Saturday, March 10, 2012

Try to Simplify

Ways I try to simplify my life:

1. Get rid of stuff.
When it comes to material items, I’ve always been fairly simple. I feel like I could be one of these people who only have 52 items and lives out of a backpack. When you’re doing all the cleaning and organizing it makes sense to just get rid of and do without. You don't have to worry about ever cleaning out your drawers if there's nothing in them. Chances are I will probably never use all 5 spatulas at once, anyway. I want to try to live so simply that just in case someone calls me and tells me I need to relocate to a beautiful tropical paradise, I'll be ready. The problem is that I have a family. My children have at least 52 dolls alone. I've been trying to have them downsize and they’ve taken it surprisingly well. In fact, they packed up well over half of their toys and junk. They even got rid of toys that I thought were keepers. Truthfully, they mainly play with paper and crayons anyway. It helped to tell them that we would try to sell all of their stuff and we would use the money to save for a trip to Disney (which we are really trying to do.)

2. Make to do lists.

I started on this handy dandy notebook where everyday I fill out to do lists, dinner plans, appointments and general thoughts or reminders. This little notebook has really helped me. I really like the consistency of it. I try to write this list the night before while I'm walking on my treadmill. If I feel like my day is going to be really busy I add thing like; take a shower, get dressed, straighten my hair. Sometimes I write a do to list of things I've done just so I can cross them off and feel like I accomplished something. I know, that right there proves I have major issues.

3. Make weekly menus.

I used to have partial or daily menus but now that I'm doing weekly it really helps to save money and simplify. It does cause a minute of stress on the day I plan it. I make the menu list based off of what we have in stock (usually nothing) and the grocery list based off that. Then I hit the store on Thursdays because that’s when I have time and that’s when the sales ad comes out. I also no longer use coupons. I always wanted to be a big couponer but it really took more time then it was worth, plus the stuff I like never had a coupon and generic is cheaper anyway. Ok, back to the meals. Sunday I try to do a big dinner consisting of some sort roast or big piece of meat. We eat half, save some for leftovers and I freeze the rest in plastic baggies. This will help you tremendously in the weeks ahead. Monday is usually some sort of pasta, and a salad. We usually have salad every night with dinner. Maybe one day my salads will be as good as my mom's but that is doubtful. Tuesday, use the leftovers to create a new meal, example; leftover beef roast can be used for beef enchilada casserole or beef stroke me off, I mean stroganoff. Wednesdays I work late so it's usually a crock-pot or casserole meal, with instructions for my husband. Thursday, I usually work late again and am running behind, plus I'm usually pissed that half of the food I've made isn't eaten, so screw you, you’re on you own. What's that family? Oh, you don't like eggplant and couscous, well I'm trying to be healthy, so you will eat food that tastes like grass. Fridays, I always hope to go out or get delivery but this doesn’t happen because hubby works late. We're hungry and want to eat now but it's too cold out for me to get in the car and get food and have no cash to tip the delivery guy so I make whatever else I had on the list. Honestly, I find it hard to stick to a menu list because what I thought sounded good when I made the list, no longer appeals to me, in terms of taste or time or effort.

4. Kids morning routine.

Try to start every morning on the right track and with a positive attitude. I start Sunday night by picking out at least five outfits for each child and putting them on a hanging organizational rack we have in the closet. This saves me so much time in the morning. It also lets them feel like they're picking out their own by giving them a choice of all outfits I already picked.
I have a daily task chart for my preschoolers using pictures. They are: make bed, put dishes away, get dressed, brush teeth and pick up toys. Every time they complete the task they put an X on the chart. When I feel like we are moving slowly in the morning or I see something is not done, I say "How many X's do you have on your chart?" They like to please me and if one has more X's, the other will do the tasks as quick as possible just to compete. This chart is in a plastic sleeve and we wipe it off and start fresh everyday.
Find a morning plan that works for you and your family.

5. Figure out what you love to do and do it.

Everyday I have something new that I think I love and want to do with my life. Anywhere warm, sunny and has a beach and pool is truly what I love. I think I would be perfectly happy being a beach bum. I'm sure I'll move to the ocean when I retire. If I can figure out how to relocate now that would be even better. Obviously, doing what makes you happy will make your quality of life better, so if you can swing it, do it.

6. Socialize in a real fashion

I find my quality of friendships to be better now that I've deleted my social networking sites. In the half hour I spent stalking your page (which lead me to your cousin's boyfriend’s, ex-wife’s friend's page) I could've actually drove to your house or met and had a real face to face conversation over some coffee or beer. Fortunately, I have my husband's password so if I ever get the urge to stalk people I haven't seen in 10 years, I still can. Not having access to everyone's information can lead you to become less of a gossiper, which is always a good. Make a phone call to reconnect with people. A text or personalized email is better then a generalized mass message or not reaching out at all.

7. Say no more often.

Think things through before agreeing. If it isn't going to make you happy then don't do it. If saying no will hurt your relations with people then get new friends because clearly, these people do not have your best interest anyway.

These are just a few of the things I am trying to do to help make life easier and simpler and happier. It's still a work in progress and it seems like a simple life is a whole lifestyle change that will take a lot of time.
What do you do to make your live easy, simple and happy?

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