Simplify September: Toss the Clutter, Make Room for Joy

September 14, 2018

Simplify September is a month-long Macaroni Kid initiative to help you clear your home, your calendar, and your mind of clutter. Why do we choose September to simplify? Well, with the kids back in school and parents back to our routines, we find we are all ready to clear the clutter, simplify our lives, and make more space for the things we love.

On each day of September, participants receive an inspirational email from Macaroni Kid founder Joyce Shulman, along with a daily "task" (something that usually takes 20 minutes or less!) to complete, with the goal of helping you simplify your life.

Here's what one of our publishers had to say about Simplify September:

During the summer when we were having fun, it was easy to overlook things that needed to be done, but now with the transition to the school year, my family needed to get organized and simplify our lives. Joyce breaks an overwhelming task down into manageable pieces and gives me focus and direction to tackle what needs to be done. Each day I get to mark a task off my list and feel satisfied with what I've accomplished. I look forward to waking up in the morning to her daily email to find out what the task is that day.

--Laura Miller, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Appleton, Wis.

Want to get involved? It's definitely not too late to get started! Simplify September's methods can work any time you're ready to clear the clutter! Sign up to receive Joyce's free daily emails and join our private Simplify September Facebook group to take part in the conversation.

Want to know more? Below is the email Joyce sent on Day 1 of Simplify September:

Let's Simplify!

Here's the question: when did we become convinced that more is always better? That being busy is a badge of honor? That getting eight hours of sleep is optional and four will do the trick? That more money equals more happiness?

When did we lose sight of simple pleasures?

During Simplify September,  we will be doing essentially two things: working to literally simplify our lives (by organizing the junk drawer, purging our closets, and planning our meals) but, and perhaps more importantly, taking an honest look at our lives with an eye toward reducing the intangible clutter to make room for more joy.


I will be in this with you. I do not have this thing mastered. I am a self-confessed idea junkie. I habitually take on too much and say yes too often. Though my house is tidy -- more about that tomorrow -- my to-do list literally has 58 things on it. And that's just my work to do list. I agreed to my daughter's request for a sleepover birthday party next week for eight 12-year-old girls and feel like I literally can't stop scheduling things. I have boxes of chargers, coins, and so much stuff stuffed into my bedside drawer that I can barely open it. I'm in this with you.

A final, very important thought. I cannot do this for you. I cannot come to your house and purge your closet. I cannot say no to baking 48 cupcakes for homecoming. I cannot tear your phone from your hand at midnight and make you go to sleep. Only you can. Only you can make the decision to do the work that it takes to make your life better. And by better, I simply mean happier.

Day 1 Task

We are going to start small and practical. Today, it is about the junk drawer. We all have one. Mine is in the kitchen and I ask you ... how many No. 2 pencils do we need and what are those keys to and why do I have a garage door clicker when I do not have a garage door opener?

Take every single thing out. Toss everything you don't need. Go to the Dollar Store or Walmart or someplace and get a drawer organizer. Or, better yet, take some of those plastic containers that are cluttering up another drawer and use them to hold paperclips (though seriously, how often do you use paperclips?) and put all that stuff in there. This project should take you no more than 20 minutes. Set a timer on your phone. GO.

Read more about the purpose behind Simplify September.