A new year has started and we are already running! Its easy to get overwhelmed with commitments to work, family, friends and if we are lucky a little “me” time.
Over the years, I have tried all kinds of shortcuts, tips and tricks to stay on top of my own life while still slowing down and enjoying today. Some days are better than others but when I strike that balance, I have a lot of joy. 🙂
It all started with a reset of my life. I realized when my home was organized and without clutter, I was a happier person. To get to that point was a 2-step process.
When you let go you create space for something better.
Its sounds funny but to truly declutter your space you need to adopt a mindset and “get in the zone”.
Think of how a professional athlete gets ready before a big game. They don't sleep in and then groan at the thought of getting out there. They put their game face on and get “in the zone”. They plan for the day, think of all the ways to dominate and win. They put on their headset and play the music that motivates, whatever it takes.
No one does it better than Marie Kondo. If you don't already know her but have spring cleaning as one of your goals for the year, I highly recommend her. She has a tried and true method for each room in your house. Not only to purge but ways to maintain the house so you don't have the do all that work again!
If Marie Kondo is more than what you need consider these methods:
The Closet Challenge
I like this challenge because its easy to implement. Basically, you hang all your hanger clothes in one direction. Each time you wear something and put it back in the closet, flip the hanger to face the other direction. In 6 months, the clothes not touched can tossed, sold or donated.
The Kitchen Zone
Organize the kitchen in zones, cooking and baking. Cooking tools like pots and pans should be close to the stove. Dedicate a draw for cooking utensils. Make sure each pot has its lid. Group together wooden spoons from tongs and ladles. Do the same with your pantry, group things together.
In the refrigerator, sort food between sweet and savory. Keep foods in the same place for easy scan of what needs to be back filled. Clean out the frig weekly to toss anything expired.
Before running out to the grocery store, try making meals out of what is in the pantry and refrigerator. I do this every other week and am still surprised how many days I can do without having to do a big grocery shopping. I save trips to the store, use up food before it spoils and have learned a lot of new recipes. win-win-win.
Tame the Paper
If you have kids, then you know what I am talking about. Paper just seems to multiply like bunny rabbits. In the digital age, there is no reason for it.
Go through the mail right away and take a moment to organize it.
As for all that stuff the kids bring home, ask yourself this, would that paper, drawing, report card be something that would bring your future self or, now, college graduate, joy? If not, then toss it.
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily." - Zig Ziglar
Now that your home is decluttered how to maintain it so we don't need to do it again, at least for a long while. Try these methods:
Start the day off right, before leaving for work, take care of the following: bed = made, clothes = put away, bathroom counter = wiped off and kitchen dishes = washed. Its literally 15 minutes out of my morning and gives me a lot of joy when I get home! The last thing I want to see is a pile of dishes in the sink after a hard day at work or climb into an unmade bed at the end of the day.
I think the mistake a lot of people make is leaving all of the house cleaning to one day. It becomes over whelming and a day off is shot. Instead break the house up into zones to take care of 1-2 chores during the week.
For example, Tuesday nights, take 15-20 minutes to clean the bathrooms. Stock each bathroom with wipes, toilet brush, toilet cleaner (saves time to go find that stuff). The night before trash day, clean out the frig. Trash day make a grocery run.
It doesn't matter which day you do what, the point is to make the weekend free of responsibility as much as possible.
I can't remember where I read about this but it has been a saving grace. I use this method at home as well as work. Every night, I list the top 3 things I need to get done the next day. It could be a little thing like make a doctor appointment or something bigger like go to the grocery store.
Before the day gets crazy, you know exactly what you need to get done to make it a success.
Avoid Lifestyle Creep
Lifestyle creep is when your lifestyle increases with every pay increase.
I did this with getting a bigger house and square footage I barely used. In this one purchase, I basically gave myself more obligations. When I lost my job this big beautiful house became a source of stress.
If you find yourself in the same position I once did. This can be easily corrected. Go back to thinking about what truly brings you joy. Be honest. Be truthful.
Learn to appreciate what you do have. If what you do have doesn't bring you joy then get rid of it. Give yourself the gift of peace.
Put time and money towards things that bring you joy in our life. You are worth it!
How do you make room for joy?