Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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Simplify Daily Task

I'd like to say that this is easy. I'd like to say that it makes sense, common sense, to simplify your lifestyle, your home, your methods of doing things in order to match your level of energy, strength and capability. . . but it's not. Maybe that's why my Grandma used to move her mattress on and off her bed when she was 85 years old.

We don't want to give up our youth or our ability to do things on our own. We want to appear as if life is as it was before we got sick or before we got older or before our bodies began to hurt. But, either we decide to accept our limitations and make life a little easier or we continue to trip over the weird plant that sits in the living room on the way to the door.

So, if you can take a deep breath and imagine a new way of doing daily tasks, and let go of a few things, then let me suggest some ideas.

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First, let me remind you to not use this as an excuse to buy 20 new Rubbermaid containers and force your family to help you reorganize your house in one day. That defeats the purpose of simplifying life. Here is another option: As you go about your daily tasks, have a notebook handy and just write down the things that are not working well. Maybe bathroom cleaning supplies are in a weird place that is hard to reach. Write it down. Maybe sweeping the floor is difficult because of the heavy things that must be moved in order to get around them. Write it down. Maybe paying the bills is frustrating because the chair at the computer is hard on your back. Write it down.

If you can live with an ongoing 'list', then take the frustrations out of your mind and put them onto paper. Sometimes, it just means a simple change one at a time.

One winter, I bought a pair of slip-on shoes for the early morning drive-the-kids-to-school routine. My pain is worse in the morning and this simple change helped a lot. We also gave away plants and bought some used leather furniture that was easy to wipe clean instead of having to care for fabric.

Less stuff means less work. See if there are some things you can give away. Remember what it is like when you go to a hotel or a cabin or a retreat center? The 'stuff' is minimal and it is easy to relax right away.

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However, it doesn't mean that you live in a museum. My husband and  sons are very creative. There is always something being built, designed or duct-taped together at the kitchen counter. We keep a couple clip-boards with blank paper in the kitchen for the creativity to flow. The duct-tape is in the drawer, the stack of cardboard, hinges, wires, brackets, paint and tools are in the garage. Creativity flows in our house, but things are returned back to where they came from and the counter is empty again.

The point of simplifying daily tasks is so that each person can live and create together in a home while maintaining order and a sense of calm. When things 'bother' you because they are getting in the way of you being able to function well in your home, that is the time to simplify.

If you have found some good ways to simplify life, would you mind sharing them? Just add them to the comment section of this blog. Thanks!