Hey all! Today we’re going to simplify! We’re starting a series that will help guide you into a cleaning routine that will have you keeping your house looking Pinterest-worthy all the time without taking up ALL your time. Can I get an amen? Cause really, who wants to spend all of their time picking up the house and doing laundry when you could be reading a book or taking the kids to the lake? To start off with, we’ll work on decluttering and simplifying our homes to make our cleaning routine easier.
I recommend working on only one room per day. If you try to take on too much at once it’s overwhelming and discouraging. So, start small and set a time frame of 1-2 weeks to work completely through the list. And don’t forget to download the checklist from the Resource Library! (You’ll need to sign up to get access.) Also, we’re not doing actual cleaning yet – just going through each room object-by-object and selecting what we want to keep and what we want to cull (get rid of).
Why You Need To Simplify
One of the biggest time and energy sucks when it comes to housecleaning is clutter. It takes up space, both physical and mental; it collects dust and dirt; and it wastes our time when it cleaning day comes around. If you want to make your life easier and happier, you need to cut the clutter. Trust me. Getting rid of clutter is like lifting a weight off your shoulders that you didn’t know that you were carrying. Did you know that clutter is linked to stress?
Getting rid of your excess leads to more breathing room, more time, and more peace. Not to mention more money in your wallet. Before we can have a fast and easy cleaning routine, we need to simplify to set ourselves up for success.
Starting When You’re Overwhelmed
So, where should you start when you have piles of stuff everywhere? Start with your mind. Yah, that’s right. Your. Mind. Close your eyes and make a promise to yourself to stop bringing home new stuff that you don’t need and probably don’t even really want.
Now take a deep slow breath in. Hold it for 3 seconds. Breathe out a loud sigh. Do it again. Feel better? Great!
Okay. It’s time to simplify. Let’s get started.
Locate two boxes or two bags. Label one “trash” and label the other “donate”.
Simplify The Bathroom
We’re starting our physical simplification in the bathroom. Why? Because it’s one of the smallest rooms in your house and people spend lots of time in there. We’re going to start to simplify simply. Hehe.
#1: We’re going to start in one small area, the counter around the sink. Now ask yourself:
What items belong here on the bathroom counter?
- Hand soap, either a soap bar in a dish or liquid soap in a dispenser.
- A toothbrush holder with toothbrushes.
- Maybe a small cup for rinsing after brushing your teeth.
- Two or three small decorative objects such as a candle or a vase with flowers.
Remove everything off the counter and put back only the items in the above list. Sort through the remaining items by asking yourself these questions:
- Have I used it within the last month? If yes, then go to #2. If no, put it either in the trash or the donate box.
- Where does it belong? Not the bathroom counter! Set it aside to find it’s real home in a bit.
#2: We’ll do the bathtub and shower next.
Again, ask yourself what belongs there. Take everything out. Put back only the few items that belong (shampoo, conditioner, soap or body wash). Sort the rest based on whether it’s trash, donation, or something you frequently use that needs to go where it really belongs.
#3: We’ll do the back of the toilet now.
Guess what? Nothing belongs on the back of the toilet. Take it all off and sort it out.
You should be starting to see some progress now! We’ll start to work on less visible stuff now.
#4: Open your medicine cabinet if you have one.
If you don’t, skip onto the next section. Now, what belongs in the medicine cabinet? Things that belong in here might include stuff like face wash, eye makeup remover, lip balm, eye drops, floss, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream, etc. Sort out the stuff that doesn’t belong.
#5: Now we’ll work on the vanity drawers.
We don’t have a medicine cabinet, each of us has a drawer in the vanity. In mine I keep my hairbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, eye makeup remover, contact case, eyeglass case, deodorant, and hand balm. You’ve probably already figured out the drill by now. Remove, replace, sort.
#6: Do you have a storage cabinet, like the sort that go over the toilet?
That’s our next decluttering stop. Get it done.
#7: Under the sink is next.
Oh boy. This is frequently a big problem area for many. Take a deep breath and dive in. Make it happen. Remove, replace, sort. What’s under our sink? The bathroom trash can, extra soap, extra razors, shaving cream, Q-tips, cotton balls, and feminine hygiene products.
#8: Finally, turn your eyes to the floor.
What belongs on the floor? A rug, if you like. Maybe a decorative basket with extra towels. Perhaps even a scale. Keep it simple.
