Your home should be your sanctuary, a safe space where you can relax and get away from it all. But if you live in a space with no order, it can be difficult to actually unwind, even when you’re within the walls of your own home.
You should be able to enjoy the items in your home without feeling tense when you spot clutter. It’s about time to make space for the things you love!
Quickly glance at the surface areas in your home. Are there items that you like but don’t love? Do you have a beautiful picture of your family with no place to put it? Are all your surface areas covered with things?
Congratulations, you just conquered phase one of decluttering!
Now it’s time to put on some music, grab a box or a bag, and set your timer for five minutes.
Pick a room, look at the surfaces, and ask yourself this:
If you answered no, it’s time to donate these items and let them go to someone who will make better use of them!
It’s not always easy to comb through your belongings, but when you have a common goal in mind, it makes it a lot simpler.
If you have a gift from someone you love, take a picture of the item and cherish the memory, not the item! Before you buy more ‘stuff,’ ask yourself, "will I use this?” And before you buy multiples of something, consider if you have a place to store them? Can you maintain them, and do you really need two?
The key to success is finding a home for the items that you love!
- Schedule 5-10 organizing days on your calendar.
- Have an accountability partner.
- Work when you have the most energy.
- Don’t tackle the whole space. Tackle one pile or shelf at a time.
- Have a game plan.
-Reward yourself for decluttering!
Your family just embarked on a massive project for your home, and you can not wait to see the final result! But in the meantime, you have to stare at a deconstructed room, piles of moving boxes, and all the ‘stuff’ that got misplaced during the transformation.
Anxiety settles in, and you wish that you could snap your fingers and make the mess go away. Well, there’s no way to magically make those boxes disappear or finish the project overnight. So, how can you deal with the new mess that moved in?
Many people feel overwhelmed with the construction process—not to mention all of the design inspirations looming in the background. But with a little dedication, you can enjoy a house that’s liveable...despite the chaos!
Once construction and painting are complete, it’s time to banish the dust! For an all-natural approach, make a DIY solution with white vinegar and water, and get to work in all the nooks and crannies with an old rag.
Now that all of the surfaces are clean, you can get started with one goal in mind—every single thing has a home. Put your favorite music on and get in the zone!
Grab three empty boxes to either keep, donate, or store your belongings, and follow these criteria:
Continue unpacking your items and organizing them into the three categories! Once your box of donations is full, contact a local organization for pick-up or drop-off. And as far as the rest of your items, remember the rule—everything has a home!
It’s no secret that some of the world’s most successful people are opposed to New Year’s resolutions. They seem pretty harmless, so what’s the problem?
Well, behind those seemingly simple resolutions, there’s a whole lot of psychological work that goes into why we continue to choose the same resolutions year after year. And it also explains why we’re still no closer to achieving them than we were the year before.
The mind is a powerful thing. When we make a resolution, it’s not necessarily for something we want, it’s more likely that it’s something we think we should want. There’s a huge difference!
If at the bottom of your heart you truly believe that you need to start making healthier lifestyle choices to be a good example to your family, you’re going to do it! But if you only want to hit the gym because a magazine tells you to, those workout sessions will probably end a few weeks into the new year (if they even start at all!).
Before you know it, you’ll blink, and we’ll be talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas again. If you want to create change in your home, now is the time! It’s never too late to establish tangible goals that align with your life, mindset, and wellbeing.
Ditch the resolutions and dive deep into tangible goal setting!
Goals won’t work unless you do! That’s why it is vital to set specific goals that motivate you. If you’re hosting a huge event at your home this year, that’s the perfect reason to start getting the house in order today.
We’ve all been caught scrambling to clean and declutter before guests arrive, but that doesn’t have to be how it goes this time around! Create systems that help you stay ready, so you never have to get ready.
No matter what you have going on in your life this year, create joy from the little moments, and let them lead to excitement for a change!
How many times have you written down goals only to leave them crumbled at the bottom of your desk drawer? It’s time to brush off the embarrassment and put those goals in plain sight for all to see!
Write your goals down, print them out, hang them on the fridge, tape them above your desk, paste them into your agenda—whatever style you choose, just make sure they’re visible!
Talk about your goals to your friends and loved ones, and let them into your world. Talking about your goals is wonderful because you have other people to help hold you accountable! Change is tough. But it becomes easier when your circle enables you to be the best you can be.
