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2018 Simplicity Challenge

February 06, 2018

 

The process of simplifying your life is a BIG one. It’s so freeing and exciting and it’s HARD WORK. Our 31 Day Simplicity Challenge features one step for each day that can be completed in 15 minutes or less. Physical clutter = mental clutter, so both of those areas are addressed throughout the challenge. At the end of the challenge, you’ll be able to breathe easier knowing that you’ve completed the process of purging, decluttering, and organizing your life to make margin for what matters! For daily encouragement and extra tips on the process of simplifying, join our Simplified Planner Community Group. To sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE printable e-book of the challenge, click here.

No. 1 of 31: Walk your home with a trash bag or five. Be ruthless. Papers. Receipts. Tags. Empty bottles. Go.

No. 2 of 31Go through your kitchen drawers. Do you have three carrot peelers? Two ice cream scoops? You only need one.

No. 3 of 31Clean out your fridge, pantry, and spice cabinet. Check expiration dates and throw things away. Make a list of restock needs as you go.

No. 4 of 31Simplify your phone. Delete old contacts and unused apps. Refresh your wallpaper and lock screen.

No. 5 of 31Organize the Notes app on your iPhone to hold lists of all kinds (books to read, hashtags you use, or other information you often need to retrieve).

No. 6 of 31Use the Reminders app on your iPhone to set alerts for routines or habits you’re trying to create (IE: take vitamins, put phone away, go for a walk).

No. 7 of 31: Consider reading as a brain break. Make a list of 10 books you’d like to read this year.

No. 8 of 31Walk your house with a donate bag. Schedule a pick-up or drop it off as soon as the bag is full.

No. 9 of 31Start the habit of throwing a small load of laundry in every morning.

No. 10 of 31Set a recurring alarm (or use the Bedtime feature on iPhones) for every weekday. If you’re letting your kids wake you, set it for one hour earlier.

No. 11 of 31Go put gas in your car today. While you’re there, clean out your car. Throw trash away.

No. 12 of 31Buy a few birthday cards (and small gift cards). Keep them on hand for birthdays that pop up that you’re not prepared for.

No. 13 of 31Put your number on the Do Not Call list. Visit donotcall.gov or call 1.888.382.1222.

No. 14 of 31Do something with all those precious photos and videos on your phone. Print. Back up. Store.

No. 15 of 31Consider the amount of INFORMATION coming at you all day. What can you turn off to quiet your mind? Turn off the television. Perhaps (gasp!) take a break from social media.

No. 16 of 31Identify “pain points” in your day (IE: kids getting shoes on in the morning). Alleviate these (IE: put a basket for shoes near the front door for easy access).

No. 17 of 31Dump out your purse. Throw away trash. Create a little bag of essentials. Make your bag work for you.

No. 18 of 31Ruthlessly clean out your closet. Goodbye clothes that “will fit one day.” Goodbye clothes that “don’t fit quite right but I paid too much for them.”

No. 19 of 31Clean out your medicine cabinet. Trash anything expired. Restock essentials.

No. 20 of 31Detox your social media feeds. Follow inspirational accounts. Unfollow anyone draining. Are there platforms you can quit?

No. 21 of 31Go through your credit card and / or bank statements. Identify any “subscriptions” you forgot you had and don’t need and turn them off.

No. 22 of 31Clean off your desk and wipe it down (and your keyboard). Ditch clutter. Keep only the essentials including your computer.

No. 23 of 31: Clear the clutter on your computer. Delete unused files and organize important ones. Empty the trash. Refresh your desktop wallpaper.

No. 24 of 31Take inventory of the mail coming to your mailbox. Visit directmail.com to remove your name from lists.

No. 25 of 31Make a list of ten go-to meals. Tape it to the fridge for simple meal planning.

No. 26 of 31Schedule a vacation or stay-cation for some time this year. 

No. 27 of 31Organize your inbox. Search the word “unsubscribe” and remove yourself from non-essential lists. Try Unroll.me.

No. 28 of 31Using a large piece of paper or poster board, make a list of all your commitments. Which ones can you say “not now” to?

No. 29 of 31Create your own weekly prep-list with tasks that make you feel prepared for the week ahead.

No. 30 of 31Make a list of household items you use frequently. Stock up on these. Pay attention to BOGO sales.

