Introducing SIMPLIFY with Melissa Kay! Learn How to Become CLUTTER FREE in 2020!
For many years, now, I have been asked by friends and guests of our home to share my secrets of how I maintain a busy household while upholding a white-glove standard of cleaning. With constant drop in guests, overnight guests, and hungry friends of our kids popping in at all times, there would be much stress if I didn't keep up on things. Last minute is no problem for me because I have chosen to live simply, surrounded by just the things we love, and no more. This means there is less to clean, less to store, less to put away, and less to find in a hurry. Less is definitely more.
Streamlined, minimalistic, organized spaces are crucial for me to enjoy a stress-free, simple home where there's a place for everything and everything is in its place. This journey began even before I married Brannon, so it's hard to remember a time when my mindset wasn't focussed on a simple way of living. And a journey it has been—one where you'll never arrive—so ya just gotta sit back and enjoy the ride. A simplified life means consistently stopping the flow of clutter before it even walks through the door—and you know, with kids, that won't stop anytime soon. But getting to that point will take some time and effort if you've allowed the piles to already enter your home, and here is where my Simplify method can help.
Have you ever stayed in an upscale vacation rental home, or visited a well appointed model home? Each drawer usually has exactly what is needed and nothing more. Every bathroom has just the right amount of towels displayed and stored, with no bulging excess of stuff jumping out at you when the cupboards are opened. And each room (usually) is designed with just the right amount of beautiful furniture and minimalistic, yet striking, decor that draws you in and welcomes you to a peaceful, relaxing setting ... so that you'll buy the home, rent the home, or whatever.
Think about it! What if you were going to rent your home out for a month, and the renters are dear friends of yours whom you love. Let's say they are missionaries coming home on furlough this summer, and you really want for them to be able to relax and enjoy their time in your home. (Not many of us could afford to do this, but remember, we are just pretending. Work with me here, k?).
Alright, so now we have to assume, if these missionaries are going to live in your home for a month, that they will be looking and using things in the drawers, the cupboards, the closets. With this in mind, think through your home and make a mental list (or real list) of the areas you need to Simplify.
Maybe some of you are already living simply, having only a few drawers to fix. And maybe some of you are realizing that this will mean re-doing every single inch of your home to get it in a simplified state. Whatever the case, if you believe this will benefit you and your family to reduce your belongings to a more manageable amount, then forge ahead with Simplify! Only you can decide to what extent you need to take to make that happen.
Picture this! Your children rush in the door scrambling to find a book they borrowed from the neighbor who just asked for it back. You join the search and rescue team to find said book, which could be any number of places. Lifting up papers, looking under strewn clothing, checking the back seat of your car. Now think of it this way. Your children calmly walk in the door and grab the borrowed book from the chosen 'home where borrowed things go,' and happily walk out to hand it to their neighbor whom they borrowed it from. Sweet. But yeah, that takes some training, right? Sure it does. But it also takes YOU creating homes for everything that walks in and out of your house. Yes, this takes some time, but it can be done! Just take it slow and eventually you will get there. Remember from a previous blog that direction is more important that speed!
Simplify involves creating organized homes for all of your belongings. When you Simplify, you basically become a 'realtor' for all of the things you need and love, and nothing more. This means kicking a lot of your stuff out of their current homes because they're no longer needed, no longer useful, and they're just taking up valuable real estate. You must be brutal. And what motivates being brutal is remembering how simple your life will be after multiple eviction notices are sent out. A place for everything and everything in its place. And to put the Simplify spin on it—a place for everything you need & love and everything you need & love in its place. Sweet!
Now I'm not advocating heading out the door to shop for all the things you love and need. Nope. We are talking about simplifying the things you already have! And as you simplify, you will probably find more of the things you love and need hiding in your clutter! True story!
With a name like Simplify, you know the method won't be difficult. Now that would just be poor marketing, wouldn't it? Lol. Simplify is really a three step process that you can apply to any area of your home. Easy to remember... just 3 Rs:
Now allow me to break this down for you......
Easy to remember. Easy to do. In whatever space you're working on, remove every single thing. Once this is done, throw away the trash, throw away anything that is broken (you'll never fix it, don't keep saying that!), bag up stuff you can bless others with or stuff you'd like to sell, and then make a pile of your absolute favorite things—things you can't live without. Stick them in a pile nearby. We'll need them again soon...
Now thoroughly clean the inside of your space. A drawer? Wipe it down with a damp cloth. A closet? Clean from top to bottom: wipe down each shelf, dusting the tops of the rods, and ending with a good vacuuming or mopping of the floor. You get the picture. Make it sparkle. Then add your organizing bins, or baskets, shelf liner, drawer liner, etc, to make it pretty. Or not. That's subjective. You do you.
This is the fun step. Add back everything you need and love, grouping like items together in appropriate compartments. You'll be so pleased with the result! Your space can now breathe, and it will be much easier to find the things you use and need. Congrats. You've just been simplified!
Joining us on the journey? PLEASE make sure you take a before pic and after pic to help you celebrate your victory! Each area in your home can be addressed with this simple method. And a great way to share your victories is on our website in the forum. It's free. Gotta sign up to be a member, and here is where you will get all the encouragement you need to get through those decluttering sessions. Get to know others, throw out your best cleaning/organizing tips, and root those new friends on to become Clutter Free in 2020.
And people—there's no need to "thank" the stuff as you toss it. There's no spirit living inside of your stuff, for goodness sakes. This is not what the Bible teaches, so don't be swayed by any of that, please. Too many Christians are unknowingly stepping into the waters of Shintoism, a pre-historic Japanese religion that is concerned mainly with life on earth—teaching that natural objects contain various gods (called 'kamis') and ancestors with supernatural powers. Shinto followers don't believe in a Supreme Being. Instead, Shintoism is about performing rituals to revere 'kamis' and the divinities in them. They believe there is a supreme 'kami' associated with places, objects, and people, and this is displayed when anybody "thanks" the house's 'kami,' when somebody taps books to wake up their spirits, and when they 'thank' their clothes when folding. 🙄 Come on. Wake up and smell the heresy.
Instead of thanking the creation, let's thank the Creator. Let's start living a simple life with true gratitude to the One who gave us life, the One who loves us dearly, the One who died for us in our place. And when we are truly thankful for what we have (whether a lot or a little), we will take care of our things—being a good steward of what we are given. Y'all wanna spark some joy? Try blessing others with items you no longer need, especially giving them to those less fortunate than ourselves. This is also a wonderful way to recycle items that would otherwise be wasted.
On an upcoming show, Bran and I will be demonstrating how to declutter a junk drawer using my Simplify method so you can see just how easy it is. In the meantime, don't be overwhelmed by how far you have to go. Stop it. Instead, celebrate each small victory. Every drawer, every cupboard, every cabinet is one small step toward a more simplified life. A big help along the way will be joining Team Simplify on our website. Need accountability? Find it there. Need encouragement, tips, advice? Grab some from your new friends who are heading in the same direction, and offer some of your own while you're at it!
Please comment below or on the forum about your thoughts on Simplify. Will you be joining us? Do you think it will help you? What has been holding you back?