6 Tips For Keeping Your Home Clean And Clutter-Free All The Time

Keeping a clean home in your daily life can be quite exhausting. Even to those who are stay-at-home parents or work from home, cleaning can be low on the priority list. However, in order to maintain a balanced lifestyle both in and out of the home, it's essential. You don't have to deep clean everyday, instead choose small steps each day to make the burden lighter. These six practices are simple enough that you can put them to use right now. 

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1. Pick Up As You Go

This is key when it come to keeping your home clutter-free. Yes, it can be irritating (especially when you feel like you're constantly nagging others to do it!) but its a great way to keep everyone responsible. Use this method throughout the day so that by nighttime your work is practically complete. 

2. Use A Chore Chart

Whether you purchase a pre-made chart or create your own, utilizing one is a handy way to keep yourself and everyone else informed about chores around the house. Assign names to each chore or order them based on priority; daily, weekly, monthly. Either way, you'll create a routine for housekeeping that will make it easier, more efficient, and less stressful.

3. Designate Areas For Specific Functions

Has that dresser in your front hallway become a messy catch-all and the OCD in you just can't stand it? Try this: put a bowl there and embrace what its already become. Does your mail always end up cluttering the dining room table? Then put a basket there and name it just that: the mail box! By giving in to seemingly negative tendencies, you can transform them into an opportunity for cleanliness and organization. 

4. Keep The Number Of Items In Sight To A Minimum 

This may sound like an obvious tip, but I assure you that it not only creates a more welcoming home environment, it also gives you mental peace. Of course items that are functional and necessary should be displayed and used. But other items such as unused toys or books, seasonal items, holiday decor, etc. should be kept in storage (in whatever form that may be). Ask yourself, "does this have a use in my daily life?" Limiting the number of items in the open forces your to separate what is extra from what is necessary. 

5. Rearrange Rooms 

Your couch isn't screwed to the floor, so don't be afraid of rearranging the setup every now and then. You may discover an arrangement you like better. My husband and I rearrange our living room and dining room every few months and each time we think, "why didn't we have it set up like this before?". Plus it's an opportunity to minimize and create new white space. You may also find long lost items that you either don't want or items that you love and want to display. 

6. Donate Often 

Donating clothing and other items is a great way to give while decluttering your own space. Through donating, you may be creating more jobs, giving to those who cannot afford. How often and what you donate will vary, but some realistic goals would be once a month, during spring cleaning, or clothing drives at a local church. You can donate items that are no longer useful, clothes or accessories no longer consistent with your style, or anything that fails to make you happy.

May these tips inspire and motivate you to keep a clean and stress-free home always. Remember, it's all about the mindset: when you stop thinking of cleaning as another thing to do on your life and start embracing it as a value, it becomes a natural extension of your daily life. And don't forget the whole family, household, apartment, or dorm is involved. 

Tips For Creating Your First Capsule Wardrobe

*Scoll through to get your FREE guide to simplify your closet!*

Let's get one thing out of the way before anything elseI am not a fashionista in any sense of the word. I've never been one to spend excessive amounts on clothes- in fact I'll usually wear the pieces I have into the ground before I go out and buy new things. I love thrifting and garage sale-ing. Ask my husband- he usually has to tell me to go buy new clothes. 

Don't get me wrong, I love dressing up and looking like I put effort in to myself. I love clothes and the way they individuate people and are a little bit like an art canvas that you wear around on your body. BUT clothes are not my "thing" and try as I may I'll never be the girl who has a closet full of brand name pieces that she can effortlessly pull off- to the envy of every one else in the room. Shopping- and all the options and styles out there, kind of stresses me out, honestly. BUT, despite my low-maintenance approach to clothes, I've completely fallen in love with capsule wardrobes. 

Wait, wait. What is a Capsule Wardrobe in the first place?

When I first heard about the growing trend of creating a capsule wardrobe, I was skeptical. I mean, purposely choosing to wear the same set number of pieces for a whole season seemed a little bit ridiculous and kind of needlessly "strict".

But then I read more. As you all know, simplicity and minimalism are both very important to me, as is anything that helps to put the focus onto the immediate moment and away from unimportant things.

That is kind of what capsule wardrobes aim to do. I read Unfancy, a blog by Caroline Rector who has largely spurred the movement on. She defines a capsule wardrobe as "a mini wardrobe made up of versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear". From there, I was hooked. I had never really thought about intentionality and clothes being compatible and the notion of capsule wardrobe completely opened my eyes to something that I think can be very healthy and beneficial.

Rector's capsules are usually around 37 pieces (EVERYTHING. Clothes, pants, dresses, shoes... except workout clothes, accessories, underwear, undershirts and special occasion clothes) that she can easily mix and match to create outfits for an entire season. Some people have even gone as extreme as creating an all seasons capsule, or limiting the number of pieces even more.

The beauty of capsule wardrobes is that they are totally customizable. If you don't like the basic, neutral look that Rector's capsules feature, include clothes that are more your style.It's the premise that stays the same: living with less in every area of life is usually a good thing. Including our clothes. It allows us to be intentional with our purchases, buying things that are not only good quality but pieces we LOVE and feel awesome in.

One day, after looking looking through my closet (which was in two separate rooms in our house for two reasons: I had WAY too many clothes, and we still haven't gotten our house organized enough) and feeling like I had nothing to wear, I knew something had to change.

How does it work? 

1 // DOWNSIZE. 

This is definitely a no brainer. The first things to go were the clothes that I haven't worn in over a year (we all know we have them...). I whittled down my closet to pieces that I couldn't part with that I would wear NOW, not in a few months or next year. I ended up getting rid of probably 75% of my clothes.

