Simple and Clean in 2015 December 30, 2014 Oh I am loving this break. It has been nice to reflect on the past year and think about all the exciting things that have happened in 2014. It flew by so fast! I spent all weekend purging and clearing the clutter to prepare for 2015. Even though it is a complete pain to go through all the junk, it is the best feeling in the world when I feel like my home is clean and all the hidden nooks and crannies are tended to. The busier life gets the more I need my home to stay clean and simple because when I am finished with work, I really want to be able to relax and unwind. Home has always been the place that inspires me. Even in the mess. My husband and four kids inspire me to create a space that works for them and that allows them to enjoy all the comforts of home. I have found over the years that I don’t have to be an organizational wizard to keep up with all the stuff in the home. Sure- I like a clean home, but I would not call myself organized by any stretch of the imagination (don’t make me show you a picture of what my pantry and attic looked like last week). Since I am actually challenged in this area, I try to set the rooms up so the kids and I have a chance at succeeding. With all the busyness, why not simplify in the home? Let your rooms breathe, and let your mind rest. Here are my tips for a simple and clean home in 2015: Donate items. Don’t think too hard about stuff when going through it, or else your emotional connection to items will hinder you from letting them go. Let go, I tell you. It’s just stuff. Fill the garbage bags. I filled up ten. Yes ten. I threw junk away that has no place in my home and isn’t needed. I even let the kids each fill a bag up themselves. Who knows what they filled those bags up with, I didn’t even look (yes, scary). All I know is their rooms and the play room seem so much more organized and manageable. Every object has a home. I love baskets and containers. My kids and my husband know where every toy and cord goes when it’s time to clean up. I used to let them put everything in one large basket, but now that Legos and Minecraft miniatures are in the picture, we need better organization. Invest in clear bins, locker baskets, or cool furniture that has nice storage capabilities. Label. Labeling makes things easier for the family when it’s clean up time. For me, it just makes organizing more fun because there’s a label on it…not sure why, but it makes me seem organized, so I play the part. Once a day catch all basket. I have a basket at the foot of my stairs that I put stuff in during the day that is laying around or needs to go upstairs. At the end of the day I carry the basket around and put all the items in their proper place. This helps control the mess and keeps main living areas cleaner. Once a week purge. Start a routine where you go through your pantry, closets, magazines, countertops and the refrigerator and purge. If you wait too long, it gets harder and harder to get to. What we don’t realize is that when we let the piles and stuff add up, it actually makes us less efficient and more stressed. Team effort. If you have a husband and kiddos, let them join in on the fun. If they don’t think it is fun then be creative and turn it into a game or some type of point system. I set a timer and tell the kids if it goes off they are going to get tickle tortured… sometimes that is counter productive, but it makes it fun. Some nights, I simply tell them that whatever is left out is going to get vacuumed up…this usually works as well. Whistle while you work. I love to play music while getting stuff done around the house. It keeps me motivated and allows for time to listen to good tunes. We recently bought the kids the new “Annie” soundtrack, and every time the girls clean their room they want to listen to “It’s a hard knock life.” They giggle and dance all while they are getting the job done. Be Grateful. No matter how messy or clean your house is, I believe it all starts with the heart. Choosing thankfulness is key, and when you are grateful for your home and all the things that come with it, you will view tasks and chores in a whole new light. We are blessed. May you be inspired this New Year to clear the clutter and create systems that work for you and your family. Bless you and yours, and Happy New Year!