Simplicity is difficult anywhere. But, I think its most difficult at home.
When I was working outside of the home, I kept my desk clean and organized. And, if it did get messy, I would take a quick 10 minutes and re-organize my entire office and start fresh. My house? Not so much.
First, it was much larger and thus, harder to keep up with. Second, I didn’t have processes to keep it clean. Third, I had too much stuff. So, cleaning and organizing was a chore. You had to re-organized all your stuff each time you wanted to clean in, around, or under it. By the time you got done with that, you were so tired that you didn’t want to clean!
So, once we completed our first round of purging our belongings, I wanted to set up some processes to keep things more simple around the house. Here’s a few of those things:
Baskets & Bins.
Baskets and bins are the bomb. They are simple ways to organize your home while looking cute at the same time. Instead of having a place for everything on a shelf, you can put (read: throw) like things into a basket. This is especially helpful if you have kids. Toys can overtake a space very quickly. But, having two baskets for toys in our living room has cut my picking-up time in half.
A basket/bin tip – use a slightly smaller basket than needed. If you use a large basket for small baby toys, your mind will see empty space and think it needs to fill it. This goes against The Simple Life. Use a basket that, when filled, has a few items peeking over the top. This will remind you each time you see it that it is full – as in, you don’t need any more of that item (stuff).
Cleaning Products & Systems.
I used to get sooo overwhelmed by cleaning. Not only by all the things I had to clean, but the process of cleaning. My mom has a system that has worked for her for years – two cloths (one wet, one dry) that she brings with her throughout the house. I tried that when I got my own space, but even it was too complicated for me.
So, for a few years, I struggled with the best (simplest) way to clean. Three years ago, when I joined Young Living Essential Oils, I found my answer. Thieves Household Cleaner. First, it was non-toxic (like, really. Not like how everyone says, “Oh, yeah, we’re toootally non-toxic. Just, uh, don’t look into what our ingredients really are”). No, this stuff was truly non-toxic. And, it has essential oils in it which I was already sold on (future post).
But here’s why it really changed my life – it comes HIGHLY concentrated, so I mix 1 part cleaner with 30 parts water for most surfaces. It can clean kitchen counters, floors, glass, toilets, veggies…everything. Now, I carry one bottle of cleaner with me throughout the entire house and can clean all of the surfaces I encounter.
Talk about simple. And, it has drastically cut down on bottles of cleaner that I have to store. I have 1 bottle, plus a few backups, of the cleaner in my laundry room. Instead of my toilet cleaner, my window cleaner, my laundry stain remover, my stovetop cleaner, my oven cleaner, etc. I mix up one spray bottle for my upstairs and one for my downstairs.
Want more simple? I can clean while my kids are awake and my dog is inside because I don’t have to worry about them smelling the fumes or “getting into” the cleaner.
Want even more simple?? We got rid of our dining room table because our floors are so clean we can eat of them! (Just kidding. Wanted to make sure you were still reading).
If you want to learn more about Thieves Household Cleaner or the power of essential oils check me out here.
More baskets. Yes, I know that in a “Simplicity around the home” post, I should probably use the word less instead of more, but hear me out. I went to Target and got four laundry baskets (on sale, of course). One blue, one pink, one black, and one white. Each laundry basket color is assigned to a specific type of laundry. Blue = my son, pink = my daughter, white = my husband and I, black = Towels. I do laundry basket by basket. I take the laundry out of the basket, put it in washer. Switch to dryer and put back in basket. Fold and take to assigned room.
Here’s why this is simple – there’s no sorting. I wash on cold so that we can wash everything together. When my kids get older, one of their chores will be to bring the filled basket down to the laundry room and take back up to be put away once washed (got that idea from a friend!).
The laundry is pre-sorted and I literally just have to throw it in the washer. This is a fairly new process for us, but I just did 4 loads of laundry today. They are all washed, (sorted), folded and back in their respective rooms. So, I’m pretty much doing awesome today.
Taking some time to cut out the clutter has drastically changed my cleaning routine. I’ll be posting more about this in the future, but suffice it to say that this journey of cutting back has already lifted a weight from my shoulders. I feel like I can enjoy being in my house instead of feeling like I’m imprisoned by my chores!
More to come…