Keeping it Simple at Home

Welcome to the June edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival – Around the House cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about what we do to keep the little things from overwhelming us. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.



One of the things many people comment on when they come over is the fact that our home usually doesn’t seem cluttered. We are by no means minimalists, although I have a secretly harbored dream of being a minimalist. We have kids. I have a husband. We have a dog. And, frankly I would never be willing to give up my books. And as decluttered as we are, my home can get trashed just like any other. It seems like any time I get sick, I come out to find that a cyclone has hit the house. The good news is, that even as quickly as my home can become trashed, and it can happen in remarkable speed, we can just as quickly get everything back in order.  Here are a few quick tips on how we do this:

  • Have less stuff. Sure, it sounds simple enough, but this idea is overlooked a lot. The more stuff you have, the more stuff there is to put away, and the more stuff there is to clean. I don’t know about you, but while a may be a decluttering diva, I don’t particularly want to spend hours each day cleaning or even picking up. There are other ways I prefer to spend my time. So, clear out the excess stuff that you probably don’t even need. Better yet, don’t even bring it in the house at all. Keep your money, and your sanity, by keeping things simple.
  • Everything needs a place, and only one place, to have as its very own home. When items don’t have a home, they never go to their spot, and you spend your time moving them from place to place. That is a lot of work, and it just adds frustration. If the item is important enough that you use it, you need it, you love it, or it adds to your life in some way, it is important enough to have its very own location.You won’t waste your time playing musical locations and you will always know where the items goes. Even better, everyone in your household will know where the item goes, saving you the time you once spent answering the question, “Have you seen….?”
  • Clean as you go. This is an easy one to forget, especially when you are tired and busy. However, cleaning is so much easier if done right away. Just ask me about the time that I went ahead and stayed up late decorating a birthday cake but decided to clean up in the morning. Dried icing is not your friend. Besides, if you are cleaning a little bit all of the time, there is no build up and cleaning is easier.
  • Quick pick-ups. This is a must at our house. Five minutes can make the difference between chaos and calm. A quick pick up throughput the day is easier than letting everything pile up. With everyone pitching in, it may not even take the entire five minutes. Even on busy days, quick pick ups need to happen for us before bedtime. Our days start out so much better when we wake up to a clean house. It gives us a clean slate, and keeping everything going is much easier.
  • Be realistic. That artful display of carefully organized whatever supplies in neatly stacked containers may look nice when you first put it together, but is it really realistic? Are you going to take the time each time you need something to put everything back the way you had it? Is your family? Part of keeping things organized means being realistic in your expectations and making things easy. Keep it simple to keep it done.
  • Make things functional. The organized mail rack in the living room isn’t doing you much good if you bring mail in through the kitchen. It makes more sense to have the kids’ art supplies near where they actually work on art projects. Keep things you use often where you can easily get to them and save the more long term stored items in the out of the way places. Only keep out things you are using. If the kids tend to not play with play food when they are in a dollhouse mood, switch them out so that you only have the current item out.
What tips do you have for keeping a home simple?


photo credit: the bbp via photopin cc



Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple ideas around their homes. We hope you will join us next month!




Simply Living Blog Carnival June 2013 Call for Submissions: Around the House

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. We hope that you will join us on the third Tuesday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline will be the second Tuesday of each month.

Around the House House work never seems to end. What tips and tricks have you figured out to help keep your home running smoothly? Help others simplify their homes and their lives.

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com anddelilahfineandfair{at}gmail{dot}com, and fill out the webform by June 11. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on June 18.

We want you to use creativity and to express yourself as you see fit. To that end, you are welcome to post at your discretion with a few guidelines in mind. Please be respectful in your posts. Avoid excessive profanity and poor grammar or spelling. As the co-hosts of the carnival are all advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Simply Living through Simple Living! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways we simplify our lives.

Getting the House Organized with Motivated Moms

Photo by Wayne Wilkinson

With a new year looming, many people are looking to organize their homes. My children came to me with a request for 2012. They wanted to order Motivated Moms. We haven’t used Motivated Moms in a couple of years, but they liked the system so well that they wanted to reimplement it.

