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Transitioning Your Home to Autumn

By on August 28, 2017

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There has been a lot of debate whether it’s too early to decorate your home for autumn. Typically, I wait until Labor Day weekend to pull out all of my fall decor. However, this year I opted to take my cues from nature. The weather has been cooler this last week in Michigan. The leaves are also beginning to turn. My thinking is that if nature is embracing it, so can I.

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I change out the sideboard in our dining area and add a few other decorative touches throughout the house. Seasonal decorating occurs mainly in the living room and my studio office. We live in a ranch style home, and our bedroom has a wall shelf that can you can see from the kitchen. I decorate that, as well.

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When decorating for autumn, or each season for that matter, pull out the decor that you have and sort through it. If you have something that doesn’t inspire you anymore, purge it. Choose the items that you want to use and plan how you are going to use them. Use a few elements that speak to your style. I tend to use a more neutral palate when decorating for autumn with a few pops of orange.

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Typically, I spend a few hours changing out the decor for each season and continue to tweak it until I’m happy with it. The result can take several weeks, with changes throughout the season.

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Take the time to choose your autumn decorative items and plan how you are going to decorate for the season. Use a few elements that speak to your style and then enjoy what the season has to offer.

Until next time,

P.S. – Sign up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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How to Deal with Overwhelm

By on July 6, 2017

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Just when I think that I’m caught up on things, something else gets added to my plate. Sometimes, overwhelm creeps in even though I try to balance everything. As much as I would like to complete things so they can be marked off my list, I also know that a break is needed from time to time.

Life isn’t always easy to manage. There are days, or weeks for that matter when things seem to pile up. Too much to do and too little time. When there are multiple things to take care of, it can lead to feelings of overwhelm. So, how do we deal with those feelings and find a sense of peace?

overwhelm, relax

Exercise

Exercise is a great way to alleviate the stress that you are feeling in your life. Take a break by participating in your favorite type of exercise. Exercising could involve taking a walk, riding your bike, doing some yoga, going for a run. Whatever exercise you decide to do, use the time to destress so you can get back to what you need to do.

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Listen to Music

Music is personal, and your favorite tunes can help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Put in your earbuds, or blast your tunes while you’re working. It can help to ease the pressure that you’re feeling.

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Read

Reading can be your favorite book or magazine. Dig in, and let it transport you to a different time and place. This is also an excellent thing to do before you go to sleep. Reading can help you to relax so you aren’t focused on what you need to accomplish.

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Write about It

Keep a journal to write about your day and even your frustrations. Getting them down on paper can help to ease the overwhelm that you may be feeling.

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Use Essential Oils

If you haven’t used essential oils before, it is something that you may want to try. They are a clean, and useful alternative for many different things. One way to obtain the benefits essential oils offer is to diffuse them. Personally, I like to use lavender to relax and destress.

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Have a Cup of Tea

Sipping a cup of this beverage can help you to relax when things are overwhelming. If you actually want to decompress, make it decaffeinated.

overwhelm, relax

Just Breathe

Spend a minute breathing slowly, and deeply to unwind when things are bothering you. Focus on your breathing so you can center yourself in peace, and quiet to relax.

overwhelm, relax

Life can be overwhelming when trying to manage everything that we need to do. It’s important to step back and take the time to tame the feelings of overwhelm that can creep in. Choose something that you can do to take your mind off of everything that you need to complete. By taking the time to relax, you can better focus on the task when you get back to it.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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How to Shop Without Overspending

By on June 29, 2017

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Shopping is something that I enjoy doing. Especially with my girlfriend. Each time we go shopping, we have a competition to see who can spend the least amount of money. On one of our outings, I beat her by only 11 cents. It’s a good way to keep me in check so I don’t overspend.

It’s important to stick to a budget when you go shopping. Spending extra money without planning ahead can potentially cause you to have regrets in the long run. So, how can you keep from overspending when you go shopping?

