What are we, 5 days to Christmas? If ever the saying, “the season is upon us” applies, it’s now. Time for Christmas music, baked goods, trees and feel-good movies. But for me, all those warm fuzzy feelings are also interlaced with stress, disorganization and the feeling of being pulled in a million directions. For example, it didn’t hit me until the day before we broke for Christmas break that I needed to buy Noe’s teacher’s gifts. I’m not sure why this caught me off guard?
Imagine this, next to all the beautiful holiday packages and bags from other parents, I laid out three shiny gift cards for coffee in generic thank you cards. Winner, winner! I feel a little bad that I didn’t get more creative, but not really, teachers need coffee too, right?
This is just my way of saying that this time of year doesn’t exactly run smoothly for me. Now that I write that, does any time of year really run that smoothly for me? Probably not. Luckily I’ve found a way to help organize my disorganization, at least a little bit, and if you’re in need of a quick fix too, here are 7 ways to simplify life right this second.
I’ve written about it before but disorder and chaos propel me toward order and simplification in a way that nothing else does. Plain and simple, I feel better when the laundry is folded, the beds are made and the fridge is organized. These are simple things but ones that make a big difference when my brain is fried and my heart is a little weary.
No, I’m not going to tell you to go fold the laundry, you’re probably already telling yourself to go do that, instead here are 7 ways to simplify life right this second.
Oh and just to make you feel like we’re in this together, here is an actual shot of my junk drawer taken about 5 minutes ago. Ugh.
Be honest, what’s the one physical part of your home that is most nagging at you right now?
Run, don’t walk to that area and get to cleaning, organizing and dealing. It will make you feel so much better to have that off your mind.
Sort the junk drawer.
We all have that junk drawer that gets out of control. Take the time to control it. Move out everything that doesn’t belong. Somehow our checkbooks always end up in that drawer, they take up space, they catch on the top of the drawer, they splay open, they piss me off. Simply moving them back into the office where they belong frees up space for other “junk” to have its rightful place. Go ahead, toss the random rubber bands, get rid of the weird pieces of metal and the screws that you don’t even know what they’re to. Dump it all and feel instantly lighter.
Go through your bookmark tabs on your browser and read or delete.
I save all sorts of articles/recipes etc. for reading or re-reading later. Last week I went through and clicked on each of those bookmarks. I deleted 3/4s of them and left only what was useful. Everything else, deleted. Let it go.
While you’re at it, clean up your desktop.
Delete old screen grabs, organize files, trash random photos. Having a clean desktop makes work easier and more efficient.
Sort the mail.
Maybe this is just a problem in our household but our mail gets unruly. Our 401k and life insurance companies probably send us 10 pieces of mail each a week. The pile can get crazy and weigh on both of us. Sit down for 10 minutes, read, sort, dump, then if you have an extra 10 minutes, respond to the things that need responding to.
Another tip, toss junk mail immediately. Flyers, catalogs, credit card applications go directly into recycling as I walk back into the house from the mailbox. That way they don’t add to the mess simply by existing in our space.
Virtual junk mail is as big a pain, if not a bigger one, than physical junk mail. Delete all those random mailings from races you signed up for 6 years ago or emails about sales for stores you no longer shop at. Seeing these emails pop up everyday can create a false sense of urgency simply by grabbing your attention and making you deal with them.
Unsubscribing keeps life simpler. Try using Unroll.me if you want a free and easy way to manage your unsubscribing mission. It allows you to unsubsribe in bulk and will also wrap up all the emails you still want into one daily mailing which you can read when you want to.
Put a basket at your front door, we keep ours at the bottom of our stairs.
Use it as a dumping ground for shoes, jackets, socks, hats, toys, whatever needs to get back to its rightful place. Then every so often, walk around with the basket and put stuff back. This basket serves dual purposes: it gives random crap a short-term home and it hides everything in one spot until you have the energy to deal. It also makes for an easy place to look when items go missing.
So, there you go. 7 ways to simplify life right this second. I hope this helps lighten up the peripheral things that may be weighing down your season and if not, at least you have a cleaner house and inbox because of it.
Got any tips that work well for you? I’m all ears, please share.