A Simplified Life Starts with a Simplified Home

 I crave simplicity…in my home, in my mind, in all that I do. 

Those were the words that I wrote a year ago as I struggled with creating a more simplified life for myself.  When I wrote those words, I was feeling tired and stressed and knew that I had to do something to gain control of the chaos I felt was looming in my life. 

Creating a simplified life had been a goal that I’d been working towards for oh, so many years.  A lot had happened in my life and in my home,  and I was truly craving simplicity and peace.  A year ago, if I had invited you over for dinner, you would have noticed (hopefully ) a very tidy kitchen and living area.  However, if you looked in the extra bedrooms, especially the closets, you would have seen a different story.  On the outside, I may have looked like a neat and tidy person, but my closets were crammed full to over flowing with stuff.  Stuff that had accumulated from a life of raising kids, things that I had acquired from my mother and grandmother, things that were difficult for me to part with because they were filled with memories.  All of this stuff was causing me a ton of anxiety!

 A year ago, I knew that I seriously had to make some substantial progress toward my goal of simplifying my home and my life.  So, I chose the word SIMPLIFY as my “word of the year.”  You may have heard of this concept.  You choose one word to guide your life choices for one year.  I believe that focusing on this one concept in my life has made all the difference in the world.

 After a full year of focusing on embracing a simplified life, I’m pleased to report that I am quite content with my progress and my home has become the bright, airy space that I always hoped it would be.  Having gotten rid of a ton of clutter has really left me feeling free and lighthearted. and I’m beginning to find the peace and serenity in my home that I truly desire.    

How did I accomplish this feat after years of struggle?  I began with a vision of what a simplified home would look like for me.  I wanted my home to be as clean, simple and as clutter free as possible.  I also wanted it to be easy to maintain.  I wanted to be able to keep my home clean, but with a minimal amount of effort.  I didn’t want to be a slave to cleaning my home!

I scanned Pinterest for some websites that focus on decluttering your home, and believe me there are several out there.  One of my favorites is Home Storage Solutions 101 .  A monthly calendar is provided with small daily tasks for everyday of the year!  Rather than spending 15 minutes a day decluttering as suggested,  I grouped several tasks together so I was working on my declutter project as I had the time.  This solution has made my life so much more organized!  From kitchen cabinets to junk drawers, I know where to look for items, everything is organized, and I have eliminated a ton of stuff from my home!  

I know there is more to a simplified life than decluttering your home, but I had to get rid of the excess stuff so that I was able to breathe.  Now I am able to focus on other mindful activities, such as saying no to activities when all I want to do is stay home and curl up with a good book. 

Are you like I was, yearning to simplify your life.  With Spring just around the corner, it is the perfect time to eliminate some of the stuff from your life.  I challenge you to choose just one room  and make an effort to remove some of the clutter.  I promise you that if you begin this process you will feel so much better!

Steps to Simplifying Your Home

  1.  Visualize how you want your home to look.
  2.  Get inspiration from Pinterest or thumbing through magazines.
  3.  Begin with one room and focus your declutter efforts on this room.
  4.  Devise a plan and a timeline.  (Ex. – Commit to 30 minutes a week for 4 weeks.)
  5.  Have a box ready for things that you want to donate and a trash bags ready for what just needs to be thrown away.
  6.  Start slow.  Declutter one drawer or one shelf to begin.  You want to commit to something that you can complete in your allotted time frame.  
  7.  Be consistent.  Stick to your plan until your room is completely decluttered.  If necessary add extra time to complete the project.
  8.  As you declutter, get rid of the stuff.  Either donate or just throw it away! Don’t keep it in your house!
  9. If your stuck, get some help! Invite a trusted friend to help you make decisions about sentimental items.
  10.  When complete, step back and enjoy your clutter free room.  Buy yourself some flowers to celebrate your efforts and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

I would love to hear your comments on simplifying your life!  Until next time…Blessings!  Gerri

 

Slow Living – A Choice

In a world that’s filled with hectic, busy days, fast cars and fast food, stressful jobs and commitments to accomplish so many things, you might find yourself longing to just slow your life down a bit.  I am all too familiar with that feeling of living for the weekend, and when the weekend comes, being so tired you spend half of it just recovering from your week and the other half preparing for the next week. 