Usually, people don’t hit their goals because they’re unrealistic! Sure, it’s great to dream. But in the short-term, realistic goals won’t make you feel like you’re climbing an uphill battle.
It’s probably unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to shave off $50,000 in credit card debt over a four-month span. And what happens when you start to see that goal dwindle? You’ll go, ‘what’s the use in even trying?’
You want to avoid feeling like this at all costs! Sit down and consider your goals. With your busy life, is it realistic to think you can make it to the gym six days a week?
You have a family, work, and school, will you really get the entire house in order over the weekend? Probably not, and that’s ok! Only you know the ins and outs of your busy schedule, so set your goals without pressure, stress, or shame.
Words matter—and the language you use while creating your goals could make all the difference in whether or not you accomplish them. Write down goals that are confident! Don’t talk about what you might do, write them down as if you’ve already done it.
For example, instead of saying, ‘I will clean my house every morning before work,’ try, ‘I clean my house every morning before work.’ Do you see the power shift in that language? Try implementing this confidence into all the goals you create!
A goal without a deadline is just a wish! Hold yourself accountable by making realistic deadlines for your goals. This will allow you to check yourself to see if you’re on track! The entire family can monitor their goals to see how far they’ve come.
I hope this is a year where you accomplish all the goals that you genuinely care about. And if not, I hope you have the tools to step back and adjust accordingly!
2018 was a very busy year for Life Simplified. After working with a few recently widowed families, I started to think… what if something happened to my husband or me? Would important documents be easily found? Would we both have access to the other person’s devices?
Not including the medical and financial details, my husband and I sat down and had the ‘what if’ talk.
You should take the time to have a discussion with your significant other or family member as well! Grab a piece of paper, your phone’s notepad, or create a word document and take five minutes to write down the following notes. Share these notes with your family members so that all parties have easy access in case of an emergency!
Here are a few items to take note of:
Important questions to ask:
Having this easily accessible list in your home will help your family stay prepared in case of an emergency.
No more resolutions!
Start the year fresh.
Long gone are the days where you could write down your most precious secrets in a
journal or diary, stash them under your mattress, and cross your fingers hoping that no
one would ever find your hidden treasure!
Now, everything from your social security number to your mother’s maiden name can be
found online. And as cyber thieves and hackers hone in on their skills, it’s more
important than ever that you get defensive with your online security.
We organize our homes to maximize our time and create habits that improve our well-
being. We tidy up our offices so we can work without the distractions and clutter
inhibiting our efficiency. But what about the online space?
A recent study shows that American adults spend a whopping 24 hours a week online!
That’s a part-time job in and of itself. Whether you’re shopping online, working, reading
news articles, or scrolling through Facebook, you should be organized to help secure
every gigabyte of your valuable information.
Here’s the good news, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to stay ahead of the game!
With a few downloads, you can easily protect yourself, stay organized, and browse the
internet with ease.
Purchase A VPN
Coffeehouse jazz, a few Americanos, and free wifi, there’s nothing like opening up your
laptop at your favorite cafe! But while the espresso machine hums in the background,
your online security is seriously in danger.
Whenever you log on to public wifi, you have to succumb to the demands of the wifi
provider. Have you ever read the small print under the “Terms & Conditions?” None of
us have! We just flippantly click ‘yes’ and continue browsing, not knowing where on
Earth our data is heading.
And beyond that, when you use public wifi, you’re risking the chance that a hacker could
intercept your data! As someone who loves a good work session at the local coffee
house, there are easy ways to get around this.
Consider buying a VPN (Virtual Private Network)! To put it simply, think of a VPN as a
vault that protects your information. Whether you’re looking through credit card
statements from an online banking website or entering your password on a social media
account, to outside forces, your information, location, and IP address are completely
locked, shielding you from exploitative online hackers.
Create Multiple Email Accounts
We’re all guilty of signing up for an email list at a store just to snag an extra 10%
discount! But when you consider how many times you give up your email address (in
person or online), you’ll start to realize that you’re putting a lot of trust into companies
you might not know much about.
From Verizon and AT&T to Facebook, in the past few years, it has become very clear
that we can’t even trust our information with the big players. So, if you love to sign up for
deals, just make sure you’re doing so safely.
Create a designated email address that isn’t linked to any of your accounts that store
important information. If you want to create an account specifically for online stores that
you enjoy, great!
