A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Getting Back on Track to Living With Less

Where did all this mess come from?!

Didn’t I just go through all this stuff?

It happened again. The clutter in our house has reached the point where it cannot be ignored.

I admit it. I’ve desperately been trying to ignore it.

Well…actually I think it would be more accurate to say I’ve been trying to convince myself that things aren’t really that bad.

Unfortunately, there’s no denying it. Something has to be done.

I’m tired though. The last thing I want to do is tackle drawers of outgrown clothes or explain to my kids that shoving their mess out of sight is not the same thing as actually cleaning their room.

But then I realize a large part of WHY I’m tired is because I’ve let things get so out of control.

Throw Mama from a Train

Do you remember that movie? Actually, I don’t remember more than the title and a fuzzy scene or two. But the movie title seems to fit perfectly as an analogy for life getting off track.

There you are chugging along nicely. Then suddenly you look around and realize you are so off track you aren’t even on the same train anymore!

So now what?!

It happens to the best of us.

It can be so frustrating to spend hours cleaning and decluttering your life only to turn around and see more clutter appear out of thin air.

But what is more frustrating is doing nothing and have the mess get so out of control it makes life miserable.

Here I am running a blog about minimalism and I am still not immune to clutter.

If I’m being totally honest, I try to blame most of the mess around here on my kids and the other non-minimalists in the family. Let’s face it, when you live in a household of 10 people, there is plenty of mess to go around.

The hard truth is that despite my good intentions and long standing priorities. . . I’ve let things slide.

Now it’s time to recommit to getting back to living with less. I can’t just continue to ignore things and simply hope they’ll get better.

Like the above Rogers quote warns:

Even if you’re on the right track,
you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Don’t Just Sit There

So what do you do once you’ve made the decision to get back on track?


Yep, just do something. Getting back into the habit of tackling messes instead of looking the other way can be tough.

So pick a small manageable task you can complete in 15 minutes if that makes you feel victorious.

Or throw yourself into a weekend of declutter mania if that helps you breathe easier.

Your process and your priorities may be different from mine. That is completely fine.

Just start.

Because you can’t finish a project if you never start it.

Do you have areas where you get off track? What tips do you have for staying on track?

The image from this post is taken from my photo book The Beauty of Simplicity.

Article originally published on 06/11/2013

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  1. It happened to us too! Our daughter’s room is a disaster, and we had paper clutter piling up.

    We started doing another purge in or daughter’s room, but still have a ways to go. We did manage to get through our paper clutter. Our goal now is to keep our dining table clear at all times.

    • Faith Janes says

      The kids rooms are always the fastest to get messed up again. The upside about that, is those are the rooms that can easily feel like I’m making progress. But that’s just because there’s so much mess to choose from. 🙂

  2. Oh me too! I knew I wasn’t making progress, but I thought I was at least staying still. I had no idea I was moving backwards until I got a glimpse of some old photos. Well… pushing forward again! And again!

  3. Stephanie says

    I love this blog post. Since my kids got out of school for summer the clutter has piled up. I have been starting in one area at a time to get back on track(the hall closet, the desk, my closet,etc.). This post was just the encouragement I needed to keep going.

    • Faith Janes says

      Thanks for commenting, Stephanie. I’m glad you found the post encouraging. I definitely helps me to focus on one area at a time before moving on. Then I like to just sit and stare at it for motivation to keep going through the other areas of the house. This plan works great until your husband finds you staring longingly into the tiny guest bathroom and ask you what in the world you’re doing. 😉

  4. What you say is true! I have tried to declutter for years only to start off well, and then discover more stuff and clutter only a few days later! A big part of my current decluttering success has been to make sure I get rid of a bag everyday. In our house there is always something that needs to head out the door. I try to do a bag of donation and a bag of garbage. It normally is pretty easy. The hard part is remembering to do it.

  5. Bernadette says

    So glad you are back! I have enjoyed your posts…a great inspiration for others out there! Thank you!

  6. I try to start at one corner and work my way out, I clean the bathroom and kitchen every Saturday. I guess I need to clean the spot by my bed every evening. Paperclutter gets me everytime I check the mail. It’s hard to have a landing strip in an apt, but it’s not that I don’t have a trash can and recycle right there, it’s the mental abhoration. I’ve been fighting Leukemia, so the dishes are never done, but I just hate paper plates! Routine, maybe? Thx for the articles and space so far! It is good just to chat about it. –MBB

  7. Candise Coffman says

    I am inspired to start declutering I have stuff everywhere! Pictureing this apt empty of all this stuff is a wonderful thing. Wish me luck!

  8. Heather Nichols says

    I’m old to decluttering, but new to minimalism. After many truck loads of stuff freed from my house…it’s empty, kids rooms, kitchen, & everywhere. I think there is a fine line between the two.

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