I've always thought that home should be a place of peace, joy, rest and connection. A place to gather with family and friends, make memories, and find refreshment.
But, let's be honest. For many of us, the reality is that home is nearly the opposite. We feel stressed, overburdened, and overwhelmed by everything that needs done.
There's grocery shopping to do, laundry to wash, fold and put away, floors to mop, trash to take out, a lawn to mow, meals to prepare, toys to pick up, kids to bathe, and....well, I could go on but I'm sure you get the picture!
So how do we move from this crazy, chaotic picture of "home" to one that is marked with peaceful, joyful refreshment?
Start with “why”
As with everything in life, I believe it is super important to know exactly WHY simplifying your home matters to you.
You can find a million reasons to simplify your home all over the internet, most of which are pretty compelling and even true.
But at the end of the day, YOUR reasons for simplifying your home are what will propel you in the direction you want to go - the direction of a simpler home that is easier to manage, more peaceful and joyful to live in.
So...why do you want to simplify your home? What is your vision for your home? What do you wish were different about your home? Why?
Start with "why" every time, and you can rest assured everything you do is founded in purposeful intention.
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Have less stuff
Whether the ideas of minimalism and essentialism appeal to you or not, there's no arguing this one simple fact: the less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to manage and focus on.
I think Mother Theresa said it best:
Now that obviously doesn't mean having stuff is bad. Not at all! But everything you allow to take up residence in your home should serve an essential purpose or bring you joy.
Feeling overwhelmed by keeping up with everything in your home? It's probably time to schedule a serious declutter session. (If you want to be guided through decluttering your ENTIRE home, step-by-step, Your Uncluttered Home by my dear friend Allie Casazza may be just what you need!)
One of my absolute favorite ways to reduce chaos and and mayhem in the home is to work at developing and implementing good rhythms and routines.
Systems and automations can simplify and streamline your life in a powerful way, so figuring out how to systemize and automate the things you and your family do every day can make a huge impact!
Things like meal planning and prep, grocery shopping, chores, laundry and cleaning, morning wakeup and evening bedtimes will all go so much more smoothly when you have good rhythms in place that everyone works at maintaining together.
The key here is figuring out what will work best for you and your family. Getting ideas from others is a great place to start, but you really need to think about the specific dynamics of your home, family, and life.
Not sure where to start? Think about which area of your home feels the most chaotic and start by identifying what contributes to the chaos. What could be simplified or eliminated?
Develop a new system, automation or routine to streamline this area and dedicate laser focus to implementing it well.
Don't try to develop and implement multiple rhythms all at one time! You'll be way more effective if you focus on one area at a time, starting with the area that will yield the highest impact.
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Delegate & outsource
For some people, this step is a no-brainer and they are quick to ask for help or outsource tasks when they need to.
Other people (raising my hand over here!) struggle in this area, and wind up severely overwhelmed by trying to keep up with #allthethings on their own.
No one can do it all, not even you!
Identify where you could use the most help in the upkeep and management of your home. Have a conversation with your husband and kiddos about delegating those things to them.
Also consider the possibility of outsourcing where you can. Maybe hiring a housecleaner to come once a month to ease that burden would be worth sacrificing a family dinner out.
It's all about tradeoffs here, so be willing to get creative and be honest with yourself about what will be most valuable and helpful to you and your family as a whole.
Lead by example
I have found that, while it's not a perfect science, there is great power in our ability to influence others through the example we set.
If we decide to declutter our own belongings and have less things in the home, and we explain to our children why we are choosing that, you might be surprised to find that they follow suit.
Over the past year it's been so neat to see my kids go from collection-keeping packrats into mindful consumers who regularly clean out their collection boxes to make room for "the things they actually care about."
Also, when it comes to the rhythms and routines in your home, if you stick to your guns and practice disciplined consistency, everyone else will likely (for the most part) follow suit.
Let the change in your home start with you.
Words Of Wisdom From Women Just Like You
All of the amazing women who are part of our Simplicity Sessions contributors panel are wives, moms, and business owners at different stages, and in different seasons with how they manage their homes. Here is what they had to say about simplifying your home...
"We believe that less is more and are continually striving to simplify our home. I have a very basic wardrobe and every time I get a new item, I donate an old one so that my closet doesn't expand and overflow. With 2 little kids we are always striving to keep the home from overflowing with unnecessary toys and clutter. I truly believe that home should be a place that is peaceful and comfortable. And for me, too much stuff and too many choices is overwhelming. Simplifying our home life has been instrumental in helping me to run by business and the household without falling into complete overwhelm." - Robin Long, Pilates & Barre Instructor & Founder of The Balanced Life Online
"Because I am a home management strategist, this is high on my priority list. Keeping a structured routine and schedule makes the flow of my home simple and purposeful. The more structure I have in my home, the more freedom we have to enjoy our family and home. I keep surfaces uncluttered and don't bring things into my home that don't have purpose. I clean as I go, which takes away any stress of house cleaning burdens." - Kendra Hennessy, Home Management Strategist & Founder of Mother Like a Boss
"Keep some cabinets empty. When we moved in 3 years ago, we intentionally didn't try to fill up every nook and cranny. And as we've added a kid and my business has grown it has become more filled but because of the space we had, we still aren't stuffed!" - Valerie Woerner, Founder of Val Marie Paper & Author of The Finishing School
"Our home used to be a disaster. Stress and clutter were in every nook and cranny, and the chaos was reflecting in our daily lives. When we adopted minimalism, we purged well over half of our belongs, and recently downsized from a 3,200 sq. ft. home to a 640 sq. ft home. I maintain a simplified home by practicing simple cleaning rhythms like washing dishes after each meal so they don’t pile up, purging as I clean, and setting aside time to do larger maintenance purges with things like clothes and toys before they become overwhelming again." - Sami Womack, Budgeting Coach & Founder of A Sunny Side Up Life
"It can be hard to find time to dedicate to organizing and decluttering, so anytime I get a call from a charity asking me for donations I automatically say yes. Then I know that I have a deadline and a good reason to clean out a closet or cabinet! I give myself 15 minutes to work in the space I've decided on and I get to work making my piles to donate. I find that when I think about the good my donations are doing, the task is much easier (and I feel less guilt for getting rid of items!)" - Tonya Dalton, Founder + CEO of inkWELL Press, Co-Host of the Productivity Paradox Podcast
"We're really conscious of the choices we make and how they will complicate our lives. We strive to keep our home simple, low-maintenance, easy to clean, comfortable for guests, and well-suited for our lifestyle. We also aren't afraid to share that we outsource! We have a household assistant who does shopping, cleaning, light cooking, and other household tasks for us for 3-4 hours a week, and it's a very small investment for the burden that it relieves!" - Diana Kerr, Certified Professional Life Coach & Christian Writer
"One day I realized that I was overwhelmed with all of the stuff everywhere. I was saving things just incase I needed them in the future. I usually only needed 2% of what I ever saved, and I could have always re-bought. I've learned if my house is simple, things are in the cabinets nicely, I have room to close my drawers and to see all the clothes in the closet, my brain is less full. I feel so much better. And it makes me want to simplify more. It's been a really freeing for me!" - Dr. Meghan Birt, Chiropractor & Founder of the Just Enjoy Health Podcast
"To simplify our home, I have a schedule and have my kids help clean up. My husband does the dishes and laundry and mows the lawn. We've figured out what we like to do and how to share those responsibilities that make our world spin." - Danielle Roberts, Author of Created for This and Founder of Legacy Creative Company