Simplify Your Life Week

This week is Simplify Your Life Week! As I consider what it means in my life and the lives of my clients, let’s first take a look at the official definition, as posted on the National Day Calendar website. Simplify Your Life Week is observed during August of each year. This holiday encourages those who need to refocus their lives and declutter – that doesn’t just mean objects. The idea is to eliminate anything that causes stress or anxiety.

Wow, that’s a tall order this year.  I’m not sure they quite understand what an unprecedented time for stress and anxiety we are in this summer!  As we all have adapted to new routines and restrictions during the global pandemic, and no doubt are anticipating more adaptation as we head into fall, here are a few different thoughts on simplification.

Set Your Vision!

First, set your vision.  What does simplification mean to YOU?  As a Professional Organizer, my most important job is to help people identify their vision for the project at hand.  This means slowing down and really checking in with yourself.  

If you are considering simplification of some objects or spaces in your home, ask yourself the following questions:

What do I want the space to look like?
How do I want to feel when I am in this space?
Do I need to just rearrange items in this space, or do I need to weed out some items?

Break it Down!

Now that you have your vision for the space or project, ask yourself how you can break this project down into manageable mini-projects. What part of this project can do in one session, from start to finish?  For example, if you have a whole kitchen that you would like to organize, choose one cabinet to do at a time.  This means doing all parts of organizing, from start to finish on this one small space.  This could include the steps of pulling items out of the cabinet, wiping down shelves, weeding out items to donate or dispose of, and actually removing these items from the kitchen.  Oftentimes, people start out thinking that they can conquer the whole kitchen at once, leaving all of the cabinets half-done when exhaustion or distraction sets in.  When you return to the project at a later time, you end up going through those items all over again as you try to regain control.  This is called “churning,” which leads to frustration and oftentimes, giving up on the project.

Subtraction….OR Addition?

Sometimes simplifying your life means removal of objects or items, and sometimes it means adding them.  That’s right, sometimes you have to think about getting more of something to make life easier.  A perfect example of this for me was when I realized that I needed to add more cloth facemasks to our family’s collection in order to simplify our leaving-the-house routine.  If walking out the front door is hinging on my teenager locating their one mask, which may or may not be in the laundry, we are all stressed.  By getting multiples of the preferred mask style and leaving them in a basket by the front door, I can eliminate this stress and simplify my life.  This will be even more important when I know that my student has multiple fresh masks in their backpack to use at school, when they return to classroom instruction.  

Routines and Schedules!

If simplifying routines or schedules is on your mind, consider these things:

What are my non-negotiables?  Start by mapping out on a calendar the tasks, appointments or routines that you know have to happen.
Next, consider who else you are planning for.  Is this calendar or list of items just for you, or are there others in the mix?  For example, I know that my list contains personal, family, business and school tasks and obligations.  This is where it gets tricky, and a shift in perspective and ownership can go a long way in simplifying your life.  Rather than all of these items sitting on your list and calendar, it might serve you and your family members to tease these items out onto separate calendars and lists.  As a parent, I have always felt a sense of pride in knowing it ALL and having it ALL in front of me at ALL times.  Well, guess what?  That makes ME overwhelmed, and my family members as cool as cucumbers as I have taken on my role as Family Cruise Director.  Is it time to hand some responsibility back to the other members of my family?  That is a resounding YES!  Consider this your prompt to shift into the next parenting mode – EMPOWERMENT!


Most of all, as you consider this call to simplify, remember that this is your process.  Own it and make sure to stay tuned in with yourself.  If you need a hand, check out my website for Renewal Organizing at, or the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals at