My Final Word For You This Decade

posted by Andrea | 12/17/2019

note card with the word simplify on it

As we near the close of another decade, the word that continually comes to mind is…

SIMPLIFY

Of course, this is not a new word or concept for me to share here on the blog!

This is the goal I have for my own life, day in and day out.

It’s the motivation behind the vast majority of my choices and decisions. 

It’s the concept I built my blog and business on and around these past 10 years.

It’s the message I’ve preached and teached, and shared day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. 

It’s one of the reasons I’m able to live the life I have right now.

SIMPLIFY is a BIG word for my life.

And it’s the final word I want to share with you, after a decade of sharing my words online.

I’m taking the remainder of this decade off from the blog (I know, it’s only a couple of weeks, but it’s fun to say it that way!) 

I probably won’t be on social media much either — but rest assured, our family is OK and I am healthy and well.

I’m just ready for a break!

Without further adieu…

wooden simplify sign

S = START! 

Yes, that’s it — just START! 

Start small so you don’t get overwhelmed… but start somewhere so you actually make progress. 

This is often the hardest part for so many people (myself included)!

You might need to force yourself to get started, but once you start, your momentum will build and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goal of a simpler, more organized home and life. 

RELATED READING: 

I = IDENTIFY your priorities

If you don’t know what your priorities are, it will be almost impossible to make and reach your goal of a simplified life (or whatever your goals are). 

Sit down with a pad of paper and pen and write your answers to these questions:

  • What is most important to you RIGHT NOW?
  • What are you most excited about RIGHT NOW?
  • What do you want to spend your time doing?
  • Who do you want to spend your time with?
  • Where do you give your money? 

The answers to these questions will generally point you in the direction of your current priorities. 

Once you identify your priorities, it will be SO much simpler to create goals that align with your priorities. It will also be significantly easier to say “NO” when a request for your time, money, talents, etc. does NOT align with your current priorities.

NOTE: Your goals do not need to be huge life-changing goals… but having goals that align with your priorities is a crucial part of simplifying your life. 

RELATED READING: 

M = MINIMIZE

I am NOT a minimalist, but I am a huge advocate for MINIMIZING whenever and wherever possible. 

  • Purge clothing, accessories, toys, books, games, kitchen items, lawn tools, and anything else you don’t use and love. 
  • Remove to-do’s from your list if you aren’t passionate about them.
  • Say “no” to things, people, and activities that don’t align with your priorities and goals from above. 

Reduce the number of things, to-do’s, commitments, and interactions in your daily life. It will drastically help you to simplify every area of life (I know this from years of personal experience!)

RELATED READING: 

P = PLAN & PREPARE

My life would be so chaotic (essentially the opposite of simple) if I didn’t spend a significant amount of time planning and preparing in advance. 

We pick out clothing, sign papers, fill backpacks, and pack lunches the night before. 

I plan my meals (breakfast and dinner) a week in advance so I know what groceries to buy and when I need to be home to put food in the oven or to make something from the freezer

Dave and I constantly talk through plans for the week so we’re both “on the same page”

We wake up very early so we have more time to plan and prepare for our day. 

I know it might seem like a lot of extra work up-front, but I’ve never ever regretted the time I’ve spent planning and preparing as it saves me so much time, energy, and stress in the long-run.

RELATED READING: 

L = LOWER expectations

Simplifying your home and life will never be as fun or as glamorous as the TV shows, magazines, and Instagram stories make out to be. Sorry!

Living a simple life requires work, sometimes a lot of work — and really tough decisions (ironic… I know!) 

If you have children (or a non-supportive spouse) it will be that much more challenging to get and keep your home organized. 

I don’t say these things to make you lose hope — but rather because I know how important our expectations are in our efforts to simplify and get more organized.

If you expect magical over-night transformations, you will be disappointed and less likely to stick with it. However, if you expect to put in many weeks of hard work, you will be more motivated to continue working towards your goals, even if things don’t go your way. 

RELATED READING: 

I = IMPLEMENT routines

In the paragraphs above, I mentioned that Simple Living can feel like a lot of work (especially in the beginning). However, once you’re able to implement a few routines, those previously daunting tasks start to feel much more doable and manageable. 

They might even feel… simple! 

