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Five simple ways to simplify

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Much of my winter break (and now, two unexpected snow days!) has been spent decluttering and getting rid of items we no longer need in our home. Dan and I have a lot of stuff. And we tend to have the bad habit of letting the stuff pile up until there's so much stuff that we HAVE to do something about it! 

But at times, all the stuff can be overwhelming. I've found that by keeping it simple, we've been way more successful. So today I've compiled my five favorite tips for getting rid of or organizing all the stuff you have in your life! 

1. Start small.
Don't plan to tackle the whole house at once. That's overwhelming. Start small. Do you have a six-drawer dresser? Go through one drawer each day, and in less than a week, it'll be cleaned out. Does that family room seem overwhelming? Go through everything piled up on the coffee table one day, and then tackle the magazine pile the next. Large wars are often won through small battles. The same is true for cleaning out your home. 

2. Keep ongoing donation/garage sale piles. 
We keep a bag in our bedroom for items we want to take to Goodwill. Once the bag is full, we put it in the car, and the next time we drive by a donation center, we drop it off. We also have an ongoing (read: massively large!) garage sale pile in our basement (we missed our neighborhood garage sale last year, and of course that was right when we were combining households!). I can't wait until the spring when we can sell or donate whatever is left. We want our storage space back! 

3. Purge the junk.
Whatever you do, don't let the junk in! When you grab the mail, stand by the recycling bin, and chuck in anything you don't need or want in the house. If you have an item that is broken or worn, get it out of the house. If you've outgrown something or no longer want something, again, get it out. Junk piling up is the enemy. You want it gone, so make it gone! Trash it, sell it, or give it away. 

4. Delete the emails. 
Over the years, I think I've signed up for about a million different emails. I get emails for stores I no longer shop at, tickets I purchased five years ago, and other random things that I absolutely don't need! So lately when those emails have come in, I've been unsubscribing as quickly as I get them. I know it doesn't take a ton of time each day to delete them, but why get them if you don't have to? Get those junk emails out of there! 

5. The 333 challenge. 
I originally saw this idea on Be More with Less, and I think it's a really interesting concept. The idea is that for 3 months, you simplify to just 33 things. So, for instance, you only keep 33 items in your wardrobe (you don't get rid of the rest of it -- you just box it up and can use it again after 3 months). Or, you make a grocery shopping list that includes only 33 ingredients. The idea behind this is that if you simplify, you'll be happier and have more focus for what's really important in life. I love this concept... but I don't think I'm ready to try it yet! 

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