7 Steps to Simple Living as a New Mom…
Do you find as a new mom that everyday life has become a never-ending to-do list of repetitive chores and no time for much else?
I’m sure like the rest of us becoming a mom has shaken your world up a bit and you’re the one who to has to figure out where all the pieces fit. In the beginning, it’s hard enough just to keep the baby fed and clean and remember to do the same for yourself.
You try and sleep when they sleep but all the while you have a mental to-do list just growing wild in your brain and you skip out on some of those sweet Zzzs just to try to accomplish something in the day. If this is where you’re at, don’t worry, it will pass, you will adapt quicker than you know and realize that you’re actually a super mom and can accomplish more than you ever thought you could.
It’s actually pretty amazing and empowering.
You’ll also start to realize there’s a lot of unnecessary clutter in your home and one way to find more time for things you actually enjoy is to have a good purge and simplify your life.
Here are some steps to help you work your way through your home and find a new simple way of living that reduces stress and gives you more time to do more of what you love, like play with your kid, or read a good book, or go to a kickboxing class, or scroll through Pinterest and find interesting new recipes and crafts.
Simple Living Step#1: Purge your Bathroom
This is a pretty simple first step and probably the most important if you have old medicines and cleaning supplies in there that are within reach of your child.
Firstly empty out the bottom cabinets and throw away anything that is really old or only has a drop left in it and just declutter that space and move any cleaners that could harm your child into a cabinet out of reach (or make sure that cabinet is babyproof).
Next, clean out all your drawers and throw away (don’t flush) any old medicine that’s out of date and make a medicine basket or box and put that up in a cabinet out of reach as well. Check the kid’s bath toys to make sure none of them are festering mold or nasty slime inside and get rid of any that are.
Simple Living Step#2: Purge your Makeup
Makeup is one of those somewhat guilt-free impulses buys for me, but I’ve come to realize that I really only use about a quarter of my makeup and the rest just sits and goes bad or clutters up my makeup bag and shelves in the bathroom.
I’ve recently made an effort to identify which brands I like and why and keep my daily makeup as well as a little something to spruce it up for a date night with hubby. I hate to waste and that’s kept me holding onto things longer than I should but not anymore, if I have a foundation that’s just not quite the right color, or a lipstick that’s just not working for me then I either see if it’ll work for one of my sisters or friends or otherwise it goes in the trash. There’s no point holding on to something that you’re not really using and letting it clutter up your space.
Taking time to figure out what really works for you allows you to save money by not buying unnecessary makeup and also if you want to spend a bit more on what you know you like then that’s totally fine because you’re no longer wasting money on random impulse buys. If you need help figuring it out see if you can make a solo trip to the mall and go somewhere like Sephora or wherever they have a makeup selection and they usually have makeup artists there who will help you find the colors that suit you and give you testers to see how you like them.
Simple Living Step#3: Declutter your Kitchen
I recently cleaned out my spice cupboard and I found I had quite a few duplicates of things and also quite a lot of spices that had gone bad (yes spices have an expiry date! Who knew?!) it felt really good to clean up the space in my cupboard and have a good idea of what’s in there so I don’t go duplicating things again. Now when I run out of something I just put it on my list on my phone, there’s a pretty cool app called OurGroceries which lets you add all the stores you go to and that way you can organize your list nicely for whenever you go to a particular store so you can always refer to it and make sure you’re not forgetting anything. Also, you can share it with someone else and they can see what’s needed and update it if they pick it up etc. It’s a handy little app.
Anyway, to carry on, clean out your fridge and be intentional about what you put in there, it’s easy to go wild getting kids snacks and whatever else you think you may need but things end up going bad and that’s money wasted as well as food so make a plan for the week and stick to it. I like using some of the meal box kits every couple weeks to get a break from meal planning and basically get a cooking class in that all the family can enjoy. While they’re not very cost effective for everyday use they do help keep you from eating out when you’re too tired to figure out dinner by the end of the week, so it’s our restaurant-style dinners in. And the best part is you get the exact ingredients you need so there’s no waste. You’ll find your fridge is a whole lot less chaotic to look at.
Also, go through your dishes and get rid of any broken ones, old pans that are rusted, old bottles, pacifiers, etc. And lastly clear off the surfaces as much as possible and it will be a much more pleasant space to work in.
Simple Living Step#4: Purge your Living Room
If you have kids then you’ll soon learn that anything breakable in the living room will be the first thing that kids go for, it’s like they’re magnetized to them, I’ve seen it happen, I had this cute little porcelain jar I picked up at a fair with bits ‘n’ bobs in it, this was before I had kids, anyway, it was kinda in the corner away from most things, not really the first thing you’d notice, but my one-year-old nephew came to visit and sure enough he made a beeline for it, picked it up and dropped it on the floor, and that was the end of my porcelain jar. So needless to say I’ve learned a few things since then, the living room is now pretty safe for toddlers to play in and not get into too much trouble (apart from disabling the wifi, before that we didn’t even know there was a button on the router for that). Save yourself the stress of having things that they could harm or that could harm them and just put away the breakables and anything you don’t want them to get into.
