5 Steps to a Clutter-Free Lifestyle

Remember my dream kitchen, guys? This is what I (Kenzie) long for, every day. However, I'm not single and I'm a mother, and so chances are, this will never be my kitchen. This is not practical.

I bet you're like me. You're a busy wife or mom or both. You have endless to-do lists that always seem to have more on them than checked off. Well Mama, you're not alone.

Remember, I started my journey into a simpler lifestyle back in September while my husband was serving our country, as a way to occupy my mind and time. However, because I have a knack for organization and a love for this new-found lifestyle, I'm hoping to pass on the torch! Are you ready? Lauren and I are about to take you into Simple Living 101!

Here are some practical ways to implement simple living into your home and life! Each room has its antics. Here we will cover all the basics.

First let's define the difference between cleaning, decluttering, and a simple lifestyle. This is where Lauren chimes in!

Cleaning is maintenance, routine (no matter how often or not often it’s done), and necessary for your immune system. Chores, daily things that keep the house tidy, and normal habits all qualify as cleaning. We think of cleaning as laundry, dusting, and washing dishes.

Decluttering, however is an bi-yearly, once or twice-a-year organizational system. Perhaps, you think of decluttering as a part of spring cleaning. It's dedicated to getting rid of the excess. We think of decluttering like deep cleaning. Hands and knees and elbow grease kind of work like scrubbing baseboards and ridding our children's closets of clothes that no longer fit. The tough part about decluttering is that we often delegate decluttering to a time when our cupboards are avalanching on us and piles of laundry are so high that our kid's have outgrown the clothes still in the pile. Oh brother!

However, a Simple Lifestyle is both of those things in one. It's an on-going, habitual and intentional method for making room or space for growth. And I don’t mean more “stuff” but more room for your mind and your body to be free and creative. This simple lifestyle is vital. To me, it's the meat and potatoes of keeping my home clean and decluttered continually, so that my mind can focus on the things that really matter- my family.

You may all be hooked on the Marie Kondo series on Netflix, Tidying Up. Personally, I haven't found the time to sit and watch the subtext because of the language barrier, but everyone is inspired by the idea of less is more. And I'm buying what she's selling, even if I haven't watched it. I believe that less cleaning and less tidying up means more time with my boys. I believe that less clutter means that my mind is more intentionally creative because my mind has space to think of things besides to mess.⠀⠀⠀

What we want to suggest is to making this not just an occasional task, but more a lifestyle to simple living. This way less time is spent doing all the things- cleaning (because there's less to clean) and decluttering (because there's less to sort and purge and organize). The key here is to make this a less occasional thing and more a healthy habit.

Maybe you're not sold. Here are some questions as you consider exploring a Simple Lifestyle:

What would an uncluttered home mean for you?

What would an uncluttered home mean for your child(ren)?

At this point in time, how would you feel if someone dropped by unannounced?

This is not an easy process. A lot of things we love, the memories we've made, the things that bring us joy, they are hard to part with, but where do we have room for new memories? Where do we get to showcase them? Why do we have 20 year old photos on the wall when our kids now have kids of their own? Personally, I just put the new photos in front of them that way they still live there ;) It's ok to let go of the past to embrace the present. You can do this and we will show you how!

5 Steps to Simple Living:

1. Sort

2. Purge

3. Clean

4. Organize

5. Repeat

Most Important Note:

When you start this method, please, I must first warn you to make sure you only tackle one room at a time. Do not take things from one room and put them in another. From experience, this leads me to forget what I was doing in the first place. Find a "catch all" area perhaps just outside the room you're working in and let it be. Let it collect all the things that need a home somewhere else in the house but that you are keeping. This prevents loss time and aimless roaming and distractions.

Step One: Sort

First you sort through all the things in that room. It may be helpful to start in one corner. I also recommend starting in a small room. Don't get overwhelmed by taking on the biggest room in your house. Small victories make for big rewards. If you feel you can conquer one small space, you won't get overwhelmed and quit.

Sort things into 4 piles: Keep, Give, Trash, and Elsewhere.

Keep: Self-explanatory in its nature, simply make a pile for things you are keeping in that particular room.

Give: Make a pile to give away. This is everything that must go-away! We highly recommend donating any children's clothes or toys to your local foster closet (Many children coming into care only get 5 pieces of clothing when the