If you love to get your social media fix and need to create a new account, use a
designated “social media” email address. Just make sure that work and personal emails
cannot be linked in any way. You get the deals, the likes, and the followers... and your
online security remains intact!
Find A Password Manager
These days, hackers are getting so savvy that we practically have to create a
hieroglyphic password to adequately create a secure online account! On the other hand,
if your password for every account is your birthday backward, it’s probably about time
you got serious about password protection!
There’s one simple online tool that will help you create strong passwords without
mulling your brain. Password managers do a fantastic job of storing all your passwords
in encrypted form, so you never have to worry about losing access to important
Password managers store your account information for all of the websites you use. This
virtual vault can only be opened with your master password (which means you only
really have to remember one)! It’s the easiest way to stay safe online and ensure that
you won’t be calling customer support to help unfreeze your account.
Creating an organized life isn’t just about tidying up the medicine cabinet. It starts in
your email inbox as well! Waking up to endless emails about flash-sales and new
product launches for companies you don’t even remember signing up for is not how you
want to start a productive day.
If you’re ready to clear out the clutter, you can use a free service such as Unroll Me!
Within seconds, you’ll have access to every email list you’ve ever subscribed to, and in
minutes, you can unsubscribe or change your preferences!
Instead of weeding through your inbox (which, let’s be honest, is mostly junk mail), you
can go to one website and totally minimize your notifications. With work emails,
Facebook notifications, and system updates, don’t you hear enough dinging throughout
the day? You’ll be amazed at how good a little online cleanse can feel.
Organize With An External Hard Drive
How many precious documents, pictures, and memories do you have stored on your
computer? What if you lost access to your computer today? Do you have a backup
system in place?
Whether you have the newest computer on the market or are working with an absolute
dinosaur, there’s always a chance that you could lose everything on your hard drive.
You’ll hear horror stories of small business owners who experience total system shut
down and lose all of their clients’ information. There are journalists who get hacked and
have their hard drive held at ransom. While these stories sound extreme, you don’t have
to be high-profile to be cyber attacked, and protection could be as cheap as a one-time
payment of $30!
By saving pictures, videos, documents, files, tax returns, and important emails on an
external hard drive, you can rest easy knowing that even if your computer is
compromised, you have backup storage that’s protected and accessible.
In one afternoon you can protect yourself and create files and folders to organize all of
your important data, so it’s there whenever you need it. It’s 2019, and for most of us, our
lives are online! Let’s make this the year where we tidy up every single detail—and that
includes the online world as well!
Money can’t buy you happiness...unless it’s a comfortable mattress, that’s a totally
different story! Although we live in a ‘hustler’ culture that tells us to go, go, and go,
science proves that limited sleep isn’t the key to success. It’s actually detrimental to our
physical and mental health.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), nearly one-third of
American adults aren’t getting enough of sleep! That’s a lot of exhausted bodies.
In fact, humans are the only mammals who willingly delay sleep. It’s simply unnatural!
So, why have we all become so obsessed with working ourselves into the ground? It
has a lot to do with social media showing us bright & beautiful images of those people who seemingly do it all.
They’ve got the business and the kids. They find time to sit on the sidelines of the
soccer game after a hot yoga class. Their house is clean, and well, they look happy. If
they can do it, so can I!
The truth is, we have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in someone’s life. No one
has got it all the way together, and this constant comparison does more than harm than
Whether you’re raising 5 kids, running a business, or both, getting enough sleep should
be at the top of your priority list! It’s a new year, and you’re ready for all the success,
love, and light that will come your way. It’s the perfect time to get back to basics with
your sleep habits!
If you’re ready to count more Zzzs, you’ll have to take a good look at your habits. And
here’s the kicker, what you do at night isn’t the only thing that affects your sleep
Grab your agenda, buy a notebook, or start your very own sleep journal! Every day,
write down your routine.
This should include:
● What you ate & drank
● The amount of caffeine you consumed
● When you sat down for your meals
● Any prescriptions that you took
● What you did 30 minutes, 1 hour & 2 hours before you laid down
● What time you went to bed
● What time you woke up
● Whether you woke up before your alarm
● Your daily schedule
In the morning, jot down how you slept. Did you wake up numerous times? Did you
stare at the ceiling for what felt like an eternity? Did you sleep like a log? After three
weeks, go back and analyze your entries. What do you see?
