Your home should be a sanctuary — not a source of stress. When clutter adds up and tasks seem insurmountable, being in your home can quickly start to feel suffocating instead of satisfying. While the laundry and chores may still always be there, here are a few ways you can simplify different rooms of your home and create the sanctuary you deserve.
42. Follow the “One-Minute or Less” Rule
Procrastinating on small tasks only makes them seem larger than they are, which can take your simple to-do list from manageable to monstrous! Instead, follow this simple rule: If a task can be completed in less than one minute, don’t put it off. That way, small things like putting your shoes away in the closet, rinsing that dish and putting it directly in the dishwasher, or sorting through the day’s mail straight from the mailbox don’t become looming tasks you’ll get around to eventually.
43. Streamline Your Bedding
There’s actual scientific evidence that making your bed every day can actually make you happier — so why not ensure making your bed is as easy as possible? Just say no to too many decorative pillows that often just become floor clutter. Instead, streamline your bedding to a few nice-looking essentials that will be easy to smooth out every morning.
Want to take it a step further? While it’s down to personal (and regional) preference, subtracting the top sheet simplifies things to just a duvet. This simple edit will have you rolling in some savings, too (handy when you want to splurge on that Portuguese-linen duvet set).
44. Pare Down in the Bathroom
A simplified bathroom routine is one you’re more likely to stick to, so go ahead and clear out the products you gotta admit don’t work for you (cleaning and recycling whatever you’re able to). And when shopping, keep an eye out for high quality multi-purpose products, like a bar that does it all, as all of this editing also frees up valuable shelf space.
Another space-saving move is to get your medicines out of the medicine cabinet. Seriously. Once you’ve purged what’s long since expired, treat yourself to a pill box that takes up less space in your cabinet (a basic one will do, or these modular, customizable ones are perfect for liquids and travel), and move all those bottles instead to a dark and not-so-humid place. Be sure to consider secure or up-high storage if there are kids in the house.
And one last tip: hit the toilet-paper easy button with a subscription service like Who Gives a Crap, a company that truly does give a crap (they donate 50% of their profits to non-profits like WaterAid, plus carbon-neutral shipping straight to your loo).
45. Create a Functional Entryway
To avoid coats, shoes and bags ending up strewn all over the house, give them a designated landing space. If your home doesn’t have a dedicated mudroom, get creative with a coat rack and shelving, or grab a pack of our favorite screw-in Shaker pegs.
By giving everything you bring home with you a place, you’ll know exactly where it is when it’s time to leave again, cutting down on the rush-out-the-door scramble. Of course, the same goes for items like your keys, wallet and sunglasses — since those can’t hang on our Shaker pegs, a ModStation by the door fits the bill! It can also hold those precious few pieces of mail that don’t get tossed in recycling or scanned n’ shredded.
46. Utilize Useful Smart Tech
The options for tricking your home out with smart technology are extensive. We’ve surpassed the Jetsons at this point — flying cars aside — with smart plugs that give voice-activation to everyday appliances, app-enabled locks and thermostats (we opted for the efficient Nest that learns), and security systems like SimpliSafe that monitor, smoke, carbon monoxide and even water leaks! Ideally your smart systems all work together to put your mind at ease, and help save you time and energy costs.
Bear in mind that sometimes more technology is the opposite of simple. From our own experience, there are efficient, useful ways to incorporate smart tech into your home — and then there are pricey promises that prove frustrating. Just avoid going overboard by identifying what features and pain-points you have before committing to one of the many options out there, so you can be smart about the smart tech you invest in.
47. Digitize, Digitize, Digitize
We’ve already mentioned the decluttering benefits of paperless billing, so why not apply that same principle to all manner of paper clutter that enters your home? You can find the user manual for most anything online, so don’t let them take up unnecessary space in your desk drawers (or that junk drawer in the kitchen, you know the one with the used birthday candles and batteries that may or may not be working so they keep rolling around in there)...
Likewise for other types of paper clutter, like children’s artwork (you can get creative on this one, and the adage “take a picture; it’ll last longer” can teach kiddos about decluttering), school communication, insurance documents, contracts — the list goes on. Either request electronic copies in the first place or immediately scan and recycle to get the clutter out of your home.
A streamlined home is a happy home. By making your spaces work for you, you'll hopefully find yourself enjoying more of life's simple pleasures.