Both the girls and I have started back to school for this fall. While our school year is off to a pretty good start, there are some things I think we could improve upon. For instance, we have let our organization slide just a bit and it is beginning to frustrate me.
I have always been a pretty organized person, yet lately I am focused on just how messy our fridge, closets and mudroom have become. I am spending this week trying to get back on track. I would like to share some of my best organizing tips with you all in the process.
1. Fridge organization
You can read all about this one here. Organizing your fridge doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. And you’d be shocked how much time it could save you.
2. Organize your closets
Organized closets may seem impossible to achieve…but they aren’t! You can read this post here.
3. Purge what you don’t need
There are many benefits to paring down your home- even though it’s sometimes difficult, you will be much less stressed. Read all about it here.
4. Getting organized cheaply
Organizing doesn’t have to be expensive- read how to do it cheaply here.
Have a wonderful day! Please comment below and add your favorite organizational tips.
At my house, we have really been thinking about simplifying areas of our lives, but what lately, I keep coming back to one recurring thought. What about simplifying our lives in general? There are so many things we do that add stress to our lives, and we don’t even realize it.
Before we changed the name and niche of this blog to Lumber in my Minivan, it was called “Organized and Simplified.” Most of the time, my life is anything BUT simplified. I am the world’s worst for trying to do too much, and it’s something I need to work on.
In addition to maintaining this blog, I also work full time, raise two lovely but lively little girls, and schlep my kids to dance class three nights a week, as they are competitive dancers. Add their schoolwork to the mix, along with keeping house and church, and, well…you get the picture.
In order to simplify my life, I am doing some things differently. I am far from done experimenting, and I am definitely open to suggestions. Please feel free to comment below and add any more tips- I’d love to hear from you!!
Know your priorities, and choose them wisely.
I am guilty of often trying to do too much in one day. I often try to do so much, that quantity takes over quality, and I end up doing a lot of things, but not necessarily doing them WELL. If you’re like me, I get stressed out by a lengthy to-do list. Just because you have a lot to do, doesn’t mean you need to do it all at once, or even in the same day. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. It’s OK- no one else is, either.
2. Read more, watch TV less
I am trying to make an effort to read more than I have been. I love reading, but I usually have no time for it, until summer or spring break. I have been taking at least 15 minutes a night to read something, and a few minutes during lunch to read my daily devotional.
3. Less phones!
Hooo boy, is this an area that I need to work on!! My family has been making a concentrated effort to put down the cell phones and just be present. Turn off your social media notifications, and allow yourself only a little cell phone time each day. Being constantly tied to your phone stresses you out and makes it difficult to concentrate on other things.
4. Declutter your spaces by getting rid of what you don’t need.
A cluttered space is stressful and makes it hard to relax. A light, airy, decluttered space is a space where you can get comfortable and relax.
5. Focus on the present, not the future
Focus on what you’re doing right now, and what you need right now. Don’t worry too much about the future, as you can’t do anything to change the future. Worry about the future when it gets here. For now, enjoy where you are.
6. Don’t overcommit- you can say no, and you should say no. No one can do everything- it is perfectly OK to turn down tasks if you feel overwhelmed.
7. Don’t multitask- singletask when ever you can, to sharpen focus and effectiveness. Trying to focus on too much at once is like a computer browser with too many open tabs. Your brain runs more slowly and less effectively when you are trying to do too much at once. Focus singularly and you can focus more easily.
I hope you have enjoyed these tips for simplifying your life. Please comment below to share any additional tips you might have.
RIGHT Now. Drop everything and PURGE YOUR HOME NOW! No, I’m kidding. Sort of.
I know you read a lot about purging your home on my blog. Some of you are probably fans of living with less already, while others of you are scratching your heads and wondering how much more stuff I can get rid of and blog about it. #istillhavetoomuchstuff
I am currently in the midst of a whole house purge, but we will talk more about that later.
The truth is, living with less has a lot of benefits. Some are health benefits, some are financial benefits, and some are so good they don’t fit into any category. I’d like to share a few of those with you today, as well as some great advice for purging your home that I’ve collected over the years.
1. Living with less can be beneficial to your mental and physical health
Living with too much causes your house to feel cluttered. A cluttered house feels chaotic, and makes it hard for you to relax and destress. Continued stress affects your mental state, as well as your physical health. An organized and clean home evokes a peaceful feeling, and who doesn’t want to feel at peace in their own home?
