While we don't all want to live minimalist lives, which can be rather stark and just a bit too impersonal, most of us have far too much clutter all around us whether it be in our minds, our wardrobes, our homes or our workplaces.
But it can take time, effort and great deal of redesigning your lifestyle and your spaces to bring about change...and where do you start?
Start by thinking about (and jotting down) how you live your day
Are you replicating tasks all the time so that you become stressed and tired out when such tasks could be re-organized or even delegated to save time, money and energy. Go through all your systems whether it be banking and paying bills, housework and laundry, shopping and errands, children and their needs, your emails and more, and look for ways to simplify them.
- Doing your banking and paying of bills via internet banking.
- Sharing housework tasks if possible or, if finances allow, employing a cleaning service once a week to do the main cleaning while “tidying up and cleaning as you go” the rest of the week so that it never becomes overwhelming.
- Limit the amount of cleaning products you keep in the house. If you can buy one large eco-friendly container of general detergent, this can be decanted into different strengths to spray bottles for use all round the house.
- Food shopping should be kept to a once a week session at the most as long as you keep a list going in the kitchen to jot down when supplies are running low so they can be included in the next shopping trip. Plan your meals for the week – this can just be a rough plan.
- Children will often need encouragement to lend a helping hand but the younger they start, the more enthusiastic they are. Introduce a reward system if necessary. They can earn their allowance and extra treats.
- Your computer like anything else can be cluttered up. Carry out a ruthless clear out by unsubscribing from junk mail that you do not need or read and introduce a system of dealing with incoming emails.
- Once you improve one or two of your systems, you will find it easier and rewarding to continue with the rest. Your stress levels will start to go down.
The majority of people have just too much stuff in their homes
This leads to a cluttered look and making it more difficult to function and to clean. Work through one room at a time so that the task does not overwhelm you and be ruthless in your clearing out. I am sure many of you have watched those TV programs such as Life Laundry
or How Clean is your House
and seen the piles of clutter. Don't become like one of those participants! As you go through each room sort out the excess into “throw away”, “give away (charity shops)” and “sell (E-Bay, Craig's List etc). The clear out must include clothes, toys, old magazines, appliances and even furniture. If your house is simplified, it will be so much more welcoming and inviting. It will also be so much easier to enjoy and keep clean and tidy. Keep a memory box or two for items from the past that you are attached to or use them in a display such as a wall of family photographs.
Reduce your desire for the latest gadget or brand
It is all part of a greener and more simplified lifestyle where you decrease your carbon footprint. Changing to healthier eating; going organic where possible; eating living wholefoods rather than processed and convenience foods; growing your own veggies; changing from over-the-counter and prescription medication to more natural home remedies; all of these changes will save you money in the long run in terms of improved health for you and your family. Those who re-use and recycle are no longer considered to be “hippie” but actually “in fashion”.
Buying less and wanting less can actually improve the quality of your life. Everyone in the family will be happier.