2 // DONATE OR SELL.

This is where the budget piece comes in. I had a garage sale with my mom where I sold not just clothes but other random clutter (which feels SO amazing to get rid of, trust me) and made enough to supplement my new clothes for my capsule. We donated what we didn't sell, so that it wouldn't just be sitting around in boxes creating more clutter.

I also had an Instagram "shop my closet" sale for the items that weren't garage sale material, but that I still wanted to get rid of, which helped downsize even further.

3 // PLAN. 

This was the really fun part for me. It is all about intentionality and buying exactly what you need. I did all my shopping online, since our options are rather limited here.

I used Un-Fancy's free wardrobe planner, which was super helpful. I definitely recommend it if you're considering starting a capsule! I planned out exactly what I wanted my wardrobe to look like, what colors I wanted, what styles, what pieces I've always dreamed of having but never wanted to spend the money on.....

4 // SHOP

I created a secret Pinterest board for all the items I was considering, to keep them all organized. Then, when I'd found everything I needed, I bought them!

That was definitely the most money I'd spent on clothes in one sitting since high school- and it felt great because it wasn't a spur of the moment purchase. I knew that I would actually wear what I was buying and it wouldn't just sit in my closet two months later collecting dust. I bought things that were high quality and a little bit more expensive, because I knew that I couldn't just make impulse purchases whenever I felt like it.

5 // WEAR IT

I'm still waiting on a few of my packages to come in, but once they all get here, I will share my full capsule with you all! It ended up being WAY smaller than Rector's which surprised me.

Stay tuned for my next post at the beginning of next month where I'll share my capsule AND tips on how to make it work for people who don't have excuses to "dress-up" a lot. You know, those of us who work from home and live in yoga pants and t-shirts. Yep. That's who I am.

Have you heard of capsule wardrobes?  What are your initial reactions to creating one?

What is a Simple Life? Five things every minimalist should cultivate

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This is definitely a post I should have written a long time ago. Since it's the whole theme of my blog and all...but I just write when the words come, I suppose.

Here at Simply Liv, my goal is to inspire you to live a life that you're excited about. A life that is simple and beautiful, even in the mundane. I strive to do that through not only practical tips and challenges, but through peeks into my own life as well, where I hope I am leading by example. I want to create a community around this idea that simplicity is better.

The problem is, the culture we live in instills in us a "more" mindset from a very young age. In order to be happy, we are told (both directly and indirectly) that we need more- more money, more friends, more stuff, more letters behind our name...just more.

But we know, either through cold, hard experience or through a kind voice who taught us, that more never really satisfies us. The pressure to have more is overwhelming and all consuming and if you're immersed in that mindset for a while, it can be very hard to break. But the desire for more (except where healthy ambition and goals are concerned), often leads to a downward spiral. We get consumed by our quest for more, eventually leaving us with less than we started with.

While I haven't considered myself a "true minimalist" yet, I have way more things than I should and often catch myself longing for more- I believe there are ways we all can and should live, if simplicity is our goal. These five points are my "definition" for simplicity- it's not an exhaustive list or a textbook description, just what I have learned is important to live a life that is simple and full.

A Simple Life is: 

1// Intentional:

To live a life that is simple, you must be trying to. Duh, Olivia. But really, simplicity doesn't come naturally for most of us. We have to look at our lives, our mindset and our heart to make sure we are cultivating the right attitude, and that requires a lot of intentionality. Be intentional about your relationships, what you bring into your home- everything.

2// Uncluttered:

This is the "stuff" point in the list. There isn't a right or wrong answer here, friends. Like most of these points, it will vary from one person to the next. But acquiring more things shouldn't be the goal of any minimalist. That's not to say don't treat yourself, or buy nice things- but don't hoard or buy more than you need.

3// Authentic:

Authenticity is one of my favorite words. I love being around people who are real.

We all know them- the one's who don't put on a mask. They're genuine, whether they're having the worst day of their life or are on cloud nine. Have authentic friends and be an authentic friend. It's at the heart of simple living.

4// Content:

This is along the lines of being uncluttered, though this aims more at the heart than at physical possessions. Contentment is something I have always struggled with, which is why it is so important to me. I have to be very intentional about cultivating a heart of contentment, with lots of prayer, because I tend to always want more. If I'm not happy in the now, then I'm bound to live a very sad life. I'm striving to be the best I can be where I am planted, knowing that when it is time to move on, God will lead us when and where we are meant to go. It is a hard attitude to have.

5// Creative:

I believe a simple life is essentially a creative life. It isn't "by the book". It often leads you into rugged, uncharted territory, perhaps physically but more often mentally and spiritually. Whether you're an artist or don't consider yourself to be a creative type- this will apply to you. You are creating the life you live, the choices you make in this moment affect where your day, week, month will go. Let's create lives that we are proud of. Be original and don't be afraid to break the mold.

Which of these do you focus on in your life? Why is living a simple life important to you?

Have a happy new week friends!

Simply,

Liv

Five Ways to De-Stress (that actually work)

Five Ways to De-Stress (that actually work)

This morning has been a rough one so far. It's not even 9 am and I already want a nap. It's one of those mornings where I've been spit up on one too many times to be cute and have snapped "no", "stop",  and "don't" at my toddler more times than I'd like to admit. AJ has been working extra long days this weekend (he works Saturday-Monday...) and the days are long at home by myself with the babies. I have a to-do list as long as my kitchen table and I'll be lucky to cross one thing off it today. And we are out of coffee. Anyone else feeling the "monday-ness" of today?

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