Tuesday, May 27, 2014

34 Three Things to Simplify Now to Save Time Everyday

One of the glorious aspects of blogging, is connecting with people that you may never have been able to connect with otherwise.  I was recently virtually introduced to Emily of So Damn Domestic, and I realized that we fit together like peanut butter and jelly.  We both love finding ways to make our homes happier; and for us that usually involves simplifying, streamlining, organizing and finding cleaning shortcuts.  Emily shares her straight forward decluttering, organizing and cleaning advice on her blog, and I find her approach refreshing and exciting.  I invited her here today to share her top tips for simplifying now, which will save precious time everyday moving forward.



If you’ve been meaning to declutter and simplify, or if you’re on that path now, it’s probably because you’ve realized that excess is not just taking up space in your home.  Far from it.  It also sucks up any extra time you might have.  (And who really has “extra” time?  Not me.)

When you spend time washing extra things, moving things around to get to other items you need more, and organizing and reorganizing stuff you never have time to actually use, there’s not much time for anything else.

And I know you want that time back.

You don’t just want it back.  You need it back.  Because that’s the time you’re supposed to be using to make wonderful memories with your family, to pursue your dreams, to take care of yourself, and to engage in your favorite down-time activities.

So it’s time to pare down a bit.  Here are some things you can simplify NOW (whether it’s a block of time this weekend, or a little bit each day) so that you’ll be able to stop wasting time and have a few more hours for what’s really important in life.


Simplify NOW: Anything You Have to Launder

The Problem:  When we have more clothes, towels, sheets, cloth napkins, and anything else that needs laundering, it’s far easier to get behind on laundry.  And when that happens, it feels like we have piles of dirty clothes scolding us for not washing them, baskets of clean clothes guilting us for not folding them, and the machines beeping at us constantly.

The Solution: When we “edit” our collection to include only our favorite things and the essentials, we are forced to keep up with the laundry schedule.  And because our loads of laundry will be more frequent and smaller, they’ll be much easier and faster to fold and put away, too.

What to do NOW:  Go through your dresser and closet (and your kids’ clothes too) and toss the just-in-case stuff into a box for donation.  You know the stuff I mean.  This is the clothing you never really want to wear, given other choices, but you end up wearing now and then when you’re behind on laundry.  Don’t give yourself the opportunity to get behind.  Toss the insurance clothes.


Simplify NOW: Any Kitchen Excess

The Problem:  When we go into the kitchen to make a meal or even just to get a drink of water, any time we have to move extra junk to get to what we need, we are wasting our time.  And when we have too many of something (like drinking glasses), we tend to use more than we really need to.  Which means we have more dishes to wash.

The Solution:  If there’s another tool we have that can do the job, we can get rid of the unnecessary duplicates (I recently got rid of my trivets when I realized I always use kitchen towels for that purpose anyway).  We can keep track of our glasses and mugs instead of getting a new one for every sip, and if we need to wash them right away to use them for a different beverage, it only takes a minute.  If something is rarely or never used, we won’t miss it when we declutter it.  But we will love how simple it is to operate in the kitchen each day.

What to do NOW:  Start with your cooking utensils.  How many whisks do you really need?  How many spatulas?  Wooden spoons?  Et cetera.  Keep only a couple of each, and get rid of your least favorites.


Simplify NOW: Downtime Stuff

The Problem:  We think of ourselves as readers, as crafters, as woodworkers, or as photographers.  And before we know it, we find we’re surrounded by the stuff of those hobbies.  Cases full of books, drawers and bins of craft supplies and works-in-progress, wood scraps that have no plan or intended future, photography props and rolls of seasonal backdrops.  But when we let ourselves acquire so many things, we are forced to spend time maintaining those things.  Cleaning them, organizing them, storing them and cleaning the storage containers, and so on.  And before we know it, we have very few hours to actually use for those hobbies we supposedly value.

The Solution:  We just need to focus on one thing at a time.  We can borrow a book from the library and read it until we’re finished with it, then borrow a new one.  If we’re working on a painting, it should be our main project until it’s complete and hanging on the wall.  If we’re knitting a sweater, we don’t need to buy yarn for future projects yet.  If we build a piece of furniture, we can let go of the scraps afterward, knowing that we’ll buy the exact materials we need for the next project, when it’s time to focus on another one.  And we can simplify our photography props by keeping the 20% of them we use 80% of the time anyway, and letting the rest go.

When we spend less time maintaining extra hobby items, and focus on one project at a time versus juggling (and finding places to store) multiple unfinished ones, we’ll have more time to actually do those projects we always say we prioritize in our lives.

