Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider

“Simple living is about living your life with a purpose that aligns with your values. It’s about enjoying the things you love and care about and not stressing over the things that don’t matter.”

I love reading about new systems for meal planning, housekeeping, and productivity….but when it comes time to implement them, I often get lost in the details and quickly return to my previous, imperfect system.  Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider goes beyond the checklists: “…at the foundation of this book is the idea of redefining simplicity…I want to help you find what simple living looks like for you.” Oxenreider does this by gently guiding the reader through several reflective steps, like creating a family mission statement, evaluating your family’s current commitments, and making a plan to get and stay out of debt. Then she provides concrete, action steps for decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your physical space.

Acknowledging the term “simple living” as a trendy buzzword, Oxenreider takes pains to define what it is not (living off the grid, more work for you), and then goes on to state that simple living is “living holistically with your life’s purpose.” Holistically means all parts of the whole working together – therefore, with a true simple living approach, the physical, spiritual, intellectual, financial, etc. parts must all be aligned and work together. Although this may seem like an impossibility to those of us who experience imbalance in at least one part of our lives, Oxenreider breaks down the process to simplify and declutter these areas in a very manageable way.

One of my biggest challenges is time management. With six people’s busy schedules, we are constantly on the go. Weekends are just a time to play catch-up for everything that was left undone from the week. I miss the lazy days of relaxing outside with a book or having an impromptu cookout with friends. Oxenreider acknowledges that some seasons of our lives are busier than others, and I recognize that with four children in elementary and middle school with activities, birthday parties, and other obligations, life will inevitably be busy. But she also poses some questions that will help me to turn down things that I would have blindly said “yes" to but regretted later on: Does it line up with our family’s purpose statement? Are you doing it to make others happy? Is it really necessary? And, most importantly, do you really have the time?

Half of the book is dedicated to guiding you through the process of going through each room in your house, deep cleaning it and then evaluating its contents. I especially appreciated the receipes for making your own ecologically-friendly and effective cleaning supplies.

You can learn more about Organized Simplicity and download helpful forms at the Simple Mom Web site