Back to articles Simplify on the Fly by Organizing Lives

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If your cluttered life is getting in the way of big progress, then get small. Even with children back at school, work and social obligations, there is still time to chip away at your clutter. Limit what's coming in and quietly, slowly, let things out. Don't give up because you don't think you have time, or can't see the progress immediately. Keep going bit by bit and inch by inch. Soon, you'll notice more open space and begin to feel the freedom created by your small steps.


Set a timer for 10 minutes. Choose any of the following tasks. Stop after 10 minutes. Then celebrate your simpler life.

1. Donate any shoes you haven't worn in a year.
2.  Write three thank you notes
3. Remove any glasses, dishes, silverware, serving dishes or cooking utensils from the kitchen that you haven't used in the last 6 months. Box it up and write "kitchen stuff: donate after 30 days" and then put it out of sight. If you miss something, go get it. If not, donate it.
4.   Open any email that you didn't sign up for, or signed up for but don't   need/want/like anymore, scroll to the bottom of the email and click "unsubscribe".
5.  Bring two small bags to your car. Fill one with trash and the other with anything that doesn't belong in the car. Then put the things you collected from your car where they belong.
6.  Dump the contents of your junk drawer or desk drawers that you don't open frequently into a paper bag. Close the bag. If you don't need anything in the bag in 30 days ... get rid of the bag and everything in it. If you do need something in the bag, remove it and put it where it belongs.
7. Bring a box into your bathroom and fill it with anything that has expired or that you don't use or that will be expired by the time you use it.
8.  Donate all of your formal occasion dresses that you haven't worn more than once. Yes, all of those dresses that you bought for something fancy and justified the purchase by saying, "I'll be able to wear this again." You haven't, and likely won't.
9. Clear as many counter tops as you can while still taking the time to put things where they belong. Have a donation box close by in case that is where they belong.
10. Remove and dispose of all expired, stale, unwanted items from your pantry and refrigerator. Then, feed hungry people. Donate unexpired, unopened food in your pantry that you probably aren't going to eat or that you can easily replace to your local food pantry.
11.  Empty the cabinet under your sink. Wash it and then only put things back that you use.   
12. Schedule all annual medical appointments like physicals, mammograms, dental visits or other routine medical things.
13. Make a book bag. Choose 10 books you've owned for more than a year and haven't read yet. Put them in a bag and throw it in your car to donate next time you are out.
14.  Lighten up on the linens. How many sets of sheets do you own per bed? How many towels per person? If you've been saving up for guests, or other "just in case" reasons, cut down to one or two sets of sheets per bed and three or four towels per person. If you are nervous that you won't have enough, box them up for 3 months before donating.
Any of these suggestions can help you move forward on your simplicity journey, but don't wait until you think you've arrived to experience the benefits of simplicity. Skip the guilt-dwelling, soul-sucking process of focusing on everything you didn't do, or how far you still have to go. If your closet is a disaster but your kitchen counters are free of clutter, celebrate that. If your morning was stressful and hectic, but you were able to sit quietly for 20 minutes after lunch, celebrate that. If you went to the mall and overspent on stuff you don't need, but came home and filled a box with clothes that don't fit you to donate, celebrate that. Turn your focus to the ways you've made progress on your simplicity journey and use the momentum of how that makes you feel to tackle the next thing. Simplify and seize the joy!  ~ Kim & Sandra
Copyright © 2016 Organizing Lives ®. All rights are reserved and no part of this article may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means unless expressly stated otherwise, or except with the written permission of Organizing Lives®.  Inquires should be directed to
The information provided in this newsletter is for reference and education only. Although we try to ensure the information is as current and accurate as possible, errors do occasionally occur. Organizing Lives® assumes no responsibility or liability arising from any error in or omission of information or from the use of any information or advice contained within this newsletter.
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