Ready or not, a new year is here. I love fresh beginnings and find myself in need of them often. I also find if my home is in disarray then other areas of life seem to feel a bit off too. I look forward to a year of less cleaning, more balance, less clutter and more peace at home by implementing these 10 practices to simplify your home life.
- Decorate using seasonal greenery – I love decorating for the holidays and change of seasons but those decorations can take up precious storage space and time to unpack, put up, keep clean and pack up again. By using seasonal greenery, there is less to mess with and the fresh look and smell fill your home. Once you’re done with them, they decompose!
- Meal plan and eat real food – Eating fewer processed foods is always a good idea. Replace take out, boxed and frozen meals with easy to make dishes by taking the time to meal plan. This can be as simple as saving some recipes from Pinterest and making a shopping list of those ingredients or signing up for a meal planning service, like emeals. There is a free 2 week trial to test it out if you’re not sure if you want to commit for a long stretch. Consuming fewer ingredients by eating real foods feels better all around.
- The outgoing box – Keep a box or bag of items you are no longer using and ready to donate. Having a place to put them instead of putting them back in the drawer or closet will help you simplify and clear unnecessary clutter out. Consider joining your neighborhood Buy Nothing group to gift your items to someone who will appreciate them or donate your usable items to an organization that can put them to good use.
- Don’t let it pile up – Clutter tends to collect in certain areas or drawers. Limit this space so that the pile can’t get too big. Instead of keeping a space on a table clear for items to be placed, put a tray or box there instead. Once that area gets full, clear it out to prevent the pile from becoming overwhelming.
- Bring less home – Be diligent in what you allow into your home. Ask yourself if you’ll really use those free samples/giveaway items or if they’re likely to just take up space before you toss them out. Look for opportunities to create less waste, like using cloth napkins instead of paper towels or reusable shopping and produce bags instead of disposable ones.
- Be thoughtful about every purchase – Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if you really need the item despite the price. Do you already have a closet of clothes you seldom wear or a kitchen full of gadgets rarely used? If it’s essential, go for it but if not consider the extra cost, cleaning, storage space and potential waste this item will add to your home before buying.
- Shop used before you buy new – Buying an item new ties a dollar value to it which may make it harder to let go of the item even after it’s no longer useful to you. Ask a friend if you can borrow or check a thrift store, Craigslist or resale shop to see if what you’re looking for is available there. This reduces waste and will ease the burden of letting go of something just because you paid $X for it.
- Reusable bags – If paying 10 cents for every bag at the grocery check out isn’t incentive enough, think of all the extra plastic and paper wasted by produce and shopping bags. Consider getting a set of reusable produce and shopping bags to bring with you. You can store your produce and bulk items in them at home and use them again when it’s time to restock. My favorites are by flip & tumble and Love Bags.
- Go paperless – Turn off your paper statements and unsubscribe to marketing emails you don’t read. Having less junk mail to sort through leads to less to recycle or throw away. Unsubscribing from all the businesses you don’t need marketing emails from could lead to less spending and time spent cleaning out your inbox.
- Schedule wisely – There are always going to be multiple demands on your time but make it a priority to schedule in time to rest and engage in activities that give you life. Say “no” to invitations and events if you’re already overscheduled so you have space for balance and self care. Time to rest and reset should be a priority so you can fill all your other roles well.
Cheers to a simple and energizing 2017!