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sweet and simple

Hey y'all! Let's keep it light today! My whole house went down one by one since the weekend with some weird illness. On my husband's day off, we did nothing fun, but instead sat on the couch trying to gather enough energy to feed and dress ourselves and the two little ones. So disappointing because we were going to do some fun stuff in addition to just enjoying all of us being at home! Plans often do not happen as I would prefer... Anyway, I am always looking for solutions to simplify and organize life. I mean, who doesn't want that? I thought I would share some ways I personally save some time, energy, and chaos at my house. Here we go!

1) Divide and sort laundry everyday. Alright, before you think this is MORE work than usual, let me explain. Yes, I used to dump all the baskets in the floor and sort and take up most of my Saturdays...until a few years ago. I have six baskets on plain old wire shelves I got from Target in the laundry room. I made them a little more aesthetically pleasing by making sure they are all pink and I labeled them with cute labels attached by little birdie ribbons. Makes looking at laundry and then doing the laundry just a bit better. Anything helps, right? This way, when family members take a shower, they simply haul their own clothes to the laundry room shelves and put it in the appropriate basket. BAM! DONE! When it's time for me to do the laundry, I simply grab a basket and shove the clothes in the washing machine. Way better than before! No more piles of laundry all over the house and major laundry days! Woohoo!

2) Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. One thing that I hate looking at is a sink full of dirty dishes, mainly because it makes me dread cleaning them, which cause me to procrastinate. Every night I run the dishwasher, so first thing in the morning, the clean dishes are put away (one of my most hated chores ever), then every dish throughout the day can be tossed in the dishwasher, ready to run over night. No more staring at dirty junk in the sink and dreading touching filthy food-encrusted dishes!

3) Keep a family calendar. I have a dry erase calendar right above the computer I am writing on right now. Of course, it is cute and I use different colors on it to make it fun. Each month, I write down each person's schedule of events happening so everyone will know what to expect each day. Concerts, extra work days, doctor appointments and everything else is kept here to avoid confusion and running around like crazy when unexpected events happen. No more confusion. To make it even more pretty and organized, each family member can have a color to symbolize their calendar. Colors make everything better.

4) Only begin tasks that can be finished. This is just a mental help suggestion because I do not like to feel like I am drowning in tasks to finish! If it is a major project like painting furniture or packing a house up to move, obviously it will not be accomplished in one day. I am talking here about tasks like laundry. If I have a load in the dryer to fold already and a load behind it waiting in the washer, I will not start another load in the washer until those are finished. I hate feeling like I am behind and with laundry, clothes left in the washer begin to smell after some time... This works for me and, again, it's more aesthetically pleasing because I don't see a house full of unfinished tasks that are not only annoying to look at but mentally drag me down!

5) Use baskets for everything. My hubs makes fun of me because I am always needing more baskets! They are just so great because they look nice but at the same time do not require super-organization. Shoes piling up in a dorm room, garage, or closet? Throw them in a cheap laundry basket! What to do with all those K cups for the Keurig? Toss them in a pretty basket in the kitchen! Have a lot of body sprays and lotions? Baskets are a great way to store them while staying easily accessible and looking cute!

6) Make a menu planner. I have to admit, when I first thought about this, it sounded horrible and time-consuming. I hate cooking anyway. BUT, this actually works and saves tons of money. We go grocery shopping on Friday mornings, so at some point on Thursdays, I grab my, again, cute and colorful, dry erase weekly calendar I use to write the menu on. I plan what each day we will have. Fortunately, we can get by with cooking only two major meals a week and eat leftovers on the other days. I pick out the recipes, fill them in on the calendar, and make a list of groceries we will need for the week ahead. We save money by not buying unnecessary groceries but only what we will use that week. I can also look for recipes using what I already have in the pantry. I also like to keep cooked chicken in the freezer labeled with the date so I can pull that out for easier cooking as well. If you have specific questions about this, just email me! I would love to share how this has changed my life and saved money as well!

7) Pack bags and pick out clothes the night before. I was skeptical when I thought about this. I mean, if I have in my head what me and the girls will wear, does it save any time to physically lay them out the night before? I am tired at bedtime! For real, it does. I have no idea how, but we truly get out the door faster when our stuff is already out! Diaper bags, work bags, lunch bags, everything out the night before makes for a much simpler morning, which leads to a much simpler and enjoyable day! It may take some getting used to, but once in the habit, it feels good to go ahead with it and doesn't take much time at all! And, when unexpected needs arise, there is not as much chaotic running around since everything is already ready!

Do you have ways you like to simplify your life? I would love to hear about them! I am always looking for ways to make life easier! God wants us to be good stewards with the gifts He has given, whether possessions or time. I want to honor Him with both. Maybe some of these ideas will begin you thinking about ways to simplify your life in a unique way so you can breathe in and "aaaaaahhhhhh." Love you all!



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