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#1 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need ideas. I think it would be fun if people gave their great ideas and suggestions on simplicity. Thoughts or actions. Simplicity of any kind. I hope this isn't a flop. I really need simplicity check. My life is becoming "cluttered".

Use the subject lines for ideas subjects and also to respond to questions by typing in their username.

I'll start with a question and suggestion. Here goes........
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#2 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wing my day, but I think it would be more productive if I structured it a little. I want to get stuff done, but have a problem finding time.
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#3 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've narrowed down my cleaning supplies to diapers for rags, baking soda, vinegar and Dr. Bronners for everything. That makes me happy .
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#4 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 02:54 PM
 
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I've narrowed down my cleaning supplies to diapers for rags, baking soda, vinegar and Dr. Bronners for everything. That makes me happy .

I did that and I like it. Although I'm using Mrs. Meyer's rather than Bonners.
I also have really streamlined my grocery shopping. Sticking to a list and meal planning. It keeps us from eating out too much and cuts down on the grocery bill.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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#5 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sticking to a list and meal planning.
Do you have any tips on streamlining this?
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#6 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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I've narrowed down my cleaning supplies to diapers for rags, baking soda, vinegar and Dr. Bronners for everything. That makes me happy .
Have been wanting to do this. What exactly do you use Dr. Bronners for?
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#7 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 04:03 PM
 
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Do you have any tips on streamlining this?
I have the Amy Knapp planner and plan out my meals a few weeks at a time. Then from that I make a grocery list after I review my freezer and pantry. That way I know what I'm going to cook ahead of time, I have what I need and there's no running to the store for "missing items" or impromptu meals or worst picking up takeaway food.
Also about once a month I'll do some bulk cooking and freeze meals so that when I work I can tell dh "oh take out that lasagna and pop it into the oven" Also the crockpot is a busy woman's friend.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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#8 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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This has saved me TONS of time in preparing dinner:
I chop an entire onion at one time (I use a chopper jar, to lessen the burning in my eyes) and freeze it. Since onions are so watery, I can just dump them into a skillet without thawing and they will still cook quickly. You could do this with bell peppers, too.
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#9 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have been wanting to do this. What exactly do you use Dr. Bronners for?
This is Dr. Bronners. I use the peppermint on my face in the shower, the lavendar on the babes, and the Tea Tree from cleaning and some laundry.

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This has saved me TONS of time in preparing dinner:
I chop an entire onion at one time (I use a chopper jar, to lessen the burning in my eyes) and freeze it. Since onions are so watery, I can just dump them into a skillet without thawing and they will still cook quickly. You could do this with bell peppers, too.
I didn't know you could freeze things with so much water content. Great to know!
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#10 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 05:57 PM
 
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Plan your day to some extent, if not an actual schedule.

If you have small children adjust to fit their needs. Play outside in the cool of the early morning, run errands 10-ish, come home for lunch. Naps while it's hot.

Group your errands so your route is most efficient & if you're going to grocery shop, do that last. Write things down so you don't keep forgetting to get a new key made or go to the hardware store for the odd-sized light bulb they don't sell at the grocery store. Do what you can online: pay bills, buy stamps. Print out your own postage & have packages picked up at your door if you've got little ones.

If you watch tv in the evenings multitask. Get a calendar & figure out if there are birthdays or other occasions coming up in the near future & make a note so they don't get forgotten. Or match a load of socks or shred paperwork you don't want to put directly into the trash while you're sitting there.

Check your locale for links & websites of fun, educational & free events & places to go. Do that towards the end of one month for the upcoming one so you'll have some ideas of things to do. Your local library is a great resource for this.

Some mamas are brave enough to streamline clothes. They buy all red shirts & khaki shorts or navy & white or other combination & never worry about matching or finding all the parts to an outfit.

Give homemade gifts to teachers & neighbors, a plate of cookies or box of snack mix is always welcome & doesn't represent anything that requires further care--no need to find a place to keep it, dust it, work it into your wardrobe. You eat the gift, enjoy & that's it.
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#11 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 08:01 PM
 
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Staples. It is simpler to buy flour, sugar, eggs, cocoa and vanilla and make yellow cake, bread, brownies, whatever than it is to buy eighty five different mix boxes. By the same token, it's easier to have laundry and toiletrie staples, clothes staples, etc.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#12 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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In simplifying, I've come to realize that there is no sense at all to attach emotion to "things". People and memories matter the most. I'd rather see a picture of me in my graduation gown than to have the gown itself (and all of the moths as well. ) This is really key to me for keeping life simple.
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#13 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so much better at problem solving when it's someone else's problem. Thanks for the great advice.
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#14 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 10:57 PM
 
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Get rid of all DVD cases and keep your movies in a CD binder. Best thing I ever did for our tiny house. We have a small movie collection compared to others and I was still able to clear 2 whole shelves of clutter off our bookcase and replace it with one, small, single CD holder that sits quietly next to our DVD player. I'm positively thrilled.

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#15 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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Just thought I'd mention... paperwork that you are not sure if you should keep...

My dh scanned everything into PDF files to keep electronically and we disposed of the physical copies. Frees up a lot of file space.

The very important things (mortgage papers, etc.) we still keep the physical copies.
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#16 of 55 Old 06-20-2007, 11:30 PM
 
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: for ideas!

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#17 of 55 Old 06-21-2007, 10:49 AM
 
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:

I may have an idea to share later.

