Tag Archives: Organize

Step 2: Assess Needs

Welcome to Step 2 of the Simplify Your Life Challenge! If you haven’t followed these posts, you can find the Introduction here and click here for Step 1. Step 1 was a long post and an even longer assignment. Eliminating excess is usually a huge undertaking. So moving on to Step 2 doesn’t mean we stop working on Step 1! Keep eliminating excess and simplifying your life one donation at a time!

Step 2 Assess Needs

What are your family’s true needs? In discussing simplicity and organizing, someone made a comment on Facebook along the lines of this: “First, deal with the basic needs of your family: make sure sleeping, eating, bathing and laundry are covered”. I took that comment to heart and went back to the basics and the actual necessities of life. What do you need to address your family’s needs?

For instance, we were storing the dog food in the bag, rolled up with a plastic clip. It was messy and took extra time. I went right out and bought a large storage container that pours. Why didn’t I do that long ago? Mostly because my life was too chaotic to focus on areas of improvement. Once I began to eliminate the excess I could focus better on solving household problems and addressing true needs.

More examples that I discovered of “needs” in my home:

Coffee. I make coffee every single day, sometimes twice a day. It’s an absolute necessity, yet I had made the process ridiculously complicated through poor planning. My coffee pot was on the far right of my counter. About 6 feet over, my coffee filters were in an upper left cabinet. On the total other side of the room, my coffee was stored in my (child-locked) pantry. I wasted time and steps every single day making coffee and never even thought about it. There was so much excess in my home that I couldn’t even identify the problem areas right in front of me! I solved the issue  by putting all the coffee items together beneath the coffee maker. DUH. Now every morning I appreciate the lack of total stupidity that was previously ruining a good thing.

step 2 towels

Bathing. Bathing wasn’t exactly a problem area, but I realized it needed some attention. I hadn’t evaluated our basic hygiene routine in awhile so I pulled up good ole’ EWG/skin deep. I admit I had been procrastinating this step because I knew some of our products weren’t going to rate well and I was right. No more Suave blissfully cheap coconut conditioner, and no more using whatever cheap soap is around. We have officially switched to Babyganics line of bath products, which tends to rate low (which is good) at EWG. (I can personally recommend the bubble bath, shampoo/body wash, hand sanitizer, and lotion). For conditioner, I needed a product that was relatively inexpensive (we go through a lot), and relatively healthy. For now we are trying RenPure Originals (which is free of sodium chloride, sulfates, dyes, parabans, salts and gluten). It is rated 3 on EWG, which isn’t terrible and that’s good enough for me since it satisfied my other big wish: a PUMP bottle. Now we have all the products we need and have discarded all the products we aren’t using. The kids can help themselves with the pumps and the bathroom is de-cluttered. I also have to re-recommend color-coded towels which is such a big sanity saver! Each child has a color, all towels stay on their hooks until I grab them 1-2 per week to wash.

Some questions to ask yourself as you work on Simplicity at each step:

What items should be eliminated all together?

What items need to be moved to another room?

What do I like/dislike about this room and living/working in it?

What items are stored elsewhere but are needed here?

If I was walking into this room for the first time, what would I think?

Summer failures…..and successes

The fact that it is now August is really blowing my mind! I have so many things to do to get ready for school….it isn’t even a little funny. Fortunately for me, my girls are really excited to get back to work and are always pretty motivated (easy to say as they are still only 6). Over the summer, I had some grandiose plans of projects, crafts, and educational adventures. In fact, here is a sampling of what I intended to accomplish:

  1.  Finish up all the little homeschooling odds and ends: workbooks, lists, lesson plans, projects.
  2. Completely clean my house and purge a ton of stuff in preparation of the new school year.
  3. Travel and and make great memories.
  4. Start a blog about homeschooling.
  5. Teach my youngest to sleep through the night. Or even halfway through.
  6. Organize all my to-do lists.

Things I have actually done this summer:

  1. Decided that most teachers do NOT finish all of their books, workbooks, lesson plans and projects.
  2. Purged a few things and bought a whole bunch more, mostly unneeded. Barely kept the mess at bay all summer long.
  3. Made it about 30 minutes down the road on a day long road trip and turned around due to multiple factors which need not be discussed. Memories, yes. Fun, not really.
  4. Started a blog about homeschooling. At the same time, realized that starting said blog is certainly the easy part and continuing will most likely be the actual challenge.
  5. Allowed my youngest to slide into the laziest, most ill-advised sleep schedule in the history of toddlers.
  6. Discovered website that might possibly allow a new career in the making of to-do lists but as yet have not actually fully utilized said website. For your consideration: Wunderlist.

In addition to these worthy accomplishments I have: NOT purchased needed school supplies, NOT set up several appointments I’ve been putting off, NOT put the van into the shop for pesky issues just barely still covered by warranty, NOT read any of the book for my Sunday School class, NOT started elimination to diet to get to the root of allergy issues, NOT finally had that yard sale and NOT totally made-over my grocery buying system.

On the other hand I have: played outside with the kids, read to the girls some of my favorite childhood books, spent some time with extended family, made some cash by selling unneeded items, kept the kids fed, clothed, and relatively clean, and lost all the baby weight. So there’s that.

Oh and I taught the baby to feed himself. Actually, he just picked up the fork the one time but as you can see, I was clever enough to capture it on camera so I think I deserve some credit.