Tips, Tricks and Hacks to Simplify Your Life
Simplicity is a word that we are hearing quite a bit in our society. Simplifying your homes, your self care routines, and your wardrobes are just a few of the areas of simplicity that we are seeing creep up more and more in our daily routines. In a world where there is an endless amount of noise, requests, and “all the things,” we are seeing a shift in the paradigm of “more” and a quest for the freedom of less.
Over the past year, we have enjoyed diving into this topic more and more through reads like Grace Not Perfection, A Simplified Life and Girl Wash Your Face. These books all focus on scaling back the clutter in your life, both mentally and physically, to make room for living your best life. Some of the tips, tricks, and hacks that we use today have been forged from these books, the pages of Pinterest and just a continued love for finding ways to make our own lives more simple and streamlined as we manage homes, raise children and balance busy careers.
One Load A Day: Yes, this seems a bit odd. Doing laundry EVERY SINGLE DAY seems like a terrible idea to just about anyone, whether you love it or you hate it. But break it down for a moment - would you rather spend a few minutes every day grabbing up a handful of clothes to wash and having those items folded and ready by the end of the day -OR- spending your entire weekend tackling the mound of clothes that you let pile up for the last week or so? With products like color catchers, it is simple to throw in every piece of laundry that you have into one quick wash and hit the ground running with the rest of your day.
Don’t Find the Match: Right, another weird concept. Do you spend hours at a time sifting through the laundry pile to match up your kiddos pajama sets or socks? Don’t do it anymore. Sort the pajamas by the rooms that they need to go to and then call it a day. A) Their PJs don’t have to match when they go to bed every night and B) It will take even less time to actually find the match to that PJ top (if you just HAVE to have it) once it’s already separated into the PJ drawer than when you’re facing an entire load of laundry to fold and put away.
Get Up Early: If you aren’t a morning person, this one is hard. But getting up one hour earlier than normal (or than your kids or others that you might need to assist), will allow you to have a little time to map out your day. Starting your day AHEAD of the curve will allow you to feel like you are running the day, and not that the day is running you.
Make Hay While the Coffee Brews: Or throw in that load of laundry, or prep the kids lunches, or pay the bills, or throw on your make-up. Use your coffee maker as a time for ONE thing that you need to get done that morning. While the coffee is brewing, accomplish at least one task before the timer goes off. Achieving something before you’ve even had your coffee? Well girl, you’re superwoman!
Ziploc Organization: This travel hack has been a lifesaver. When traveling with small kids, leaving your kids with you in-laws, or even just traveling by yourself - separating your clothes, or their clothes, into outfits by day and putting them in their own ziploc bags will prevent overpacking and help whomever is watching the kiddos to know what outfits they need on which days. Need an outfit for church? Put it in the Sunday ziploc. A swimsuit for Saturday? Put it in the Saturday ziploc. The same goes for once the clothes are dirty - put them back in their day-labeled-bag and you’ll know that day has passed and those clothes are destined for the washing machine upon return.
Car Caddys: If you’re a mom, know a mom, have seen a mom - you probably know the car caddy tricks like the back of your hand. Have all the things, travel with all the things, pack all the things. But really, there is a bit of a method to the madness. Having a small caddy in your car that can hold some of the essentials - hand sanitizer, baby wipes (and diapers if needed), tissues, gum, earbuds, extra chargers, a spare case of make-up, deodorant or hairties, etc. Your car is a mobile extension of your home, so fill a caddy with some things that you find yourself needing while you’re out and about and store them neatly in the car. The same thing goes for a trash can - don’t junk up your floorboards. Add a small trashcan to help keep the clutter to a minimum.
Final Walk: After a long day, the last thing that you want to do is clean the house, but one little trick might help you wake up feeling more organized and ready to tackle the next day. Grab a laundry basket and start walking the house. Cups in the bathroom? Put them in the basket to return to the kitchen. Toys in the living room? Put them in the basket to return to the kids’ bedrooms. Shoes by the door? Put them in the basket to take to the closet. Making one final walk and simply “reverse shopping” the items that are misplaced will help you find things more easily the next time you need them and make you feel a little less cluttered when you wake the next day.
Make a Schedule: Whether you’re a working momma or a stay-at-home-momma, making a schedule for cleaning days can help eliminate some of the overhwhelming feelings that can come with cleaning the house. Much like the one-load-of-laundry a day trick, do one cleaning task a day. Mondays can be for mopping and vacuuming, Tuesdays for bathrooms, Wednesdays for bedrooms and so forth. Likewise, you could assign days to “zones”; i.e., Monday can be for all bedrooms on the left side of the hallway, Tuesday for bedrooms on the right, etc. Whichever method makes since in your mind, try that routine and spend less hours on a Saturday stuck inside cleaning from top to bottom.
Read: We understand that this isn’t something that you can take the time to do everyday. A great way to get in a good read? During your commute! Your library is a great local resource for FREE audio books. Take advantage. Commit to reading or listening to one good book each week. It doesn’t have to be self help or personal growth. Checking out for some reading time is great for the mind, body and soul.
Self Care Sunday: Schedule some time each Sunday for you! Yes, YOU! Use Sunday as your self care time. Put on that face mask. Curl up with your favorite television show. Do your nails while your hair treatment sets. Take a good, long run. Meditate longer than usual. Whatever self care looks like for you, make intentional time to do it each week!
30 Minutes of Movement a Day: This one sounds hard, but it doesn’t have to be! Thirty minutes of intentional movement each day can look like a walk around the block with your kids, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the office or actually scheduling gym time. Whatever works with your schedule, do that! In the first hour you wake up, have a 30 minute yoga session. In your lunch hour, talk a walk down the boulevard. While the kids are playing in the front yard each evening, do some calisthenics in the driveway. However you can find 30 minutes, just do it!
Shared Calendar: Do you and your significant other find yourselves running around wondering where you’re supposed to be and when? Do you find yourself missing appointments or missing out on games and activities because you simply didn’t know they were happening? A shared calendar is the solution for you. One simple step can make all the difference - a FREE, shared Google account. By creating a shared Gmail account, you can sync your iPhone’s iCalendar and both you and your partner, and even your children, can all link up on your cellphones to see the same calendar where ever you might be. There are apps that you can use, as well, like Cozi, but the iCalendar is FREE on your phone and allows you to set notifications for easy reminders.
Limited Screen Time: We don’t even realize how much our screen time effects our ability to slow down the mind and step away from the highlight reel of social media. If you’re anything like us, you find yourself wanting to redesign your kitchen because your favorite instagram blogger has just recently done the same. Limiting yourself to a smaller amount of screen time each day will help you clear your mind of unwanted distractions. Consider apps like Moment for limited screen time and Headspace for some relaxation and meditation over the chaos and noise of social media.
These are a few of our favorite, tried-and-true tips, tricks and hacks when it comes to simplifying our lives. But the ultimate simplifying tool is using the word “no” to create margin in your life for room to breathe, white space to think, and less clutter for room to move. Some accounts that we love following for ways to help you achieve this are Simplified, CleanMama, and The Home Edit.
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