We’ve become so focused on getting more organised that in the process, we’ve over complicated things. Everyone out there is showing us how to organise our pantries, our linen closets, plastics cupboard etc that we’ve lost sight of the fact that we’ve actually brought more ‘stuff’ into our homes instead of dealt with what’s already there. It’s time to get back to basics, focus on what you’ve already got and go from there. Here are 7 ways to simplify your life to become more organised in your home life.
FOOD, CLOTHING, SHELTER
If you’re overwhelmed with trying to be more organised, it’s time to bring it back and focus on, what I believe, are the three most important things in the home; food, clothing, shelter.
Without it, we can’t survive. Add water to this as well. Keeping your meal times simple with simple ingredients will help you become more organised in more ways than one.
You’ll not only have less ingredients to worry about storing but you’ll become more creative in the process. Some of the best cuisines in the world use very few ingredients and product the most delicious, tasting food.
Your grocery shopping won’t be such a tedious task either. You’ll have less to buy, less to pack away and you’ll spend less money. If you buy less and use it up, you’ll also have less food waste. Only buying what you need, storing it correctly and keeping stock of what you’ve got, will also save you time, money and simplify your grocery buying.
Stock the one ingredient that will do the job of many. For example, rolled oats. Besides being a nutritious breakfast option in the form of hot oatmeal, you can also make overnight oats, homemade granola or make a version of a breakfast cookie for ‘breakfast on the go’.
Oats are also handy to have to thicken meatballs, meat loaf, hamburger patties, sausage rolls etc. It makes a delicious topping for crumbles plus it’s the perfect ingredient for baking cookies, cakes and bars/slices.
Think of how many other ingredients you could buy that could be used in other ways.
I actually saw a TV program last year that spoke about the younger generation wearing clothes only once. I nearly did a back flip and didn’t think it could be possible. The more clothes you have, the more space you have to find for them, there’s more washing and you probably still can’t find a thing to wear.
Capsule wardrobes are all the rage where you have a limited number of clothing items and you learn how to mix and match them with accessories. Imagine having a wardrobe that isn’t busting at the seams?
The same goes for shoes. I must admit, I do love shoes and have many but at the end of the day, having a couple pairs of good quality, comfortable shoes in basic colours will also reduce the amount of footwear you have to deal with. This applies to all members of the family.
Clothing doesn’t have to be expensive either. I would rather spend $5 on a secondhand, good quality, brand name piece of clothing than $5 on a cheaply made, imported piece of clothing that probably won’t last the season. You’ll be saving the environment by reducing the amount of clothing that goes to landfill, saving yourself a lot of money and have a wardrobe full of individual pieces that not everyone is wearing.
If an item of clothing loses a button or the hem comes undone, mend it. It seems to be a long lost art that people don’t know how to do this basic skill.
Keep the bare minimum of clothes you need and donate or sell what you don’t wear. Look after it by washing it and storing it properly and you’ll have it a lifetime. I’ve still got the same Levis denim jacket I bought with one of my first pay packets nearly 40 years ago. Those sorts of things never go out of style.
And one of the most important aspects of simplifying your home life, your home. Ask any homeless person what’s the one thing they miss most and they’ll tell you it’s a roof over their head. I’m always trying to stress to the children to be grateful for that. It’s a privilege we take for granted.
Learn to love the home you’re in. Deal with what’s already in it and look after that before you bring anything else into the home.
Keep on top of the housework with the basics, that is clean as you go and you’ll soon find you’ll have plenty of time to be doing the things you really want to do. If you’re struggling with trying to be organised, bringing in a whole cupboard full of glass/plastic containers to makeover your pantry is both a waste of money and time, at this stage. That time will come when you’ll be able to have it looking exactly the way you want.
Store similar items together, remove anything that is no longer useful or used, keep the basics clean and you’ll soon find you’ve got the start of a well organised home.
YOUR HOME IS YOUR BUSINESS
Think of your home life as a business. You are the CEO, any income is like money paid from customers and any bills are money owed to suppliers. You’ll want to operate your home like a profitable business.
To simplify this process, keep a simple budget. Record your weekly, fortnightly or monthly income. Record what and when regular bills are due and allow extra funds for a contingency plan or what I like to refer to as the buffer zone. This is what I like to spend on things that mean a lot to me like going away for short breaks to the beach, any emergencies like appliances breaking down or taking the children to the movies.
Your other family members are like your staff. They need to be treated with respect but also have a job to do in the home. It’s all for their benefit too, just like operating a business. If the staff aren’t happy, you’re not going to be running a very profitable business or have a ‘workforce’ that want to do their job well.
Let your family members have a say in how the home is run. Everyone is allocated certain jobs to do and need to be reminded of how privileged they are to have a roof over their head, food on the table and clothes to wear. You be the boss of how you’re home is run, encouraging the rest of the household to have the same goals and outcomes as you want. It’s time for you to put your feet up, teach your children how to prepare meals from scratch and get waited on. Same goes for the household chores.
Keep your ‘mobile office’ well organised, that is your handbag. When we’re out and about, it’s always good to have something in your handbag that you can record ideas, things to put on your to do list, groceries needed etc. If you have a planner, make sure you take it with you. Also, make sure you have your phone, a pen/s, sanitary items, a drink bottle with cold water, paracetamol, charger or power bank, a calculator and anything else you need for you or your family.
ENJOY SIMPLE PLEASURES
To simplify your home life and become more organised, it’s time to take a look at the more simple pleasures in life. Forget about what everyone else is doing and just worry about what goes on within your four walls. Sure, she might have a fancy house, wear beautiful clothes, have the perfectly decorated home but what benefit really is it to you?
