Today’s families are innundated with a seemingly endless array of choices, opportunities and physical belongings (aka “stuff”). While it is good to have options, attempting to manage a life full of too many possibilities can certainly make daily living challenging and complicated. If we’re not careful, we can easily lose sight of what is most important to us, including one another.
To help you overcome some of these challenges and complexities, here are some practical tips for keeping life simple for families.
1. Declutter Daily and Purge Periodically
Too much clutter can often lead to chaos and stress. Before you and your family retire for the evening, take the time to clear floors and counter surfaces of items that do not belong where they’ve been left and return them to where they do belong. Doing this on a regular basis can help keep the clutter to a minimum and help you and your family maintain a greater sense of peace.
When clutter starts to accumulate, set aside time to sort through your items and eliminate the things your family no longer wants or needs. Devise a system that works best for your family. For example, while a massive purge right before Christmas or at the end of the school year might work for some families, a room-by-room purge over time might be more effective for others.
2. Cut Down on Screen Time
Too much screen time can lead to overstimulation and information overload. Exchange screen time for other worthwhile activities, such as reading, exercising, conversing face-to-face with one another and praying.
3. Leave Space
When purging and decluttering, be sure to leave extra space in drawers, on shelves and in closets. This will allow your family to better manage clutter and will leave a little room for new items when necessary.
Take the time to create space in your schedule as well. Leave margins between activities to reduce stress and make room for the unexpected. Build downtime into your schedule and protect it to allow your family the time necessary to rest and re-energize.
4. Plan Ahead
Another way to minimize stress and prepare for the unexpected is to plan ahead. For example, identify things you can do the night before to prepare for the day ahead and incorporate those activities into your evening routine. This can help simplify your mornings and reduce the amount of hassle typically involved when trying getting everyone out the door on time.
5. Say Yes Less
Define your priorities as a family and make an effort to focus on the things that are most important to you. If an invitation, request or activity does not align with your priorities, think twice before saying yes.
The practice of simplicity is intentional and takes effort. However, the work you do up front can lead to less stress and more joy for you and your family.