No. 31 of 31Rest. Schedule 30 minutes alone once a week. You give away what you put in. Take care of yourself.

 

 

5 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude in 2017

January 11, 2017

Every year around this time, we like to take some time to realign our hearts on the things that matter and remind ourselves to practice gratitude in our daily lives. Sometimes being grateful is just plain hard, especially when we’re overwhelmed and caught in the middle of a sea of less than ideal circumstances. A lot of times, we have to choose to be grateful despite going through difficult seasons. So today, we’re sharing 5 ways to cultivate gratitude in your life. Let’s be known for our overwhelming gratefulness in 2017.

  1. Write it down. There’s something about seeing all of our blessings down on paper that sparks joy and gratitude in our daily lives, and when we write things down, we can’t forget them. On days when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed and ungrateful, go back and look at all the things you have to be grateful for. The sun shining on your kitchen table and the giggles coming from the playroom upstairs– write down these little moments so you don’t fail to recognize them. When we fail to recognize our blessings, we fail to appreciate them.
  2. Give yourself reminders. Find something each day that reminds you to give thanks. It could be the 5 minutes you wait outside your little one’s bedroom door, waiting for them to fall asleep, or the time while you’re waiting for your garage door to open when you come home. Mark that time as your time to stop and remember the things you’re grateful for. Having these little reminders will help cultivate a grateful heart in life’s little moments.
  3. Do something nice. Sometimes we underestimate the power of just doing something nice for a person in need. When we acknowledge the needs of others, we often become more grateful for our own blessings.
  4. Write thank-you notes. Express your gratitude to someone who deserves it! Not only does this help to cultivate gratitude in your own life, but it will also spark joy in the life of someone who deserves it. Write thank-you notes for your mail man, your mentors, or your little ones’ teachers. Make this a habit in 2017.
  5. Change your outlook. We’re big believers that perspective changes everything. Instead of complaining about the crumbs on your kitchen floor, be grateful for the people in your house who make the crumbs. The next time you’re tempted to complain about eating leftover pizza for dinner for the third day in a row, choose to be grateful for access to clean food and water. When we choose to fix our eyes on our blessings, we’ll find our hearts and minds overflowing with gratitude. We want more of that in 2017.

3 Times It’s Okay to Say No

August 31, 2016

Sometimes the most loving answer we can give someone is, “no” (in the most heartfelt, gracious way possible, of course). But in a world where we crave acceptance and the ability to please others, saying no can seem nearly impossible at times, especially as busy women who are often trying to do way more than we ever should. Often times, even when our hearts are screaming for us to decline an invitation, our mouths utter the word, “yes!” before we even know what we’re getting ourselves into. These things are usually good things, but the problem comes when we say yes to too many good things. We overwork ourselves, stress ourselves out, and wind up being worn out and no good for anyone around us. Saying yes to every person or opportunity that comes your way will only make you tired and incapable of being truly present for the things that matter most to you. So today, we’re giving you permission to say no! We’re still learning how to give a gracious “no” despite feeling like we’ve let others down in the process, but as we’re learning, we’ve found three times that it’s always okay to give a polite, “no thanks.”

  1. If your reasoning for saying “yes” is strictly to please another person. People pleasing is such an easy trap to fall into! We all want to please our friends, our parents, our kids’ teachers…the list goes on and on. When we say yes strictly to please another person, we’re making commitments for the wrong reasons. We won’t ever be able to make everyone happy, and that’s okay!
  2. If saying “yes” causes you to become bitter. Sometimes when we say yes to something that our heart really does not want to do, it can make us bitter, and that’s not okay, friends! Holding onto bitterness only hurts ourselves and makes our own hearts ugly. The next time you’re tempted to become bitter about something you’ve committed to do, think about politely declining instead.
  3. If your “yes” will take time away from the things that are most important to you. Make a list of the things that are most important to you, and don’t allow things to cut into that precious time! If your family goes to church every Sunday morning together, don’t say yes to something else that will require your time every Sunday. Do you have a weekly “mommy and me” date with your little one every week? Don’t agree to sign up for a spinning class during that same time. Prioritize your time + relationships, and give a gracious “no” to anything that tries to steal time away from that list.

Want more tips on learning how to say no? We love this interview with Lysa Terkeurst, author of The Best Yes (a must read!), on the Today Show.

copyright 2018 emily ley