Tips and tricks for simplifying your life, in most of your spaces at home.
As winter trudges on, so do my ongoing efforts in simplifying my life. Having recently changed jobs, gotten married and furnished most of my apartment, there’s been a lot that has needed de-cluttering and organizing More than that, I want to create the habit of keeping things simple in all of my spaces. I’ve covered simplifying your wardrobe and your work space, and now I will cover other area of your home. Whether your home is big or small, I have tips that will help you keep open areas and tucked away cupboards clear of overload and mess. I’ll touch on your bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom, and storage areas.
Five essential tips for simplifying your home and keeping it that way.
1. Tackle the Hidden Spots
I’m gonna start with the hardest areas to simplify in your home…the hidden spots. I’m talking about the areas that hide away your mess or clutter. These areas typically include: your hall and/or front hall closets, the cupboards under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, under beds, medicine cabinets and pantries. Let’s be honest, these are not the spaces we keep top of mind when we make the effort of cleaning or organizing our home, but they are the most frustrating. If you actually simplify these areas, cleaning them won’t require much effort. So keep these spaces in mind as we walk through the next 4 tips.
2. Know When to Toss
Before I dive into this, I just want to say that I do not condone a throw away lifestyle. Living simplified means not buying things to simply use them once and toss them into the landfill. It’s quite the contrary. Nonetheless, in starting out you may need to fill up a garbage bag or two once you realize you are keeping too much stuff that is actually classified as junk. You can apply this thinking to all areas of your home, but think about those hidden spots again. For instance, under your bathroom sink, what kind of “stuff” is lurking there? Here are some questions to ask to know when to toss:
- Have you any use for the item? Maybe you did at one time, but don’t anymore. Don’t hold onto things that are still good, but you know you will not ever use.
- Is is really old? Do you have a product in your bathroom that is full, but really old? Once again this probably means you are not using it, so toss it and start fresh.
- Do you have duplicates? In this case, consider condensing. For instance instead of having two half used cleaner bottles, condense the contents into one.
3. Reduce the Unnecessary
Now once you have cleared away the garbage, limit the potential of this happening again but reducing the unnecessary. This means really evaluate if you need an item. For example do you need a cleaner for the bathroom, kitchen, window, and all different surfaces, or can you use just one products that limits clutter and keeps things simple? Do you need 4 different scents of the same body wash just because it was on sale? Marketers are very good at convincing people they need different products for cleaning, but you can just use water and vinegar and they are also good at promoting products with buy one get one, even though you only need one. So being a smart consumer is one of the best things you can do to keep things simple.
4. Space Over Stuff
Space has a value as much as stuff does. Filling every corner of your home with stuff doesn’t make it look better. It’s actually quite impressive how much space can do for the eye. White walls have an appeal just as much a a painting. Think about houses that you have seen staged. They have minimal decor and stuff and it is quite appealing. Avoid filling every space of your home. You don’t need a piece of furniture in every areas or a picture on every wall. Space has a value too.
5. Smart Storage
At the end of the day we will all still have stuff. It happens. So once you have applied the above tips, your last step is to store things in a smart way. Instead of shoving things in and forgetting about it until it becomes a mess, use storage to always keep things in line. When we first moved into our apartment we used the spaces in our closet, under our bed and in the hall closet to just toss stuff we didn’t know how to store. Then I bought actual storage pieces and it changed my life.
In our closet I removed everything on the tops shelves and bought us each baskets to store similar items, and smaller basket to store other items and other things I packed away in boxes. The result: a clutter free closet.
In the hall closet I bough cloth baskets for towels to keep them from looking like a cluttered pile that could fall over. One basket is for the kitchen towels and one for the bathroom hand and face towels. bath towels are rolled and stored beside the baskets. Now I can get what I need, when I need it without things falling over and it looks nice.
For stuff stored under the bed, I bought a short large tote that rolls under the bed. I placed the one I use the least in the hardest to reach area and then placed other smaller totes under the bed near the edge. these can easily be pulled out when I need something, but this way things aren’t just piled under there in a mess.
In my bathroom I needed more storage so I use a plastic three drawer storage unit. To keep this from looking junky I covered the otherwise clear sides and front with paper. Now it doesn’t show the random assortment of stuff in there.
Finally, I suggest you use any and all storage space. Don’t let it go to waste. Our side tables one either side of our couch have great storage space in them. At first I just tossed cables and random stuff in them. Now I use one to store my KitchenAid stand mixer (a perfect fit and I had nowhere else to put it) and the other for all my supplies for my cat Moony (keeps his canned food and stuff tucked out of sight).
Once you start applying these tips in your everyday life, simplifying your home becomes easier and natural. With that and keeping other areas under control, you can eventually have a life that is also simplified. When your life becomes simplified through less stuff, more organization and smartly laid out spaces, you have more time for enjoying the experience of life and dare I say it discovering happiness.
Let me know if you have any success or challenges with simplifying your life.