Inside: If you’ve tried to create a simplified home but are overwhelmed by the mess, read this post to learn 4 simple things you can do to crush the chaos.
I have a confession to make: I’m a messy person.
I’ve been a messy person my whole life. My room in high school was so cluttered it only had a clear path from the door to the bed. Often I slept next to a pile of clean laundry that I had forgotten about until I was too exhausted to care.
I brought my messy habits throughout college (where I had to jump over a pile of junk to get into bed at night) and into the early years of marriage (where dirty dishes covered the counter and filled up the sink).
But worse than the physical state of our home was how I felt. I thought that having a messy home was a reflection of me.
I felt unworthy, unmotivated and confused as to why everyone else had it all figured out and I couldn’t remember to move wet laundry over to the dryer before it started to smell.
If you are living in a state of chaos, I’m here to tell you:
Having a messy house doesn’t mean that you’re lazy or that you don’t care.
It just means you haven’t yet learned the habits to create a simplified home. Which is good news because habits can be learned!
Read this post to learn the simple steps you can take to create a simplified home of your dreams.
Create a Routine
You might be wondering “Why do I need to create a routine? I just want to create a simplified home already.”
My thoughts on this can be summed up with this quote from the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
In other words, you will see more progress by taking consistent, tiny steps.
This is where a daily routine comes in. It’s a great way to block out our day and create consistency from day to day.
While you could easily skip this tip and go straight to something tactical like creating a cleaning schedule, I highly recommend you don’t.
You see, it’s no good to create a cleaning schedule or figure out what we want to declutter, if we haven’t yet carved out space in our day to make these things possible.
We have two dogs who have been in our family for nearly a decade. They were our first children. (When were pregnant with our first child and scheduled a time to video chat to tell my parents, they had an ongoing whether we were calling just to announce we got another dog. 😂)
But now, our dogs are aging and with that, comes all sorts of ailments. A year ago, our dog Bailey started to lose function in her back legs, something that is very common in German Shepherd breeds.
She’s now to the point where she is completely unable to walk and just drags her hind legs behind her.
We bought her a dog wheelchair and despite feeling hopeful after seeing videos of dogs running with joy once they saddled up….that’s just not how it worked out for us.
Bailey hates her wheelchair.
She’s nervous, unsure and easily tires — which is something to say for this energetic dog who took tons of training to stop her from jumping on us in excitement.
We have scratches on one of our doors that infuriated me at the time, but now just fills me with a sense of sadness because I wish she was able to jump and scratch our door now.
I’ve been saying for months that I want to take her for a walk so she gets used to the wheels.
But…days or weeks would pass in between walks as she continued to regress and lose strength.
It wasn’t until I carved out time in my daily routine that we started to make some progress. I committed to taking her out for a quick walk every morning while my family eats breakfast (the easiest time for me to sneak out).
And by adding this to my daily schedule, I’ve been able to be much more consistent, only missing on days with bad weather.
Why Creating a Routine Helps You Create a Simplified Home
Before you jump into the rest of this post, sit down and write up a simple daily routine. I’m not a fan of scheduling your life down to the minute. Blocks of time work much better.
Ask yourself, “When will I take time every day to work towards a simplified home?”
It could be taking 15 minutes right after you put the kids to bed. Or first thing in the morning when you have the most energy.
You could take 5 minutes every day as you wait for your kids to find shoes.
Do whatever works best for you. Just be sure to carve out the time and commit to it.
Learn more: How to Make a Stay at Home Mom Schedule that Works
Get Rid of Clutter
It’s no shock that there’s a correlation between clutter and anxiety.
One of the first things I did to create a simplified home was to declutter, declutter, declutter.
I’ve decluttered so much, I’ve gotten rid of 70% of our stuff and I’m still not done.
I have hoarder level tendencies, which means I have extreme guilt when it comes to throwing things out. I would keep things with the intent to fix it (I never did) or because I was going to start that hobby (again, never did).
It’s taken me 5 years, and I’m a whole lot better at making quick decisions than I used to be.
If you struggle with clutter as much as I do, here are some words of encouragement for you:
A messy house doesn’t mean you’re lazy or that you don’t care. It’s just a reflection of your habits (and you can change habits).
Worse than the clutter in my house was the negative banter that went on in my mind. I felt unworthy, like there was something wrong with me.
I would look at my friends with their full-time jobs, dinners made from scratch and art projects with their kids, and I’d wonder what was wrong with me.
They were out there living their best lives and I was scrambling to throw dinner together at 6:38 p.m.
You know what was wrong with me? Absolutely nothing.
If you are living surrounded by chaos, take solace in these two facts:
- You’re not alone. In fact, a quick google search about clutter will tell you that this is something many people struggle with.
- You can change your habits.
Learn more: 5 Awesome Tips to Declutter Your Life
Create a Cleaning Schedule
Once you’ve created a routine and gotten rid of clutter, you’re ready to create a cleaning schedule.
But whatever you do, don’t go search online. You see, searching for cleaning schedules results in one very big problem:
Most people who write about cleaning LOVE to clean.
Not me, folks. I hate to clean. But you know what I love? Having a clean home.
My goal with my cleaning schedule is to clean the things on a regular basis that would explode in filth if I ignored them. This includes tasks like:
- Wash dishes every day
- Do laundry
- Cloth Diapers
- Vacuum (two dogs = lots of fur)
- Brush dogs
- Clean up toys
That’s it. You’ll notice that “wipe the baseboards” or “dust” are conveniently missing.
That’s because I’m not going for a “show ready” or “Instagram-worthy” house.
I’m striving for a functional house that is clean enough to make room for the fun stuff.
Back in the day when we used our kitchen table to store bills and other clutter, you know how often we finger painted? Zip, zero, zilch.
It didn’t happen because we didn’t have the space for it.
But now, our house is clean enough to allow room for creativity and imagination. Our living room floor is cleared so we have room to build a “jungle gym” out of chairs and coffee tables.
Even when our playroom looks terribly messy, since we keep up with it somewhat regularly, it only takes 5-10 minutes to put back in order.
Learn more: Hate to clean? Try this weekly house cleaning schedule.
Focus on Progress, Not Perfection
In a world of social media perfection, you might feel the nagging feeling your home should look like that.
Or even worse, the sinkin pit in your stomach that tells you something is wrong with you if your home doesn’t look like that.
Psst! I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Most people clean up for the camera.
This is not to say that some peoples’ homes don’t look like that all the time. I’m sure some do.
But can I tell you? Keeping your home 100% perfectly clean is not only exhausting, it also takes a ton of time.
I have friends who won’t go to bed until their home is clean…sometimes staying up until 1 a.m. to make that possible. 😱
Being a mom is exhausting enough…why make it harder?
Instead, let me offer an alternative: focus on progress, not perfection.
Perfection is a myth, it doesn’t exist. If you shoot for perfection, you will miss your goal every. single. time.
Instead, focus on the progress you’re making towards a simplified home. Give yourself some dang grace, because friend, you deserve it.
You can do this!