This one is especially true if you have kids. More stuff=fewer places to put things away. Stuff that is left out in the floor becomes a trip hazard. Show of hands: who else has fallen over items left in the floor, or stepped on some hard plastic toy with your bare feet? (Lego moms, can I get an “amen?” )
2. Living with less makes your home feel and appear cleaner
Living with too much makes it harder to find places to put things away. Having nowhere to put things causes your home to look and feel cluttered (see above).
A cluttered house also seems dirty even if it really isn’t. Having less stuff and less clutter makes your house look and feel cleaner.
3. Living with less saves time
How does living with less save time? It means that you spend less time looking for things. It’s been said that the average person spends four years of their life looking for things that they are missing. Not being able to find your missing items makes you stressed. Having less stuff means that you don’t have to sort through so much when you need something.
5. Living with less saves you money
How is this? Well, when you make a conscious effort to live with less, you are much more intentional with your spending. Additionally, who here has ever bought something, only to realize you already had that same item at home? Living with less makes it easier to distinguish what you need- therefore keeping you from spending money on something you already have.
There are many benefits to having an organized and simplified home, with less stuff. Start with one room at a time and keep only what you need- donate, recycle or throw away the rest. I know many people who wish their home was less cluttered, but I don’t know anyone who wishes their home was MORE cluttered. Start today and you’ll soon see the benefits.
I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely hate grocery shopping. I make a list, I go to the store, and somehow I come home an hour later and find out that I managed to forget some of my most important purchases.
And how many of you have tried to grocery shop with your toddler or preschooler, only to have them get restless/fuss about wanting things/make the trip take twice as long? Shopping with little children can be super stressful, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Don’t let the sweet face fool you- she has a black belt in temper-tantrum throwing.
There’s this fantastic app called Instacart and it makes shopping with kids super easy. In fact it makes shopping easy in general.
All you have to do is this:
just log onto the Instacart site or download the app.
choose your local participating store,
shop for your groceries,
and submit your order.
That’s seriously it! I promise!
You may choose to have your groceries delivered, or you may pick them up. The store will even bring them out and load them up for you!
You don’t even have to leave the vehicle…or unbuckle your little one from their carseat. It’s amazing.
Now, everyone please pop on over to the Instacart site and check it out! It’s a game changer!
As a busy mother of two with a full time job and a part-time business on the side, I know a thing or two about how difficult it is to cook. I also know that when you’re not prepared, it’s a lot easier to justify running to the drive through, where you end up spending money and making choices that aren’t the healthiest.
Once during the school year, we went over our monthly bank statement to discover we’d spent $400 that month on eating out. We were shocked…and vowed to do better. We are now doing an experiment in our house- we write on the calendar each time we eat out, and write down each time we cook at home. This is helping us keep track of how much we are spending, but also on how often we are eating at home.
I’d also like to share some other things you can do to ensure that meal times run more smoothly in your home.
1. Keep staple ingredients in your pantry at all times.
Who else here has started following a recipe, only to find that you were missing one or two ingredients you needed? Isn’t it frustrating? Think about your family’s favorite things to eat at home, and isolate the ingredients that are common in those recipes. Then, make sure you keep a stockpile of those ingredients in your pantry and fridge.
2. Plan ahead as often as possible
Planning ahead means that you already have a good idea of what you are going to cook for that week. I have tried to plan two weeks of meals at a time, but sometimes life happens and we don’t stick to it entirely. I’ve now started planning for one week at a time, and planning based on what I have in the pantry, fridge and freezer that week. This way, I am taking our weekly activities into account as well. Gymnastics on Tuesdays? Use the crock pot so it isn’t as time consuming and there is little clean up. Church on Wednesday night?How about salads for dinner? You get the idea.
3. Clean as you go
Do you ever find that there is a giant mess in your kitchen after you cook, and you often do not get to it until hours later? I have had to wake up early before to clean the kitchen from the night before. One way that I handle this are to fill the sink with soapy water and wash/rinse utensils as I’m cooking. I can also soak bowls and pans before popping them into the dishwasher. The second thing I do is to reuse a bowl from meal prepping to put food scraps or trash in. Having a trash bowl saves me trips to the compost bin or trash can. I use a dish that I’ve already used so I’m cutting down on dirty dishes. It doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but it really helps.
4. Pre-prepare as much as possible
I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve realized I need to spend a little more money at the grocery store to get pre-chopped vegetables once in awhile. I initially felt silly about this, but then I realized it truly does save me a lot of time and prep work in the kitchen.
What have you done to simplify your cooking at home? Please comment below and share your tips with me 🙂