Routines are pure gold for me and for our family… they are absolutely 100% necessary for our home and family to run smoothly. 

There are times when we need to reevaluate or tweak our routines, but that requires minimal effort compared to the amount of time and energy saved using our various routines!

RELATED READING: 

F = FOCUS on maintenance

Organizing is not a once-and-done thing… your home and life will require continual maintenance to KEEP things organized. 

But don’t let this discourage you!  Once you have a few routines in place (like I mentioned above) the “maintenance” part will be SO much faster and easier than the “getting organized” part!

Things will get dirty, messy, and disorganized again — that’s part of life. 

Know that this is normal — make time in your schedule to maintain the work you did in all the steps above, and don’t think for one second that your efforts weren’t worth it! 

RELATED READING: 

Y = YOU can do this!

Don’t doubt yourself or your abilities. 

It might be hard, it might not be perfect timing, it might take you a LONG time to start making noticeable progress, but you can do this… and it will be worth every minute you spend to simplify and organize your home and life!

If there’s ONE thing you take away from my blog posts, I truly hope it’s a feeling of “doability”.

My goal has always been to make everything I share feel doable for real people with real lives, real families, real budgets, real homes, etc. 

I don’t share perfectly matching organizing containers, color-coded closets, alphabetized spices, pretty handwritten labels, gourmet meals, or elaborate decorations because that’s not how we live. 

Everything you read here on my blog is “real life” for Dave, for me, and for our children. Every recipe is something we eat, every routine is how we actually live, every sponsored post is for a company or product we use (or used at one time) in our real life. 

If I can simplify my life with 4 children and an at-home business… you can simplify your life too! 

I’m confident the tips and ideas I share on my blog WILL help you to achieve a simpler, more organized home and life in 2020 and beyond!!  

RELATED READING: 

thank you card

Thank you! 

I appreciate you, your loyal readership, your comments and emails, your tips and words of wisdom, your well-wishes and congratulations. 

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

God’s blessings to you and your family as you begin a new decade!

There are so many more words I could write… but I truly just want to leave you with one.

Simplify, my friends…

  • Start somewhere
  • Identify your priorities
  • Minimize
  • Plan and Prepare
  • Lower your expectations
  • Implement routines
  • Focus on maintenance
  • You can do this! 

SIMPLIFY!  

simplify your life

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37 comments

  1. Ofelia Salgado

    01/10/2020

    I have been reading your post from many years ago, but this is my first comment. I just wanna say thanks you, Andrea! Your post are so useful to me and bring me so much help to organize my home and routines. The very best for you and your family on 2020. Congrats from Mexico City.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — thanks for your comment and your long-time readership!
    I appreciate your kind words of encouragement!

    [Reply]

  2. Natalie

    12/30/2019

    I’ve just come across your blog this year, and have really enjoyed reading it! I appreciate your practical and down-to-earth advice. We were inspired by your post about simplifying Christmas gift-giving, and decided to exchange the majority of our family gifts before Christmas day. It was well-received by our kids, and it felt really nice, personally, to not be up late on Christmas Eve wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree in the late evening hours Looking forward to continuing to simplify in this coming year. Blessings to you and your family in the New Year!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Natalie!

    Welcome to the blog! I’m thrilled to hear from you 🙂
    Also, I smiled the whole time reading your comment — it makes me so happy to know that what helps my family simplify also helps other families too (thanks so much for taking the time to let me know)

    Happy New Year to you too!

    [Reply]

  3. Brenda

    12/26/2019

    This was such a great post. As an older Mom with grown kids and now raising two more and Having 7 grand babies, living more simply has become a necessity. It doesn’t come naturally for me, so I have relished your wisdom. I have read your blog for years and I am so glad that you are only taking a break and not leaving. Thank you for using the gifts God has given you to reach out to me. ❤️

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Brenda! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

    [Reply]

  4. Karen

    12/17/2019

    Perfect post! Thank you. I’ll be sharing this with others. I’ve pretty much got this nailed down at 64 years old but SO helpful for young families!
    Actually, many years ago, I started with FlyLady and it changed my life and my family to get rid of the clutter. We were also homebodies. The only thing my “type A” daughter ever got “grounded” for was to many school activities. Your family is well on the way to an amazing life, full of precious memories.
    Oh… I bought the Kid Ki’nex for my grandson’s January birthday! Thank you.
    Enjoy your site SO much… even at this time in my life.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Karen — Merry Christmas to you (and I hope your grandson loves the k’nex!)