I so get it.  That yearning to put on the brakes and slow down your busy life.  However, I also know that you can’t just walk out on all of your responsibilities….your job, your family, and whatever else you are involved in that keeps your life running at such a busy pace.  These commitments that you have are important to you or you would not have made them in the first place. Right?

Enter, the Slow Living Movement…a lifestyle choice where people just like you are choosing to maintain a slower approach to living their everyday life.  Slow Living is creating a life that’s  more balanced, meaningful and fulfilling.  Slow Living is making the choice to pause for a minute and appreciate those small everyday moments. Slow Living is taking simple pleasure in feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, or delighting in the sweet song of a bird outside your window.  Slow Living is all of those tiny everyday moments that are often the most precious. 

So, how do you slow down the pace of your busy life?  Well, the answer is simple, yet not simple.  The simple part is becoming aware and making a choice that you want to live a slower, simpler life.  The not simple part is that it might not happen over night.  

Anyone can make a conscious choice to take a more mindful approach to life and that is definitely the first step.  However, it might take a little time for those choices to take effect, but it can happen and is well worth the effort.  By setting priorities, we can learn to take out the excess and busyness from life to make room for what is really important.  Learning to say no to certain activities, in favor of saying yes to what matters most to you.

If you are ready to slow down your life a bit take a deep breath and just sit for a moment.  Think about what you are craving in your life.  Then consider what’s keeping you from that life.  What is it that’s making your life feel so chaotic.   Remember, slow living is about making priorities.  Choosing the best and saying no to the rest.  If there is one or more activities that are simply not in line with your values, eliminate them.  Just say no!  Once you do that you are on your way to a new life of Slow Living!  

Remember, it may not happen overnight.  But if you take that first step…. then you are moving in the right direction! Bravo!

                “Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.”  – unknown

If you too are searching for a slower pace of life, I hope you will leave a comment.  I would love to connect with you!  Until next time………Blessings  GH

Rejuvenate in January!

Searching for a slower pace of living in the new year?

January brings cooler days and longer nights.  It’s the perfect time of year to slow down a bit and rejuvenate the spirit.  As much as I love the holiday fun and sharing those special moments with family and friends, I always look forward to the quiet time of January to renew my spirit.

December is filled with hustle and bustle, parties and celebrations that are fun and exciting and the perfect way to close out the new year.  January slips in like a wintry blanket begging me to just stay home, grab a book, and snuggle by the fire. 

These quiet days of winter help me to reacquaint myself with slow living and simple pleasures.  The quiet times I find during the blustery days of January allow me to reawaken by inner soul and connect with what’s important in my life, simple living and quiet moments.  No winter blues for me!  I embrace the cooler, darker days to rekindle my spirit and fill my soul with quiet.

Let’s face it.  Life can come at you pretty fast.  It’s important to take some time to step back and reflect on what brings you peace and comfort.  With the new year blossoming before us, it’s the perfect time to breathe new life into your days.

A little about me ….. I am a former elementary school teacher, teaching first grade for awhile, and later switching to my true passion, elementary art.  It was a busy, hectic life, but I adored working with children and molding their young minds.  These days, I’m slowing it down a bit and taking some time to explore my own passions, dabbling in the arts, photography, and filling pages in my journal with random thoughts about nature, gratitude and slow living.

I love the pleasures of the everyday, lingering in the small moments to enrich a busy, hectic life.

If you too are searching for a slower pace of life, I hope you will leave a comment.  I would love to connect with you!  Until then…..Blessings   GH