Taking the time to acknowledge all the clutter around us and start to Simplify Your Life is the first BIG step towards the life you want to be living. (If you just landed here and not really sure what we are talking about, we strongly suggest you check out our previous blog posts: “5 Tips On How to Start to Simplify Your Life” - Part I & Part II
The following essential step would be to maintain the life you created by keeping out everything that was causing stress, making you feel overwhelmed, and occupied your physical and mental space. To continue on your clutter-free journey and to strengthen your new organizational habits we wanted to share some tips that we personally implemented and that worked for us:
Commit to NOT adding!
Once you’ve cleared out your physical space, you might start to feel like it’s unfamiliarly empty and maybe missing something. You might think: “Hey, I’ve got so much space now, maybe I should get this or that”… Well, maybe not!
When you got rid of everything that was creating mess it doesn’t mean that you need to fill in the empty space and replace the old for the new. You’ve eliminated those things for a reason! Just think about how did it feel like before and how much work it took to clear it all out! Take time to enjoy and appreciate your new free clear space.
One In and One Out Rule!
This one is simple. It means if you bring one new item to your home, then an old one has to go to make space for it! It could be a similar type or complete different one. It’s totally up to you. This allows you to maintain the number of things in your space. If you have a hobby to collect certain things, then dedicate a special place for them and don’t let them exceed it and overflow to other shelves, rooms, etc. For example, if your bookshelf can only accommodate 20 books then keep 20. If you want to buy a new one, you’ll need to free up room for it by giving away the others. Keep all your stuff at a manageable amount! Our advise for when you feel like you want to buy something new is to remember this quote by Marie Kondo: “Surround your self with things that only sparkle joy and speak to your heart”.
Become a List Maker!
During the day we tend to forget certain things, as we can’t always rely on our memory alone. Trying to remember everything you want to accomplish is a sure way to forget something. To avoid that create a list that tells you exactly what you need to do. Keeping a written list, whether on paper or digital, is also a great way to hold yourself accountable for completing it. Another useful trick is to create checklists for when you are about to travel or for grocery shopping. Doing this will save you a great deal of time and mental space.
Create Extra Time!
Manage the time in your schedule to avoid rushing through the day thinking “I don’t have time for it today!” While getting up an hour earlier might seem pointless, it can help you get a head start on your day if you use the extra time wisely. You’ll be surprised how much an extra hour in the morning might help you achieve if you plan out what you would like to do in advance. Also remember to leave small blocks of time each day to give yourself a break, even if it’s just for 15 minutes to get a coffee or read some pages of your favorite book, these short brakes will help you recharge and feel more productive for the rest of your day. Another great way for creating extra time is to plan out major projects, like cleaning your home, prepping your lunches for the week, grocery shopping, cleaning your gadget's memory or laundry, etc. in advance on a certain day. It doesn’t have to take one whole day. Each person is different, some just like to use one full day (either Saturday or Sunday) and get everything over with, others prefer to spare 15-20 minutes each day and tackle one room at a time. Either way, when you dedicate specific time for it on a regular basis, it won’t collide with your schedule anymore.
Don’t Forget Why You’ve Started!
When you feel like you are backsliding or losing track of where you are or why you are doing this, think of what made you take that first step. What was the main reason you decided to declutter and simplify your life? What was your “WHY”? Value your time and your space. Next time you want to buy something, pause and think for a minute. Will it add value to your life? Will it be used often? Will it bring you joy? Use the same questions when it comes to your digital space. Whenever you want to subscribe to a newsletter or follow someone new on social media take a minute and see if you really need to. Stay present, conscious, and intentional with your choices. The reason you started this journey is the fuel that will drive you towards your goals. Keep that in mind and steer clear of detours:)
Getting and staying organized can be a challenge, but implementing these healthy habits will make drastic improvements in your life. And it’s ok if you slip back here and there. It might happen when you stop paying attention, or when there’s a big change in your life.
As Brooke McAlary wrote in her book “Slow: Simple Living for a frantic world”: “There is a delicious liberation in acknowledging that our efforts will be imperfect, embracing it, and moving forward anyway - in understanding that there will be missteps along the way, and to start walking in spite of them”. Getting your life organized can seem impossible, but sometimes the smallest steps make the biggest impact. Just don’t give up and you will find your life organized and simplified in no time!