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Set a Budget

If you are planning to go shopping, it’s important to set a budget ahead of time. Especially if you are not shopping for anything specific and just going with your friends. Figure out what you can afford to spend ahead of time and stick to that budget while you’re shopping. You also need to weigh your options while you’re shopping. If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t get it.

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Bring Cash

When you charge your purchase to a credit or debit card, you can’t see the immediate impact that it is having on your account. If you use cash, you can immediately see the amount of money that you are spending. Bringing cash while you go shopping not only gives you a set budget, it also guarantees that you won’t overspend if you see something else that you want.

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Forget the Cards

In bringing a preset amount of cash, you can leave your credit and debit cards at home. This will keep you from overspending when you see that item that you just can’t live without. It’s easy to use your card when there is something that you want. You can prevent that from happening by leaving your cards at home.

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Stick to a List

Before you go out shopping, create a list of the items that you need. Stick to that list and avoid making any unplanned purchases. If you see something that you want, add it to a wishlist for future purchase. Keeping an additional list will keep you from making impulse buys. If you add it to your list, it gives you think time and you may decide that you don’t need it after all.

shop, shopping, budget

When shopping, it’s important to set and stick to a budget. It’s helpful to only bring cash, leave your cards at home, and stick to a list. In this way, you won’t make any unplanned purchases that you may regret later.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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How Journaling Can be a Beneficial Outlet

By on June 15, 2017

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My youngest son recently started a new chapter in his life. This requires him to be away from home during the week without any contact with home. I’ll admit, it’s difficult to go the entire week without seeing him, speaking to him or texting with him. I often wonder how he is doing. Journaling has helped me out during the week. I can write down my thoughts and feelings each day.

Do you journal? Have you thought about it? Journaling can be a beneficial outlet by providing a place for you to record your thoughts, ideas, and memories. So, how do you get started with journaling?

You will need to find a journal that you like. It doesn’t have to be expensive unless you find one that you absolutely fall in love with. A spiral notebook will work just as well. Or, you can use a binder and add pages to it as needed. The journal can be kept each day, during a particular time period, or as a travel journal.

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Just Write

Journaling doesn’t have to consist of all writing, but it could. The writing could consist of prose or poetry. You could even create song lyrics if the mood strikes you. Personally, I keep my journal like a diary. I add dates with writing, embellishments, and pictures. In the end, it is more of a memory journal than a diary.

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Creative Outlet

If you are artistic, a journal can serve as a spot to add your creative flair. Instead of getting a lined journal, you can purchase one that has blank pages so you can add your artistic touch. The artwork, along with your thoughts or feelings, will make a keepsake that you can enjoy for years to come.

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Picture Pretty

A journal can serve as an inspiration point for just about anything. Instead of keeping an inspiration board, keep it in a journal. Add photos or drawings that represent what inspires you. It will be a go-to resource that you can carry with you.

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Bullet It

A bullet journal is kept with bulleted lists. You can keep track of your day, goals, or wishlists. You can also add embellishments such as washi tape, stickers, and pictures to make the journal more personalized. A bullet journal can be a place to keep everything that you want to keep track of each day.

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Journaling is an outlet for you to record your thoughts, ideas, and memories. But, it can also be so much more than that by adding your own creative touch. Choose a journal, personalize it, and make it your own.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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How to Cope When You’re Missing a Loved One

By on June 12, 2017

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At certain points in my marriage, my husband has to travel for a week or two at a time for mandatory training. Although I know that he will be home eventually, it’s still difficult to be apart from him for so long.

There are times in life when you may have to be apart from a loved one (spouse or child) for a period of time. Whether it is a work trip or your loved one is away at school or in the military, it can be difficult to be apart. Sometimes, you can keep in touch each day. Other times, you could go days or weeks without any communication from your loved one. How can you cope when you’re missing your loved one?

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Stay Positive

Even though days and weeks may seem to drag,  it’s important to remain positive during your loved one’s absence to help you cope with it. Staying positive is especially helpful if they contact you. You don’t want them to worry that everything is okay at home.

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Keep Yourself Busy

The days can drag by when you have a loved one that is absent from home. It’s important to fill your day with things that will keep you busy. Find things, at home, that need doing and get them done, or find a hobby that you can take up while they are gone. Reading, either fiction or nonfiction is also an excellent way to pass the time. You could also take a walk each evening to help pass the time.

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Write Letters

If you can send letters to your loved one while they are away; do it! Even though there may be texts, phone calls, face-to-face calls, or emails, a letter can brighten your loved one’s day. It is also something that they can keep once they return home.

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Keep a Journal

Keep a journal of what you are thinking about your loved one each day. Add pictures of family, friends, or daily events, and when your loved one returns home, you can give it to them. Your entries don’t have to be long or detailed unless you want them to be. Write just enough to provide them with a snapshot of what you’ve been up to while they were gone.

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Get Together With Family or Friends

When your loved one is away from home, one of the best ways to pass the time is to get together with family or friends.  It helps if you have people to spend time with, especially in the evening when the day’s activities slow down. If you can’t get together, make some time to talk on the phone.

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When a loved one is away from home, it can certainly be lonely. In order to cope in their absence, it’s important to stay busy. Remaining occupied with other things will help take your mind off of their absence until they finally return home.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. Could you take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about our blog, Living a Simplified Life? Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You can access the survey here.

P.P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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How to Simplify Your Life Without Feeling Guilt

By on May 25, 2017

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My house is home to many family heirlooms and antiques. They add to the welcoming and comfortable feeling of our home. I mix them with more contemporary pieces for a transitional look that both my husband and I love. However, it wasn’t until recently that I was open to changing or parting with any of the antiques. In looking to downsize, our new home could never accommodate all of the furniture that we have acquired.

Memories are attached to many of the things that we own. Whether something was owned by a loved one or you received it as a gift, it can have a sentimental attachment. It’s difficult to part with these items when attempting to simplify your life. So, how can we simplify our lives without feeling guilty in the process?

Household Items

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If the item is not something that you are using, we have to ask ourselves why we are still keeping it. Perhaps, it is the memories attached to it or the amount of money that you spent on the items or even just one piece in particular. If you are not using the item, you need to purge it from your life.

Purging these items is not a quick process. After all, it took you some time to acquire these items in the first place. You will need to take the time to go through your things and make a determination of what you want to do with them.

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I wouldn’t take any steps to remove the items just yet. I would put the items in designated boxes to donate or sell, and I would wait. Why should you wait? You need to make sure that you are willing to part with these items without feeling any pangs of regret.

The waiting period does not mean that you should wait for an extended period. You need to set a specific date that the items will leave your home. It could be a week, two weeks, or a month. At any rate, you need to make sure that you have that date set so that the items will leave your home at some point.

During that waiting period, take the time to consider the things that you have purged. You may leave them in the boxes and completely forget about them. You may pass by the boxes and look through them occasionally. If any item is questionable, take it out of the box and reconsider whether you want to part with it. This waiting period gives you the time to emotionally detach yourself from the items rather than giving them away immediately and feeling regret later.

Clothing

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Research has shown that people only wear 20% of what they own. If this is the case, why do we continue to keep the other 80% in our closet?

Clothing is an investment. We spend our hard-earned money to acquire the items that we have in our closet. As a result, it’s harder to purge our clothing knowing that we won’t get out of the items the money that we put into them.

You need to take a hard look at what’s in your closet. Are there items that you haven’t worn in the last six months, nine months, or a year? If this is the case, you may want to consider purging those items from your closet.

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You should also schedule an afternoon to try on the clothing that you have in your closet. Perhaps, your style has changed, the item doesn’t fit the way that you want it to, or the clothing item has gone out of style. If this is the case, you should consider purging those clothing items, as well.

Your closet should only house the items that you love and wear on a regular basis. It will make it that much easier to get dressed in the morning.