Simple Living Step#5: Purge your Kids Toys
This was a bit of a difficult one for me because I’m pretty sentimental, but one thing that helps me get past it is remembering a visit to my sisters neighbors house, a few years back, she had a front room you could barely walk through for all the toys, and they were piled up along the walls, it was crazy, every time she took her grandkids out she bought them a new toy, not only is this wasting a heck of a lot of money over time but it actually deprives them of really appreciating gifts on actual occasions when they should get them, like birthdays and Christmas. While I’m sure most moms know better than to take it that far but I have caught myself a few times tempted to get him a present when I’m out shopping just because he’s being good or I think it’s cute and it’s a good deal or whatever excuse I give myself.
One way of looking at whether it’s truly worth it is thinking about the space it’ll take up in your home. It really is worth reducing the number of toys you have to tidy up on a daily basis, plus donating toys can provide fun for other kids who might not have as many toys. There are a few tricks that we’ve used to help with keeping the toy clutter down, like saving presents from birthdays and Christmas in a closet and bringing them back out when they get a bit bored of the toys they have in their toy box. Put the ones they’re bored with away and bring them out again in a month or two and they’ll be excited again. Keep it so that all the current toys fit into one or two toy boxes and teach your kids to clean them up when they’re done, it may not always work but if you get them to help you each time it’ll eventually become a habit if you give them lots of praise for helping, they actually really like to help, so try to find ways that they can help you with things as early as possible and reward them with praise and they’ll enjoy helping you and instead of making things harder, and you’ll feel like less of a maid.
Also, keep an eye on which toys keep their interest if there are some they just really don’t play with then go ahead and add them to the box that gets donated. Like I said I’m pretty sentimental and I have a bit of a preference for wooden and plush toys so there will be certain ones I keep for him for when he grows up. It’s nice to have toys from your childhood, I had a whale called Moby that I got on my first birthday and it was really special to me so I want to be able to give that to my kids as well.
Simple Living Step#6: Purge your Kids Clothes
Kids grow so fast, especially in those first few years, it’s easy to let their wardrobe pile up. Take some time to sort it out and remove the clothes that no longer fit them, have a box for the outfits you really love, that have sentimental value, or that you may use in future if you add to your family. Put the rest into another box to give to someone you know who would appreciate them, or otherwise donate them to a local crisis pregnancy center, or a charity shop/thrift store.
Keep a box handy to keep adding to as they get bigger and then when it’s full sort through what you want to keep and what you want to donate. This will make getting them ready in the mornings a whole lot easier too.
Simple Living Step#7: Purge Your Own Wardrobe
Apparently, we only wear about 20% of what’s in our wardrobes, and yet we often struggle to find something to wear. Think about that for a minute, that’s 80% of your wardrobe that’s causing clutter and making it harder for you to decide what to wear! This not only wastes time on a daily basis trying to figure out outfits, but it wastes valuable space in your wardrobe too.
Take the time to go through it all and analyze what you really like and what makes you feel good and confident. Figure out what’s truly your style now and what doesn’t really work for you. You may find your style has changed since becoming a mom, I know mine has, even since getting married so I gave my single sister-in-law a bunch of things that are more her style now and she was pretty pleased so I got to make someone else happy while clearing space in my closet. Think about the fabrics you like, and make a mental note for future purchases. Donate what doesn’t work for you and commit to being more selective of what you put in there in future.
If you’re anything like me you may have a tendency to get lured in by a good sale, I really love getting quality items for a really good deal, but more often than not I was buying things mainly because they were a good deal and not really thinking it through on whether it really worked for me. Being more aware of your preferences will make you less likely to purchase things on impulse and feel better about spending money on something you really like even if it isn’t on sale.
I’m sure, like most of us, you have a number of items in your wardrobe that don’t quite fit anymore but you’re hoping to get back into them again one day, if you really really love them then keep them…but keep them separate for the time being until that one day emerges, there’s nothing wrong with keeping them for motivation but they shouldn’t get in the way of you easily selecting what you can currently wear. Another helpful tip is to organize your wardrobe by function, for example, smart/work clothes, casual/playdate, date night, and one of my personal favorites…comfy soft lounging wear. Following these steps will make finding something to wear a whole lot easier on a daily basis, and knowing that you feel good in every piece will give you an extra confidence boost for the day ahead.