Getting rid of 80% of your possessions can total A LOT of stuff. So how do you minimize waste when possible and do your best to put less in the landfill? Sustainable living and simple living go hand-in-hand!
Try one of these four ways to give something a second life…
ONLINE: Facebook Marketplace, Local Sales Groups / Swaps, Poshmark, Mercari, Kidizen, eBay | IN-PERSON: Consignment stores, pop-up events (lots of great kids ones out there!), garage and yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, auctions
Goodwill, Salvation Army, local shops, churches, family organizations, returning to work (ex. Dress for Success), animal shelters (old sheets, towels, blankets) [see my stories for more info on this!]
Special occasions, hand-me-downs, ask family/friends if they need or are looking for something, use a local service like buynothingproject.org
Paint decor, move it to a different room, refinish furniture, use something unused for something else (ex., an unused cute coffee mug as a pencil cup)
After the chaos of the holidays and the kids entering new stages during the first few months 2022, I have 4-5 boxes to donate - but, getting rid of that clutter is one way to avoid that dreaded cycle of it creeping back!
Have you given something a second life recently?
Tidy Tip - Go Backs
Ever work in retail? I did quite a while ago! "Go Backs" were a big part of it - anything behind the register that needed to 'go back' to its place - returns, items customers didn't want, etc. I'm sure you know of this system, but have you ever used it at home?
I have a small basket in our living room I use for little things that get left around, BUT, when my kids' stuff gets excessive, they both get a bin, I fill it up and then we work together to put it away (I do most of it for my youngest!).
My favorite things to use as temporary bins are foldable crates - I have a few from both Green Made (InstaCrate) and Clever Made (Clever Crate) (bought at Sam's Club and Costco). See how they fold totally up in that second pic? I usually keep them in the car for groceries, shopping, etc.! They store easily without taking up much room, are stackable and have lids.
Do you have a "go back" bin you use at home? What about a foldable crate? (HIGHLY recommend!)
The Nightly Tidy
I walked in the laundry room earlier and was shocked at how clean it looked in here - those towels, rags and other random items had been sitting for a few days.
Even if it's just for 15 minutes, picking up some of the lingering items around your home once the kids are in bed can make a huge difference in your mood and mindset the next day - a quick reset. I don't do it every night, but inevitably, it makes the next day run more smoothly and feel less stressful when I do.
Remember, it's normal to have stuff out! You LIVE in your home! The goal is to make it easy to pick up and maintain so you can do so quickly and not waste excessive amounts of your precious time.
I've got a few tidying hacks coming up this week! What do you struggle with most when it comes to keeping your home tidy? Tell me!
Kitchen Gadget Chaos
Storing kitchen gadgets can make you say, "What the fork?". Here are a few tips:
👩🍳 Declutter these like CRAZY - be honest with yourself; (see: the mortar and pestle I used once and likely will never use again) *especially* before you buy any bins/containers!
👩🍳 Keep what you use closest to where you’ll grab it
👩🍳 Don’t overcrowd bins; give everything a designated home
👩🍳 Maintain/repair/replace tools you use and find valuable in your toolbox
Some choose to have bare counters. I cook daily, so I don’t mind tools I use on my counters:
🔪 Utensil crock
🔪 Knife block
🔪 Salt, pepper and sugar crocks (these are SO convenient!)
Containers are from Ikea and Target- between $2-$4 for multi-packs!
I’ll take you through my kitchen in stories later for some other fun kitchen hacks you may want to try.
Do you struggle with organizing your gadgets?
HELP. My child just WON'T.LET.GO.
🧸 Establish that when one toy comes in, one goes out [immediately choose one toy to leave when a new one comes in]
🧮 Discuss opening up their space to have more space to play [create a special area to display (fewer) toys beautifully (whatever this means to you!) - get your child excited to go to them]
👦 Talk about giving items that were once loved a second life to someone else who will love it too [donate, gift, sell]
⏰ Get them excited about having more time to play [and less time cleaning up or looking for things]
💙 Encourage them sharing WHY items are favorites [what's most loved about them and why are they special to your child?]
🤔 Discuss the importance of making choices [give them "the power to choose" one item versus another]
Observe Your Child
So how do you approach minimalism with your children? Nervous? You don't have to be. The easiest way to figure out what you can minimize, declutter, organize and systemize is to OBSERVE. Something you probably already do all.the.time.
Teaching a child to let go gracefully and have a good relationship with their possessions is a learned skill that many young ones need help (maybe A LOT) with. By observing what they gravitate towards as you declutter, (their favorite types of toys, most-loved characters and things they go to frequently) you can do your best to avoid upset and hurt feelings. The goal is to avoid making them feel like you’re taking away, they’re “in trouble”, or you’re trying to get rid of their favorite things.
Struggles with "Kid Stuff"
Kid's stuff. The little pieces. The piles. The stuff they play with that aren't actually even toys (I'm looking at you, rocks and cardboard boxes!).
Not to mention the (very generous and thoughtful) gifts from family and friends. The (LOTS) of laundry. The kitchen supplies and utensils. I could go on, but you get it, so I won't.
I put the kitchen set (Christmas gift) in our kitchen for now, so we could "work together". Our wonderful family gifted A LOT of fake food and kitchen accessories for birthday (October) and Christmas - two weeks ago, I put a lot of it in the toy bins to see what could happen... Let's just say the current amount of fake food in the bins has been cut down by 2/3. She's still thrilled, plays with it multiple times a day, and reaches for the cupcakes, donuts and pizza instead of the veggies.
In one word, tell me, what is your biggest struggle with "kid stuff"?
Making the Minimalist Choice
You’ll always have to take care of your home, so why not do it in the most efficient way possible to make room in your timeline for other things? Things like spending time with your family and actually enjoying it - instead of being present in face only when you play Monopoly on game night because you can’t remember if you paid your credit card bill when it was due last week and you’re internally panicking.
The Minimalists came up with the 20/20 “rule”, which is an ideal way to approach whether or not you should keep the “just-in-case” items that we tend to keep around for that exact reason - just in case.
I’ve adopted this rule, but changed it a bit to fit our family’s needs - the $15/15 minute approach.
The idea is, if you can replace the item for less than $15 in less than 15 minutes, it’s gone. If you need it, like REALLY need it, you can replace it down the road, BUT the majority of those items, you won’t even miss.
Consider the following...
What to Declutter?
Although I can’t tell you exactly what to declutter, I can tell you where to start - the “easiest” to “hardest” areas of your home; it can vary from person to person (Want a more specific approach for *your* family? Have a call with me!).
The “snowball effect” often takes over when you get rolling and start to see progress - easy areas get decluttered quickly and harder areas get easier.