Modern*Simplicity

Creating a Life Free From Chaos

5 Mistakes You’re Making When You Declutter and How to Fix Them

5 Mistakes You're Making When You Declutter and How to Fix Them. Modern Simpicity. Photo by Fernando Lavin on Unsplash

Have you ever started started a decluttering project only to get frustrated and quit, feeling like you’re not making any progress toward that clean, tidy home you’re wanting? It can be disheartening to jump in with visions of clear, minimalist spaces only to wind up with stuff strewn all over the place and no plan for what to do about it. Decluttering is hard work, so before you dive back in, check your focus and make sure you’re not committing one of these decluttering mistakes. 

Mistake: Focusing on organizing over purging. 

Yes, we all want to “get organized,” but that’s not the same as decluttering. Organizing is not decluttering. When you’re organizing, you tend to focus more on how to store what you have, without giving much thought to whether you need or even want those items in the first place. 

We all want to “get organized,” but organizing is not the same as decluttering. Click To Tweet

Solution: Before you worry about organizing, spend the time to actually go through everything and decide what you really want to keep and what you can let go of. Don’t think of it as, “What can I get rid of?” Think of it more like, “Do I love this/use this enough to give it space in my home and spend my energy maintaining it?” Once you’ve gone through the decluttering process, then you can go back and organize the keepers — and it’s easier to organize when you have less stuff.

Mistake: Thinking that cleaning is decluttering. 

Similar to organizing, cleaning often distracts you from the focus of getting rid of stuff. With cleaning, you’re thinking about where dirt and grime are and how to make a space look clean and tidy. Maybe you drop clutter from the counters into drawers so you can wipe down the countertop. Maybe you start a load of laundry without looking at whether you want to keep the clothes you are washing. Maybe you’re rearranging trinkets on the mantle while you dust. 

Solution: Declutter an area before you worry about cleaning it. It’s so much easier to clean after you declutter — you won’t need to move items around to clean, and you won’t spend time stashing clutter instead of disinfecting and polishing.

Mistake: Purging other people’s stuff. 

This is one of the cardinal sins of decluttering — getting rid of other people’s stuff. If you take it upon yourself to purge a housemate or family’s member’s possessions without their permission, be prepared for a fight. Getting rid of other people’s belongings without their knowledge or consent is not cool. It’s not your stuff to get rid of. 

One of the cardinal sins of decluttering is getting rid of other people’s stuff. Don't do it. It’s not your stuff to get rid of. Click To Tweet

Solution: Try talking to your family about why you want to declutter and encourage them to join in. Then go about your business decluttering your own stuff, whether the rest of the gang jumps in to help or not. Even if they’re not initially on board, they may be inspired to give it a try after seeing you take control of your own stuff. 

Mistake: Not getting your kids involved. 

When kids are very young, then it’s up to you to declutter clothes and toys on their behalf. However, as soon as they’re big enough to have preferences, it’s best to get them involved, even if it’s just a few little things here and there — a shirt that’s getting too small or a broken toy. Giving your kids choices about their belongings encourages them to value and take care of them. 

Solution: You may just want to offer a couple of choices when they’re little, but work up to giving them more control over their stuff as they get older. You’re not just trying to manage stuff — you’re teaching them how to manage their own stuff. Kids know when they’ve outgrown “baby toys.” Preteens and teenagers should be able to decide if they don’t like certain clothes and want to donate them, as well as deciding when they’re finished with books, CDs, or old toys. Modeling responsible decluttering from an early age makes it a normal part of maintaining a home. Your child won’t feel picked on (why are you getting rid of my stuff?) and they’ll understand that we all need to let things go over time. 

Giving your kids choices about their belongings encourages them to value and take care of them. Click To Tweet

Mistake: Not looking at the big picture. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re decluttering. So much stuff — where do you start? While it’s tempting to just dive into a junk drawer and start tossing, you’ll stall out quickly if you don’t have a plan. 

Solution: Take a few minutes to map out a plan of attack. I like to start with decluttering the bathroom since there isn’t that attachment to toiletries and cosmetics that you may feel with clothes or books. Group similar items together so you can get a feel for how much you have, and you’ll be better prepared to weed out the excess. It’s eye-opening to realize you have four half-empty bottles of shampoo and a dozen new tubes of body lotion because you probably didn’t notice them when they were scattered throughout the house. Similarly, pulling out all your clothes will help you see that you have five black t-shirts and 20 pairs of jeans, making it much easier to donate the ones you never wear while still feeling confident you have what you’ll actually use.

5 Mistakes You’re Making When You Declutter and How to Fix Them

5 Simple Shortcuts to a Cleaner Home

5 Simple Shortcuts to a Cleaner Home

After all the buzz and excitement of Christmas, January feels like the perfect time to wipe the slate clean. I’m craving a calm, clutter-free home with lots of space to cook a healthy meal and unroll my yoga mat. 

That said, I also don’t want to put a ton of effort into cleaning. I’ve pulled together five shortcuts I use to help create a healthy, clean home while keeping it as effortless and affordable as possible. Check out these tips and look for a special offer from my friends at Grove Collaborative at the end.

Stay organized

When you don’t have to dig around for a bottle of cleaner, it’s much easier to stay on top of day-to-day cleaning tasks. I use a cute caddy from Grove to keep my most-used supplies readily accessible. The caddy is big enough to hold a few bottles of cleaner, gloves, and microfiber cloths — yet compact enough that I don’t feel like I’m lugging it around the house. I love the clean white look, but they also have a bunch of new ones in different colors! 

