As moms, we all go through phases, stages, seasons of our own lives and our family’s. Ours is going through one in which I find we need to deeply declutter and simplify. I recently read, A Simplified Life by Emily Ley, and while I have followed her on social media for a while, the book was a great bonus for me. I highly recommend reading it and following her for little tips and tricks along the way. A lot of what she said, ideas she gave, were things I use myself already, but it was the encouragement from a different source than my own mind that I really needed. I find that the more physical clutter we have, the more mental clutter; and with four young and energetic children and some circumstances our life has presented us with, I need that simplicity. Simplicity of routine, simplicity of the home, an all-around simplifying of our lives.
While life with four little ones, as a family of six, seems anything but simple most days, we are searching for and beginning to find that groove. Finding little hacks that fix, or at least manage, those trouble areas has been key to our family life. I thought I would share some of our family’s hacks that make us run a bit smoother.
Finding Simplicity in Your Everyday Moments
Prepare ahead of time.
I can’t stress this enough. Have your daughter’s bag for ballet ready and in the same spot every week. Keep a mini-brush, extra hair ties, and extra tights for those emergency moments. Your kids’ soccer equipment: keep their water bottle, cleats, ball, shin guards — the whole ensemble — together in a tote. You won’t be racing to find it all ten minutes before it is time to leave for a game. If you know you have a big day ahead the following day, plan it out. Have clothes, food, papers, anything needed set out in a place you will not forget. With the craziness of morning routines, things can get out of whack when one small thing is misplaced. I keep extras of a lot of things in a tote in my car so if someone spills on their shirt or we need an emergency diaper change, it’s all there. No need for a panic. Plan your meals in advance so when dinner time rolls around faster than you have realized, you are ready and not scrambling and finding yourself pouring bowls of cereal for the second day in a row. Take the extra minutes to prepare in advance to ease the possibility of stressful moments. Know the key pain points that result in frequent frenzy, and find those solutions ahead of time!
Pare down your cleaning routine AND your supplies.
Cleaning takes time as it is, but to have to grab one product for one thing and another for another area . . . why? I cut down to ONE cleaner. I add a little baking soda for areas that need extra scrubbing. I mix a big spray bottle with the cleaner and water for everyday clean up. I add some Sal’s Suds to it for cleaning dishes. It’s so much more convenient now. It also helps reduce the toxins in our home, which is something I really appreciate. There may be others out there, but this is the base I use for all the cleaning in our home. And I don’t have to worry about my kids using it, which also makes things simpler because THEY can do a lot of the cleaning along with me.
Being that I use a cleaner that won’t irritate our bodies, I scrub my shower while I am taking one. I have time for either/or these days, and when doing it this way, I have time for both!
Have your kids help out.
Even the littlest of ones. Raising them to know they are part of the family of responsibilities has been a great start. Our kids have a real love for helping work around the house now, at very young ages. They each have to put their dirty laundry and their toys away, but then they each get one to multiple additional chores each day, depending on their ages.
Do the 10-minute tidy.
Before you leave the house, do a 10-minute tidy. You never know if someone will stop by as you’re walking in from the grocery store or picking up a child at school. You also never know if your plans will change and you don’t arrive home as planned. Nothing feels worse coming in from a long day or an unexpected outing than a complete mess of a home. I do this during the day and at the end of the day as well, so I know I will wake up to a fresh start.
Keep a routine.
But don’t stress when it doesn’t go perfectly. Life with kids is messy. Find what works for your family. Give yourself the grace to mess up a little. In the words of Emily Ley, that I hold so dear, “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.”
If you are interested in a little challenge, head over to The Simplicity Challenge. While I couldn’t follow along exactly every day and I had already done things in the challenge, I really enjoyed this!
The greatest gift to our days that often feel like a circus, has been simplifying, finding our routine, and decluttering our minds and lives. Letting this mindset flow into all the areas of our life is what has helped us find the answer to the crazy. It is a process, not something you will be able to accomplish overnight, but remember this as you start, a quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity.”