Mom’s do so much to help make our lives simpler. (Yes, they can complicate it, too, but at this time of year, we’ll focus on how they make things easier on us.) Mother’s Day is a great way to repay them at least a little by simplifying their day.
You may know a lot of ways to do this already:
- Take over some household chores like cooking or cleaning
- Manage her phone calls/texts for the day, so she isn’t on the phone all day but can also still receive any messages that can’t wait til Monday or that would be fun to get (I might have to try this one this year!)
- Babysit a younger sibling
- Help her declutter or organize a part of her life that’s been chaotic lately
- Teach her a simple skill or habit that will save her time
The main thing is to think about them and what they have going on in their lives right now rather than giving a gift based on yourself and what’s happening in your world. What stresses them out that you could take care of for them for a day or two? What dreams or goals do they have that you could help them get closer to reaching?
When our own lives are hectic, it’s easy for us to put little time, effort, or sacrifice into our Mother’s Day gift. Try to simplify your life enough this year to be able to put some more thought than usual into your gift this year. Think of all the ways your mom has simplified your life. You don’t have to go over the top or be super creative. Just be thoughtful.
And if you’re a mom, try to simplify your own Mother’s Day weekend so that you can fully enjoy whatever gifts your children have for you this year.
“She deserves an armful of roses, but she’s satisfied with a
handful of weeds.” -Sheri Easter
No matter what type of care you’re giving, there are a few things most caregivers face: exhaustion, feelings of inadequacy, and questioning one’s purpose.
Having been a caregiver myself throughout my twenties as a nanny, at a special needs camp, and with my grandmother and now my dad, I still have those struggles. I never feel completely prepared or qualified for all of the responsibility as well as physical and mental demands. Hopefully what I’ve learned will help you overcome these feelings if you ever struggle with them, too.
Here are 3 things that I’ve needed to remind myself in order to stay somewhat sane:
- This is just a season. It may be a long season or even a very long season, but it’s only part of my life. It’s a difficult balance because caregiving can be all-consuming. It’s been important for me to maintain hobbies and work outside of my role as a caregiver while also giving up other hobbies and jobs that no longer fit my schedule. I love being a caregiver, but I also love other things. I still have a life outside of taking care of others.
- What you’re doing matters. This helps me because some days it seems I’m doing more harm than good. I mess up so many times and think someone else would be better at it. Other days I don’t feel like doing anything. It just seems unimportant, and I feel like I’m trapped and ungrateful. When I remember that I’m helping my family as well as the person I’m caring for, it helps me have a better attitude (although I still have lazy days).
- Your life has purpose outside of being a caregiver. Even though being a caregiver is huge, sometimes it doesn’t seem like it in the grand scheme of things. It’s great to be able to get away when possible to help in the community or even to write a letter or blog post to encourage others and let them know they aren’t alone.
I’m so blessed to have people in my life who are encouraging me with these same messages. Sometimes I feel like I’m the most selfish caregiver and that no one else has these struggles. But as I think about friends and family members who are taking care of others, I remember some of the things they’ve said about it and realize that maybe I’m not the only one.
If you know a caregiver, I hope this helps you see how you can affirm what they’re doing and allow them the space to take care of themselves as they take care of others.
If you are a caregiver, I hope this helps you know that someone else understands. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You can make it through another day.
If you’re a caregiver, I’d love to connect with you and share support and resources as this has become a big part of my life again.
You guys have done so much this month! Look how far you’ve come!
For blankets, I suggest having a heavy one for each bed in winter, a light blanket for each bed in summer, and maybe one extra blanket per person. (I confess that I actually have four, although since I don’t have kids or anyone to make my total number of household blankets higher, it’s good to have extra for guests.)
That doesn’t count sleeping bags and other camping blankets.
One of my students in Clutter-Free by Thanksgiving shared this idea of what she does with blankets she isn’t using (instead of putting them in a closet):
Store blankets spread out under the mattress.
I love this because I only have to take them out and put them back twice a year, and I save so much space!
Today’s Task: Take some time to look back at where you were at the beginning of January. How has your closet changed? Go through your blankets and choose 2-4 that spark the most joy per person. Try storing the ones you aren’t using under a mattress.
I’ve counted towels in clothing because they take up a lot of space and affect laundry.
For those of you with kids, this may be especially helpful.
My sister was tired of seeing towels on the bathroom floor, so she got one towel for each kid of a different color. She got a hook for each one, and if she ever saw one on the floor then she’d know whose it was.
I haven’t seen a towel on the floor in some time now!
You really can do with just one towel per person and maybe two extras for guests and big cleanups, like if the bathtub were to overflow.
Today’s Task: Go through towels and have everyone choose a favorite. Keep a couple of extras if you want and get rid of the rest! You can also go through hand towels and dish towels.
This video re-motivates me every time. Jenny is so sweet, fun, and practical. The struggle is real, and she gets it!
I love giving you guys different perspectives. Hope you enjoy this!
Today’s Task: Watch the video and get rid of a few more items. You can go ahead and get ready for next month’s category of Entertainment. Start getting rid of books and DVDs here and there.