Use things up

It’s so easy to forget what’s already in my cabinets and buy something new instead. I realized that I may have a “cleaner hoarding” problem when I filled two baskets with new bottles when I cleaned out the pantry. This year, I’m trying to use up all those half-empty bottles of bathroom scrubs and glass cleaner tucked all over the house. Not only does that take care of responsibly using up what I’ve got, but it also helps eliminate the clutter of bottles under the sink! One product I always use to the last drop is Mrs. Meyer’s all-purpose spray. It stays on my Grove order every month so I never have to worry about running out. 

Upgrade to better versions of everyday products

Let’s face it — cleaning isn’t really fun, and it’s even less fun when you’re coughing and stripping your skin using traditional cleaners full of nasty chemicals. As I finish up any old products, I make sure to replace them with earth-friendly alternatives that are better for my family and for the planet. Using fresh cleaners with natural scents makes the whole process feel a bit more like rewarding routines instead of dreaded chores. I also love picking out new scents from Mrs. Meyers and Method — new scents keeps the cleaning happy!

5 Simple Shortcuts to a Cleaner Home

Use less plastic

Whether that means storing leftovers in glass containers instead of disposable bags or refilling my hand soap bottles, I’m always on the lookout for ways to eliminate single-use plastic in our home. I love that I can order refills of my favorite soaps and cleaners through Grove so I can reuse my dispensers instead of tossing them out. I also love the way their gorgeous glass bottles look on the counter.

Stick to a budget

Between laundry detergent, dish soap, toothpaste, and paper products, household supplies can get expensive. One thing that’s helping me stick to my budget is using Grove for all of my cleaning products. Ordering my supplies online forces me to think carefully about what I need, instead of randomly throwing cleaners in my cart as I hurry through the grocery store. The prices at Grove are usually lower than my grocery store anyway, and as a VIP I get free shipping, free gifts, price matching, and lots of sales. 

Grove hand-selects the best eco-friendly products and delivers them (carbon offset) right to my doorstep, on my schedule. I get helpful reminders when it’s time to reorder, so that’s one less thing I have to think about. And they don’t just have cleaning products either — they also have a huge selection of skincare products, health care items, and pet products! 

If you want to give Grove a try, check out this fun offer. Right now, when you place your first order of $20, you’ll receive a free Mrs. Meyer’s trio + caddy + walnut scrubber sponges to help you kickstart your freshly updated cleaning routine. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here. You will receive a Mrs. Meyer’s trio (hand soap, dish soap, all-purpose spray) + caddy + walnut scrubber sponges for FREE when you sign up!
  2. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive your first box within a few days. 
  3. That’s it! Click Finish & Pay to place your order. 

Bonus tip: If you spend $39, you’ll get a beautiful stoneware tray for free! It’s perfect for corralling dish soap and a sponge to keep your countertops tidy. I love the tidy look it gives my sink space.

Already a Grove customer? Get a free set of Grove walnut scrubber sponges with your next order! 

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20 Simple Stocking Stuffers to Add a Little Hygge to Your Holiday

20 Simple Stocking Stuffers to Add a Little Hygge to Your HolidayThe clock is ticking down to Christmas, and you may be thinking about last-minute gift ideas or stocking stuffers to round out your holiday gifts. It’s also cold outside, which means we’re all ready to hunker down at home for a cozy winter. To me, that sounds like we should work on our hygge just a bit.

Hygge is that feeling you get when you come home and leave all the world’s craziness outside. Click To Tweet

Hygge (pronounced hue-ga) is the Danish concept of happy, cozy living — it’s been quite trendy for the past few years, but has endured for decades in Europe. Hygge can be roughly translated as “coziness” in English but it is so much more than just that. Hygge is that feeling you get when you come home and leave all the world’s craziness outside. It’s when you’re curled up with a soft blanket, completely engrossed in a good book. Hygge is when you’re surrounded by friends and family, just looking to sit back, relax, and fellowship together. Hygge is that feeling of coziness, togetherness, and peace.

Hygge is when you’re surrounded by friends and family, just looking to sit back, relax, and fellowship together. Hygge is that feeling of coziness, togetherness, and peace. Click To Tweet

A home filled with hygge is wonderful all year round, but there’s something about winter, particularly Christmas, that makes it the gold standard of coziness. Hygge is all about appreciating the simple things in life, and there are a few easy gifts you can give loved ones to help them conjure up that coziness in their home too.

  1. Hot tea or gourmet coffee. You could even include a teapot or French press.
  2. Decadent hot cocoa mixes, maybe with a pack of marshmallows.
  3. A fantastic mug for drinking that tea, coffee, and cocoa.
  4. A coffee mug cozy to keep your drink warm and your hands from a scalding mug.
  5. Homemade or high-quality jams and jellies.
  6. Home-baked bread to devour those jams and jellies with.
  7. Shower steamers to transform the shower into a place of relaxation and rejuvenation.
  8. Bundles of eucalyptus to hang on the shower head for an amazing aroma that lasts all winter.
  9. Delicious smelling soaps, maybe even with a fluffy washcloth.
  10. Bubble bath or bath salts for warm, relaxing baths.
  11. An amazing candle in a cozy scent. Fragrant wax melts and a warmer are wonderful too.
  12. Fairy lights to hang around the room to add a touch of magic.
  13. Pocket notebooks for jotting down ideas, dreams, and favorite quotes.
  14. A fantastic pen to make those notes a pleasure to write.
  15. A new book and pretty bookmark.
  16. A board game or card game to share with friends and family.
  17. A plush blanket to cuddle under for reading or watching movies.
  18. Fluffy socks — because it’s not cozy having cold feet!
  19. A little box of decadent chocolates — because chocolate.
  20. An adult coloring book and a set of color pencils.

Hygge is all about appreciating the simple things in life, and there are a few easy gifts you can give loved ones to help them conjure up that coziness in their home too. Click To Tweet

20 Simple Stocking Stuffers to Add a Little Hygge to Your Holiday