The Year of Simplicity: Home Goals

In my quest toward rest and simplicity, I’d like to have less. 

There are lots of way to keep a neat and tidy, organized home. I’m not here to tell you how to do that because I’m really not all that good at it. 

But here’s what I do know. For me, a simple home starts with a pared-down home. We live in a smallish house {by American standards} and while smallish spaces have their pros and cons, I do appreciate the way it limits accumulation and forces me to have furnishings that do “double-duty.” 

Don’t get me wrong, we have accumulated way too much, but not nearly as much as we would have if we enjoyed double the square footage. {I’m not hatin’ on the big houses. I just don’t know if I could handle one.}

Still, what to do about the “too much” we’ve somehow managed to pile up, smallish space and all? 

Goal #1: In my effort to simplify, I’ve decided to purge on a massive scale, to reduce some of the “managing.” Moms typically manage the home, laundry, meals, kids, library books, schedules, and a million other things. Management is taxing and time-consuming. And too much keeping-track-of gives me a rash. 

I’ve realized that every item in my home is yet another thing to manage. Every extra spatula, every blouse, every picture frame, every plastic Spiderman. Things requires a place and a purpose and may additionally require washing, dusting, and other types of maintenance.

Just thinking about it makes me want to ship my family away for the weekend and rent a dump truck. 

The attic. Shameful.

So my number one home goal is to get rid of the excess. We’ll have less to manage and hopefully a bit more peace. For me, reducing the clutter in my space reduces the clutter in my mind…though I don’t think that’s true for the others in my family. I love them anyway.

A wonderful quote by 19th-century artist / designer / philosopher William Morris has recently been popularized as more and more of us are resisting our culture’s tendency toward excess. 

If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

I need to tattoo this quote on my wrist. 

Another discipline I’m trying to practice is this: for everything that comes in, something must go out. I keep a garbage bag in my garage to collect cast-offs I come across on an almost daily basis. When the bag gets full, I throw it in my trunk and drop it off at the local thrift store. 

If I’m just not sure whether to keep or toss, I ask myself a question that seems to work for me: If the house burned down today, would I actually miss this? 

We’re hoping to partner with some friends for a massive yard sale and then we’ll donate what’s left. I’ve got a crush on a sectional at Costco so I’m trying to sell some stuff to pay for it. {Is it just me or does “sectional from Costco” seem to fly in the face of a post about the evils of excess? Somebody help me.}

Also, because I’m weird and like to keep track of stuff, I plan to actually record the number of bags / van-loads, etc. we get rid of in 2012. I’ve got a notepad on the fridge with tally marks. Hopefully the sheer volume of it all will serve as a great deterrent for future excess.

Goal #2: Paint. My bedroom still has builder beige paint from 6 years ago when we moved in. {And a thousand nail holes.} My hallway features Sharpie-inspired abstract art, compliments of my 4-year-old. 

My great room has been pleading with me to finish the trim that was left unfinished over 4 years ago. I don’t even like the color anymore so the walls are getting painted too.

Other paint projects include my kitchen chairs, garage-door trim, and a bookcase. It sounds like a lot for a year in which I’m trying to rest and simplify but I do have a whole year. Baby steps.

Besides, there aren’t any “home-goals police” tapping their feet and looking over my shoulder. Doing even one thing is better than avoiding the goals altogether.

Goal #3: Art. More art in the house. Art that we make ourselves. Art that it meaningful and amateur and lovely. Because what we make with our hands and our hearts is beautiful. In the midst of clutter and mess, I can look at the wall photos I’ve taken over the years or the bold paintstrokes of my children’s creativity and smile. 

Let’s face it, the paint could be peeling and the closets bursting with chaos and all for good reason. We live here. Five people and a dog who run and play and live full and loud and with abandon in this house. 

Though I long for spruced-up and cleaned-out, daily I have to be reminded that kids and creativity and life lived authentically will forever be messy in the best way.


Linking up with The Nester’s Home Goals Linky Party.


A great resource for me is Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider. I bought it last year and am going through it again. She writes in a way that’s inspiring and practical instead of guilt-inducing and over-the-top. 


  1. Anonymous says

    too much stuff makes me feel “stuffy” and then I get irritable and then… just spirals quickly! I can relate. How cool to tally your bags! sounds like you are starting off to have a great year……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *