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  • Writer's picturewhimsygalsco

Simplify Your Sanctuary


Simplify your Sanctuary- Here are some simple steps in simplifying your home and life. They worked well for us, and below, I will share how I used these steps in my personal life. It's easy to tell someone what to do, but there's a distinct depth when you speak from a well of profound personal experiences.  And let me tell you, my well ran deep.


Declutter: Start by going through each room and decluttering. Evaluate your belongings and ask yourself if each item serves a purpose or brings you joy. Donate or discard items that are no longer useful or meaningful to you.

Prioritize Essential Items: Identify the essential items in each room. Keep only the furniture, decor, and possessions necessary for daily life and contribute to the functionality of the space.

Create Functional Zones: Designate specific areas for different activities. For instance, have a dedicated workspace if you work from home, a comfortable reading nook, and a dining area. This helps define the purpose of each space and promotes organization.

Organize Storage Spaces: Optimize your storage spaces using containers, bins, and organizers. Invest in storage solutions that help keep items neatly arranged and easily accessible. Labeling containers can also aid in quick identification.

Mindful Purchases: Be intentional about future purchases. Before buying something, consider whether it adds value to your life, fits your style, and has a practical purpose. Avoid impulsive purchases that may contribute to clutter.

Daily Maintenance Routine: Establish a daily routine to maintain the simplicity and functionality of your home. Spend a few minutes each day tidying up and putting things back in their designated places to prevent clutter from accumulating.


Around this time last year, I was drowning in many areas of my life. I was submerged in the habit of saying “yes” to too many of the wrong things, barely treading water to stay afloat. My house felt chaotic. My life was out of control. I felt like I was caught up in a constant spinning tornado that left destruction everywhere in its path. At the time, I couldn’t seem to find a way to pull myself out of the rising waters or find shelter amid the never-ending storm.


Yet, Jesus, in His goodness, saw me and was preparing a rescue plan to lift me out of the water.  


When our outside world is chaotic, it will almost always impact our physical bodies. The stress around us will eventually leave its mark on us. This began to happen to me. I continually got sicker and sicker. Until I finally hit a wall and found myself inside a hospital bed. The stress I was under was too much, and my body was telling me so. Something had to change. My outside world was having a direct impact on my health and spirit. 


I was in desperate need of help. I needed help resetting my home, establishing new boundaries, and guidance on when and how to assertively say no. I felt utterly paralyzed by what was ahead, unsure of where or how to initiate change. However, Jesus was already preparing a way. My aunt and uncle, individuals with whom I share a deep connection, who truly understood me and had my trust, stepped right into my chaos. They were my guiding light and helping hand. I recognize that not everyone may have such a support system. If you find yourself without someone you trust enough to navigate the chaos with you, I hope we can provide guidance based on the support they offered me. We aim to help you emerge from the profound, tumultuous darkness you may be experiencing. We share our stories and testimonies in the hope that they resonate with you, offering encouragement and inspiration to transform your life!  



Declutter:

Allowing someone to fully step into your life and see all the darkest parts of it is not easy, but for me, it was necessary. It was humbling but also healing.  My aunt started with the simple things. She observed that every countertop, tabletop, and desk had something on it.  My house was cluttered. This prompted 2 reflective questions: What if empty spaces were just as useful as filled spaces? Why fill space when it could be sacred even in its emptiness?  She helped me first by showing me where my eye landed, illustrating how a sense of peace could be derived from a clear visual field.  However, if there was stuff on every surface I felt anxious because I didn’t have a place to put something down if I needed to. 


Start simple; don’t look at the whole house. Pick one area. This was my dining room and kitchen because it is the heart of my home.  We homeschool four kiddos and use our dining room table for everything, including eating. I started in a space that needed the most attention and got the most use. 



Prioritize Essential Items 

Three Questions:

Do you need it?

Do you have more than one?

Does it bring you peace?


Every item on my bookcase came off.  We wiped everything down. Then we went item by item, deciding if it was worth keeping. To start, this was hard for me. I felt like I needed everything I had… but once I saw the finished product, which was simple and clean, I couldn’t believe how much peace I gained. We also grouped items: all of my wooden signs (why did I have so many? No one will ever know), books, and decorative items went together. I realized I had several repeats. I also had a lot of decorations I never really loved. Someone gave them to me, and I felt I had to use them.  Listen, hear this, you DON’T. That's it. You don’t have to keep things UNLESS they bring YOU peace.


Don’t hold onto something for the sake of keeping it; make sure your reason is a valid reason. With that said, it is also wonderful if you would like to display sentimental pieces. Notice the fish figurine in the picture above. One of my sweet boys made this little fish and it is so dear to me, so I display it with pride! Not everything has to be displayed at once. I picked my favorites and then stored the rest in a bin. I can now rotate them out when I want a change!!