Family Heirlooms

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Family heirlooms are one area that is tough to deal with when it comes to purging items. The items typically hold memories, or there is a feeling of guilt that you associate with getting rid of them.

You need to ask some very serious questions at this point.

  1. Do you love the item?
  2. Is the item being used?
  3. Do you have room in your home to keep the item?
  4. Does the item fit in with your current decor? If it doesn’t, can it be updated or are you willing to update it so you can use it in your home?
  5.  Do you see passing this item down to a family member?

If the answer to the above questions is no, then you need to consider giving away or selling the item so someone else can use and enjoy it.

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It can be difficult to part with the things we own when attempting to simplify our life. It’s important to take the time to go through the items, ask ourselves some serious questions, and wait if necessary. Purging items that we no longer want or use help in simplifying our life.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. Could you take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about our blog, Living a Simplified Life? Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You can access the survey here.

P.P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Decluttering Tips and Tricks printable and a Decluttering Checklist printable. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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How to Make Laundry Seem Like Less of a Chore

By on May 4, 2017

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Laundry is an essential chore that needs to be completed. In our home, my husband and I take care of our laundry, and our children take care of theirs. This is a system that we have been doing for many years and it works for us.

Laundry can be overwhelming. Especially, if you are taking care of it for multiple people within your household. There are several ways that you can tackle this task and make it less of a chore.

Smaller and More Frequent Loads

Washing smaller loads, more frequently, will keep your laundry from piling up and becoming a chore that you dread. You can add a load of laundry to your daily task list during the week and then you won’t have to tackle so much during the weekend.

Your laundry schedule could look similar to this:

  • Monday – whites and lights
  • Tuesday – darks
  • Wednesday – delicates
  • Thursday – towels
  • Friday – sheets

Throw a small load in the washer before you make dinner, or sit down to relax after work. You can easily transfer it to the dryer after it is finished and finish by folding it and putting it away. Since it is a smaller load, this won’t take very long to complete.

laundry

Sorting Your Laundry

If you sort your clothing and linens ahead of time, into separate baskets or hampers, it saves the hassle of having to sort it out on laundry day. This also allows you to see the size of your load so you can complete it before it gets too large.

Share the Load

If you children are old enough, show them how to do their own. Middle school seems to be a good age to get them started. This will teach them some responsibility and means less for you to complete. Something else that you may want to consider is assigning a specific day for each family member. Otherwise, there could be an influx of laundry on the same day. Get your child their own laundry basket and get them started learning on this lifelong task.

laundry

Instead of making laundry an overwhelming task each week, take a different approach. Completing smaller loads during the week and sharing the load can make it less of a chore to tackle and gives you the time for other things.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Organize | Simplify

How to Remain Clutter Free

By on April 3, 2017

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One of my daily goals is to clear the clutter around our home before I go to bed each night. It is important to me to utilize the organizing systems that we have in place to complete this. I am able to rest easier knowing that I don’t have to face it the next day.

Working to remain clutter free can be an overwhelming task. It certainly doesn’t have to be. There are several things that you can do to stay on top of the clutter.

Give all of your items a home.

One of the easiest ways to get overwhelmed with clutter is to have items that don’t have a permanent home. Everything in your world should have a place where it is stored. If it doesn’t, you need to question how important it is to you and what purpose it serves.

Spend 10-15 minutes each day tackling the clutter.

Take 10-15 minutes each day to stay on top of the clutter in your home. Put the items away in their respective homes. Taking the time to do this each day will save you time at the end of the week when you’re trying to take care of everything.

When an item comes in your home, another item must leave.

Just because the items that you have are organized does not mean that you should get more stuff. If an item comes into your home, another item should be leaving. When you buy that fabulous blouse that you just have to have, another item of clothing that you don’t wear as frequently should be removed out of your drawer or closet. Not only does this save space, but it also avoids having a cluttered mess that you have to contend with each day.

Donate, recycle, or toss items that no longer serve a purpose in your life.

