Simplifying and organizing are two themes on KERF that keep coming up over and over again. As a mama bird trying to build a very organized nest, simplification is all my brain wants to think about these days! I feel comfortable saying that my house is as organized as it’s ever been because the space-to-stuff ratio is as high (high right?) as it has ever been. I think back to my very first apartment out of college and the number of items I owned that fit into 800 square feet. The apartment was spacious and not cluttered, but I owned so little. That was the start. When Matt and I bought our first house, more stuff came along. I think my third house was the most cluttered until I gave away half of everything before moving into this house. I hadn’t quite embraced having only one of everything, and trips to Target included a lot more “had to have” home decor purchases. These days my shopping habits have slowed down a lot from where they once were, especially in the home decor and clothing areas.
My personality is a strange split one:
On the one hand, I crave minimalism. My brain feels anxious when I have too much clutter or feel unorganized. I have to unpack my suitcase the minute I walk in the door from a trip, and I have a hard time focusing on any task if my home is messy.
But on the other hand, I like to be prepared, so I have a tendency to hold onto things “just in case I need them.” An extra comforter for that once-a-year occasion that we have an extra guest? The platter I never use but *might* need in the future. The junk towels that we reach for twice a year when a big mess occurs? I have always leaned towards keeping things over giving them away “just in case.”
This year, however, I’ve really worked to reverse my thinking from “Will I need this someday?” to “Do use this regularly and love it?” I have several resources to thank for pushing me into this more minimalistic mindset! I am a total podcast junkie, and it’s the number one way I like to consume information, especially in the self help genre. So here are a bunch of resources that put me on the right track to simplifying:
Brooke Castillo’s episode on Organization with Shira Gill. I love ALL things Brooke Castillo. Her podcast is like a religion to me. Every episode I have lightbulbs going off, and she has really changed my thinking on so many topics. The organization episode was a good one! (You can also read the transcript through the above link if you are not a podcast person.)
I’ve also been listening to The Minimalists podcast. (Although I have yet to watch their documentary!) While extreme minimalism does not appeal to me (for example, wearing the same “uniform” outfit every single day), there are elements of it that I love. I hand-pick the episodes of theirs to listen to (warning: Josh and Ryan are quite chatty!) and my gateway episodes had to do with managing money (they are buddies with the Dave Ramsey crew). I’ve also listened to the episodes about decluttering and stuff and found their perspective to be very refreshing. I love how they divide everything we own into three categories 1. essentials 2. nonessentials and 3. junk. (My mom would not like me calling anything in my home junk, so maybe for me #3 should just be “the rest” or “the leftovers.”)
The Better Life Podcast’s episode on 10 Ways I’ve Simplified My Life was a good one that I found through a podcast search for “simplified.” I enjoyed that first episode and look forward to listening to a few more of her topics (like meal planning and running your home like a boss!)
I’d been wanting to read Emily Ley’s book A Simplified Life and one day decided to buy the audiobook instead. I listened to it over the course of two days (when I decluttered Mazen’s toys right before school started!) and nodded along. Some chapters I felt like I could have written and others had some great new points, so it’s worth a read or listen!
And finally, someone recommended Simplicity Parenting (the book) and I was happy to find they have a podcast! The episodes are short and there are not a million of them (unlike the Minimalists – how ironic!!!) so it’s worth a listen! The information in the podcast has been so, so, so helpful to me – I can’t recommend it enough! I love what Payne says about children needing rhythm, consistency, and downtime because those are all things that I need as a grown up too. We tend to fill up their days with “fun activities” (like playdates and pool trips after school) because why wouldn’t they want to have FUN FUN FUN all the time, but sometimes they just need time to turn their brains off. We’ve been working hard on a good routine now that Mazen is in school, and I’m focusing on the four pillars Payne recommends in the first episode. Payne’s concept of “your world, my world, our world” has also been such a game changer (so far, at least). And episode #12 made all the gears in my head come to a screeching stop and reverse direction.
More posts I’ve written on simplifying and decluttering:
Home Neat Home: Decluttering (I sort of miss my old living room!)
Home Neat Home: Three Closet Makeovers (the nursery closet looks a whole lot different now!)
Home Neat Home: A Place For Everything (I just made the decision to move that coral back to the mantel!)