You might notice that drinking a cup of coffee after 3 p.m. leaves you absolutely
restless. It could be that working out after dinner allows you to fall asleep as soon as
your head hits the pillow, but working out close to bedtime actually gives you too much
Every sleep pattern is unique, so it will take a bit of time to find the best routine to fit
your lifestyle! And though it may sound tedious, your sleep patterns have a direct
correlation with your happiness and overall well-being. That means a few minutes of
writing in your agenda each day could create great value in other aspects of your life!
Remember, strong, powerful people know how to work, but they also know when to rest!
Clutter here, clutter there, clutter absolutely everywhere. When you’re going through
clothes that you’re ready to donate, it’s pretty easy to pick-through those items that look
like they haven’t been touched this century.
When it’s time to clean out the junk drawer, you might be more than willing to ditch that
tangled horde of cords that seem to have no place in your home.
But when it comes to keepsakes, our ability to clear the clutter seems to waver.
Whether it’s your daughter’s macaroni necklace she crafted for you at her third grade
Thanksgiving party or your great grandmother’s collection of China, eventually you’ll
realize that you simply can’t hold on to every little thing.
Now, I’m not telling you to throw out those family heirlooms or heartfelt handmade
items. But, I would love to encourage you to create better systems so that these pieces
keep a solid place in your heart, but not necessarily on your dining room table.
So, what to keep and what to toss?
The first thing you’ll want to consider is how much the items truly mean to you. Though
it’s tough to part ways with something that is meant to be so important, no one else can
make this decision for you.
If you’re holding onto family collectibles, the first question to ask yourself is, “why?”
Do you have a distant memory of gazing at these items when you were younger? Did
you and a family member have a special bond over these pieces?
Or, are you holding onto them out of obligation?
If you look at the item and get that warm feeling of remembrance that washes over you,
then it sounds like this is a special keepsake that will always have a place in your heart.
However, if you look at the items and don’t feel anything. That’s totally ok! It’s not your
responsibility to hold onto someone else’s memories. It’s probably time to part ways.
Collect & Coordinate
Now that you’ve sorted through the items that bring you joy, you can start putting time
and energy into preserving those hand-picked pieces so they’ll be around for years to
If you’re one to collect ticket stubs, invites, or even wedding announcements, building a
beautiful scrapbook is a wonderful way to protect these fragile keepsakes.
The best part of a scrapbook is that you can keep it neatly stowed away on a bookshelf
or in a closet until you want to take that special trip down memory lane.
Are you the family historian with a solid record of photographs that most people forgot
even existed? To be able to easily store and share these frozen moments in time, all
you have to do is spend an hour at your local office supply store!
By scanning these photos and turning them into digital files, you never have to worry
about water or sun damaging these one-of-a-kind photographs. Plus, you can organize
them on an external hard drive that’s safely housed in a drawer or cabinet for
And when it comes to clothing pieces that need protection, create a designated space in
a closet where you can store these keepsakes in a preservation box with mothballs.
As you can see, it’s so important to carve out a specialized space. Not only does it
create a thoughtful ritual every time you pull out these items, but it also helps declutter
your home so that a heartfelt memory doesn’t end up feeling like another piece of junk.
If you have items lying around that don’t bring you joy, consider passing them onto
another household that might find a better use for them.
Organizing your space won’t happen in a day. But by taking the time to ensure
everything in your home brings you happiness, you’ll start to notice that all the
goodness is in the details.
It’s Monday morning, the alarm rings, and you peel one eye open to see a pile of clutter at the edge of the room.
Your purse is spewed open with junk & knick-knacks, you have no idea what you’re going to wear to work, and the thermostat reads a frosty temperature that makes you want to bury yourself under the covers. Oh, it’s just another manic Monday.
Does this sound familiar?
When you also consider the endless amount of tasks on your to-do list and the fact that you got a terrible night’s sleep, it’s no wonder you dread getting up in the morning.
But what if I told you the secret to having your best morning ever actually starts the night before?
Life is absolutely too beautiful to only live for the weekends. With a couple of easy routine shifts, you can make every single day feel like Saturday. Are you with me?
Ok, this one is huge! And if you can only make one lifestyle change, it needs to be this.
Constant scrolling before bed isn’t just bad for your mental health it’s also detrimental to your sleep. In fact, a Harvard research team found that the blue light emitted from our phones, tablets, and laptops actually tricks our body into thinking it’s daytime.
No wonder it’s so hard for us to fall asleep!
How can you truly rest when you constantly hear the dings and see the email alerts from your boss, co-workers, and businesses sending you promotional offers?
