A Simplified Space. That’s no easy task.
I’m a relatively organized person, and the thought of simplifying my entire home overwhelms me. But the first chapter of this book clearly lays out not only the HOW of starting the process, but also they WHY it’s necessary.
WHY start with a Simplified Space:
- Clutter is the enemy of simplicity
- Simplifying you space means giving your home potential to inspire and soothe (pg. 2)
- It’s one of the most immediate and satisfying transformations you can make
On board? Great! Let’s get started. But first, remember these things as you start.
Keys to Simplifying Your Home:
- Buy NOTHING. Keep track of what you think you might need as you go through the process and reassess that “need” once you’ve completed it.
- Use the definition of Homemaking: The creation and management of a home, especially as a pleasant place in which to live. That’s your goal. Create that.
- Instead of thinking of decluttering as getting rid of stuff, view it as “giving your home the potential to inspire and soothe” (Pg. 2)
Personal Inventory & Defining Your Space – Ask yourself — AND ANSWER — these questions from pages 4-5 & 9
- Which parts of my life feels less than simple right now?
- What do I wish my home communicated to my family?
- Which elements of a home’s design, aesthetic, or ambience are most attractive to me?
- Why is it important to invest my heart and effort in this process?
- How do I want my home to feel?
- What do I want to see when I walk in the door at night or into the kitchen first thing in the morning?
- What are my biggest goals for my home?
Answering these questions gives you a goal to work toward. My former boss used to say “If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail.” I’m not great at answering the above questions, but I know that it is helpful. Especially with a big task like simplifying your space. Give yourself a defined goal to work toward.
Now that we’ve got a destination, let’s figure out the route! Make a plan. List every space in your home (Don’t bail yet. Writing everything down may be overwhelming, but it is how your start). Remember that this is a marathon. Slow and steady in this process is just fine. In fact, it’s probably better than fine because there’s a high probability that you do it better if you take a little extra time.
Emily Ley suggests starting with the most overwhelming space because, upon accomplishing it, you have a sense of immediate gratification and confidence that comes from completing it. I’ve always suggested that people start in a small area and let that small area be the training wheels on the bike of decluttering. Either way, pick a defined space and stick with it until you’ve finished it. Then move on to the next.
I love her suggestion to designate a “Get out of here space”. This is the place where all of the items that you have decided to donate will go until you have them picked up or drop them off. I use a few shelves and a corner of our garage for these things. That way, they’re out of our living space and I don’t have to see them multiple times a day, but they’re not so far out of sight that I forget that I need to do something with them.
We’ve got a destination, we’ve got a route. It’s Road Trip time, baby! Grab those garbage bags and get to simplifying!!!
Questions to ask yourself as you do the dirty work (Pg. 13)
- Are you iffy about it? Get rid of it. (Seems harsh, but trust the process)
- Do you love or absolutely need this item?
- Do you have multiples?
- Have you used it in the last six months? (If that seems a little harsh, use one year instead)
- Does it have deep sentimental value? (Remembering that we cannot possibly keep every item that has ever felt special)
- Embrace emptiness and bareness as breathing room for your home and mind (Pg. 15)
- Avoid the pitfalls of organization – Don’t set yourself up to fail (Pg. 20)
- Sort and store in ways that work for your family – not because it’s looks good on Instagram (Pg. 20)
- Celebrate Progress! (Pg. 20)
- Store similar items together (Pg. 16) See my example of this here.
- Use Heirloom boxes for momentos (Pg. 16-17) Here’s the system we use.
- Don’t set things down where they don’t belong (Pg. 22) Mail is often the worst culprit for this.
My goal is to have this process of going through each space in my home done by the end of the summer. It won’t be easy, but I have a lot more downtime in the summer than I do during the school year, so now is the best time to do this.
If you don’t follow Emily Ley on Instagram, DO IT!!! Check out her Declutter highlight to see how she does it. Or, if you’re more of the written word person, read a post she wrote on her blog last year.
At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now that make big strides toward achieving your goal.
Comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed that week. I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed at the end of the book will get some swag. Like good, helpful swag. No clutter-y stuff.
Don’t forget to take photos of the process AND the progress and use #simplifiedsummer so we can all celebrate together!