Simplifying your home is the first step to simplifying your life. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by clutter, household chores and projects when your to-do list is never ending. Today I am sharing 30 powerful ideas to help you simplify and streamline your home so that you have more time for what truly matters.
How to Streamline and Simplify Your Home
Many of us feel overwhelmed by our homes and the demands of running a household.
Simplifying your home will not only make day-to-day life easier but can have long-term benefits as well, such as increased mental clarity, improved relationships with family members, and reduced stress.
I often hear from moms who say that they don’t have enough time for themselves or their families.
As a working mom, I understand how challenging it can be to balance work and family life with everything else in between (that is why I started this site).
All too often, I recognize that people are saying they are busy because they are stuck in a cycle of energy-draining activities like cleaning and organizing.
That’s why simplifying your home is one of the best ways to simplify family life – once you reduce the number of items in your home, you also reduce the amount of time and energy you spend storing and caring for those items, giving you more time and freedom for fun and relaxation.
I also recognize that telling you to “declutter” doesn’t really help since that is a huge project. That is why I decided to share a variety of ideas that will help you to simplify your home in bite sized pieces that allow you to get started right away.
By the way, I don’t believe that simplifying your home is isolated to your belongings. The process of streamlining and decluttering also applies to your routines and habits, which can be improved to make your life easier and free up more time.
It’s all about working smarter, not harder.
Let me show you what I’m talking about….
If the paper piles are driving you crazy, gather them up and sort through them one by one. Keep current files in an accessible place. Put stray documents in clear jars or boxes on shelves for sorting later, then take action on what needs to be kept, shredded or recycled.
2. Your Closet
If you’re like most people, your closet is filled with clothing that no longer fits or that you simply don’t wear. Toss out what doesn’t fit and simplify your closet by creating a Capsule Wardrobe (versatile basics in colors that match so you can create outfits from just a few items.
Stay on top of things by tackling your finances weekly. Pay all bills on time and create a monthly budget that is realistic for your lifestyle. Free up mental space and reduce clutter by going paperless and signing up for automatic bill pay through your bank. I also recommend using one credit card for all of your monthly purchases, so you only have one bill to pay at the end of the month.
4. Kids’ toys, clothes, and belongings
Create separate storage for your children and simplify by rotating toys every few months. Sort through their clothes on a regular basis and weed out items that no longer fit or that they have outgrown. When you minimize their belongings, your kids will be able to find what they need more easily and won’t become overwhelmed by too many choices.
Action Step: Get them involved by turning it into a game with this Printable Declutter Bingo.
5. Establish Weekly Routines
Kids and adults thrive on structure. From meal planning to laundry, simplify family life with predictable routines that everyone can follow. When you use routines to tackle daily tasks it creates a rhythm that allows you to flow through the week without having to think about (or remember) what you need to do.
Action Step: Start by establishing a Weekend Reset routine to get you prepared for the week ahead.
6. Decorative Items
Take a good look at your decor identifying those that are no longer meaningful or that you never use. By getting rid of excess furniture and knick-knacks and only keeping the ones you truly use and love, you’ll find your home feels more spacious and calm. When designing a room, keep in mind functionality and what you really need versus how it looks to make sure that items are multi-functional for use by adults or children.
7. Books & Magazines
When was the last time you read that magazine? Get rid of subscriptions or single copies that you have no use for. If you haven’t read a book in six months, replace it with one that fits your lifestyle and simplify by donating books to libraries or local thrift shops so these items will be passed along to someone who will appreciate them.
8. Children’s Chores
It’s important to teach kids the value of hard work and responsibility, as well as how to care for their belongings. Taking care of your family’s home is everyone’s responsibility and even toddlers can help out with simple tasks. Trying setting a timer for just 10 minutes after dinner and using that time for everyone to find items to pick up and put away and you will be amazed at what a difference it makes.
Only keep out enough bowls, plates, and utensils for your family. Store the rest of the dishes in an easy-to-reach spot when entertaining guests. This will cut down on the number of dishes you find scattered around the house and how many dishes need to be washed.
