One Simple Tip to Reduce Clutter

“The weather is going to be just as snowy tomorrow, so I’ll just leave my winter boots in the foyer.”

“I’ll leave my makeup out on the bathroom counter; I’m going to be using it again tomorrow anyways!”

“I might head back out later today. No need to put my coat away in the closet; I’ll just leave it over the dining room chair.”

These are all real-life examples of thoughts I’ve had this week. These thoughts are made with good intentions and meant to be time savers. I’m sure there are many others that you could think of too. Daily-use items, like coats, boots, makeup, bags, and favorite foods could easily save us a few minutes if they were left out in easy reach.

I had a busy week. I got a handful of last-minute substitute teaching jobs, the weather was bad so my car had to be scraped off every morning, and some afternoons I was so exhausted that I left chores undone. So my boots made puddles in the foyer, my makeup stayed on the counter, and my coat stayed in the dining room. By the end of the week, I was picking up my things all over the place and spending a good deal of time returning them to their homes.

There are very good reasons to keep daily-use items in easy reach, but the reality is that items out of place, even useful items, are still clutter. And I can’t tell you the number of times when, even when I leave yesterday’s items out, I reach for something different the next day. Double the clutter! So my one simple tip for reducing clutter is this: live for today.

Living for today means you’re not thinking about what to leave out for tomorrow; you’ll decide what you need when the day is fresh the next morning. Living for today means ending it gracefully by putting away what you used. There are fewer loose ends, less frustration in the morning when you can’t remember where you left your things, and a calmer environment.

It’s helpful to save time where you can, especially for small matters. However, it might be time to judge the scales and ponder if that time-saving is taking peace from your space. This week, I challenge you to pick five items and use them one day at a time, putting them away when you are finished using them. For me, mine will be:

  • My coat
  • My winter boots
  • My makeup
  • My coffee fixings
  • My office supplies, like my pens and post-it notes

What will you choose? Let me know in the comments if you try this little experiment, and how it made you feel at the end of the week.

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My Five Favorite Kitchen Goodies

Most of you know that I recently graduated and I am now living at home in Colorado Springs. As I was laying in bed yesterday, it was still hard to believe that I won’t ever have to relocate or live alone again!

One of my favorite things about being home is getting back to cooking. I’m not a gourmet chef by any means. I don’t eat a lot of meat, I’m still learning what spices do what, and I didn’t grow up with heirloom recipes, like cookies or casseroles. I recently tried to bake yeast bread, but instead I discovered three ways to bake bricks. But I still love it. My kitchen is my favorite place in the house, and part of the charm are my favorite appliances lining my counter space.

1. Kitchenaid Mixer

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

I was NOT expecting to have this until after the wedding, but on Christmas day Ben put a heavy box on my lap and this was in it. In red. I am still learning how to use it to its full potential, but just as an example of how it’s already changing my life, I made waffles the other morning and even put in the effort to whip the egg whites.

2. Bialleti Moka ExpressMoka Pot

I make coffee with this every morning for a rich, dark brew that I mix with equal parts almond milk. With fresh grounds, it even produces a small amount of crema. To keep my pot newer longer, I boil my water in my kettle first, then put it in the bottom chamber. That way, the actual Moka pot spends a lot less time on direct heat, and I don’t have to wait as long for the coffee.

3. CrockpotCrockpot

The “-riginal” slow cooker! We really love our crockpot to death for making whole chickens and roasts. My basic recipe is four quartered potatoes, half an onion, diced, four cloves of garlic, minced, and half a cup of liquid (either water or a splash of whatever wine is open). Last year, I made coq au vin in the Crockpot and it turned out fantastic.

4. Immersion BlenderImmersion Blender

I make a smoothie many times a week. For single servings, this immersion blender is perfect because I don’t have to rinse out a big blender pitcher (don’t you hate how those little berry seeds stick to the sides?). This has also been valuable for blending parakeet food (more on how we care for our birds later).

5. Olive Oil MisterOil Mister

We received this vaporizer as a gift from our real estate agent. Just a few pumps and it produces a nice, even spray of our own olive oil, great for browning onions, lining a baking pan, or separating pasta

I hope you enjoyed this list and that it inspired you to take a grateful survey of your favorite things around your house. What are you must-have kitchen items?