Clutter is my new enemy! I have spent the past few months working tirelessly to get rid of clutter, reduce the amount of new clutter that comes into our home and simplify our living space. This is easier said than done with children but we are working toward (slowly working toward) a "realistic minamilistic lifestyle" :) We've made some good money selling our "stuff" on Amazon, ebay and at our yard sale and all but the basement/garage and one closet have been tackled. Here are the rules we try to live by everyday to keep our house SIMPLE.
1. Have a Zen Room(s)
I believe it was Josh Becker who suggested starting your journey to simplify with just one room, a room you can go to when the rest of the process feels overwhelming. We started with two rooms and work hard every day to keep them decluttered. I do find myself escaping to these rooms if I am feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in the remaining house. Our Zen rooms are our Family Room and our Bedroom. Both of these places are a place where S and I like to unwind and relax. We felt that it was important to make sure that these rooms remained a sanctuary and I am proud to say that we do a great job of keeping them neat :) It is so nice to go to sleep and wake up in a clean bedroom. I do believe our stress levels have dropped a bit since we started making this happen!
2. Keep Kids Toys Reduced and AWAY
After reading Simplicity Parenting, I immediately went into my kids rooms and the playroom and got rid of half of their toys. Now he recommends then going in and getting rid of another half but I stopped there for now :) I tried to keep the toys that fostered creativity and the imagination and got rid of most of the toys that flashed, beeped and were really not that engaging. I also made sure that every toy had a place and have been working hard with Z (and Lil' C) to make sure that their toys get put back in those places when they are done. It is a constant struggle and I am brainstorming creative ways to deal with the influx of toys that come in during birthdays and Christmas (no gift parties etc.). I do feel good about the progress we have made and have noticed that they play much better and for much longer now that there is less.
3. Nothing Is allowed on Floor other than Furniture
This is new for me but I LOVE it. I was the queen of keeping things under, next to and behind things. I wish I had a before picture for the table above! There were things crammed next to it and the mess under it was insane!! The table is meant for storing things neatly so now we store Z's games so they are readily available. I still do have some spaces (the couch) where I hide things behind but I have tried to make all visible spaces free of everything but furniture (and the occasional large basket). It is amazing how neater a space can look by doing this simple step!
4. One Thing in, One Thing Out
5. No More Embarrassing Spaces
It is my goal for a stranger to come into my house at any point and be allowed to go into any room, closet, oven and not be embarrassed that they are there. I am so close (yet so far) and have just a few more places to tackle. Our upstairs use to be off limits to all strangers (and most family) because it was always a disaster with tons of STUFF crammed in our hallways (everywhere really). Now I don't think twice when Z asks if he and his friends can go upstairs or if one of my friends needs to use a bedroom to nurse their baby. It is a good feeling!!!!
Simplify by Josh Becker
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne