10 Ways to Simplify as a Family

 10 Ways to Simplify as a Family

 

I’m still thinking about that simpler life.

The amount of clutter that piles up in our house is absolutely astounding. We aren’t big buyers. We like simple things. And, the piles are usually made of the paper sort.

{Guilty!}

My creative brain is very organized but lack of storage for all of my “ideas” is starting to show. And, then my oldest twin daughter, Liana, is also a creative soul who tends to create piles of her own. Right now, her pile of “teaching materials” sits on the floor of our kitchen.

But, despite this chronic problem, our lives have been pretty simple. Because I teach — in all of my e-courses — about creating peaceful, playful and present routines and systems, you can bet that I have a lot going on at home.

And much of it is always about simplifying — making life easier so we can rest and be at ease.

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Here are just a few of the ways to simplify as a family. I’d love to hear your own ideas as well. Please leave those in the comments.

KNOW YOUR VALUES — Setting priorities is so essential. It really can lead you to the path of abundance. Once you have these in place and grasp what matters most to you the rest easily falls into place.

SAY NO — Gosh, for being a Yes Mom, this is hard to write but it’s true. Sometimes you have to just say no. To more things. To more ideas. To more places to go or things to do. I’ve started explaining to my girls about how it feels to be at home, peaceful, compared to going places and feeling rushed and busy. They seem to really prefer the peaceful feeling.

STOP BUYING STUFF — I am amazed at the things some people buy for their children. They don’t need anything. In fact, if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t buy them more than a few small toys. Same goes for us. Our house is not Pinterest-worthy at all and, if anything, we do NEED furniture to sit on … so it’s on the bare side. That means, we have a lot of space for creating and movement, which is important.

PULL THE  PLUG — We recently cut out Netflix, which was the only TV our kids were watching. I felt the quality of the  shows they were choosing was not appropriate now that they are older and seeking more big kid entertainment. And, there were just too many options and they were often arguing over what to watch. Because we don’t watch TV in the summer — get outside! — we cancelled our subscription and now screen-time options have been greatly reduced, cutting out the time and energy that was going into it. Unplugging computers and TV and even turning off sounds that become too much are other ways to simplify.

EVALUATE INCOMING GOODS — You can cut out all the clutter in your house this weekend but if you don’t have a plan for making sure it doesn’t come back, you will spend the rest of your life de-cluttering. Boring! Instead, decide what can come in and what cannot. At our house there’s a no doll, no stuffed animal rule in place right now. It mostly works. For myself, it’s new books. I try and request through the library for all of my fiction needs. I only buy books that are unique to my business that I can refer to often. We also have a bring one thing in, send one thing out rule that I’m terrible at implementing all the time.

DO LESS — There’s no reason to fill every single day with stuff to do. There’s so much beauty in just being together. And while it’s easier, sometimes, to fill the calendar than face each other in a fit of boredom, magical things do come from that extra space we give ourselves and our children. We’re always that one family who doesn’t get to all the parks in the summer letter boxing program. We get to a half dozen of our favorites and then we stay too long exploring and having fun … quality, not quantity.

EAT LESS — We recently cut out most gluten and dairy products for the adults, which has made cooking actually a lot simpler. There are just so many less options so that when I do have time to make something really special, it feels good and less like a chore. Besides, we can all afford to eat less than we think and when protein, veggies and fruits is the main foods, we’re healthier, too.

USE THINGS UP — Make a point to eat all the leftovers before making anything new. Use all the extra art supplies before buying any new ones. Look around and see what can be used up before you rush out to buy. Less excess is a very good thing.

USE CONNECTION AS PLAY — With less toys and stuff, you’re almost obligated to spend your extra time connecting and engaging together. Develop a family reading hour. Enjoy cooking together. Take up a hobby. Or build something. I love that we’re focusing on this in The Playful Family Adventure right now.

DO IT YOURSELF — This is perhaps my favorite tip on this list. It’s the ultimate slow down method of living. Wash dishes by hand. Play your own music. Make your own everything. Much like teaching kids about learning — which I do every single day — I’m also a really big fan of DIY ideas. Not everything is worth making, despite what Pinterest tells you. But so much is … like baking bread and fresh strawberry jam. We love making Popsicles and homemade iced tea. Anytime we can take the boxes, chemicals and preservatives out of the things we put in and on our bodies is a great way to simplify and take better care of ourselves.

What about you? What simple things are drawing you lately? Hanging laundry? Making your own peanut butter? Donating old toys? Please share in the comments.

 UPDATES AND NEWS 

I am happy to report that I am working very hard behind-the-scenes on our next Abundant Mama Project. This time around will be special since it will be the FINAL round of 2013. And, I’ll be adding a very special upgrade to the project as well to help you go even deeper on your journey. If you aren’t on the waiting list, now’s the time to sign up so you are the first to know when registrations open in August. The next project will begin Sept. 3.

My blogging schedule will be limited this summer as I take time to be a playful, peaceful and present Mama to my girls who are on summer break. What time I do have to write will be spent creating some magical momentum in some really awesome new e-courses I’m planning to kick off later this year as well as while I teach The Playful Family Adventure, which is in session right now!

I love to hear from you so please send me an email with what’s on your mind!

Sign Photo Credit — Mullica

4 Responses to 10 Ways to Simplify as a Family

  1. Jess says:

    Shawn-Didn’t realize you were eating gluten & dairy free. I’ve been gluten free for over a year now after a diagnosis of Celiac disease and should be much more dairy free than I am (summer ice cream is so hard to avoid!!!). I love your attitude about your diet-a nice reminder that I can eat cleanly and simply instead of yearn for foods I can no longer eat. Thank you for another wonderful post!

    • Shawn says:

      I have been a little off of that diet of late and I feel the difference in my attitude. I do enjoy dairy but I do not think it likes me. : )

  2. Crystal says:

    I sat staring at my closet this morning and one word entered my mind; Simplify. I then looked around my whole house and thought I could apply that world to the rest of it as well. I just don’t really know how to go about it. So I popped open the computer and went directly to your website. The first thing I see is 10 ways to simplify as a family. What could be more perfect? It was like you were reading my mind and said “Here you go, this will help you get started” So I just wanted to say Thank You and I will truly take your advice to heart because obviously it was meant for me to see at this moment in my life.


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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »
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