A few months ago I was dreading the start of fall…it seemed so daunting to jump back into the perpetual juggling game of life. But, so far the transition into our busy season has been much easier than I anticipated. I 100% believe that the steps I’ve taken over the past year, but especially the past few months, to simplify my life have made all of the difference.
The transition from the easy, carefree days of summer to the scheduled, time-sensitive days of fall is always a challenge, this year more than ever. My oldest son, Max, is now in a more competitive soccer league that practices three evenings a week (M, W, F) with games on Saturdays and my second oldest, Miles, wanted to try football this year. (and of course, those practices and games are Tuesdays and Thursdays). So, five days a week, we get home from work for a little play time (and homework, and lunchbox clean out, and dinner prep), a little food, and then any number of us are back out the door.
And while things definitely still feel busy and sometimes downright chaotic, I feel pretty proud of how well we’ve handled it all. Here’s what I think are the biggest contributors.
Decluttering our home.
This summer I took on a major home declutter project (see more here and here). Overall we made 11 carloads to the local donation center and trashed broken, worn out, and otherwise useless items. This declutter has made it so much easier to keep on top of tidying up our home. Once I realized that the random junk laying around was a major source of stress (and irritation) for me, I knew it had to go. Living in a less cluttered space and spending less time picking up the kids’ stuff (or yelling at them for the 1000th time to pick it up) had made life a little calmer.
We have also gotten better about putting things away (because now it’s so obvious when something is out of place), which means less time looking for misplaced items. Don’t get me wrong, with four kids it’s not perfect, but it’s a vast improvement.
I’m going to be honest here…I really haven’t missed blogging like I thought I would. It was hard for me to initially make the commitment to take a break, but now that I have I realize how badly I needed one less thing on my to-do list. Of course, I miss sharing outfits and taking the time to recap my weekly looks and learn from it, but Instagram has been a place I can do that without requiring as much time. Letting go and decluttering my to-do list has helped me identify what’s most important right now and give those things my full attention.
In order to keep the blog going, I used to rush down to the basement to take an outfit picture every morning before school. Even though this only takes about 5 minutes, it was still one more thing I was scrambling to get done before 6:50 when we walk out the door. Also, I don’t miss getting on my laptop as soon as the kids are in bed to work on editing pics or writing a post. It has surprised me that removing these few small tasks from my daily life has made each day seem less overly full. Finally, I don’t miss being overly critical of myself and how I look in pictures or why I’m standing weird or where my writing skills are lacking.
All of this tells me it was the perfect time to take a break. It’s an obvious thing, but when we stretch ourselves too thin the stress spreads to other areas of our lives and makes it almost impossible to feel like anything is getting done to the best of our ability. I’m not going to totally abandon this space, but I’m going to leave it off my ‘must do’ list and wait until there’s something I’m inspired to share (like this post).
I’ve also accepted that I can’t see every single social media post out there. Between Instagram, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, Facebook, and on and on and on, it’s impossible to keep up with it all. So, I’m trying to better about just hopping on when I can and seeing what I can without feeling like I need to scroll for hours and hours to get caught up.
Continuing my simple wardrobe.
The past month or so I was preparing my wardrobe for fall and for going back to work and it was exhausting! While I love the thrill of adding a new piece to my wardrobe, I have gotten to the point where I don’t want to think about shopping or making decisions about what to keep and what to return. I have finally wrapped it all up and it feels good to be content with my closet and to spend my energy planning outfits from what I already own and not worrying about what’s missing.
More than ever I”m taking it day by day and wearing what strikes my fancy for the day. This fall I’m really feeling the benefits of my small wardrobe. I have worked on finding simple pieces that still make a statement (for example, I love the slightly longer back hem on this dress and the braided leather clogs) to make even the most basic outfits feel styled.
It may sound odd to place that much value in a small wardrobe changing how our family functions. When picking an outfit is effortless, and it’s one of the first things that happens each day, it sets the tone for the rest of the morning and then the rest of the day.
I think overall, the decluttered home, shorter to-do list, and simple wardrobe have all made life feel easier. And when the little things aren’t taking up all of my time, it’s easier to tackle the big things.