I love the quote by Mother Teresa: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
It’s so true. It all starts at home.
The only problem is that I love my family best when I’m not stressed about the HOUSE. When I’m not constantly cleaning and constantly nagging the kids to put stuff away.
I love my family best when I have the headspace to really see them.
For me, a calm house equals a calm heart equals a calm life.
This is what I want to give to my family; it’s my small way of changing the world.
If you want to clear more space in your head so you can give more love to your family, start here—start today—with these 21 quick wins to simplify your home life.
21 Quick Wins to Simplify Your Home Life
1. Designate a permanent place for donation items
Choose a spot in your home or garage and let everyone know what it’s for. I’ll preach this to the end of time because it’s such a KEY step to making decluttering an ongoing part of your life—not just for you but for the whole family.
2. Practice the 1-minute rule: anything you can get done in one minute, do
Pick up the stray Lego you keep passing on the stairs, put a digital file into the right folder, etc. The little things add up!
3. Fine tune your family’s drop zone
Insanely easy shoe, coat, and backpack storage sets everyone up for success. Make sure your system is set up where everyone actually comes in and out of the house. Our system is in the garage—not by the front door—because that suits our real-life flow so much better! (In case it’s helpful, we have two of these shoe & coat racks from Walmart side by side. They’re inexpensive and get the job done! You can also find a ton of options on Amazon, here.)
4. Use hanging, over-the-door storage for like items
You know those over-the-door shoe organizers? You can use them for things other than shoes! I love them for related collections like supplements & medications, gift wrap, and kids’ art supplies. (You can see mine in this Instagram reel.)
5. Use cord organizers at desks and beds to keep cords tidy and accessible
There’s nothing worse than reaching for a cord and not being able to access it—or worse yet, having to get on your hands and knees and feel around for it in the dark. (Okay, fine, there are totally worse things, but still!)
This is one of my favorite sets, but you can also just check Amazon or a local box store and get yourself all fixed up!
6. Create a docking station for your devices, and charge ALL devices every night
Are you satisfied with the device-charging situation at your house? Take a few minutes today to assess what’s working and what’s not. I suggest a family docking station in a central location (ours is in the kitchen).
7. Keep a tote in your car with things you might need but don’t want to carry in your purse
Sunscreen, chapstick, bandaids, extra diapers, etc.
8. Keep a plastic cereal container in your car for trash
A cereal container is perfect for a car because it’s got a lid, you can line it with a shopping bag, and it fits in a narrow space!
As much as I’d like to say that all of our trash ends up in the container like it should, let’s be real—it doesn’t. 🤪 So here’s my bonus tip: Round up any and all trash, including what’s in the cereal container, and throw it out every time you fill your car with gas.
9. Put small baskets wherever dirty laundry tends to land
This is a classic case of “Mom knows how things should work around the house” vs. how they’re actually working. 😉 I may want my kids to exclusively put their dirty socks and clothes in the hampers in their closet, but the reality is that they just don’t. As annoying as it might be to accept, my kiddos need a small basket next to the couch because that’s where their dirty socks actually end up.
Is there a place or two in your house where dirty laundry or towels tend to end up?
10. Only buy one kind of sock per kid, so you never have to match them
My boys have had Target-brand, all-black socks for years, and literally all they have to do when they put their laundry away is throw them into a drawer.
11. Switch towel rods in your home for hooks
Hooks are easier to use, especially for kids, which will hopefully translate to fewer wet towels on the ground!
Or, if you don’t want to go to the effort of replacing your towel rods, just add command hooks or over-the-door hooks to your bathrooms and closets.
PS. If you’re concerned about towels drying fully on a hook, try quick-drying Turkish towels.
12. Have a toy cleanse!
Temporarily store almost all of your kids’ toys out of sight, except for some outdoor play equipment and art supplies. Re-introduce toys slowly when you’re ready, or give away what they don’t miss! I think you’ll see that your kids actually get more creative the less they have. (And you’ll have less to clean up!)
