5 Ways I’m Simplifying My Life

As I wrote in my last post, I’m trying to get a handle on being a working mom while still being at least a halfway decent wife, friend, daughter, sister … you name it, and I’m working on it.

One way I believe I can make things run smoother every day is by tackling the following 5 things. There’s probably 100 more things I can do, and as I discover them, I’ll let you know. But here’s where I’m starting.

Overhead storage in the garage that my husband and Dad installed. Bye, Christmas decorations! See you later this year!

1. Sort out all the junk. I don’t have a ton of storage in my house. And the storage I do have always seems to be filled to capacity. But there are drawers that remain unopened for months and things I haven’t used in years. So why is it taking up space? We seem to fear the thought that we may need something someday, so we hold onto it inevitably. I want to enact the “closet rule” in other areas of my home. The closet rule is when you turn all your hangers the opposite direction. Then, after a season has passed, you look to see what’s still hanging backwards. If you didn’t wear it that season, toss it. I need to do this with my clothes soon, but also apply a similar tactic throughout my household. 

2. Maintain a family calendar. While we were planning our wedding, I kept free printable monthly calendars hanging on the fridge with appointments and tasks and when they had to be completed. This is how I kept myself on task when writing my book, and when planning for Penny’s arrival. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to use this for doctors’ appointments, work events, family vacations, etc. Instead of asking each other a million times when something is happening, we can refer to the calendar. Soon I may progress to syncing our iPhone calendars, but this is a start.

Southwest Beef Lettuce Wraps — basically tacos in a lettuce “shell”

3. Meal planning. Not too long ago I wrote about how I only begrudgingly plan out meals in advance. But there’s no way we’d ever have home-cooked dinners if I don’t grocery shop ahead of time and organize what I buy by what I’m cooking that week. I am going to try to always cook dinners that can make us two meals, and use the slow cooker as much as possible. On Friday I made these Southwest Beef Lettuce Wraps, and the next day we ate the beef, corn and black beans mixture over rice. I made this potato soup Sunday, and we had the leftovers last night. Later this week I plan to make sheperd’s pie.

Potato soup with toppings!

4. Stick to a daily routine. Finding a routine when your baby wakes up at a different time most days can be tricky. But our weekdays are starting to fall into a bit of a pattern.

Penny wakes up anytime between 3:00 a.m. and 6 a.m. to eat. The earlier she wakes up, the more likely it is she’ll go back to sleep and we’ll also get another hour or so. We leave for daycare about 7:30, so when she wakes up later we just get ready for the day and play some if we have time. I’m working from home right now, so I get going after bringing her to daycare, and I usually work through lunch. This gives me time in the late afternoon to either work out, run to Publix or just get Penny early. Then we usually play until her next bottle and one of us feeds her while the other cooks, we play with her in her Rock n Play while we eat, then we play or give her a bath before bedtime. One of us feeds her while the other cleans up, takes care of bottles, etc. We try to be flexible, of course, because babies aren’t exactly predictable!

A little file collection near my desk in the spare bedroom.

5. Collect and organize important documents. I know where our birth certificates are, but only after scrambling to find them recently. I think our social security cards are now in the same folder, but I don’t have a clue where our passports are. For years I’ve been saying we need a fireproof lockbox for items like this, and the deed to our house, etc. It’s time to make that purchase and get all the important documents organized so we know right where they are, they’re accessible, but also tucked away and not in six different drawers. 

I realize most of these goals will take weeks, if not the entire year, to fully accomplish. But I feel better knowing I am getting some things organized and scheduled along the way, instead of continuously flying by the seat of my pants.

How do you help your household run smoother?

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