When we decide to add an item to our home or an event to our calendar, it’s usually because we think we need to, or that that thing will help us enjoy life more. If we take an honest look, though, these extras end up being the cause of additional clutter and stress in our lives. It’s become almost second nature in our culture to think we are going to enhance our life with something new when inadvertently we have made it more complicated.
We’ve added more debt by buying things we really didn’t need. We’ve created more clutter. We own more clothes to choose between, and we bring in more furniture and toys. Then we wonder why we are so disorganized and overwhelmed.
When I started to realize my own tendency to create and invite too much of what I didn’t even want in my daily life, I decided to make some changes by paying more attention to what was in my home so I could quiet the pace and chaos of life. I started being more intentional about my actions and what I invited into my life so I could begin to pare down and simplify.
What do I do every day that complicates my life? What everyday decisions could I make that would make life more simple or some dreaded tasks unnecessary?
Simplifying your home and life starts with getting better with our decision-making process! Here are some basic mindset shifts that will help you simplify your home if taken to heart.
Five Steps to Simplifying Your Home and Life:
1. Avoid temptation.
When you can, don’t go to places that will cause you to buy more stuff to deal with or tempt you with more decisions to make. Try consolidating shopping lists and trips so you don’t make multiple visits in a week. It’s amazing how much less you buy and how much easier your subsequent decisions are when you spend less time going into stores.
2. Simplify your daily options and choices.
If you are a busy person or struggle with excess clutter, you have too many decisions to make. Why complicate life with unnecessary ones? Instead of keeping thirty outfits in your closet, try to create five you love and use accessories to change them. You’ll save daily stress and lots of laundry!
Instead of having four sets of dishes in various colors and patterns, keep one basic set in a neutral color and fancy it up with colorful salad plates or glasses. Embrace one item that has multiple purposes rather than several specialty items.
3. Commit to making the simplest decision as often as possible.
Don’t rationalize a choice that makes life or storage more complicated. If you rarely use your food processor, give it away and don’t give it a second thought. Don’t even consider what you might do with it someday; just let it go. If you find you really do need a food processor on occasion, find a neighbor or relative who will loan one to you. Some decisions might sting for a week, but if you rarely used those items, you’ll soon forget what you gave away.
4. Make a daily to-do list and set home goals.
Defined vision for your day and home will keep you focused on what matters. When you have a clear task, you are able to bring less decisions and stuff into your life by focusing on and finishing what really matters to you.
5. When in doubt, throw it out.
When you are in the midst of a major decluttering project that may take weeks or months, you don’t have time to analyze every possible item. If I’m not sure if I want something or not, it has to become a firm, clear no. I don’t even let myself think about who else might want it or how much money I spent on it. If time is of the essence and decluttering is the ultimate goal, off it goes to charity.
***This article is adapted with permission from the new book, Make Room for What You Love (Harvest House Publishers 2016) by New York Times Bestselling Author Melissa Michaels. Make Room for What You Love offers practical strategies and essential tips for how to simplify so you can make room in your life and home for what you really love!
Editor’s Note: This post was refreshed and republished on January 11, 2021. It originally appeared on the Life Storage Blog on April 27, 2016.