I’m on this ongoing journey to simplify my life so it’s uncomplicated and streamlined. I truly only want what is useful to me or beautiful.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but still, I think my younger self would have benefited from minimalism, especially with young children. We never bought into keeping up with Jones and for that I’m grateful.
So here are 10 things I think would have helped me then that I do now:
#1. Have a specific routine for morning and evening house resets. I started this with Flylady and the 15-minute rule which is to do what you can in 15 minutes. I use to house clean sporadically usually on Saturdays. Now I swish and swipe the bathroom daily, clean after each meal, do sheets on Monday, and generally do a house tidy every morning. I always clean as I cook so nothing piles up and that’s a game changer.
#2. Whenever I leave a room I look around to see if something needs to go somewhere else. I almost never leave a room without taking something. It could be some paper, or a pen, or a canning jar, but whatever it is I try and move it to where it is supposed to live.
#3. Declutter, ongoing…. never seems to stop. Really though, I’ve decluttered probably 75% of what we had including at one point a baby grand piano!! ( in our tiny house). Decluttering is like an onion, there are layers and layers. I got rid of so many ‘collections of things’ from vintage buttons to vintage fans. I think as we age we see things differently and value things differently so letting go of things that may have been significant a few years ago is easy.
#4. Less is more. I try and only have the minimum necessary. For instance, we only have one set of linen sheets, one towel each plus I have my swim towel. We have one set of utensils but I do have a very large set of sterling silver from Tiffany’s that was my husband’s mother’s wedding silver.
Previously, I would have had multitudes and back-ups.
#5. I have only monochrome colors such as white, gray, and black for the most part. I I have lots of wood accents and lots of green plants. The only color I generally have around is my Catherine Holm collection and the Easton Press books( in the living room). I learned thru this whole process too many colors or patterns are stressful for me.
I think it’s never too late to change how we do things and even why we do things. Now, at my age, I value white space, less clutter, and the ease of keeping my home tidy and clean.
#6. I meal plan and have a rotation of meals weekly. this structure helps me stay on track with food budgeting and grocery shopping. I like that it’s Friday pizza, Tuesday tacos. pasta Wednesday etc. It seems gimmicky but it saves me from mental fatigue.
#7. I have a very specific wardrobe. I know what I like to wear and don’t sweat the rest. I don’t own a dress or a skirt or any dress shoes. I wear Bombas T shirts in white, black or grey or striped. I wear black leggings or Levis. I wear demin button down shirts.I don’t have any dressy things except one or two shirts that could be used as dressy in a pinch. I have one pair of Merrells for the gym, one for walking , and a pair of Birkenstocks. That’s it. Again, I do this because I hate spending time thinking about things like what to wear. 🙂
#8. I try and keep visual clutter to a minimum. I don’t have lots of Tchotchkes around. I have some things like my Arhoj Ghosts, but I do love them.
#9. I don’t have much in the way of seasonal decor. I’ve whittled down Christmas stuff to a few small boxes, Easter a few vintage postcards and a few bunnies. Halloween is just my few vintage items which I do love too. Anything else I try and use things from nature to make up seasonal stuff like pumpkins, flowers, river rocks, driftwood ,etc. This is probably a carry over from my Waldorf days with the nature table.
#10. Only buy it if you can afford it. Only use a credit card if it can be paid in a short period of time. I don’t say if I can pay it in one month because sometimes like with our taxes, it took a couple of months to get it paid. In the past ( mostly in our 40’s and 50’s,) we had lots credit card debt. Now, I just can’t do that. We still live ( at our age) with a mortgage because we did stupid refinancing right before the mortgage crisis in 2008. We’ve come a long way with it but unfortunately, we still have a mortgage although I am extremely grateful that it’s affordable on our fixed income. We couldn’t rent a place for what our mortgage is.