I've been doing my forward planning for 2024 and also I have a new website so please take a look around. And please note whenever a website is new or redesigned there are small things that crop up so it may not look perfect nor function exactly as it should at the moment but I always do my best to make things correct. My goal is to bring you lots of practical + pretty goodies and resources this year to help you streamline your life, so if you are interested in those topics, please be sure to subscribe to get my posts in your inbox. My subscribe form is at the bottom of every page on my website.
I'm on a bit of a ramble here today, but it's all good things.
My husband Steve and I have spent the last 4+ months streamlining all our possessions due to a new adventure we are embarking on sometime in 2024. Not one stone has been left unturned! Even with all my past organizing work, many personal relocations, the organizing knowledge I have written about in my eBooks, it has felt like a lot of work and admittedly there have been a lot of sore muscles and fatigue now that we are in our mid-60s. And we didn't have a large home and garage to declutter either. We live in a small home of 748 SF with three small storage sheds outside and no garage, plus we are what I call "perpetual declutterers" all the time to keep our possessions and clutter under control since we both like our home tidy.
If you are in your 60s too, or even older, may I suggest not waiting any longer if you are looking to streamline your current home or are downsizing to move. Honestly, when I think of the huge homes my fellow Americans live in, and their full-to-the-brim garages, I think they just might die of "stuff-itis" before they'll be able to get it all cleaned out, or the physical decluttering/downsizing process alone will maybe kill them! And guess what? Someone is going to have to deal with the mess after they are gone, and usually that someone is burdened by it all so please do your loved ones a favor and take care of your own stuff sooner than later while you are still living. And remember that when you do declutter, you'll have much less home maintenance and cleaning to do and can then have time to do more FUN things!
Not sure where to start decluttering? Everyone relates to someone different, so here are some various resource people so that you can find one, or more, really organized people that you relate to so that you get going! I don't know these people personally, but based on what I know about organizing myself, they are all good at it!
I have an eBook on dealing with pesky clutter challenges. I love antiques and thrift stores, so much of my eBook focuses on how to use dollarwise Goodwill containers etc. to tidy up your home. (But don't buy too much new stuff in thrift stores to add to your clutter!)
If you prefer to watch videos, Dawn at The Minimal Mom has an excellent You Tube channel and a great list of 500 things to declutter in your home. Dawn admits she can be a natural messy but she's figured out what to do about it so kudos to her as her home looks great!
Also, Andrea Dekker is another great "Mom simplifier" of all things kids and home. An organized person her whole life, she's a taskmaster and "energizer bunny." She lives in a cute farmhouse where she is great at repurposing everything to both save money and make her home a cozy welcoming place for her family.
Think there is no hope for you to ever get your home decluttered? There is! Robin at Faith and Flour is living proof after she confessed on her You Tube channel about how she formerly struggled as a "slob" as she calls it. Not anymore! Robin is now a master at cleaning and organizing her lovely home and running her entire lifestyle because she has learned the skills. Robin has great travel carry-on-only-bag packing videos too. Kudos, Robin!
I have always said that organizing is a skill that you can learn. True, some of us are likely a little more prone to "organized DNA" I think, (I'm from a long line of orderly German ancestors, for instance), but still, like anything, you can learn. I am also a past school teacher so I know this to be a truth that things are learnable, even in the toughest of students. Maybe you'll never be perfectly organized, just like I will never be the perfect weight of a super model, but you can at least improve. (And I'm having celery sticks for lunch today!)
Kaitlyn at The Simply Organized Home does a great job living with two boys and a husband in a small-ish and lovely simplified home. She has a wonderful home school room with a cute sign, "I had a mother who read to me." How dear; touched my heart as a former reading teacher and tutor of kids who struggled to read. And how her sons share a small bedroom is great too. Here's how she did that. Kaitlyn, you're an organizing/simplifying wow-Mom in my book!
In addition to learning from blogs, You Tube, and books, these people can teach you to get organized/declutter privately if you wish. (I no longer do any kind of organizing consulting or coaching; I just write.) True, their tutoring/coaching does not come cheap, but consider how much time and money you are probably wasting being disorganized. Not to mention frustration.
One of the ways I have simplified my own life going forward this year is just using a journal (photo at top) to keep track of my tasks and "brain dumps" of ideas. I realize many like to use their phone or computer for their TO DO lists etc., and I do that sometimes too, but I personally still favor a spiral (floral for me!) notebook. I tabbed my new one with TO DO, TO BUY, KBI, and that's good enough. That way I can put my stream of consciousness thoughts down on paper no matter where I am in the house or if my computer is not turned on so I don't forget something I need to do or I get a good idea to write about. And I can toss my journal into my tote bag and be gone.
I've long been a list maker to get organized and my husband is too, only he usually uses spreadsheets, which I don't like to use myself, but to each his own method as long as it works. For me, my notebook method avoids "loose lists" floating around. When a list needs to be rewritten, I just tear the page out, copy any things that still need doing and keep adding new things. Rinse and repeat. Low tech? Yep.
I used a Franklin Planner in my younger years, and really liked it, but now that I am a senior on my own schedule, I no longer want to "time block" in fifteen minute increments, thank you very much! I do love Franklin's "Blooms" pages though and it's especially a great planning system if you are working and trying to run a home and family at the same time.
Ultimately, here's the point of organizing and simplifying: Figure out what works for you so that you maintain it. You can read a million articles, blog posts, or watch scads of You Tube videos on organizing and decluttering, but the bottom line is you just have to figure out what works best for your personality and lifestyle. That takes trial and error sometimes, but don't get discouraged because eventually you do figure out what works for you if you keep at it.
News alert: As you go through life, no matter how much you simplify, (unless maybe you live out of one small suitcase), you will always need to declutter some to maintain things because life ebbs and flows and stuff that creeps in one day must go out. In other words, decluttering, to some degree at least, must be a perpetual task over your lifetime, in my opinion.
One of the blessings of maturing is you are viewing life in the rear-view mirror and I can tell you as a senior/Boomer that life is incredibly complex these days compared to when I was young. (Like you needed me to point that out!) Streamlining every area of your home and life just makes things easier and gives you at least some space to breathe.
Something fun: When I was a young organizer and seminar instructor in the 1990s, I attended a several days workshop/retreat at the home of veteran professional organizer and author Stephanie Culp, who was one of the founders of NAPO in the 1980s. Her book, Streamlining Your Life, is still one of the best books on the topic, I think. Yes, there may be some dated things in there since so many years have passed since the book was published, but much of it still applies. If you are struggling with clutter, buy this book.
Organizing would be dull if you never enjoyed life or made it pretty. Just a little, my dears! One of my favorite rewards and treats is tea. My favorite tea recently is Steep brand. You can even visit their beautiful Charleston Tea Garden in Charleston, SC.
Wishing you a wonderfully streamlined year filled with less clutter, more calm, and more fun!