 



Create Functional Zones

Item by Item - It can be overwhelming to look at the whole picture, the whole house, or even the whole kitchen. It can make you want to run away or simply ignore the issues at hand.  That’s how I felt when we arrived in the kitchen.  However, we decided just to tackle the drawers first. Rather than going drawer by drawer, we emptied every drawer at once, recognizing that my current organization method wasn't working for the space. Do you believe I had ten whisks scattered across various locations in my kitchen? Who needs ten whisks, after all? Once I could see all of my utensils, I could review them and decide what I truly needed. After downsizing a considerable amount, we chose where each item's home would be.  We based this rehoming on the optimal function and flow of the kitchen.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much peace opening a drawer and knowing precisely what you will find brings. Also, putting the dishes away became less stressful. Every item had a home, a place where it fit. 


My Kitchen became a working place of peace for everyone who visited it. It was easy to find things, everything had a home, and everyone could function in the kitchen efficiently. This helped my family tremendously and gave me the encouragement to keep moving forward. Taking my home back one space at a time. 



Organize Storage Spaces

Five years ago, our family embarked on a significant change. We were residing in a 3,400-square-foot home in a suburban neighborhood, yet it never felt like home. The desire for outdoor space outweighed our need for expansive indoor living. Although I occasionally miss the grand walk-in closet, our family, consisting of four boys, discovered a charming 5-acre property nestled in the woods of Georgia. The house was livable, but in need of updates, and despite being considerably smaller than our previous home, it felt sweet, inviting, and more like home.

This downsizing journey meant sacrificing half the square footage, bidding farewell to walk-in closets, garage space, and 700 square feet of storage. However, what we gained far exceeded the lost space. Our newfound freedom allowed our boys to roam and explore the woods freely, and the process of shedding unnecessary belongings revealed how much we had accumulated simply because we had room for it. We also encourage those blessed with homes boasting endless storage to declutter those spaces. The abundance of hidden storage should not be a reason to cling to unnecessary items.


We live in a culture where excess is embraced and encouraged but unnecessary. Living with less gives us greater freedom, liberating us from being slaves to our possessions. Additionally, the act of donating items we no longer need not only declutters our lives but also allows others to benefit. Instead of stashing things away with a "maybe one-day" mindset, why not share and let someone else enjoy the present? The joy and fulfillment that come from sharing and living with less are truly rewarding and life-giving.






Mindful Purchases

Maintaining peace throughout your sanctuary is essential once you have your spaces organized.  One effective way to achieve this is by being mindful of future purchases. If you can't immediately envision where you'll place an item you're considering buying, it likely isn't a necessity. Just because something is on sale doesn't mean you have to purchase it. If you genuinely want an item but can't determine its home, consider buying it, bringing it home, and replacing something else. If a new item comes in, something else should be given away or stored. This approach keeps things fresh, ensuring that the decorations and items in your home are truly cherished.


On a personal note, my husband and I have a $100 limit. If a purchase exceeds that amount, we make a point to discuss it with each other. We also encourage each other to wait at least 24 hours before making significant purchases. This practice not only helps manage our budget but also fosters a sense of peace in our marriage as we make decisions on larger purchases together. It's essential for families to determine their own budgets and limits based on their unique circumstances, fostering collaboration and understanding.



Daily Maintenance Routine

Establishing a daily routine for resetting your living space is a crucial last step, recognizing that some days are easier than others. My preferred time for this is in the evening, ensuring the house is ready for everyone in the morning, especially in the kitchen. Running a load of dishes and wiping down counters nightly is part of this routine. Additionally, my boys contribute to the reset in the living room each night, straightening up the couch, stowing away shoes and backpacks, and organizing gaming controllers and devices. This nightly reset brings a collective sense of relief, knowing the house is in order for the next day.

Instilling these habits required some guidance and training for the boys, but now they understand and meet the expectations. Donation bins in their rooms serve as a simple yet effective way to encourage responsible disposal of items they no longer need. Rather than putting things back in drawers or the dirty clothes bin, they place them in the donate bin, fostering a mindset of giving back.

These steps go beyond just maintaining order; they pave the way for a liberating sense of joy that words can hardly capture. While it might seem overwhelming at times, remember you're not alone in this journey. We stand beside you, offering encouragement and cheering you on. You have the capability to embrace and succeed in this transformative process!



Simply Start

In closing, we want to encourage you right where you are, no matter the journey you might be on. I shared my own experiences and challenges as a reminder that you are not alone. The lessons I learned are not just narratives, but beacons of hope. We want to give you assurance that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you can change your current situation.  You just have to simply start.  Start with one small step. Every small step is a step forward and while progress might be gradual it is still transforming your sanctuary into more of what you desire it to be. We’d love to hear from you. If you have questions, we’d love to answer them! If you need encouragement, we’d love to cheer you on as you simplify your sanctuary one step at a time.

The Whimsy Gals



Products I love and use for organization


Bag Storage Organizer



Condiment Fridge Organizer



Cord Organizer



Storage Bins


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