13. Do a power hour: one hour to hammer out all the tasks you’ve been procrastinating
We all have those tasks that we just hate to do. So make a list of a bunch that you could hammer out in an hour, set a timer, and get to work. Call the dentist, re-package the packages you need to return, clean the bathrooms, etc.
14. Declutter your closet
Your closet should make it easy for you to get dressed every day—without using a lot of brainpower or wasting any time. Rotate out-of-season items out of sight. Declutter what you’re not wearing, what doesn’t fit, and what doesn’t spark joy.
More tricks for decluttering your closet and curating a wardrobe you LOVE in episode 16: What’s Your Wardrobe Average?
15. Make two to four weekly meal plans with corresponding grocery lists
Grab a notecard and write a week’s worth of meals on the front—and the corresponding grocery list on the back.
Repeat two to four times.
Once they’re made, all you have to do whenever you’re going to the grocery store is grab one of the cards. You can rotate cards every week, and—if you’ve got four cards made—that’s a month’s worth of meal planning DONE. (I’m a nerd, so I went as far as laminating mine.)
16. Make your own snack packs—for grab & go lunch items
Fill a bunch of snack-sized reusable or ziplock bags with foods your kids can grab for lunch (whether they’re eating at home or taking a lunch to school). Crackers, goldfish, muffins, kettle corn, etc. Keep them in a bin in the pantry, and restock once a week.
17. Make and freeze sandwiches at the beginning of the week
If you can freeze Uncrustables, you can freeze homemade sandwiches too! We do it both with peanut butter sandwiches and turkey & cheese, and my kids assure me that by the time they eat their sandwiches at lunch, the sandwiches are defrosted and just about indistinguishable from a fresh-made sandwich. It’s soooo nice to make a bunch of sandwiches at the beginning of the week and not have to think about it again for seven days.
18. Always double the protein when you make dinner
Shredded pork in pitas one night, shredded pork as carnitas the next night… Ground beef for tacos one night, ground beef in your spaghetti sauce the next. You get the idea!
If you’re not going to repurpose the extra protein right away, just freeze it, and it’ll be ready when you are.
19. Take photos of your kids’ artwork instead of saving it all
Make an album in your Photos app for kids’ artwork, and you’ll be able to digitally access it all in one place. You can also easily have photo books printed from this album!
20. Throw out or recycle these three things: instruction manuals, magazines and sales catalogs, and outdated tech
- Most all instruction manuals can be found online if you know the name / source of your product.
- You know those magazines and catalogs you’re sure you’ll look through at some point? You won’t miss them.
- Last but not least, it can be hard to part with this stuff, but when was the last time you actually used any of your outdated tech? Flash drives, CDs, DVDs, old digital cameras, old phones and chargers.
21. Do a mental clear-out!
The biggest thing that keeps me from being present with my family and feeling ease at home (surprisingly) often isn’t the environment surrounding me. A lot of times, it’s the million thoughts in my HEAD. To-do’s and commitments. Appointments to make, errands to run… For most women, the mental clutter is relentless!
If you want more energy to focus on the things that matter most—including the people you love—you’ve got to clear it out!
I regularly do a mental clear-out—5 quick steps that allow me to unload and categorize all of the thoughts and info bouncing around in my mind. Get the free checklist here:
Like Mother Teresa said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” 💕
Streamline and simplify your home life so you can give more love to the people you share it with.
I can’t wait to hear what you get done from this list! As you work your way through, come back here and share so that I can join you in celebrating your quick wins to simplify your home life!
But for now, what from this list stood out to you? What would you tackle first?
More from Episode 22 of “Life On Purpose with Erica Layne”
Here’s what else you can hear in the latest episode of the podcast!
- What Matters Most: What signposts, do you want to leave behind for anyone who’s (metaphorically) hiking behind you?
- Got a question for our upcoming Q&A? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Question” in the subject line
Listen to the full episode in your favorite podcast app, or in the audio player below! And be sure to hit subscribe!