I am beginning to find that things around here are just too complicated. The clutter is threatening to overwhelm me. Closets are packed to capacity and then some. Piles of paper are stacked in various locations around the house, no matter how often I try to unpile them. Toys are scattered everywhere, and many of them are broken. It is time for a good old fashioned purge. Nothing is safe from my big black garbage bag.
I am a planner by nature, but I find that sometimes I plan myself into a corner. I have a schedule posted on my fridge. It's a good schedule when I follow it because it takes into account all the basic needs of the family. Knowing there is some sort of balance in my day is calming. BUT, there are times when my idealism gets in the way and I get even more stressed out. "Hurry up and tie that shoe! It's almost 10 o'clock, and we're supposed to be outside playing, enjoying each other! Hurry! Can't you hurry?!" This attitude ends up defeating the purpose of a schedule. I'm not very good at flexibility, and despise wasted time.
This is where the idea of simplicity comes in. If I have a bag packed in the van with all of our essentials: diapers, a change of clothes for each kid, ect. then I don't even have to think about it when I leave. Simple. If we all get dressed first thing in the morning, I don't have to worry about getting children dressed and fed and cleaned in time to get out the door if we have somewhere to go. Simple. If my makeup bag contains only one tube of lipstick in the shade that looks good, I don't have to go through six identical tubes wondering which one I want. Simple. If my hair is cut in a way that makes styling a no brainer, and I settle on one way to fix it in the morning, I don't have to wonder if today I should wear a braid, a ponytail, a half ponytail, or down and straightened. Super simple.
Time (and mental exertion) is now saved for the other, more important things. As for flexibility, I am cutting out non-essentials there too. In this case, building in more opportunities for flexibility makes things simpler, calmer. Following a basic morning and evening routine without too much concern for the clock except as a guide, combining certain cleaning routines with other home life routines (like scrubbing the bathroom while a child is in the bathtub), setting aside a block of time each day to just be with the children, and having a certain amount of time to myself each day is essential. Having these things at approximately the same times is simple because I'm not always wondering what it is I should do now. It keeps me acting instead of reacting, and takes most of the clock stress away.
Another thing I'm doing (especially for those dreaded paper piles) is canceling the newspaper, magazines we never get a chance to read, and catalogs. I really only kept the newspaper for the grocery store ads and coupons, but does it really make sense to pay $20 a month to save $5 a month? And store ads are posted online. Going through coupons takes lots of time, too. At my grocery store, I can electronically add coupons to my loyalty card if I want. Less paper=less piles=simple.
I love it. The best part is, becoming simple is actually quite simple.