Day 14: The Sure Way to Reclaim a Simplified Life

How many recipe books do you own? Go to the cabinet and count them. Second question: how many of those recipe books do you actually USE?? Be honest!

Chances are you own at least several recipe books that you haven’t even pulled from the shelf in years. Don’t ask me how I know, lol. The fact is that with it being so easy to search Pinterest to find basically every recipe I will ever need into the unseen future, I haven’t cracked the covers of even my most favorite hard-copy recipe books in quite some time.

Today’s organizing tip means I will have to do something about this situation soon.

How to get that simplified life you've been reading about. This is one of the most effective ideas to achieve a simple living mindset, even with kids and in your homeschool. Part of a series of organizing tips!

Because one sure-fire way to have an easier time keeping life organized is to not own very much stuff.

The entire simplicity movement is based on this idea: trim down EVERYTHING. Forget the American dream and live on less. I briefly mentioned this idea on Day 7 — now we’re here to discuss it in detail.

Welcome to 31 Days of Practical Organizing Tips for a Homeschool Mom’s Life!
Every day there is a new organization hack to help calm the chaos.
Find links to all 31 days here: 31 Days of Organizing Tips.


There are so many benefits of not owning as much STUFF:

1) The less stuff you have, the less you have to keep organized. Due to the second law of thermodynamics, which says that order tends to degenerate to disorder, you KNOW that the stuff you organized just yesterday will be back in a crazy pile today (or at most 3 weeks from now). If you don’t have the stuff to begin with, you don’t have to spend time organizing and re-organizing it ad infinitum. (More about this on Day 17.)

2) The less stuff you have, the less chance that any of it is superfluous. When we have something we don’t really need, it takes up space not only in our home but in our mind. We end up having to work around it either physically — by pulling it out to vacuum under it, or moving it aside every time we want the thing behind it, or moving the box from one place to the next as we fill our shelves with more — or mentally, by having to remember it exists and where it is and feeling guilty that we never pull it out.

3) The less stuff you have, the less needs to be cleaned. You know I am all about this one. Who wants to spend any more time on cleaning than they absolutely have to? “Not I,” said the little red hen. :-)

4) The less stuff you have, the less possibility that there will be clutter. It’s a lot easier to keep things picked up when there are fewer things that can get left out.

Recipe books are an example we may all be able to relate to. Head to that cabinet and clean out all but your absolute favorites that have recipes you use often.

Here are some other possibilities:

ClothesSince decluttering my closet, deciding what to wear is SO much easier. And what about the kids? Do they really need all those shirts — even if they were hand-me downs? More clothes add to more piles on the floor, messier drawers — and more laundry.

Shoes — I do get how much fun it is to accessorize with shoes. If that’s your thing, no shame. But many of us still mostly gravitate to the same favorite pair even when we have others to choose from. If that is you — it is definitely me — then trim down to just the ones you enjoy wearing most of the time.

Stockpiling — yes, this can save money. But it can also get out of hand and end up costing money and space and time and sanity. If you have the tendency to stockpile more than you can use before it goes bad, then maybe re-think your plan and make it more reasonable.

Curriculum — I know sometimes a curriculum is just not working out and we do need to find something different. But sometimes we just become curriculum junkies, hopping from one to another and never really sticking to anything. Or we buy it because it’s a great deal and looks like it might be helpful someday. And then it sits on the shelf. Cull your curriculum. Most likely you will use what you searched for with a particular purpose in mind, not what you happened to buy on a whim. And that which you decided wasn’t for you? Don’t hold onto it in the hopes that it might magically get better — it won’t. Give it to a friend or sell it. Take it from someone who knows. :-)

Here’s something the frugal of us can tend to do: we see a great deal at a garage sale, so we buy the item even though we don’t need it. Often that’s the item that sits in the drawer and never gets used, am I right? NOTE: just because it’s a great deal doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Sometimes the best way to save money is never to spend it at all.

Let me tell you a little story. Three years ago, we decided to put our house on the market. So I became a tornado, going throughout the house and decluttering LOTS. I removed pictures from the walls, decorative items from flat surfaces, junk from drawers. Some of it got stored away, but most of it we donated or sold — or threw out, lol. (I did get rid of a bunch of recipe books, I promise. I thought I needed to keep more than I really needed to, as it turns out…)

NOTE: I detailed the process of getting our house ready to sell here on the blog. This link goes to the second article in that series: Prepping Your House to Sell: Declutter and Organize.

Guess what? I have been LOVING living with less stuff. The house is SO much easier to keep clean. My stress level is considerably lower. Having all those clean walls and surfaces and the space between pieces of furniture is so RESTFUL. I will never go back to the way it was. Even though our house didn’t sell and we had to take it off the market, I haven’t returned any of the things that I put in storage back to their original places.

True confessions: we haven’t put away our Christmas decorations yet (long story… *sheepish grin*). And they are stressing. me. out. The surfaces covered with china houses, the corner filled with the tree (for which we had to move a piece of furniture to the dining room, which now feels crowded), the garland wrapped around the banister — it all bugs me. I will feel so much better when we get it all outta there! (P.S. It’s on the list for this weekend. #onecanalwayshope)

So get rid of that extra stuff, y’all. If you think you might need it, put it in a box and store it for awhile out of sight. If you don’t go in there to get it out within a few months, then you can safely say sayanora to it.

Trust me when I tell you that a MUCHO trimming down of the number of your possessions will help you feel much more in control of your life. Your brain will feel WAY less cluttered, which will free it up to concentrate on the more important things, like homeschooling those cute kids of yours!!


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