Sustain is the final step of the Life Made Simple process:
You have probably seen that creating a clear, calm environment is a journey. It’s not a one-and-done event you accomplish in a day.
The final step of the process is setting yourself up for success in Sustaining all the hard work that you did when Simplifying and creating Systems within your space.
What happens when I walk out the door, and my clients are left to face their daily life alone?
Let’s be honest, it is note all roses and butterflies everyday because I have come in and organized your home. 😃
The Sustain step involves identifying what’s at the core of your issue.
Just like my overall process has three steps (Simplify, Systems, Sustain), the Sustain step contains three actions that I teach to all of my clients…
3 steps to sustain:
1 – Intentionally Consume Less
Create your own filter that aligns with your goals for your home—and stick to it.
Be stubborn about it!
When you’re deciding what to bring into your home, run the decision through your filter:
Will this item align with my goals and intentions?
Do I really need this?
Will this be one more thing in a pile on my counter?
It can be a difficult question, especially when it comes to free stuff. Because my husband and I had our kids later in life, we were fortunate enough to receive hand‐me‐downs from our friends with older kids. We got stuck in the habit of saying, “Yes!” whenever someone offered us free baby stuff. We had to start catching ourselves. When we decided to go down the path of living with less stuff, we realized that also meant less free stuff. Stuff for the sake of stuff no longer aligned with our goals. If we didn’t truly need it, we graciously and intentionally said no.
Make a daily decision about what you bring into your space.
beware of the “It’s just…” mindset
You might think, Oh, it’s just a shirt, and I really need this shirt, or, It’s just one toy that my kid will absolutely love. You’d be surprised how much you bring into your house one item at a time and how much it adds up. How did most of us end up with full closets, garages, and basements?
evaluate why you are purchasing an item
Stop to think about why you’re purchasing an item, and if you really need it. These small steps will add up and have more of an impact on your space, your wallet, and your relationships than any discounted sweater or toy could.
recognize your shopping triggers
Are there certain triggers for you that lead you to purchasing?
Remember Michelle’s closet from Creating Systems: Part 2? After Michelle did all the work to let go of bags and bags of clothes, she would still slip and make purchases. In an effort to sustain her progress and her sanity, we looked at when she would make her online purchases and how we could break this habit. Some small steps we took were to remove her saved credit card information from her phone so she would physically have to get up and get her wallet. We also unsubscribed from most of the store emails her inbox was previously flooded with. This made is more difficult for her to go back to her old ways.
Being intentional about what comes into your house (and life) allows you to prevent returning to an overwhelmed state surrounded by stuff and clutter. It’s surprising how quickly it can happen if you don’t keep an eye on it.
Be intentional about consuming less, and you will!
2 – purge regularly
Even with the best intentions, stuff will still make its way into your house.
This is why I’ve incorporated a habit of purging regularly in our house. I encourage my clients to do the same.
Once you’ve done an initial deep purge and have your systems up and running, it’s much easier to keep up with them.
…But if you go too long between purge, or simplifying sessions, you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed by mounds of toys and clothes.
You can schedule these release sessions in whatever way works for you—monthly, quarterly, even just twice a year.
In our house, I can just feel when it is time to go through a space regardless of how much time has passed. Some of my clients hire me to come to their home regularly to help maintain their systems, and we make adjustments as needed several times a year.
Whether or not you hire outside help, make it a regular event to get the broken toys, unused clothes, and other items you keep seeing (and know you won’t use) out of the house.
Be intentional about what you bring into your home and to move items out when they no longer serve you and you will find that your space will be much easier to maintain… and so will your sanity.
While baskets and bins alone will not make you more organized without an underlying system in place, they are helpful as they create a defined space to put like-things. For more info on how to choose the right basket/bin, check out my blog on Bins & Baskets.
3 – maintain systems
Life is constantly changing, so our systems should adjust to accommodate this.
We need to reevaluate our systems as the kids’ activities, seasons, and gear changes to keep things running smoothly.
To keep life as simple as possible, I look at our spaces and ask, “How can this run better?”
When summer arrives and the swimming pool is the prime activity, I create a new system for swim gear. When school’s out and my kids are home grabbing more snacks, I adjust our pantry for them to easily help themselves. I still hide the cookies on the top shelf—mostly to keep them from my husband! As my kids get older and can do more for themselves, we adjust our systems to allow them more independence and support.
It’s a journey to keep things running smoothly and efficiently, but the payoff of having more time and energy is huge!
*Take note when a system doesn’t work or isn’t sustainable with your family’s habits or activities. Tweak your systems as needed so they don’t fall apart completely. That’s when some people give up and let things get out of control. If something doesn’t work the first time, they throw their hands up. So don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Figure out what is and isn’t working. Help your kids create new habits. And know that no matter how hard you try, we are dealing with humans who get lazy sometimes. Don’t give up!
Going through your spaces a few times a year and adjusting your systems as your life changes will keep things from falling apart and will help your life continue to be simpler. After all, it’s Process Improvement…not Process Perfection.
You got this!
Need some Extra help with your projects at home?
Here are some ways that the life made simple team can help you:
Want some D.I.Y. Help?
👉 Grab an online course to help you complete your project
Want a customized plan?
👉 Schedule a virtual consult with Stephanie
Want someone to do it for you?
👉 Book a call with Stephanie and schedule the Life Made Simple team to come to you!
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