Jennifer and I want to say a very special thank you to Sarah who wrote this wonderful Simple (and small) Living series. We hope you have enjoyed it and learned as much as we have. At the bottom of this post, you will find links to all of the posts in the series. Don’t miss a single one! Have a great start to your week. Lisa
Please let me know your ideas for my next series! I would love to hear what interests you and write on those topics.
I also asked you what questions you have concerning all that I’ve written about these past few months and here are the questions that I came in.
Question: Do you have a set day of the week for regular household chores, laundry, etcetera?
Answer: I would call what I do a “flexible routine.” During the school year, Monday is my big cleaning and organization day. Tuesday I get caught up on my laundry, run errands, and do a big grocery shopping trip. I do a little laundry every day because we don’t have storage for lots of dirty laundry.
During certain seasons I only get a cleaning day in every two weeks and lightly clean in between. While we are on our Summer schedule all of this is shaken up a bit and I find that I clean a little every day and shop as needed because our entire schedule is more relaxed.
Question: Do you meal plan?
Answer: Yes I do. I don’t have a lot of food storage so meal planning helps me stay focused when I shop. On Sunday or Monday evening I work on my meal plan for the week with my favorite cookbooks, Pinterest, and a three ringed binder of our favorite recipes close by.
Question: Have you read Marie Kondo’s books? What do you think.
Answer: Yes, I have completely read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I got part way through Spark Joy. What I like about Marie Kondo’s approach is that it’s aggressive. It challenges some of our ideas about what we should hang onto and she has a clearly defined method for how to aggressively declutter. It’s a great book for people who want to take their decluttering to the next level but just aren’t sure how to begin.
Have I done her entire program? No. I have applied a lot of her philosophy to my wardrobe and my kitchen. I agree with her that keeping items the “spark joy” is an important criteria when decluttering. One thing to note is that Marie Kondo lives alone (from what I can tell in her books) and one of the harder facets of keeping a de-cluttered and minimal home is doing it while still loving your family and not making them miserable.
My goal is to create a home that is a blessing to my family and doesn’t make them miserable. Sometimes my expectations have to be lowered (lower that Marie Kondo’s expectations) in order to achieve this.
Question: How do you stay motivated and self-disciplined to clean daily?
Answer: I try to think of chores in terms of how many minutes they take and when I consider this in the context of my entire day it helps me manage my time. Making the bed takes 2 minutes, wiping down my bathroom takes 3-5. Doing dishes 15 minutes. I make a list of house cleaning chores I want to accomplish and then write the number of minutes I plan to spend on each chore. I am so much more efficient when I set a timer.
I also give myself little rewards when I’ve completed a cleaning project. When the kitchen is done, I’ll pour myself another cup of coffee. Impending hospitality gets me motivated because I like to have my home clean and tidy for guests. I also like to buy a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store after I’ve cleaned my house. It’s is so satisfying to put a vase of fresh flowers out and light some candles after scrubbing and cleaning.
Question: How do you manage relationships in a tight space?
Answer: We encourage the kids to keep short accounts by talking through conflict and apologizing and forgiving one another. This is one blessing of living in a small home, conflict doesn’t go unnoticed.
When space gets tight and the kids (or Mom) need a break, a mandatory quiet time in the afternoon is a great way to give everyone a moment to breathe. Reading aloud to the kids helps everyone relax and can be very calming.
Some of my kids are more introverted, when I sense they need to be alone I offer my room for some respite. I shoo kids outside when they are in a funk. Even in bad weather they get on boots and jackets and walk around the property for a few minutes or ride up the driveway on their bikes to clear their heads.
Most recently I’ve discovered the use of music on an iPod and mp3 player for my kids when they need some alone time. It’s a treat for them to listen to music with earbuds while looking at a magazine or coloring. The fact that it cancels sound gives them a sense that they are alone even in a room full of people.
Question: How does your family handle boys and girls sharing a room?
Answer: I have three children, an 11 year old son, and daughters ages almost 10 and 7. We encourage them to use the bathroom to change and we keep all of their undergarments in the bathroom vanity drawers so they are accessible. We are in the process of building our next home and each child will have their own room so I don’t have to find a long-term solution. If I did I would figure out a curtain system that would give each bed some privacy, or a room divider.
Question: Do you think you may get so good at living small that you won’t build the bigger house?
Answer: Most of the time I’m perfectly content in our small house but there are times when I look forward to spreading out. We have begun our next building project. Even though our next home will be larger we applied some of what we learned from living in our small home to the design and layout to discourage clutter and encourage family interaction and hospitality.
I also had a question about the drawers that we purchased for storage under the kids’ beds. These have worked wonderfully. Every couple of weeks we roll them out and tidy them up a bit. I’m very pleased with how much the kids can store in them and the chalkboard labels allow each kid some personalization, which is nice in tight quarters.
If you’re just joining my series on organization and simplicity, below are links to all of my past posts. Thank you so much for reading and please write suggestions for future topics in the comments below. I look forward to joining you all again in the future.
[Don’t miss the opportunity to win a $100 Visa gift card! Follow the simple instructions at the bottom of the post, Health, Hormones, and Win a $100 Visa Gift Card! Lisa]