If you have items that you are no longer using, consider donating, recycling, or tossing them. It doesn’t make sense to hang onto something that you are no longer using.

Doing these things can help you to stay on top of the clutter that invades your home. Working to pare down the clutter, as well as devoting time each day to stay on top of it will help you to remain clutter free.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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How to Declutter Your Personal Space

By on March 30, 2017

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One thing that I struggle with is the clutter on our counter tops. They end up being a drop zone for anything and everything whether it belongs there or not. It can be rather frustrating dealing with it each day.

Clutter can be overwhelming. Especially, when you don’t have the time or motivation to take care of it. With this in mind, how do you begin to declutter your personal space? There are several things that you can do to start tackling the clutter in some of the most frequent problem areas.

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1. Mail –

Mail needs to be sorted as soon as you get it. Taking a few minutes when the mail comes in saves hours of sorting through it again later.

  • Bills should be organized by the date they need to be paid so you can access them when that time comes.
  • Items that need immediate attention should be placed in a high visual area, so they don’t get lost in a sea of paperwork.
  • Items that include important dates need to be written in your planner or added to the calendar on your digital device.
  • Garbage needs to be placed in the trash can or shredded immediately. Hanging onto these items just adds to the clutter.

declutter, personal space

2. Clothing –

As tempting as it is to drop your clothes somewhere to take care of them later, it isn’t optimum when trying to declutter your personal space.

  • Clothing that can be worn again should be folded and put away or hung up.
  • Laundry should be immediately placed in your laundry basket or hamper.
  • Outerwear should be placed in your hall closet, on a hook, or in a bin.

3. Counters –

Counters are one of the first places that clutter ends up. Whether in your kitchen or laundry room, counters need to remain a clutter free zone. As easy as it is to think about taking care of something later, it often doesn’t happen.

  • Take care of items immediately and put them away in their appropriate spot.
  • Keep only the items on your counter that you use on a daily basis.
  • Avoid piling paperwork on your counter. It just creates an organizing headache later.

declutter, personal spaceSave yourself the stress and time of taking care of clutter, so it doesn’t become overwhelming. Tackling just a few problem areas can help you begin to get rid of the clutter for good.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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How to Balance Your Work and Home Life

By on March 27, 2017

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As a former teacher, I often brought my work home with me. It was tricky to juggle the things going on at home with the school work that I needed to complete. As a result, things at home would be put off until the school work was completed. It was important to find a balance between my work life and my home life.

Life can be tricky to balance. How do you effectively accomplish what needs to be done each day? Taking some time, daily, to complete a few items can help with the overwhelm that the day can bring.

1. Create a morning routine

Starting out your day with a routine can help to get your day off to a good start. Whether this includes a good breakfast, your morning cup of coffee, or checking your email, a routine can begin your day in a positive way.

2. Create a nightly routine

Get ready for the next day by preparing for it. Make sure that your items for the next day are ready to go. Choose what you are going to wear, make your lunch, and make sure that you have all the items you need in one place can help with preventing a rough start the next morning.

3. Utilize your planner daily for both home and work activities

Although using a different planner for both home and work may seem like the best option, it makes it very difficult to see the overall picture of what each day is going to look like. Utilize a planner that has multiple sections for each day. There are several planners that come formatted this way. Erin Condren and The Happy Planner are two such examples. One section can be for your home activities, one for your work appointments and meetings, and one for things that you need to complete each day.

4. Clear the clutter

Before you end your work day, straighten up your desk and clear off items that don’t have a home there.  At home, take a few minutes to clean up the clutter each evening. Taking time to do this each day will help to start the next day with a fresh perspective.

5. Take time for yourself

This is the most important item on the list. Take some time for yourself to relax and mentally prepare for the next day. You don’t have to do anything in particular. Sometimes, taking five to ten minutes just to sit and relax is helpful.

balance, work, home

Taking time to complete the above items can help to create some balance in your work and home life. They help to get your day off to a great start and end on a positive note.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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