The New Normal
Hey, I’m Anna. I am a wife to my high school sweetheart and stay at home mom of three kids. For so long, I felt I was drowning in messes, housework, bills, and cooking, all the responsibilities that stay-at-home parents have. One day, I decided to switch things up. I began implementing simple changes to better my life. I decided to lean into less — less stuff, more time for everything else. More time to focus on and be more present for what matters most! We’re all spending more time at home, and these are some tips that guided me to a decluttered and healthier, happier home during these unprecedented times.
Earlier this year, I began purging my house of all the excess stuff. All the things I wasted money on or just didn’t have a purpose for anymore. Minimalism, to me, isn’t about having an empty house, it’s about only having what is functional and what is loved. I noticed a difference in my life immediately. My stress levels went down knowing that every cabinet and closet had only what I wanted and needed in them! Now, when the kids make a mess, they know we could have it picked up in 5-minutes. They are more willing to do it! Their creativity grew so much with the clean space. Have you ever noticed how your kids don’t play in a messy room, but as soon as it’s organized, they will? That’s a benefit of minimalism on our brains. It helps remove decision fatigue and the overwhelming feeling we all get from too much stuff. It’s been the biggest game-changer for my family!
I mean, be ruthless. I promise you don’t need much of what is in your home. It all adds to clutter, and even if you can’t see it, it’s there taking up valuable space. Two of my most cluttered places were my cabinets and closets. I committed to just getting the excess out. I sold it, and donated it, and threw some away. I have yet to regret one single thing I’ve gotten rid of.
I know sometimes it’s hard for people to say goodbye to things. This is how I handle things with sentimental value. I allow myself one large box to keep letters, baby blankets, pictures, diplomas, and whatever tugs at my heart. One large box, that’s it. If it starts to get full, that means I have to go through it again and remove stuff. Giving myself the parameters or boundaries of this one box saves me from keeping so much I do not need. I don’t want to have 15 boxes worth of stuff, taking up space, that I haven’t opened in 15 years, and that my kids will have to deal with one day.
One Task a Day
I don’t agree with the philosophy that you need to minimize the space in your home all at once! To me, that is overwhelming! If you do one minimizing task a day, it’ll add up! Simply clearing one bookcase or one junk drawer a day can lead to huge changes. An important rule to remember though, do not organize until you minimize. Get the things out first that are no longer useful, are duplicates, or do not make you happy, then organize!
Not Cleaning, but Resetting
I started setting aside 10 minutes 2 to 3 times a day to “reset my space.” While the kids are eating lunch (or before if I want them to help), I set an actual timer, turn on some music and get the toys picked up, pillows back on the couch, and reset the house back to normal. I try to do this around dinner and before bedtime too so I can relax and have some guilt-free alone time! It can feel daunting to walk downstairs after the kids go to bed to a disaster from the whole day piled up. This way I can wake up to a peaceful space, which I’m realizing is one of my favorite things! In between the resets I set daily cleaning tasks for myself. I try to do a load of laundry every day to avoid piling up. I run the dishwasher at night so I can unload in the morning and fill it through the day. No more sink full of dishes! Win!
Saying "No" to Consumerism
Finance and saving money is a huge passion of mine. Start by looking at your accounts and listing out on paper all your monthly income versus expenses/debts. Find spots you can cut down (meal planning, subscriptions!) and look for ways to add more to your finances.
I found a lot of success on “Facebook marketplaces.” So much of the clutter in your home could equal dollars. I’ve made over $1000 selling many $5 to $25 items. You’d be surprised how your clutter is someone else’s treasure! I stopped mindlessly buying extra things that I end up bringing home and putting in a closet and never using. I have learned to be mindful of what I buy and allow into my space.
We already have so much on our minds, it’s time to automate. Automate savings, automate investing, and set goals! Knowing where your money is going and adding more to your finances is the first step, but telling your money where to go is the best part.
I often find myself using the word peaceful to describe how I want my home to feel. I want to walk in and feel at peace, not the opposite. We as parents do so much, and it can be so overwhelming, but the day I stopped trying to keep up with all the things I was being told I needed, everything became more clear. Minimalism resets, says goodbye to constant consumerism, and declutters my home to give me that sense of peace. The most important thing in the world is our families, and finding more quality time with them is the ultimate goal. I hope I was able to give you some basic steps to create a simpler, happier season of life for you and your family during these times.
About the Author
Written exclusively for bümo by Anna Horne, a stay-at-home mom of 3 and family content creator who is passionate about minimizing, organizing, and budgeting.