Did you end up with a pile of stuff without a proper home? Give it another look. Do you really want to bother finding it a home when the trash and donation boxes are right there? If not, you know what to do. If it really is something that you want to keep, then you need to find it a proper home. Do that now before you start to simplify the next part of your home.
You’re done with the bathroom! Onwards and upwards!
Simplify The Kitchen
Now, I’m sure you’ve figured out the drill by now. I’m just gonna leave you with a bullet list of areas from now on, m’kay?
- Kitchen Sink – Things that belong here include dish soap, a towel, and a sponge.
- Stove Top – At the most I would recommend no more than a spoon rest be living on your stove top.
- Counter Tops – Oh boy. Start off with the big things. What counter top appliances do you use daily? Leave those out. What do you use weekly or occasionally? Put those away in cupboards, on shelves, or in the pantry. Other things that can be out on the counters include a fruit bowl (or whatever you store your fruit in), a few decorative items, a cooking utensil holder, and maayyybbbbbe just 1 or 2 other objects.
- Under the Sink – Why do dark spaces become the catch-all, messy areas? Declutter under the sink, making sure to move any cleaning products into one area with all other cleaning products, ideally on a high shelf where young children can’t reach. Under our kitchen sink we keep soap for the dishwasher, the baby’s fold-up bathtub, a supply of clean kitchen towels, rags, sponges, and a couple of drain covers.
- Drawers – This one can be kind of scary to do. Who has a junk drawer? **raises hand** Go through each drawer, one at a time, and sort through every object. Is it a keeper, trash, or ready to donate? Assign each drawer a purpose. Here are ours:
- “Going Out” (keys, sunglasses, etc.)
- “Seeds and Records” (folder of alpaca paperwork, packets of garden seeds)
- “New Junk Drawer” (mostly just rubber bands + a roll of wax paper)
- “Baking” (spatulas, measuring cups, measuring spoons)
- “Baby Stuff” (previously “Sort-of-Junk”, this drawer now holds bibs, baby spoons, and cloth napkins)
- “Utensils” (regular tableware + frequently used kitchen items like the grater)
- “Cooking Utensils” (tongs, serving spoons, spatulas for flipping pancakes and burgers, garlic press, etc.)
- “Cutting” (knives, pull-out cutting board, small cutting boards, scissors, vegetable peeler)
- We also have 2 great big drawers; one holds food storage items and the other holds mixing bowls.
- Cabinets – Like the kitchen drawers, go through each cabinet and sort through everything.
- Floor – What’s on the floor? A pretty mat in front of the sink, another in front of the outside door (if you have one), a trash can.
Simplify The Living Room
- Coffee Table – I would recommend keeping little more than an attractive centerpiece on the coffee table. This area tends to fill up with clutter easily.
- End Tables – The end tables can have things like coasters, lighting, and flower vases or a different decorative object.
- Entertainment Center – The entertainment center should house the tv, devices to play movies or stream tv, and any DVDs (or Blu-Ray, or whatever) you might own.
- Bookshelves – Obviously, books should be on the bookshelves. Lots and lots of books. I love books, they rock my world. I think bookshelves are also a really great place to feature some knickknacks that are important to you.
- Couch + Other Furniture – Keep it simple. Just throw pillow and throw blanket are plenty.
- Floor – A rug is almost a necessary item in any living area. A few decorative objects here and there are fine too.
Simplify The Bedroom(s)
- Bed – Keep you bed tidy. It shouldn’t have anything on it except blankets and pillows. Don’t be sleeping with your folded (or unfolded) laundry, you silly person.
- Bedside Table(s) – Think lighting, an interesting book, and the horrible-no-good alarm clock.
- Dresser(s) – Dressers should be pretty simple. Clothes in the drawers, maybe a jewelry box on top, a decorative object like a vase or candles.
- Closets – Store clothes and shoes. I also keep my makeup in my closet so I can either get ready in the bathroom or in the bedroom, depending on which is more convenient that day.
- Floor – Rugs if you like, a clothes hamper in a corner, maybe a chair, bench, or cedar chest (for storing extra blankets).
Simplify All Other Rooms
Work through the process for any other rooms or spaces in your house, such as the basement or office. Can I just say that you’re amazing? Cause you totally are!
You’re done, done, done!
Yay! Go take a break and treat yourself to some easy Strawberry Tart. You totally deserve it.
Get the handy checklist to help you remember what areas to work on!