This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pampers at Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.
Do you like to pick a word for the year? Our word this year is SIMPLIFY. With the beginning of a new year I have been focusing on simplifying more than ever. I am learning now more than ever that the best way to simplify your life is to declutter your life. I have also learned that systems and automating the decision process as a mom has been a life saver for me. If you’ve been following along on my instagram stories you will see that I have been de-junking my “random drawer”, my pantry, my refrigerator, and my gifting/wrapping closet. So where is the burst of organizing energy coming from? I have fallen in love with the book “A Simplified Life” by Emily Ley. She reminds us time and time again that life should be enjoyed and that the clutter in our lives is actually taking away from a full life.
This inspired me to share with you 10 simple ways I am moving forward with simplifying this new year.
Declutter Your life. Declutter your mind. I have noticed that my house has gotten over run with “things”. It doesn’t take long in a family of six to be overrun with projects, gifts, mail, handmade crafts, and laundry. I realized that I had so many things in my kitchen especially, that it really made it hard to find the basic things that I need day to day.
I started with the random drawer knowing that whatever was in the drawer was there because I hadn’t made a home for it. I dumped it all into one place and realized that there were no less than 6 checkbooks in one drawer when all I need is one! I also found many items that simply needed to be thrown away. Old buttons, business cards, random tools, or too many paperclips. You see where I am going here, use your momentum from decluttering one small space or room a day to give you the boost you need to keep going. If you bite it off in small chunks you are much more likely to keep going than if you try to do the whole house in a day.
Give yourself permission to let go of the things that you don’t need. How do you determine that? Check the next step.
Best. Necessary. Favorite.
Every time that you go through your belongings ask yourself these three things: Is it the best? Is it necessary? Is it your favorite?
If you can go through this series of questions you will easily find that there are many things in your home that you can let go of. One of the ways I always get stuck in NOT throwing things away is when I consider my kids special projects/crafts that they bring home. (Especially ones that include outlines of their little hands.) Rather than holding onto random papers forever I have started taking a picture of my child holding the thing that they made that I will print into a book and then I can feel guilt free throwing the paper away. It is best to throw the thing away when they are not looking, or if they do catch it in the trash explain that you took a picture that you’ll save forever and you can cherish it always. I do have a special box that I keep projects in that I think they will want to have for later, but those are very few.
Simplify the chores in your house.
I have gone through different systems in my home at different times and the systems that have worked the best are those that are very simple in nature. Depending on the ages of your children you can modify these ideas for what would work best for you. The chore system that will work for your kids is the one that will work for you. I think this will change over time as your children get older, and that is okay! I think I have beat myself up in the past for not sticking to a system, but I think it is okay for the systems to evolve. I do know that the most effective systems I have done are the ones that are simple.
For example, most recently our family has been working in keeping different zones clean. The zone stays the same for the week or the month and then we rotate. Each family member is in charge of keeping that area picked up for the week and then deep cleaning it one day of that week. For example:
Zone 1: Family room, hallway, office.
Zone 2: Rec room, mud room, car.
Zone 3: Front room, dining room, upstairs hallway.
The kitchen is a big job, so they will each help with something in the kitchen each day: silverware, emptying the dishwasher, drinks.
Shop online for your essentials and your groceries.
Shopping for groceries online has literally changed my life. I love coming up with a master list of recipes that we love and then shopping online for all of the ingredients. This doesn’t mean that I never go into the grocery store or that I never need to make a quick stop. But it does mean that I have cut down a ton on my impulse buying and have had an easier time staying in budget. I love not having to wrestle with four kids in the grocery store or responding to “Can I have that?” It allows me to keep my mind clear and get all of the ingredients that I need for our recipes for the week. I you do go to the grocery store with your kids keep your grocery list in your phone because you will never forget to bring your phone with you.
Make a list of family essentials and stock up with the price is low. Toilet paper. Cleaning supplies. Paper towels. Toiletries. Diapers.
Running out of diapers or wipes is a recipe for disaster. I make sure to always have stock on hand so that I am equipped with diapers in the car, in my diaper bag, and on each level of our house.
A fantastic deal available right now is happening at Sam’s Club. You can stock up on diapers/wipes by buying any two boxes and get $10 off. I love the options and how easy it is to stay on top of the necessities.
Meal Prep Routines.
At the beginning of a new week I like to pull out my calendar and prep out my meals. I pull out the calendar because I want to get a really good idea of what my week looks like. I can’t tell you how many times I bought way too many groceries because I forgot to account for family parties, special nights out, or my husband being out of town. By looking at the week ahead of time I am more realistic about what needs to be done.
We have simple meal traditions in our family that makes meal prep easy. My kids are young, and while they are starting to like new foods I try not to make it too different because that just adds stress for everyone. Mondays are experiment days because these are the days I am doing my cooking show, Tuesdays are taco Tuesday, Wednesdays are pizza because that is the day of scouts/dance and all things crazy, Thursday is family favorite, Friday is breakfast, and Saturdays we often go out, Sundays we use our smoker or grill. This isn’t set in stone, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what a common week may look like. I let the kids take turns requesting what the family favorites are and we work them in.
Start a small load of laundry every morning.
Every morning I try to start a load in the washing machine. I do this just as the day begins and switch it over when I put my son down for his nap. It is a natural rhythm that is easier to remember to switch it over. Then at the end of the day I will fold it and have the kids put it away as I call out “deliveries” for each child.
Keep all the things in one spot.
Creating a home for the things in your space will open your up and make you feel so much lighter. A good idea is to gather every “like” thing and store them all in the same place. No more screw drivers strewn across the house, keep them altogether in a tool box and you’ll know exactly where to go when you need it.
You may also find that you have way too many of one thing and wouldn’t miss those extra pairs of scissors at all. Keeping them in the same place also means that they’ll be easier to find for your family later on. In the past when this has been a struggle I have found that making labels for where things are supposed to be stored helps. You can even print out pictures of things for the toy room if you have little ones whom you want to start learning this way of doing things with their belongings.
Wake up 1-2 hours before your children wake up.
Even as I write this now it is 6:46 am and my kids won’t be waking up for another hour or so. My mind is clearest and most uncluttered early in the morning. You will find that you have a stronger presence of mind, clarity of what the day holds, and an extra moment to enjoy reflection, exercise, or work that is done best without an interruption. I wish I could say that I do this every day, but I am trying to move toward that adjustment every day! I always feel so much better when I do.
I hope you found at least one idea to motivate you and get you started in a happy and productive new year. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so start with one and give it everything you’ve got before moving on to something else. You’ve got this!
Take a mommy time out guilt free.
As mothers we give constantly. Take time to set a time out for you. You may even need to block it out in your planner as a way to make sure it is actually happening. It needs to be something that helps you to feel recharged, alive, or de-stressed. Some of my favorites are doing a movie swap with my husband, taking a long bath while eating ice cream, or going to a fun workout class.
What are some systems you’ve put into practice that make your life easier?