I longed for a simple home, but didn’t see an end to the clutter. I wanted to believe that a simple, welcoming home was possible for me. Then, sometimes more than that, I wanted to give up. I wanted to call it quits on that dream and assume beautiful, simple homes were reserved for people with bigger budgets, better style, or less attachment to things.

In last week’s post, Why Your Home Isn’t Simple Yet, I shared some hard facts I had to face in order to find the simple home I longed for. Those truths were a little bit focused on theory, so today I’m going a little deeper in the very practical ways I was able to finally simplify our home.

3 Ways I Finally Found Simplicity

Following are 3 practical ways I was finally able to simplify our home. Each one is a simple action that repeated over time has helped me create a simple home I’m proud of. Sure, we still don’t have gorgeous furniture, awesome interior design, or even immaculate closets and counters. Still, I feel calm, welcome, and inspired in my own home, and that feels like an accomplishment worth celebrating. Here’s how it all got started…

1. Deciding I Wanted Simple

Really, what it all came down to was I either wanted that simple home of my dreams or I didn’t. If I didn’t really care about the beautiful and practical organization, the earthy yet minimal decor, the clean surfaces and emotion-filled carefully-curated wall art… if I didn’t really care about all of that, then I didn’t really have to face the hard truths about simple. I wouldn’t have to embrace the simplifying process or make hard decisions to let go of things full of memories. On the other hand, if I really did care and really did want that calming, welcoming home of my dreams, then it was time to decide the hard work would be worth it. That decision was a game-changer in the actions that followed. It was a very important first step.

2. Changing Previous Habits

Next, creating that beautiful home in my head meant acknowledging my current habits were hindering me, not helping me. I was an accept-aholic, meaning I said yes and took in more than I needed or even wanted. Freebies, clearance finds, hand-me-downs. I loved browsing sales and clearance racks, even if I had nothing specific on my wish list. Heck, I didn’t even have a wish list, it was just all an endless scroll in my head. After I decided I really did want a simple home, it was time to stop bringing things into the home that were not helping make that happen. I learned to start better evaluating what was needed and simply wanted. I implemented a wish list where items stayed written down for weeks before it became apparent they would either contribute positively to the simple space I was creating, or they needed to be left off the list. I focused on quality over quantity, focusing on less things but better.

3. Following Routine Upkeeps

Finally, I dove deep into simplifying routines to get all the unnecessary in our home out. It started with some serious Freecycling when our first baby was a few months old. It got more intentional with a couple yearly Home Cures I did through Apartment Therapy. It got kicked up a lot when I created my own Project Eliminate to clear as much as possible before we relocated during a short homeless, jobless season. And, finally, I started following seasonal simplifying routines each spring and fall to maintain my progress, keep improving our spaces, and giving the excess a dated eviction notice.

The question for you: do you want a simple home or not? That’s really what it comes down to. If you do, then accept the hard truths and do the work of changing your habits and following new routines. If you don’t, well, it’s your simple home dream being given up, so that choice is yours.

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For more, checkout my ebook Simplifying Home, and signup for my free 8-part email series to help you finally simplify your home this year.