Welcome to the fourth “block” of 52 weeks to simplify your life. In the first block we spent eight weeks exploring who we are and what we want. The second block was five weeks of dealing with our inner clutter – everything from expectations to fear to change. The third block was all about time management as we start to simplify how our lives run day to day (planning, letting go of some obligations, procrastinating).
This, fourth block of simplify your life, is all about your home and “stuff”. We are going to start this week with an audit of our homes, then we will be decluttering our stuff / objects / possessions, followed by decluttering wardrobes and then talking about clutter prevention.
Intentional living rather than minimalism
I am not a minimalist so will not be making you feel bad about how much stuff you own or want to buy. I think we need to stop and be more intentional about our purchases for sure, but there is a big difference between those two ideas. By the end of this block you will have weeded out what you don’t love, use or need, figured out what will make your home a happier and better functioning space and learned how to keep it that way.
While less stuff will simplify your life I think this can be achieved without taking extreme measures or giving up things you actually love and use. One person will love having lots of open spaces, permanently clear counters and a capsule wardrobe of 20 items in rotation. Another person is happier with their quirky flea market finds surrounding them, 3 rugs layered across their floor and investing in pieces of clothing that inspire them and brighten every day. Both of those people can be happy and free – one is not better than the other! Utilitarian and minimalist is not the only definition of simple.
Pretend you are moving
Having moved house nine times in the last thirteen years I have prepared homes we were renting for inspection by real estate agents and our home for sale for inspection by potential buyers.
When you are preparing a home you will leave /sell you suddenly go around fixing all those niggly things you know a buyer (or agent) will not accept as-is. The marks made on the walls, the screen that is flapping in the door frame letting in the flies, the leaks and gaps and “what a pain in the ass” items all get tackled in a mad frenzy. Suddenly as you are about to vacate the house it feels harder to leave as now you see it all fresh and working and decluttered or empty. You no longer feel annoyed or closed in or disappointed in your space.
I don’t want you to wait for that day.
Most of us would be more content in our current homes if we invested some time, energy and money in maintenance, decluttering, reconfiguring and freshening up.
Most of us would reduce our stress and frustration if we tackled those jobs we keep meaning to, but never prioritize for whatever reason.
Most of us would have more room to breathe in every sense of the word if we devoted a very short space of time to figuring out what we really need to be doing.
How to conduct a home audit
Print out the handy home audit worksheet (pictured above) I have made for this exercise.
Grab any other adults living in your home.
Conduct a walk-through of your entire house inside and out including garage, shed, garden etc.
Consider some of the following questions:
- In this space what do we complain about all the time?
- What frustrates us or causes us stress?
- What has been lingering on our “to-do / to fix” list?
- Is this space one we enjoy and use regularly? (If not, why?)
- Is there anything we could add to or take away from this space to make it better for us?
- Is there another way we can use this space – how do we want it to function? (be open minded instead of sticking to a room being a bedroom or a linen closet – think of everything as an empty shell that you can flexibly change)
The point of this is not to bring you down by focusing on all the negatives of your home. Focus on things within your control. If you hate the low ceilings in your house and don’t plan a renovation don’t list that here. If you are renting and some of your frustrations can’t be fixed make notes for future homes. It is amazing how we forget these things and can end up in homes with the same problems repeated (hello my tiny ovens – almost every house we have rented or bought!). For now though we are working to change how our current homes function and clearing all those little change-able, fix-able things that will definitely simplify our lives.
Two easy examples from my own audit are:
1. We have been in this house for 17 months and the shower in our ensuite was leaking out loads of water for months making a mess of the floor. After using a floor mat to soak up the water every time we finally dealt with this nagging problem. It took several phone calls to find the right seals we needed that could not be found at our local hardware store, but two weeks and $40 later our problem was fixed. We were not moving any time soon so I am not sure why we did not address it immediately, but I am glad we finally did.
2. In this house the laundry is in the main bathroom. The previous owners took their dryer mounts with them and we could not locate the ones that came with ours (having never needed to stack / raise it in other homes). I found where to order them a year ago when we had not located ours, but hesitated in ordering them – feeling it was wasting $35-40 for something I KNOW we own. Instead our dryer lives downstairs in the kids craft space that requires me walking around outside the house (often in the rain, as that is when I need the dryer) to carry the load to the dryer and then back later. For 17 months I have been doing this to save $40 – optimistically thinking the mounts would appear one day in the garage when we open a box of “stuff”. This week I am ordering the mounts!
These are little things we hold ourselves back from doing that make our lives easier and simpler. If you have many things on your list and don’t have the resources to tackle them all right now, then prioritise them and work through the list one by one. Once identified though do not ignore your list. Trust these are things worth investing time and money in now as you know some will eventually need to be fixed anyway and all of them will see your quality of life improve. You will literally be erasing stress from your life one task at a time.
Challenge this week: Conduct your home audit, decide what actions are needed and prioritise them. Once you have your list you can start creating an action plan for your home – schedule in tasks, make any needed phone calls, figure out what steps you need to take! Hire a handyman if needed or swap time or skills with a friend if possible.
Have you ever conducted an audit like this? Do you have lingering tasks around your home? What will you start with this week – one thing you can decide right now to clear off your list?
Find your simple,
Link up for week 20 – add your posts (for any week of simplify your life) in the linky below and try to visit a few of your fellow participants’ blogs to share the comment love and support.
Photo credit: home sweet home sign available via etsy seller trailerlicious