What to do NOW:  Gather all of your scraps for donation to your local school’s art class or a similar group that will actually use them.  Bits of wood, partial skeins of yarn, small pieces of fabric, leftover scrapbooking paper, and so on.  Also collect neglected DVDs, CDs, video games, and books to give to your library, a local children’s home, or another nonprofit where they’ll be used and enjoyed.

 
What now?

Reading about simplifying is well and good, but it won’t change your life unless you actually get up, throw open your closets, cabinets, and storage bins (not all at one time though), and make it happen.

I know you’re busy.  But the thing is, if you want some of your time back so that you can be less busy soon, you have to find time to simplify NOW.

Are you ready to take that first step?



Emily Chapelle is an expert homemaker, having set up six different houses in seven years of military moves.  She’s also the mother of two adorable curly-haired kids, wife to a Navy fighter pilot, and a former teacher, childcare provider, and nanny.  Now she works from home to spread encouragement and inspiration to other homemakers with a no-nonsense attitude and lots of tough love.  She blogs at So Damn Domestic.  Get her free eBook, Finding the Awesome: 3 Steps to Doing More & Stressing Less for more inspiration and guided, broken-down exercises to find your Awesome.


34 comments:

  1. Great ideas! Editing is certainly the key, isn't it? :)

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    1. It absolutely is key. And usually the first "proofreading" pass isn't enough to do it... you've got to keep editing for a while before it's a clean manuscript.

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  2. Music to my ears! I have been trying my best to do this. The next projects on my list are my kitchen and my closet. I have taken a few pieces out here and there, but in two weeks' time, I can guarantee you that I will have a much more streamlined existence in these two areas. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. It sounds like you've got a great plan and the motivation to make a difference ASAP. I'm very glad my tips helped!

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  3. I found myself nodding along to each of your tips (the first two in particular)! I drive myself crazy with dishes and laundry every day.

    And then I realized that these are such "first world problems" to have -- which really puts things in perspective and makes it a lot easier to donate those extra t-shirts I never really wear but end up keeping around "just in case". Thanks for this!

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    1. They ARE first world problems. I'm grateful to have the sort of life where I can "worry" about how to store my extra rolls of scotch tape and spare printer ink, when so many other people are just trying to stay warm and fed. And it does make it a lot easier to let go of things when you think about the good those objects could do for other people.

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  4. Yes! This is the exact thought process that struck me last week. My preschool-aged daughter and I both worked together to pare clothes down to only our loved and often worn pieces, giving the rest to our local Goodwill.

    It's wonderful to know that even if 95% of the clothes are dirty, my load won't be much bigger than what's in the hamper. No more dreading those giant heaps of laundry!

    Also, I feel this is sometimes the best way to begin to declutter. The more time you have on an every day basis (thanks to the smaller loads of laundry and dishes, etc.), the more incentive you have to spend that free time releasing the rest of your home from junk. Right on!

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    1. Glad to hear from someone who's on the same mental wavelength. I LOVE that when we "really need to do laundry" there are just a couple of loads to do. You're absolutely right - no more dread. At all.

      You're right about freeing up more time to declutter too! And it snowballs if you keep at it... the less stuff I own, the more time I have. I was just thinking today about a project I had kind of abandoned, and realizing I'll have time to work on it really soon even with everything else I have going on. Because I'm "caught up" with the house stuff most of the time. It feels like it almost maintains itself a lot of the time now.

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  5. Awww Jen thank you so much for your super-sweet introduction. I'm so excited that you let me visit your blog and your readers today. It's like a little party going on over here in organizing-land. You rock.

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  6. I like the essential message of your tips, but I disagree on one point: smaller and more frequent loads of laundry aren't really in favor of the environment, don't you think?

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    1. I'm not sure. It probably depends... we have a high efficiency washer that uses very little water, and things definitely get cleaner when the machine isn't stuffed because we're behind on laundry. haha.

      Also, when it's easier to keep up, there's a lot less of the "oh crap my dryer things are wrinkled, so i'll just dry them again... and now the washer has been sitting for a while and might mildew, so I'll just run that again too."

      I really think owning less ends up being more efficient in the long haul. And when you start liking owning less and all the benefits it comes with, you stop buying as much, and reduce the load on the earth that way too (via excess production per person). Know what I mean?

      Of course, since we do have so little laundry now, sometimes I do choose to wash all the light and dark things together (if there's nothing new that might bleed) on cold water in one load.... and that's pretty earth-friendly, no?

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    2. That response was from me... I guess I have a very old blogger account I never use. haha. Just wanted to let you know though, yup, it was me.