    [Reply]

  5. Donna G

    12/17/2019

    I’ve been with you since you were Simple Organized Living, and while I always miss you when you take a break, I applaud you for knowing how to take your own advice.

    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may you and your family be blessed going in and going out!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you Donna!

    [Reply]

  6. Sarah

    12/17/2019

    Awww, what a lovely sign-off to an eventful decade indeed 🙂

    Have a fantastic Christmas and a peaceful New Year

    Looking forward to an amazing 2020 xx

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Sarah! That was my hope!
    I’m looking forward to 2020 as well!

    [Reply]

  7. Stephanie

    12/17/2019

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’m a longtime reader. Very thankful for your wisdom and blog!

    [Reply]

  8. JoAnn C.

    12/17/2019

    Thank you, Andrea. Happy and safe holidays to you and your beautiful family.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks JoAnn!

    [Reply]

  9. Christina

    12/17/2019

    Is it possible to make this a printable???( So I wouldn’t get all the ads trying to just print it.) I would love to share it with some friends and family this season of stress. lol

    Thanks for a decade of great SIMPLE direction, advice and tips. Love your blog! Enjoy the rest of the year and decade off! Happy holidays to you and yours!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    🙂
    I’ll have this as a printable after the New Year — it will be a freebie bonus for those who sign up for my new email newsletter!

    [Reply]

  10. Ashley

    12/17/2019

    Wow…. I haven’t been reading from the very beginning but I’ve been reading since Norah was an infant! You’re certainly wise for taking a break but I always miss reading when you do! Merry Christmas to your family and thanks for all the ways you’ve impacted my family!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, you’ve been around a long time! Thanks so much for your loyal readership Ashley!

    [Reply]

  11. Marva

    12/17/2019

    So glad you’re taking your own advice and taking a break. Merry Christmas!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    🙂

    [Reply]

  12. Kari

    12/17/2019

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Andrea. I’ve been here since pretty much the beginning and just wanted to say thank you. I look forward to reading your blog every day. I’ve come a long way in simplifying over the last decade and much of that can be attributed to your tips and motivation.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — thanks so much for your long-time readership! I appreciate your kind words and I’m thrilled to have played a small part in helping your family to simplify

    [Reply]

  13. Annette Silveira

    12/17/2019

    I’m going to use these SIMPLIFY tips as I think about and plan how I want to enter this new decade. Have a wonderful break. I’ll be looking forward to seeing pictures of the fun ways you spent it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Annette — Merry Christmas!

    [Reply]

  14. JJ

    12/17/2019

    Love “Lower expectations”–so wise!!!! Merry Christmas!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, that’s a big one when it comes to Simple Living!

    [Reply]

  15. red2red

    12/17/2019

    Merry Christmas to you from a long-time reader!
    Liked your summary of “simplify” and all the tips included.
    Enjoy your special family time and the hope, love, joy and peace of this season.
    God’s blessings to you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you, Thank you!

    [Reply]

  16. Kim Raffa

    12/17/2019

    I love this post and I adore your blog! At this point, I am not even sure about how many years I have been reading, but it has been several. Thank you for putting this together and I love all of the links to relared readinf. I am going to be on vacation so this will be perfect evening reading/inspiration!
    Have a wonderful break. See you next decade!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Kim!
    I was hoping people would be able to “catch up” on a little blog reading over Christmas break, so I figured I’d give you all lots to read as you prepare for a simpler New Year!

    [Reply]

  17. Tina from Berlin

    12/17/2019

    Happy holidays and a great start into the next decade for you and your family.
    Thank you for your blog, it is always a joy to read.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you Tina!

    [Reply]

  18. Deb

    12/17/2019

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! Thanks for another year of faithful blogging!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome, Deb! Thanks for your loyal readership!

    [Reply]

  19. Kim

    12/17/2019

    I plan to read and review these questions and links. Have a fun break! May God pour out His richest blessings upon you and your family. See you in 2020!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kim! Merry Christmas to you!

    [Reply]