You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. They could have a cleaner that comes in to keep their house tidy. They could also only be showing you the ‘after’ shots and not the real way they live. They could also be living in a lot of debt that you don’t know about.
Find beauty in the the things you already have and more importantly, the people in your home. With any free time you have, think about what it is you’ve always wanted to do. Learn a new language? Pick up a new craft or hobby? Learn a musical instrument? Grow orchids? Or volunteer at a charity? Whatever it is, find joy in those simple things in your life that are going to make you content.
I often find myself daydreaming about some quirky thing the kids have done or said over the years. Because I’ve simplified my home life, I’ve actually got time to reminisce about those early days of having new babies in the home. It brings such joy to me. At the time, they were crazy times but now I can reflect on those times and congratulate myself for getting through them.
I also like to find joy in preparing simple, flavoursome meals that I know my family will like. I don’t need to go and buy the latest, greatest cookbook, appliance or designer dinner plates to do that. It’s simple, seasonal, fresh food that tastes good. What does it matter how it’s prepared or what it’s served on? I actually find it nice to serve food on plates that belonged to my Nanna or mother for the pure joy of knowing that’s exactly what they did.
DON’T BUY ANYTHING ELSE
Until you’ve dealt with what’s already in your home, simplified the processes in your home life and organised what’s already there, don’t bring anything else into your home. Don’t think that buying $200 worth of Tupperware is going to help you get your pantry organised. Organise what’s there, throw out anything that has expired, clean the shelves and you’re done.
Once you’ve done that to your entire home and you have free time on your hands to do what you want, then think about decorating your pantry with nice containers and labeling them. If you really want to simplify your home life, I would prefer to keep your pantry as simple as possible. There really isn’t any need to decant everything you buy. Even though I used to do that, running a business from home and looking after two children and my husband is my main priority now. I know where everything is in my pantry. It tells me on the box what it is and the plastic bag inside is secured by a peg. I don’t have to worry about it when I buy a new one.
If your crockery and cutlery isn’t matching, just have enough for what you need for your family and any visitors. It doesn’t have to match. It has to serve a purpose. There are many cultures in the world who don’t use cutlery. How wonderful that would be to not even worry about having a drawer full of forks, knives and spoons that are all facing the right way in a brand new KMart bamboo drawer that cost only $13 but now you have to deal with the cutlery insert you already had that did the job perfectly. There will come a time when you can restyle your home with fashionable decor and organising items, if you want to, but in the meantime, let’s learn to simplify your home life, organise what you’ve already got and take it from there. There might come a time when things like that won’t worry you and you’ll be happy with the simplicity of your home and you won’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing or has in their homes.
LESS IS MORE
Less is definitely more when you’re trying to be organised in your home life. I’m not talking about going 100% minimalist, unless you want to, but I like to be surrounded with sentimental items from my past plus things the children have made when they were younger.
I have functional pieces throughout the home like tissue box covers, candles and other decorator items that were gifts or provide function like the candles scented with essential oils to add a calming scent in the home. I have faux flowers that add a pop of colour and can be rinsed off under the shower for a quick clean.
All of my furniture surfaces are covered with doillies or cloth placements which only need to be thrown in the wash once every two months which reduces the amount of dusting I need to do. Doillies may be old fashioned and not to everyone’s tastes but to me, they’re a look into my family’s past. Most of them were made either by my Nanna, Mum or Aunty and I think back to when it was being made. A couple I have were made by my Mum when she was a teenager so it brings a lot of sentiment. To me, they had a nice touch with a homely feel I’m trying to achieve in our home.
Stockpiling might be great for some people but it doesn’t work for me. I don’t have the room to store extra groceries so less is definitely more for me in my kitchen. I only buy what we need and keep it topped up. I live 5 minutes to 5 grocery stores and other than Christmas day and Good Friday, the shops are pretty much open all year round so you’ll never go without.
Remember, the less you have in your home, the less you have to organise and keep clean.
If you think about every little thing you do in your home the cooking, the laundry, cleaning, making the bed etc, this will also reduce the time you take to be organised and therefore frees up more time to do the things you really want.
Find the easiest and quickest way to do it. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. This is your home. You have your own standards. Don’t make your expectations so high or as high as other people you see on the internet. If you don’t clean the ceiling fans every second day, who cares? If you don’t wash the towels every third day, who cares? You’re only wiping off clean water anyway. Work out ways to reduce the time it takes to do chores, schedule those chores into your daily routine and take advantage of all that free time you’re going to have.
RESTRICT YOUR ONLINE TIME
I know, I know. This is also hard for me to grasp because I’m running an online business. But I’ve started to schedule time into my day to look at social media and I stick to that time. I could find myself jumping from Facebook to Pinterest to Instagram, all day, every day and then wonder why, at the end of the day, I didn’t achieve anything I’d set out to do. I’d blame everyone else but I only had myself to blame.
There’s no denying it’s part of our life now but if you really try hard to restrict the time we spend on the Internet, we’ll soon have all this free time on our hands. I know I’m always nagging the kids to put their devices down and here I am using mine. They understand that I need to be on it for my business but at the end of the day, spending time with them and making sure all my other priorities are completed will allow me more free time, I’ll be organised and if I want to use my free time looking at Pinterest, I can, guilt free.
And, finally, I have one rule that I apply in every aspect of my home life for perfect homemaking. It is:
This is your home, your life and what goes on in your home is your business.
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