Five Steps to a Simple Home

Melissa MichaelsEditor’s Note: This is an excerpt from “Make Room for What You Love,” the latest book just released from Seattle author Melissa Michaels, the creator of the popular blog The Inspired Room.

1. Avoid temptation.

When you can, don’t go to places that will cause you to buy more stuff to deal with or tempt you with more decisions that will need to be made. Try consolidating shopping lists and trips so you don’t make multiple visits in a week. It’s amazing how much less you buy and how much easier your subsequent decisions are when you spend less time going into stores.

2. Simplify your daily options and choices.

If you are a busy person or struggle with excess clutter, you have too many decisions to make. Why complicate life with unnecessary ones? Instead of keeping 30 outfits in your closet, try to create five you love and use accessories to change them. You’ll save daily stress and lots of laundry!

Instead of having four sets of dishes in various colors and patterns, keep one basic set in a neutral color and fancy it up with colorful salad plates or glasses. Instead of six extra sets of sheets, own only one or two sets per bed in your home. Wash them in between uses and put them right back on the bed or in the linen closet. Embrace one item that has multiple purposes rather than several specialty items.

Melissa Michaels3. Commit to making the simplest decision as often as possible.

Don’t rationalize a choice that makes life or storage more complicated. If you rarely use your food processor, give it away and don’t give it a second thought. Don’t even consider what you might do with it someday; just let it go. If you find you really do need a food processor on occasion, find a neighbor or relative who will loan one to you.

Some decisions might sting for a week, but if you rarely used those items, you’ll soon forget what you gave away.

4. Make a daily to-do list and set home goals.

Defined vision for your day and home will keep you focused on what matters. When you have a clear task list, you are able to bring less decisions and stuff into your life by focusing on and finishing what really matters to you.

5. When in doubt, throw it out!

When you are in the midst of a major decluttering project that may take weeks or months, you don’t have time to analyze every possible item. If I’m not sure if I want something or not, it has to become a firm, clear no. I don’t even let myself think about who else might want it or how much money I spent on it. If time is of the essence and decluttering is the ultimate goal, off it goes to a charity.

In “Make Room for What You Love,” Melissa Michaels shares her own experiences of embracing habits of clearing the clutter and organizing her life and her family’s excess especially during the years of moving to different homes. With humor and easy DIY ideas, Michaels outlines steps to having an orderly home and break the cycle of accumulating clutter. For more information, go to