10. Pantry Items
Save yourself time and money by keeping items on hand so they don’t have to be purchased on a weekly basis. When you keep your pantry well-stocked with basics such as spices, pasta, rice, soups, and sauces, you will simplify your cooking and save money by avoiding the need to make unnecessary trips to the store.
Action Step: Consider stocking your kitchen with Minimalist Pantry Essentials
11. Floor Clutter
Take a look at all of those items on the floor: shoes, books, blankets and anything else that might be taking up valuable real estate or getting lost. Take advantage of under -the-bed storage boxes that simplify your room by putting all of these items out of sight.
Doing laundry is a task that has to be done, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. There are tons of tips and tricks to make laundry easier that I’ve shared over the years. One of the first steps is to get your family members to help out or do their own laundry. I promise that even the most resistant children (or spouses) will get on board when they run out of clean clothes.
Action Step: Learn how to get the laundry done fast!
13. Kitchen Gadgets
Make sure your kitchen is stocked with utensils and cookware that you will actually use. Declutter by getting rid of the one-purpose gadgets and appliances that you don’t need or use on a regular basis. I mean honestly, how often do you use your sandwich maker or egg poacher anyway?
Instead of purchasing different towels for each bathroom or each person in the family, but one set of towels that are all the same color. Personally, I love dark grey towels because they don’t show stains and you can still wash them with color-safe bleach. This allows you to gather and do one load of towels per week instead of finding random towels in each load of laundry. Plus you can just toss a few in each bathroom instead of sorting them by color first, which saves you more time.
15. Meal Plan
Plan out your meals for the week and simplify cooking by sticking to items you already have on hand. Try purchasing produce once a week and planning all of your dinners around that, and then plan some easy snacks and desserts using what you already have in your pantry.
Action Step: Start with Meal Planning for Beginners
16. Set Up a Family Command Center
A family command center is a great way to simplify your life and home in general. Set it up in a high traffic area like an entryway or mudroom. For a basic version, all you need is an erasable calendar, hooks to hang purses and backpacks, and some mail organizers. Use that space for everyone to drop off the day’s mail, leave notes, keep track of special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries. It can act as your dropzone when everyone gets home from work or school.
17. Use this Minimalist Mantra
Use this mantra: If you haven’t used it in 6 months or a year, I’m probably never going to use it. It’s time to get rid of it.
Action Step: Download the 30 Day Minimalist Challenge to help you clear out the clutter
18. Commit to Clear Counters
Having a clear countertop makes your kitchen seem bigger and look so clean. Promise yourself to keep your counters clear and you will feel so much more calm and relaxed when you’re in the kitchen. This habit takes just a few minutes each day and has a huge impact on your overall mood.
19. Homework Routine
Homework doesn’t have to be a battle and it certainly doesn’t have to take hours every night. Set up a homework routine that works for your family and lifestyle. Start by limiting distractions, such as TV and phones, during homework time. Also, be sure to choose a time when you’re not rushed or frustrated. Surprisingly, for a lot of families, the mornings are a better time to do homework than the evenings when everyone is exhausted from a long day.
20. Connect as a Family
As your kids get older, it’s easy to let technology take over. Instead of spending time with each other, you all sit together in front of separate TVs or devices. Make an effort to spend some time together doing bonding activities on a weekly basis just talking, playing board games, or enjoying outdoor activities.
21. Practice Gratitude
When things feel hectic, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Practice gratitude by noticing the little things in life that bring you joy and simplify your mindset. Every night before bed, write down 3-5 things that you are grateful for that happened during the day.
22. Minimize Mealtime Chores
Serve your meals directly from the pots and pans they are cooked in. Buffet-style meals simplify mealtime because there aren’t a bunch of serving dishes to clean. Plus your kids can get up and refill their own plates without disrupting the adults at the table.