Some of the world’s most successful CEOs live by the ‘no tech before bed’ rule.
As soon as you start to notice that you’re up late staring at your device, snooze your notifications (or if you’re really bold, turn the phone off altogether), stand up, grab a book, and maybe even enjoy a cup of tea.
You’ll notice that you’ll start to really unwind.
Media mogul, Arianna Huffington even went as far as completely banning electronic devices from her bedroom. Honestly, can you blame her?
Your bed is not the place to finish emails or scroll through Facebook. Your bedroom should be an oasis for sleep.
2. Prep for the Day Ahead
This one seems like a no-brainer, but as we all move through our chaotic lives with the mentality of, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow,’ all of those tasks tend to add up. They also induce unnecessary stress onto our mornings.
As the night starts to unwind, dinner is finished, and the kids are getting ready for bed, take this time to focus on the next morning.
Find a clean space to lay out all of your clothes—even your socks! You’ll thank yourself in the morning when you don’t have to rummage through your closet looking for that blue blazer you planned on wearing.
If possible, you can also take this time to prepare your lunch for work or the kids’ snacks for school.
Set the timer for your morning coffee, make a short to-do list of anything you need to pick up before going to work, and even decide on what you’re going to eat for breakfast.
Every task you can finish ahead of time will alleviate the stress of the morning rush! You’ll slowly start to realize that your mornings can become a productive, peaceful time, rather than a dreaded, groggy rush to get out the door.
3. Create the Ultimate Sleep Haven
Close your eyes and remember what it feels like to rest on freshly washed sheets. It’s like sleeping in a hotel, right? Actually, it’s even better than snoozing in a resort because it’s yours!
Don’t underestimate the power of having a beautifully made bed and clean linens.
Appearances matter and how you’ll feel crawling into a fresh bed is going to be a total contrast to trying to rest on a bed that hasn’t been made all week.
Taking pride into creating a sleeping sanctuary can totally transform how you wake up. Invest in comfortable pillows and a cozy comforter. You can even try spritzing your pillows with a bit of lavender essential oil to help you drift into effortless slumber.
4. Keep A Bedside Journal
Whether you love to doodle or cringe at the thought of writing, keeping a journal could help you stay grounded for a successful morning.
If you’re not one for words, start out by simply writing three things you’re grateful for that day. This will not only help you ease into sleep, but it will also allow you to end the night on a positive note.
We all have so much going on in our lives. It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity and clutter.
When you take a few moments to acknowledge all that you have to be thankful for, you’ll realize you have so much.
5. Tidy Up
Have you ever woken up to a sink full of dirty dishes? Yikes! There’s nothing worse than waking up to a house that is a mess.
If you didn’t already feel stressed in the mornings, having to shuffle through an untidy home will certainly drive you to madness.
Grab the kids, your partner, and even the dog (ok, maybe not the dog), and get the entire house involved in a little late night cleaning action.
Light some candles, put on some music, and really make this cleaning time enjoyable for all.
When you get to wake up to a clean home, your family will thank you!
For roughly an hour each night, you can absolutely transform your mornings. With work, kids, household duties, and the holidays, there’s always going to be something on your plate. Get ahead of the madness, and enjoy every minute of your busy life!
Do you have a nighttime routine I didn’t mention above? I’d love to hear how you keep your priorities in check. Leave it in the comments below!
I went away for a quick 3-day vacation with my husband. This trip taught me a valuable lesson, not be so rigid and stuck to a schedule. Let me rewind a moment, my idea for my big decade change birthday was to enjoy Nashville with my husband, just the two of us. Since I was extremely busy with work, and my husband has the airline account I trusted him to book the entire trip! I LET GO OF CONTROL (gasp). The day before the trip I was so stressed out that nothing was planned, and we would miss out on everything. My friends told me to relax and enjoy the trip, everything will work out. My friends were so right. Having no schedule and pre-bought tickets allowed us not to have to rush through a museum or fly through town to meet the next time ticket. We were able to soak in the culture of the city, ask locals where to go, and most importantly enjoy the music scene. I realized having a schedule with kids is important but it’s ok to let go of my type A personality and just enjoy the trip! This trip was the best gift I could get for my 40th birthday. Taking a break from the a rigorous scheduled every once in a while, will allow you to actually sit back and enjoy life.
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business. Visit www.lifesimplifiedpo.com for more information.