I’ve been writing about clutter for over a year now. I keep wondering when I’ll run out of stuff to say.
But I continue learning and trying new things.
Even when I’m not decluttering, I’m reading about it or studying other people’s behavior or just observing the clutter or lack of it wherever I go.
This naturally inspires me to re-evaluate my own clutter when I get a chance. It keeps me from getting bogged down in the same old thing.
Today’s Task: Try moving out of your typical routine in the next few days. Make it a competition with yourself or your family. Dress up just for your decluttering time. Invite a friend to join you. Actually set a timer. Review your chart of all your progress or look back at your Before pictures to see how far you’ve come.
You guys have made it so far!
Last year, my older sister tried the same decluttering strategies that I have learned and been teaching.
It’s so funny because she’s always been the cleaner one, and I was the packrat. Once I found ways to have less stuff, she was ready to try them. It made it so much easier for her to keep her home, with five children, tidy.
About halfway through the categories, she found out she was pregnant! So she hurried to finish decluttering while she still had energy and mobility.
She started worrying that the house would fall apart again with all the extra stuff for a baby. But because she had just decluttered so much, she was very intentional about what she accepted as far as baby stuff. She knew a lot of what she wanted already.
Her baby was born January 24th! And because she got rid of clothes and stuff from her closet, she had room for a shelf of his clothes.
Today’s Task: Think about something new you can use some of your closet space for once you’ve gotten rid of some of what’s in there now. As you declutter today, realize that maybe you don’t even know yet what good and exciting thing might come into your life next. Because you’re decluttering now, you won’t have to be rushed/stressed/crowded as much later.
February starts our reading of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I’m so excited! I started it sometime around this day last year, and it was so encouraging that I was on the right track. It really kept me motivated.
If you want to join the Clutter-Free by Thanksgiving course and community to go through the book together in the Facebook group, you can sign up here. I plan to do a weekly discussion on what we’ve read, so even if you can’t keep up with the reading, hopefully you’ll see the highlights on the Facebook page. (This is a different FB group than Living Tiny, Dreaming Big and is a paid service, so it isn’t for everyone. However, you could just buy my booklet for $4 and go through a similar training on your own.)
I wanted to let you know about it now so that I can mail the book to you in time to start reading along with us. (I could buy you the digital version instead if you don’t want the physical book.)
I read it the first time by borrowing it from the library, but I ended up buying it because I liked it so much. I have lots of free information on the blog, too, so obviously there’s a lot you can do for free. The course is just for extra support and structure if that’s important to you.
All of that to say: if you want to continue decluttering, you need to have a plan for after this challenge is over. Think about what has worked so far and try to set yourself up to continue that even when these challenge emails stop coming.
Today’s Task: Come up with a simple decluttering plan for February. Write your own, get The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, find another challenge to join, sign up for my course, or schedule a phone call with a friend who can help you.
P.S. If you joined in December and want a refund, this is your reminder email to let me know by January 31st so that I can get that to you.
A big problem I ran into with clutter was remembering wants vs. needs.
Although technically you can live without shoes, if you’re going to function in a culture that requires shoes to enter a building then you need shoes.
But we don’t need 100 pairs of shoes, and we don’t even need one of each type/style of shoe.
It’s ok to have things we want, but when we recognize them as wants then we’re more grateful. We realize we could do without them but we don’t have to. We also feel less deprived when we don’t have them because we know that they are just things we want and maybe we can get them one day, but we’ll survive without them for now.
Yet for a while I listened to people when they told me I needed a pair of tennis shoes. But I don’t like them and hardly wore them.
It was helpful for me to attack each category by thinking these three things:
- What do I actually need to live?
- What do I need in order to function more fully and freely?
- What do I just want because it’s awesome and fun?
Once I did that, it made giving up what was left so much easier because I knew I had even more than I needed already. Doing this helped me stop holding onto items I’d allowed outside influences to convince me to buy or keep. This has also made me careful not to project what I consider necessary onto other people.
Today’s Task: Spend about 20 minutes reviewing your clothes, bags, and shoes with theses questions in mind and get rid of any additional items you may have been holding onto just because you were told they’re essential.
Fall seven times, stand up eight. -Japanese Proverb
I know the amount of shoes that people has varies, so if you don’t have a lot of shoes then you can continue with clothes and catch up. Or you could move on to shoes and then go back to any other area of clothing that you haven’t done yet this month.
Week 4: Shoes
Day 1: All shoes (then you can use the rest of the week to review any days you skipped. If you need your shoes broken into categories because you have so many, then this day can be used for slippers and flats)
Day 2: Flip flops, water shoes
Day 3: Boots (rainboots, hiking boots, cowboy boots, etc)
Day 4: Heels
Day 5: Tennis shoes
Day 6: Snowshoes, rollerblades, anything else overlooked previously
Today’s Task: Take about 15 minutes to assess your shoe situation. Are there any you’re unhappy with? Make a list of what you’d like to replace or any shoes you don’t own but would like to. Start getting rid of the ones that are easy to let go of. If you have lots of tennis shoes but hardly use them, why let them continue to take up your space?