23. Simplify Your Schedule
Plan your week in advance and simplify by slotting in only the activities that you absolutely must do. Cancel or decline any unnecessary appointments, lessons, practices, and meetings that don’t need to be on your schedule.
24. Skip Weekend Chores
Keep your weekends clutter-free by tackling a few simple chores every day (instead of in one big weekend cleaning session). This way, your weekends are free to relax and enjoy!
25. Morning Routine
The first hour of the day sets the tone for your entire day. Establish a morning routine that helps you feel calm, grounded, and prepared for the day ahead. Start by making a list of what you need to do each day before 8 am, then create a schedule. Avoid wasting time on tasks like scrolling through your phone that can be done later.
26. Evening Routine
There are two secrets to a good evening routine. First, it should tie up any loose ends from the day. It should also include a few steps that give you a head start on preparing for the day ahead. A good evening routine doesn’t have to take hours either. Toss in a load of laundry, start the dishwasher, pack school lunches and pick out your outfit. Just a few simple steps will make all the difference in the morning.
27. Tidy Up As You Go
Don’t underestimate the power of keeping small messes at bay. While it’s perfectly fine to have a few toys scattered here and there, keeping a tidy home doesn’t mean you have to constantly be cleaning. As soon as you notice a mess, take 2 minutes to tidy up instead of waiting for the chaos to accumulate.
Begin to limit the amount of time you spend on technology in your home. You may also need to consider whether or not you need all of the tech devices you own. Instead of watching TV, read a book. Instead of scrolling through social media on your phone, take a walk outside. Unplugging will help simplify your home and simplify your life. When you’re interacting with the people around you instead of a screen it makes for a much richer experience!
29. Buy Fewer Toys
Children often enjoy the same toys over and over again, so don’t be afraid to pass on those impulse buys at the store. Set up a simple toy rotation full of open-ended toys that your kids will love. Invest in quality items and outdoor toys that encourage them to be active.
Action Step: Start a toy rotation system to help declutter your children’s toys
30. Spend Less
Don’t be afraid to say no to things you don’t need. Always create a list before you go shopping and remember, if it’s not on the list, you probably don’t need to buy it. This will help to reduce the amount of clutter coming into your home and will allow you to keep a neat and tidy home that you enjoy.
31. Make One-Pot Meals
Save time and make mealtime a breeze by making one-pot meals. They typically take less time to prepare, cook, and clean up. Cooking everything in on pot or pan means fewer dishes to clean. Plus it’s a lot easier to convince the kids to do the dishes when there’s only one.
32. Host Family Meetings
Running a household is very similar to running a business. Many decisions require the entire family’s input. That means you need to have a meeting! Make it a weekly habit and take the time to discuss problems and schedules. It’s also a great time to set family goals and delegate responsibilities.
Action Step: Schedule a Family Goal Setting session to get everyone to work together.
33. Use the Power of Bedtime Routines
Create a nightly bedtime routine so that your children know exactly what to expect each night before hitting the sack. It’s also a great way to get them excited about going to sleep! Establishing regular habits helps both parents and children get more restful sleep, which means everyone gets more time for fun things during the day! The energy in your home will feel more calm and relaxed when everyone is well-rested.
34. Run Errands in Bulk
If you find yourself running errands on the weekends, why not simplify your life and consolidate? Plan a mega-errand in one day per month. These errands should include picking up dry cleaning, dropping off donations, picking up groceries, etc.
35. Use Drawer Organizers
Rather than having drawers that are filled with items in a jumbled mess, organize and streamline your home by placing drawer organizers in dresser, kitchen, and bathroom drawers to keep similar items together.
Action Step: Check out our favorite drawer organizers for each area of your home
Final Thoughts on Simplifying Your Home
Simplifying your home doesn’t have to be a colossal undertaking. It’s all about finding the right balance between maintaining order and enjoying life. With just a few simple steps, you can begin to reduce the stress and overwhelm you feel from a cluttered and chaotic home.
If you’re interested in how simplicity and balance can help you to enjoy motherhood more, be sure to check out these posts: