I decluttered some spaces in my kitchen that I’ve needed to simplify for a long time. The top of my fridge, my island, and the dresser we use as storage in our kitchen. It made me so happy to see those spaces clean and pretty again.
Simplicity is not just things. Behaviors and activities can clutter up our lives. Those things that we are afraid to not have enough of can potentially become overwhelming. When I thought about it this way, two things came to my mind, education and socialization for my children, but there are at least 7 areas in our lives we can simplify in order to find more joy!
Declutter Your Physical Environment
There are as many declutter methods as there are people. Find a method and philosophy that aligns with your lifestyle and get rid of unnecessary items in your home. The physical environment you spend your time in is going to impact your productivity as well as mood.
Physical clutter turns into mental clutter. Everything you own is adding to your unwritten to do list–the one that’s in your head–adding to your mental clutter. Emotionally, you may feel guilt, overwhelm, and frustration. We can stop feeling guilty about wasting money on things we don’t use if we get rid of them and practice minimalism when we go shopping. Stop and think about whether you would rather have the space and simplicity in you home or another item and the value it will add to your home. Sometimes the purchase is worth it, but more often than not it is over rated.
The Simple Health regimen
Too many off us fall into the trap of buying the next thing that catches our eye without following through with the last thing we bought. Consistency is the key here. If you no longer like a product or it’s not working for you, throw it away! You won’t try it again, like you think you will. But if you can’t stand the thought of tossing your expensive supplements or health products, set a date when you are going to start them again, whether it’s today, or two months from now.
The key to creating a simple health regimen that works for you is to not get too specific. Go broad and get to the root of the problem. I used to get a vitamin for every symptom, now I let my body do that and just focus on keeping the main things balanced! There are three pillars of health that we should all consider: gut health, inflammation, insulin balance.
Did you know, if your gut isn’t healthy, you won’t absorb all those expensive herbs and vitamins you might be taking? Heal your gut first! Reduce inflammation so you don’t continue to damage your gut, and balance your blood sugar to help keep inflammation in check. The Triplex is what I started with to do this, and it made all the difference!
Simplify Children’s Education
As a home educator, I can potentially overwhelmed my children with curriculum and worksheets and projects. More is not better. I can see the value of focusing on a simple yet quality education. I can release the need to check every single box in their planner, and instead, listen to them when they are getting tired and are ready to move on to something else.
Incorporating play, reading aloud, and inviting them to discover ideas and skills on their own is so important.
Similarly, public school can put a lot of pressure on a student to do more and be involved in more clubs, extra curricular activities, and more difficult classes. While education is valuable, so is childhood. Preparing a child for life is more than how many courses he’s completed.
Simplicity in Socialization
With the choice to homeschool, I’ve worried that maybe my child would be happier in a public school setting with the opportunity to interact with children His age every day. We drive by the school often and I see the children outside playing and almost feel guilty until I remind myself that recess is only a fraction of the public school day and that my boys enjoys hours more outdoor time because of my choice to homeschool them.
I know there are opportunities to socialize as homeschool groups and coops, and I plan to incorporate those while being mindful that we don’t over-schedule and clutter our precious time in the name of socialization. We are naturally social people. We learn to socialize at home, with family, at church, at the grocery story. Life is interaction with people! We don’t have to overthink it, but we can use these every day situations as opportunities to teach social skills.
Simplifying your own social obligation is important too. As an introvert, I know my limitations, so you extroverts may not believe this to be valuable, but just as I don’t stay at home 24×7, you can’t be gone every day of the week either. Like everything else, this will look different for every family.
Simplicity in finances and spending
Start using a budget! If you are both onboard, this will really simplify your financial decisions. If it’s not in the budget, it’s not happening! Simple. If it is in the budget and you value the experience/item enough the part with your heard earned money, go for it!
Make a list of your priorities and save up for big items. These purchases will feel more special if you wait for them. More about budgets here.
Simple Joys of Family Time
Family time doesn’t have to be a special event or expensive venue. Family time is my time spent together with a positive interaction. It can be work, worship, or leisure. It can be at home, outside, or anywhere you want it to be. Here are some examples to get you started.
- A picnic in your yard
- A walking trail
- A swim in the creek
- Puzzle night
- Reading a book out loud
- Bake together
- Yard work
- Decorate for the season
- Building yard furniture
- Decluttering a space (make it a party!)
- Hot chocolate
- Snowball fight or build a snow man
- Build a fire and roast hot dogs
- Camp in the living room
- Camp in the yard
Simplify Your Relationships
Our relationships are a big part of our lives. To live a more simple life, we have to live in harmony, set healthy boundaries, give up façades, and stop unhealthy relationship habits.
Use the Bible as your guide and talk to a trusted counselor when you need specific advice about a relationship. Learn about yourself and how you interact with others. Do you have any weaknesses you can work on? Mine is and always has been expressing how something makes me feel, and letting people mistreat me.
Love your neighbor as yourself.Matthew 22:39
Forgiveness is important, too. We can go through life carrying around a load of offenses and baggage. God has given us the opportunity to leave it all at the cross and let Him work it for our good.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for goodGenesis 50:20
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcomeRomans 12:19-21