Less-Distracted Living


Some of you are already going on about fall — taking your favorite boots out of the closet, maybe indulging in those pumpkin-spice coffee drinks everyone loves to rave about. And though fall doesn’t officially start until the 22nd, and it’s still in the 90s here in Colorado, I’ve caught a bit of the autumn bug too. For me, it’s about simplifying. Getting rid of stuff and things, and making sure that I’ll actually be able to tolerate spending all winter in our home.

Spring and fall, this task always seems daunting at first. “When did we buy all these things?” I demand. “Where did this even come from?” But 15 minutes by 15 minutes, bit by bit, it gets done. And we’re getting better about not buying things we don’t need or absolutely love, too.

Here are my favorite tried-and-true tips for getting your autumn cleaning done:

  • If you’re going to donate it, do it. Now. Today. Make the call and schedule a pickup, or take it to the thrift store or donation center. Don’t let those bags and boxes accumulate and end up sitting around taking up space.
  • Get rid of physical clutter. Duh, you’re thinking. But this can be as simple as making sure all the dishes are out of the sink before you go to bed, or that the mail pile has actually been sorted and either filed or recycled. It’s really difficult to focus on anything of importance with a whole lot going on around you.
  • The toys. If they haven’t been played with in a month (with the exception of seasonal items), sell or donate them. To maximize use, consider a toy rotation — it works! Or, exchange with a friend.
  • That one thing you just hate goes first, whether it’s an old car your husband swears he’ll get around to restoring someday, or a beautiful coat you don’t have an occasion for — if it’s bothering you … say bye bye!
  • Take note of the staples in your pantry, then buy fresh autumn produce to accompany them.
  • Turn up your favorite music; it’s an excellent motivator.
  • Pack away your swimsuits and backyard toys. For swimsuits and pool towels, I’m a big fan of the Rubbermaid bins that are shallow enough to roll under beds. Out of sight, and out of mind until next summer!
  • Burn candles or essential oils. A subtle scent can do wonders for your mood.
  • Maile’s clothes have been a tough spot for me, because there are memories attached to each and every piece. That being said, even if we do have another girl someday, I don’t think I’ll want to reuse all of Maile’s clothes. The beautiful, high-quality, classic pieces (and a few I can’t part with), we keep. Others, we pass along to friends, sell at secondhand stores, or donate to our favorite foundations.
  • Ditch the chemicals. I’m aware that there is some irony in an oilfield wife saying this, but although I don’t use them any time of year, I especially won’t let them in our home in the colder months, when the indoor air is constantly being recirculated. It’s amazing what you can do with basic ingredients like lemon juice, white vinegar, hot water, and baking soda. A cursory search through Google or Pinterest will bring up hundreds of awesome, quick ‘recipes’ for your own cleaners.
  • If you haven’t worn it in a year, it goes.

Getting rid of, or organizing things throughout your house makes you so much more aware of all things you bring into your life. Don’t make space only to fill it with more needless stuff. Instead, carefully consider your purchases; I promise, you’ll be so much happier.

Tweet me your favorite fall cleaning tips, here!

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About Katie

Katie lives in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she raises her sweet daughter, Maile, who just turned two! Katie has been married to the love of her life for going on 6 years; every one of those years as a roughneck wife. The family also includes two spaniels, a very persnickety old cat, and two aquatic frogs. Katie spends most of her time reading books with her little one, going down the slide at the park 10,000 times, painting and playing pretend, and dreaming of growing all her own food. You can also find her at her family lifestyle blog, See You There.

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