me to get it done and over with by after lunch. Then, when it is time for bed, there is nothing in my way!
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…8 ways to find joy everyday

  42. Sandy from Texas says:

    I’m not much of a housekeeper. Our house clutters up, we unclutter, repeat. We are a family of 5 with 2 dogs and 2 cats. I have a few things I insist on to keep things from getting completely disgusting:
    1) No dogs on the furniture. We have slipcovers that go easily into the wash but I’d have to wash them every week if the dogs slept on the couch.
    2) I fold laundry straight from the dryer. It does not escape the laundry room without being folded and sorted. Then, even if clothes aren’t put away, everyone can find what they need and I don’t have baskets of unfolded clothes all over the house.
    3) No food goes upstairs or into the office.

  43. I grew up with the one glass concept, but DH refuses to do it and as a result the kids don’t either. Frustrates me to no end…

    Love your website and I’ve been following it for at least a year. I plan to declutter some more in the 40 bag challenge on Clover Lane. Wish me luck!
    Diana´s last post…40 day challenge

  44. I really love this blog! The one cup rule is a great idea!!! For some reason, I feel the need to get my 2yr old a new cup every time she drinks something (well, almost every time).

    My tip would be to lower your expectations! LOL! Sort of like your blanket idea. I was doing the exact same thing and one day I thought, too, “I wonder how much TIME I’m spending folding this stupid blanket!?” Not anymore, sister! Just leave it alone! (Some days I will fold it right before bed to get it out of my system, though.)
    Catie´s last post…Song of the Week- Audrey Assad Winter Snow

  45. My husband spends more time at home than I do, so we aim for an arrangement where he does most of the housework. He doesn’t prioritize these things like I might if I were the SAH partner, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to nag him, or worse, do it myself after a long day at work. We work together to clean up after meals at night (because “I cook, you clean” makes some people forget the basic tenants of “clean as you go”), I cycle through zones on the weekend, handle my own laundry, and occasionally I’ll see a better process waiting to be implemented and take care of it.

    But at the end of the day he’s the one responsible for keeping the house running, and he’ll be the full-time parent when we have kids, so I have to let him do it his way. If it means I have to look at cobwebs and cat hair in order for him to feel a sense of ownership about these things, so be it.
    Liz @ lizoh.co´s last post…Spotting Websites and Social Media Strategies that Trick Customers

  46. I agree that decluttering is a constant, ongoing process! Thanks for your ideas to get started on this progress.

  47. I have a long running debate (and sometimes fight) with a few online friends who insist that all folks who simplify are minimalists, or worse that ALL minimalists act superior to everyone who isn’t. We’ve even had “debates” about whether or not clutter is okay or not (I’ve never said it wasn’t, not sure where they get that from).

    I’m tempted to link this article to them, too, but I fear it would just spawn more debate! lol

    Instead, I’ll take your words and ideas and simply enjoy them. :)

  48. I just came across your blog while surfing online. Your views on simplicity, organization, and no clutter are very similar to mine! Thanks for all the posts as they’ve each taught me something new. :)

    Being a minimalist certainly reduces headaches for everything, except when figuring out How to be minimalist. Over the past year, I’ve moved out from an apartment into a condo and noticed that the larger the home I live in, the more junk I buy to fill in those empty spaces. Because I have so much stuff now, I am constantly Constantly organizing and reorganizing my things. Back when I lived in the small apartment, I did not have that problem at all.
    So I guess for me to live simply, I would have to move into those small apartments/condos like the Venetian Kitchen you posted about. In a small place like that, you really have everything you need. No more, no less.
    Reducing my hobbies helped a lot as well.

  49. I really like this place! When reading your post about simplifying our lives it just really CLICKED in my HEAD. I have been a SAHM for the most part of 9 yrs. I have 3 young girls and my husband now has his own business. My husband works a lot and pays all the bills fine. I could not help feeling like I needed a job so I could buy ” EXTRA STUFF”. I also thought I needed more $ to buy bins, shelves, ect to help me store all my stuff.I think wanting a job and having some extra money makes me feel a bit more independent as well. It was really stressing me out! Anyway, your post really made sense to me. Thank you so much for helping me realize I don’t NEED more stuff lol! I have been driving myself crazy for yrs trying to keep my house and stuff organized and picked up. There are 5 of us living in a two bed rm ranch. “We just need to get rid of everything that does not serve a purpose or make our home beautiful.” I love that quote! Even though I may have quoted it wrong. ;-p THX again.