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About a year ago I found myself overwhelmed, over scheduled, exhausted and for what? I thought to myself, “There’s more to life than this.” I work, run errands, take my kids places, cook, grocery shop, clean other people’s houses on the side, help with homework, etc… There was no time to enjoy life and my family. Years ago women didn’t work and family was their number one priority. I know your family is still your priority, but work drains us and doesn’t give us the time or energy to give it our all. This is when I realized that something needed to change. I had to figure out ways to make my life easier and have time for my family. I came up with an 8 step solution that can help eliminate being overwhelmed, over scheduled and exhausted.
I need you to realize that you should master one step at a time before you move on to the next step. If you try to move on to the next step too fast, then you will be overwhelmed and quit. Getting a system put in place is the key. I have Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD) which makes me get overwhelmed easily when a lot is thrown at me at one time. In a lot of blogs I have read (not all of them), the schedule is too much for me to try do accomplish so I don’t try. It seems that they have everything in order all of the time and nothing stresses them out. Either they don’t work or they are so OCD that it tends to make it easier for them to accomplish it all. I wish I was like that but in reality I am not. So, for the people more like me, these steps are for you! Here we go!
All of this is worth the effort and frustration so please don’t get discouraged! I am living proof that it does work! If life gets in the way, just pick up where you left off and don’t beat yourself up.
The first place I started was with my mail. I would always place it on the kitchen table or counter. It looked messy and we had to dig for our bills. I emptied our wooden file cabinet and started creating a filing system. I made a hanging folder for each item: bills, sales paper/coupons, appliance instructions, banking information, doctor bills and any other personal information. Look at your mail to see what you get. This will help you know what folders to make. If you don’t have a filing cabinet then you can purchase a small plastic one or make your own out of a Xerox box. Get cute ideas from Pinterest. Let that be the only accomplishment that you do that day to not get overwhelmed.
Then move towards the kitchen. I pulled things out of my cabinets, sections at a time. Don’t do all of the kitchen at once. You can get exhausted. Remember, this is what we are trying to avoid. Baby steps! Take 6 cabinets at a time. Maybe even spread it out over a course of 4 weeks. Pull things out to see what to keep and what to give or sell. You don’t need 6 of the same size pans or a lot of cups, etc. Be realistic on what you need to keep. While you are at it, wipe down the inside of the cabinets. I had a lot of stuff to purge. I relocated some kitchen items to bigger storage to give me more room. I put my extra crock pot under my bed. You can put other seldomly used kitchen stuff at the top of the closet. Less is more. The less stuff you have the easier it is to find things and put things up. Here is an example of a filing system you can use.
Once the kitchen is finished, move to the living room. Remember, not on the same day. It will take a few weekends to do this. Stay committed to see the end results. This is the hard part so it will get easier! I took furniture out of my living room and put them in another part of the house with a purpose. If you don’t need it then sell it or give it away. I put the filing cabinet in the kitchen where there was room. The sofa table became a computer table in the extra room. Go through drawers, cabinets and things lying around to purge, leave them there or find a new place to put them. I am donating the Wii and the games. My daughter walked in and thought our living room looked bigger and clean!!! Pat on my back. It was a huge accomplishment and yes I was tired. Knowing I was going to keep it this way made it well worth the work. If it becomes too much, slow down or ask for help. Friends and older daughters are great for this.
Next, were the bathrooms. I went through washcloths and towels. If they were yucky, I made them rags. I went through anything that was leaking (shampoo) or what I didn’t need anymore and purged it. Remember to check the dates on your medicine bottles too! I bought baskets from the dollar store to place alike items. You can purchase small shelves like the one below to put on your bathroom counter to store items you use daily. I use a hair caddy to put my blow dryer, straightener and curling iron in. It is screwed to the wall.
Hall closets were next on my list. I made sure the sheets were put together by size and straightened up. Purge what you don’t use.
Lastly, are the bedrooms and extra rooms. I started off by going through the closets. If you find your kids important things that they made, you can take pictures and make a scrap book of your kids artwork or your favorite writings that they did in school. I purged old and wrong size clothes. Also, decide what you don’t use anymore and purge those items too. You can take all of the purged items to sell and make extra money or donate them. Also, you can do a swap with friends with the items that you don’t want including furniture and dishes. Just remember that you are trying to eliminate items so don’t get caught up in trying to take in too much stuff.
Congratulations! You are now done with Step 1!