Over the years, the idea of “simplifying” has changed a lot for me. Simplifying used to mean “finding ways to achieve perfection.” You know the feeling: you’ve spent all day working tediously and now your home is spotless, everything is in its place, laundry is completed and hung neatly in your closet, a candle is gently flickering on your kitchen counter, the week ahead is perfectly planned, groceries are shopped, chopped, and prepared for the week ahead. You’ve got this. You’ve achieved perfection.
I would pay about a gazillion dollars for that feeling right now. But with three small children (of whom two are toddlers – who should probably each count double), it’s either a very fleeting feeling or one that’s simply unachievable at this stage of life. Ok, so what do we do? Do I simply give in to the fact that this is just the season of chaos? I don’t. Instead, I redefine GOOD. My goal is GOOD, not perfect. A few weeks ago, while reading to the unbelievably beautiful book, The Life-Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson, I decided to try something new. Instead of redefining perfection during this crazy part of life, I decided to simply redefine GOOD. What does “good” look like? What is it I’m actually after with all my work and chores and plans and tasks and goals?
I’m after slow, sweet, rich, meaningful days. I know they won’t happen every day, but I’m after these moments. I’m after unplugged-ness. I’m after creativity, mess, and imagination. I’m after simple, easily executed routines and systems that are rooted in the foundation of a family who sincerely knows what’s most important. I’m after a home in which others feel loved, cared for, and restful. Redefining what you’re after changes. the. game. Now, let’s look at 2017 with fresh eyes and a fresh heart.
SIMPLIFYING YOUR SCHEDULE
1. Find a system that works for you. COMMIT. No matter what the size of your family is, managing the day-to-day of 1, 2, or 12 people is hard. With so many things pulling at our attention and requiring our time, It’s imperative to find and implement a simple system that works for your life. This might be iCal, a planner (hey, I know of a good one), a dry erase board, or a calendar taped to your fridge. Whatever you choose, commit to it. COMMIT. That means you look at it every single day, multiple times a day. You put EVERYTHING in it. All the things. Do not leave anything out. Do not skip go. Whatever you’re using WILL become messy. That is okay. That’s what magic erasers and baby wipes and pencil erasers were made for. Make your system work for you.
2. Make space. Say no. Unsubscribe. What happens when our closets become OVERFULL? We can’t find our favorite jeans. We have a hard time appreciating the nice things we own. We stress trying to get dressed every day. We buy tons of pricey shoe organizers and none of them “get us organized.” Why? Because we own 17 pairs of flip flops. Sometimes, it isn’t our lack of organizational tools that’s the problem. It’s our overabundance of things. Same can be said for our schedules. When you are overcommitted, over-stretched, and under fed / rested / fueled then it’s hard to even see straight. It’s impossible to manage a crazy schedule well. Take a few minutes to take inventory of your daily, weekly, and monthly commitments. Where can you simply remove some of these? Let it go. (Elsa said it best).
3. Make monthly lists of “must do” fun activities and memories to make. January: Take one bag from each child’s closet to Goodwill together. Visit the library to check out books. Have a movie night at home with friends. // February: Make homemade valentines. Bake heart shaped cookies for our neighbors. Update framed photos in our home with more recent ones. Each month, write out a few things you’d love to do. These should be well-filling, soul-lightening, memory-making tasks. Schedule them like you would a dentist appointment. Remember, these don’t have to cost any money at all. In fact, most, if not all, of the examples here are totally free. All it takes is a little commitment and time to invest in yourself and the ones you love.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our Simplifying 2017 series and for lots of fun giveaways, discounts, tips and more as we head into the new year. And, if you haven’t picked up your Simplified Planner yet, now’s the time! Orders over $100 get FREE domestic shipping until January 2 (and Happy Stripe is almost sold out)! Get yours before they’re gone! AND my book, Grace, Not Perfection, is on sale on Amazon for under $10 (for a limited time)!! The e-book is just $3.99! Check it out here.
We’ve teamed up with some of our favorite brands to bring you four days of amazing giveaways to help you simplify in 2017. Today’s giveaway includes a three month subscription to Spotify, a $50 gift card to May Designs (some of our very favorite customizeable notebooks- perfect to use alongside your Simplified Planner!), a monogrammed Simplified Planner bundle, and a copy of Grace, Not Perfection.
Giveaway winners will be contacted on Monday, January 2nd. Open to U.S. Residents only (sorry, International friends!).