Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tiny Home Living: Ways to Simplify

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Whether you live in a tiny home, a small space, or a big space, simplifying is a great tool to manage your home so that you can spend more time playing instead of cleaning! I have a love/hate relationship with cleaning. You see, I LOVE it when my house is clean and tidy. However, it's usually not. We have 3 people living in 192 square feet, things just get messy. So I end up cleaning, every day. Lucky for me, it takes a short amount of time to do all of it but still. Cleaning is cleaning is cleaning. Over time, I've learned some easy ways to keep the mess in check and make my job a little bit easier. So I'm here to share it with you, so you can keep your cleaning to a minimal too! And if you have any extra tips, I'd looooove to hear them!
  • Use only one towel per person each week for bathing, wash on laundry day
  • Use hand towels/washcloths for everything else, no paper towels = less waste and less trash
  • Meal plan on Sundays or Mondays. It's easier to plan and shop for food all in one day, I usually plan for only 4 meals during the week. That way we can have a day for leftovers if I make too much or we can eat out on Friday. And usually the weekends are free for all. We're not usually home much on the weekends so I just skip trying to plan meals for them. 
  • Do laundry on one day, my laundry day is Monday. This means clothes, towels, and bedding if needed. I try to do our sheets and pillowcases every week and comforters/quilts every couple of weeks. 
  • De-clutter more! Obviously the less you have, the less you have to take care of, the less you stress about cleaning and picking up. This includes clothes, toys, decor, other random belongings, kitchen appliances and accessories, do you really need that many wooden spoons?
  • Make list of goals and prioritize. I am the queen of lists. I have lists for everything. My mind is always going 1,000 miles per hour so having lists helps me to keep my thoughts straight. It also allows me to prioritize and get the important things taken care of! Plus I know when I've done enough for one day and can relax knowing I was productive enough (by my standards). 
  • Travel! Go camping or visit somewhere new. I find that traveling helps to put things in perspective most of the time. It can help you to figure out what you can or can't live without and inspires you to let go of the need for "stuff" so that you can enjoy life's other adventures.
  • Get rid of unnecessary/excess dishes, silverware, and cookware so you don't have to do as many dishes! Whether you have a dishwasher or not, keeping the eating ware to a minimum does wonders for your dish washing time. If you can't let them go quite yet, keep the excess in storage for any special occasion when you may need all of them again. 
  • Keep things where you use them, this may seem obvious but if you store things closest to where you might use them, it cuts down the chance of them wandering off and getting placed/thrown somewhere else and having to get picked up later on. If you keep them right where you need them, they'll never have to move. 
  • Have a place for everything! Having a good system of organization is key to keeping a tiny home clean. And if you can't find a place for it, get rid of it! Or else it'll just float around and add to the clutter and mess! 
  • Communicate! Organization is important but it doesn't help if no one else knows where things belong. It's important to collaborate and communicate so that everyone can pitch in keeping a space clean and tidy! 
  • Smaller is easier. Small table, small tv, small decorations, small closet, small fridge. Small is just easier. 
  • Invest in services like Netflix, Hulu, Redbox, online swap markets, and even use your local library! This minimizes the amount of books, movies, clothes, etc. that you have to store but can still enjoy at your leisure. 
  • And my number 1 easiest way to make a house feel clean: declutter surfaces, keep them clean. Sometimes when I get stressed out, I'll pick a surface (say my kitchen counter, table, pantry shelves, or even living room shelving), put away the stuff that doesn't belong, tidy up the stuff that does, wipe it down to make it look clean, and voila! It works wonders on my anxiety levels. It's totally just a mind trick but when you can actually see empty space, it really makes an area feel so much cleaner and decluttered. And then I can get back to doing whatever it is I was supposed to be doing instead of stressing out about my messy house! 
  • Sometimes it just takes living in a space to figure out what works best for you, how you use it, and the best systems to keep it tidy. That's why I loved that we were living in our tiny home before it was completely finished. It gave us the opportunity to be flexible about our design and change it when we felt we could improve on the space efficiency. We didn't deviate too much from our original plan but we did make minor (but still important!) changes that definitely enhanced our tiny little home. You can only plan so much on paper but when you can actually be in the space, it makes a world of difference to be able to imagine and devise physical structures and see how they fit into the grand design. 

We're still working on simplifying every day. Living in a house this mall is definitely an adventure and I imagine, it will be a while before we get completely used to it and work out all the kinks. But there is no where else I'd rather be. 
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