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  7. I really liked this post, and after reading her "5 BS Facts about Decluttering Everyone Thinks Is True" article, I immediately subscribed to her blog. That is the most honest article I've seen about delcuttering... ever ha. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Awww thank you! I'm glad you hopped over to my other posts too, and thank you for joining my newsletter! Sounds like you're a kindred spirit when it comes to this no-BS decluttering stuff. ;) Glad to have you on board.

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    1. Get to it, Maria! :) I'd love to hear how it goes for you.

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  9. Love this post and LOVE the name of Emily's blog! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Aw thanks, Nealey! <3
      I'm so happy that Jen let me share this with you.

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  10. Love this as I am a clean freak and always trying to stay organized! :)

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    1. Sooooo much simpler to stay organized when there's LESS to organize. It's almost like it organizes itself!

      I'm really glad you loved the post. <3

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  11. This is a really great post and makes a lot of sense. I really like the kitchen tips. :) I was wondering if you would like to share your post on my link party I co host weekly because I think everyone would really like this. It's called The Wake Up Wednesday Linky and you can find it on my blog at theorganizeddream.blogspot.com. Thanks!

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    1. Kate, I'm glad you liked the post and my tips for the kitchen. :)

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  12. We move on average every three years because of the Army, so you would think that we have less stuff accumulated...BUT we end up getting rid of piles of stuff before every move. The problem is that we accumulate tons of stuff over the next three years. I do not understand this odd cycle, but it is my life. We are currently on the "we need" part of our new living arrangements. We've been here for 4 months, and already have a list as long as my arm of things we want to buy. However, in my defense--I'm living in Europe. I will accumulate stuff while we live here, but each purchase will have meaning--and hopefully a cool story too. :-)

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    1. Boy am I familiar with that story! My husband is in the Navy and we've moved 7 times (6 military moves) since we've been married! Every house is different and presents a new organizational/setup problem, doesn't it?

      Somehow though, we haven't bought ANY new "house stuff" this time, and have only gotten rid of stuff... thankfully we were able to use our wall-mounted shelving system we bought for the last house in this house too, in the closets. But other than that, we didn't update anything at all.

      Have fun in Europe! Enjoy collecting your stories. :)
      (but do remember the stories aren't contained in the stuff... if you decide to get rid of the item later, you still have the story forever)

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  13. Bull's eye! Great tips! And I know what you're talking about - laundry is piling and piling. My problem comes from not having enough space to line dry (no, I don't use drying machine!)

    Maya | Tenancy Cleaners Maida Vale

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    1. Ooh Maya, that's a problem! I remember when I lived in my first apartment and the dryers in the laundry area didn't work... I had NO line to dry on, and would drape my clothing all over the apartment to let it dry. So inefficient and ridiculous. But owning less clothing overall does make THAT easier too. :)

      Hang in there. No pun intended.

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  14. Love this post! I am going through my closet next!

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    1. Sounds great, Kristin! I know it's going to make you feel so much better. :)

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  15. These are great ideas! For me, the last one hits home. I have so many "hobbies" I've started but just never have the time to do them anymore. I hate to part with things that I've invested in, but they just take up space. Thanks for the encouragement to get rid of a bunch of stuff I don't need!

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    1. Tiffany, I know the feeling. There are so many fun things to do ! But since I've started getting rid of the hobby THINGS I have found I have more time for the projects I really want to do. It's a trade-off for sure. One I'm happy to make.
      If you choose to follow along with me, you're going to love my next post (on a different blog). It's specifically about craft stuff. eek!

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  16. Emily this is awesome! I've been following you since your gDiapers post on Joyful Abode. I've enjoyed watching your journey, learning from you and gaining inspiration while raising my small kiddos and taking care of our home. Loved your ebook. It totally shifted the way I think about housework and prioritizing my tasks. I am better able to focus on what I actually want to spend my time on and I try to have more focus and intention with what I'm doing IN THE MOMENT rather than continuously trying to multitask. I'm still learning, but being more conscious is the first step. It is such an awesome surprise to see you here on another one of my favorite blogs. I'm so happy I found you a few years ago when my first daughter was born. Keep up the awesome work. So Damn Domestic is a great community! Happy to be a part of it!

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    1. Jessica! I'm just now seeing this comment. So sorry for my late response.

      Thank you so much for all of your kind words... I'm really happy to have you along for all of my journeys (seriously - Joyful Abode to So Damn Domestic and now Hardcore Homemaking too... you're amazing to stick through it all).

      So happy you're learning to live in the moment alongside me. It's such a worthwhile goal to pursue. It changes EVERYTHING.

      And I Heart Organizing is definitely one of my favs too. :) SO happy to be here, and happy you found me here too.

      Thanks again for the sweet note, and I'll see you around the WWW. <3 Much love.

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    1. Glad you liked them, Debbie! You're welcome.

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