3 Ways to Simplify Your Home Life

Simplicity will rescue your sanity--ask any parent.

In the age of Twitter, what's urgent is what's trivial. And when the latest wardrobe malfunction drives the national media discussion, that's a sign that minor frolics left unchecked can blossom into a full-blown distraction.

The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week and it's a perfect time to simplify your home and personal finances--so you can preserve, protect and defend your mental health. Now place your right hand on top of your organizer and take the oath.

August is also back-to-school season so you'll want to get organized before things get really crazy in the fall--when dogs are bound to allegedly eat the kid's homework. Here are ways to declutter, prioritize and streamline.

Schedule a Cleaning Hour

Americans waste more than
looking for things they can't find. So consider the following:
  1. Schedule 20-30 minutes of cleaning per day (or every other day).
  2. Put everything in their place.
  3. Get rid of junk. These include clothes that no longer fit; unused equipment; redundant possessions and similar accumulated debris that have no practical use.

Trash it, donate it or sell it on eBay.

If that sounds like common sense, chances are that it's uncommon in your neighborhood. Organizing your home and getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average U.S. household, according to the National Soap and Detergent Association.

If you don't need it, why keep it? Does your home moonlight as a junkyard or something?

Track Your Finances

Next comes your wallet.

According to Capital One's August 2016 Simplify Your Life survey, only 15 percent of Americans said their financial lives would be the easiest to simplify. And when it comes to technology, 41 percent said a mobile app with access to all account information was their must-have card management tool.

Monitor your personal finances. Here's how:

  1. Schedule one day per week--perhaps Sunday--to keep tabs on your accounts and outstanding balances. The more you monitor, the less surprises you'll have.
  2. Ensure that you're on the right track with your savings. Know your payment plans for amounts owed to creditors.
  3. Pay your bills early. About one-quarter of Americans are tardy in paying their bills due to lost monthly statements.
  4. Identify things on your "buy list" that are unnecessary and frivolous. Money shouldn't be spent on B.S. If you want to grow your bottom line, focus on items that are truly essential. That simple.
In response to a digitally-savvy crowd, Capital One has introduced tools for their Quicksilver and Venture cardholders such as
that help consumers avoid unexpected charges. Also, the
mobile app tracks purchases in real-time to prevent any surprises.

Your hard-earned greenbacks deserve respect. At the back of the one-dollar bill is a pyramid with one eye always open. Think about it.

Have a Budget

The same survey finds that nearly half (47 percent) of over 1,000 American respondents (ages 18-54) said creating a feasible budget would simplify their finances. Unfortunately, financial illiteracy is all too common. Popular responses--or excuses--you'll hear from people are:

  • I don't have time to budget.
  • I don't know how to budget.
As legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, "
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
" Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

There are plenty of software and smartphone apps that will get you organized. So take advantage. But technology is a double-edged sword: If you're not careful, you can waste a lot of time getting distracted by games, social media and other diversions.

The Takeaway

Discipline is a key skill when you're bombarded by thousands of inconsequential stimuli each day. Time comes and goes but you can never get it back. Money doesn't grow on trees. And it's family (not Facebook strangers) that give our lives meaning.

It helps to constantly ask yourself, "How can I simplify?"

What matters is what should be urgent.