Motivated Moms has daily, weekly, monthly, and periodic chores, all on printable pages that you can place wherever is convenient. We have our sheet up on the fridge where everyone can access it. The idea is to keep up with a little bit of cleaning every day so that nothing piles up. Clutter spots are attacked in small increments so that it isn’t overwhelming.

I will say we have only ever used the secular weekly planner, so I can’t honestly attest to any of the other versions. The one we have is easily tweaked to fit our family, and the kids like crossing off things as they get them done, just as I do (nature or nurture?). No one forgets to help out, and those days when it feels like nothing is going right and I’m not getting anything done? I can look and see that I am getting things done, just perhaps not what my plans were.

The download is only $8, which is not bad for having almost everything our family needs already made into lists. Earlier this week I was able to use the code HAPPY for $1/off.

This is the way we clean the house

Photo by Traci Todd

I’ve been slacking around the house. A lack of energy and health can do that to you. It isn’t as though the house is trashed. It’s in better shape in its current state than some other houses I know. However, it bugs me. Even Motivated Moms wasn’t helping me. Looking at the list felt overwhelming in my current state. So, I decided to take a cue from mothers past and go with days of the week.

Some things remain the same. Clothes and dishes are washed daily so that I’m not being buried under a mountain of dirty laundry and dishes. We pick up every day so that life isn’t cluttered. However, the deeper cleaning – the dusting, mopping, chnaging sheets, changing light bulbs, etc. will be done by room.

  • Monday – bedroom and play room
  • Tuesday – bathrooms
  • Wednesday – living room
  • Thursday – kitchen
  • Friday – family room
  • Saturday – bills and budget
  • Sunday – office

For those things that don’t require weekly attention:

  • Week 1 – maintenance of furnace and fish/crab tanks
  • Week 2 – declutter and organize
  • Week 3 – utility room
  • Week 4 – garage and vehicles

I figure that every day there will be at least one clean room for me to sit in, and things won’t pile up (oh dust above yonder ceiling fan blades). We’ll see how it goes.

motivated moms…

After the birth of each child, it feels like the house starts to get out of control. When my oldest was born, the difference was startling. The day before he was born, our apartment was completely organized and clean. Within 24 hours of his birth, everything had exploded. There were burp clothes, diapers, baby clothes, and pillows for nursing everywhere. Dishes were backed up in the sink. The laundry was already piling up. It took a few months before the apartment came out of the disaster zone, but somehow I managed to make it back to organized living. Life continued peacefully again, including a cross country move into a house, until the birth of our second child, when once again our household spiralled into chaos.

I like having a neatly organized, uncluttered, clean home. It makes me feel good. I’m less stressed. Life is more peaceful and calm. When the house is otherwise, my stress levels rise and I don’t feel very peaceful. I needed a nudge to get me back in my groove. After hearing about Flylady, I quickly discounted it. I don’t wear shoes in my house. I have no desire to have a million (slight exaggeration) e-mails a day telling me what to go clean. Oh, yes, I also had small children.

At some point I found Motivated Moms and really liked the concept. I could print it out and post it on the refridgerator. As I had a few minutes, I could easily see what needed to be done and pick something to do according to how much time I had available. It is thorough. Everything gets done at some point. It’s guilt free. If you don’t find time to do something, it will inevitably come up again. I liked it so much I began recommending it to people and had more people trying it out.

After a while, I had my own system going and no longer needed Motivated Moms. Or so I thought. After our third child, I needed a boost back to organized life, and I reordered Motivated Moms. Eventually I got my groove back on once again and didn’t reorder. Our fourth child is 3 months old now, and I was feeling the chaos. I went and ordered Motivated Moms.

The name is a little off-putting. Motivated Moms? It could be taken to mean that mothers are supposed to be the ones cleaning. I’ve even heard from someone who didn’t want to try it because of the name. However, the truth is that in our house, I’m the CEO. It’s my job to make certain our family runs smoothly. I’m the organized one. I hold the all magical planner which has everything for our family in it.

I’ve always ordered the secular version and have been pleased. I tweak the system a bit to fit our needs. I also tend to work ahead in the week as I have time, leaving less to do later in the week. I’m happy that my house is getting back in order again. A less stressed mother is a happier mother. At $8 a year (or $4 if you order half-way through like I just did), it’s worth it to me.