Friday, February 19, 2010

Making Life Simpler

Life can be complicated. Schedules are crazy - while I know that neither of my parents ever kept a calendar, I can't function without mine - and I try to limit activities so that we all have some down time. So when I find an action that makes my life easier, I make it a habit!

Here are ten things I've done that simplify my life:
  1. cooking oatmeal overnight in the slow cooker, so that busy school mornings don't also involve cooking. I have to use a timer to turn it on around 3am - all night cooking results in a crusty mess.

  2. using small, ~8"x10" plastic cutting boards that can go in the dishwasher. We eat a lot of produce, and I prefer not to wash dishes every time I cut something. I have multiple cutting boards and several paring knives for this purpose.

  3. minimizing cleaning solutions. I use vinegar and a dish detergent solution for kitchen and bathroom cleaning, baking soda for scouring. Easy, nearly free, and they take up a lot less space than all the stuff that the chemical manufacturers want to convince people are necessities.

  4. handling paper once only - then filing, shredding, or recycling it - and minimizing incoming paper with e-bills and electronic bill payment.

  5. the pantry and freezer. No need to run to the store in advance of a snowstorm or anything else - we can easily eat for two weeks without any grocery runs.

  6. buying gifts ahead - when I see them at good prices. I hate going to the store to look for "a gift for (insert name)." So I don't do it. When I see something that is appropriate, I buy it - even if the occasion is nearly a year away.

  7. masking tape in the kitchen. It's the all-purpose tape: adhesive, label material, etc.

  8. I don't dust on a regular basis. Seriously, what's the point? I sneeze less when I leave it alone, and it doesn't grow to infinite thickness. When it bothers me, I remove it with a damp rag. I think that happens about twice yearly.

  9. reusable cloth bags for all shopping and gifts within our household. I do truly find it easier - not to mention easier on my conscience - to take my bags to the store than to have 20 flimsy plastic bags of heavy groceries to juggle and then recycle.

  10. thinking of the store as a storage facility. I don't need to buy Item X now, because it is always available at the store should I need it - and the store has far more storage space than our house. Ditto for the library: I don't need to have this (book, CD, etc) in my house permanently, because the library will shelve it for me.
What tricks do you have to make your days easier?


  1. #7 masking tape: I do that too, how handy it is to have in the kitchen and cheap too. Good bag/box sealer too or quick label if I want a temporary food label.

    I find cleaning as I go makes my days easier because I never have to worry about a huge, 1 day cleaning event. It's just a little here and there.

  2. Good tip on the cutting boards. I actually have two small cutting boards and these are the ones we end up using all the time. I need to get 1-2 more and I think we will be set.