Amy at Stone Fence Farm
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#18 of 55 Old 06-21-2007, 04:54 PM
 
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My DP has a compost bin where we put food scraps of all kinds & it turns into black gold for our flowers & plants--simple & eco-friendly. I have a trash can outside by the back door.It is lined with an empty, large bag that contained kibble fed to the outside cats. So, the other day I threw the coffee grounds into the compost pile & headed back to the house. Started to throw the filter in the trash but the bag was mashed down. Reached in to pull it up straight & EEEK! Horrid pointy mout full of teeth hissing at me! Yes, there was a possum inside the trash can, & me trying to do the right thing. It didn't help that it was still pretty early in the morning so I wasn't that wide awake yet anyway. DP thought it was hilarious, grrrr.
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#19 of 55 Old 06-21-2007, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#20 of 55 Old 06-21-2007, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DP has a compost bin where we put food scraps of all kinds & it turns into black gold for our flowers & plants--simple & eco-friendly.
What if you have animals? What if you live in the 'burbs? Any ideas? I don't know anything about it, except in rural areas with alot of land and a big pile away from the house, that you turn every once in a while. Never done it though.
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#21 of 55 Old 06-21-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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We live two miles from city hall in the fourth largest city in the US. DP made a compost bin out of old window screens. You put leaves, grass clippings, that sort of foliage in it, plus table scraps. Not meat but vegetable peels, rinds, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea leaves, anything of that sort. We scrape our plates in it instead of into the garbage can; don't have a disposal. DP turns it with a hoe a few times a week. If it's right you can tell because you can hold your hand a couple feet over the top & feel heat coming from it. You mix in the daily stuff & add new clippings, leaves in the fall, etc. weekly. As it processes he moves it to a covered container to use in flower beds & pots. There may be more to it than this simple summary, but not a whole lot for the way his system works, & it's very successful.

Oh, you asked about animals. Possums have been known to get in the top layer & eat watermelon rinds or baked potato peels but that really doesn't cause much of a problem. Hope this helps.
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#22 of 55 Old 06-21-2007, 05:35 PM
 
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I have boxes of photos that need to be organized, but I haven't been able to face them yet. The best I can do right now is not add to the mound...as soons as I get my photos developed, I put one of each photo in one of those 2-per-page albums. I don't have to label, get creative, scrapbook, or anything...just pop them in. And now I've got 2 years worth of photos to enjoy.

(I'm this would be a no brainer for anyone else but me!)
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#23 of 55 Old 06-21-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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I have boxes of photos that need to be organized, but I haven't been able to face them yet. The best I can do right now is not add to the mound...as soons as I get my photos developed, I put one of each photo in one of those 2-per-page albums. I don't have to label, get creative, scrapbook, or anything...just pop them in. And now I've got 2 years worth of photos to enjoy.

(I'm this would be a no brainer for anyone else but me!)
My way of simplifying photos was to throw them all into one big drawer in a bureau, and refuse to worry about them until the rest of my house is organized. It is such a time-consuming process that it's simpler for me to ignore it right now, since they are all contained in one easy to access location.
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#24 of 55 Old 06-21-2007, 09:05 PM
 
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You could take a box & while you're watching tv, sort it very roughly. By that I mean, put a paper bag next to you & throw out all the terribly unfocused or skewed or overexposed one & get them out of the mix to make it easier when (if!) you ever have time to label, put in albums or frame them. Another night you could go through & pick out a stack of duplicates to give grandma, auntie, uncle, godparent who would love to have them & get those out of the house while still having a set for yourself.
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#25 of 55 Old 06-22-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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I keep a small cooler in the car. I can bring along snacks, or I put my freezer/fridge stuff in there on the way home from the store.

I also keep a phone book, a full change of clothes for each kid and bandaids in the trunk.

I make a list of what needs to be done where and I know it costs me 3 bucks in gas to go to the big grocery/home depot so unless it'll save me more than 3 bucks I shop at the local shopping district walking distance from my house.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#26 of 55 Old 06-22-2007, 01:04 PM
 
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To eliminate a bit of the paper that comes into our house I moved the recycling bins to the front porch (we have a big big porch). Catalogs, junk from the newspaper, etc. immediately go into there. I shred cc offers, etc. immediately upon bringing the mail in.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#27 of 55 Old 06-22-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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There are some great ideas on this thread. I second the CD/DVD idea. One of the best things we ever did. We no longer have DVD's and their cases scattered around the living room, or mixed all together. We don't bother organizing them in the case, so that way my ODC tendancies don't take over and drive me crazy when a DVD gets put back out of order. It has gotten rid of a lot of stress, for me. :P

Something to contribute: I work every day, and the kiddos go to daycare. I'm also by myself for most of the time (DH works out of town and is gone for weeks at a time.) So I have had to majorly simplify and organize our routine. Some tricks I have learned for making my day-to-day tasks stress free.

1. Put out clothing the night before. I check the weather network online to see what it'll be like the next day, so that the outfit is appropriate. I lay DD's clothing on her night stand and she dresses herself before she comes to wake me in the morning (she is my alarm clock.)

2. While the kids are eating breakfast, I make my lunch, and check the inventory of the diaper bag, and set everything by the door. Everything is ready to go by the time they're done their oatmeal, so there is no frantic running around searching for necessary things.

3. At home at night, I do the breakfast dishes by hand while dinner is cooking. I leave the soapy water in the sink and wash the pots while the kids' dinner is cooling on their plates. The dishes get swished (don't even need to really 'wash' them since you don't leave them to get dry and crusty) and put in the sink to drip-dry. While dinner is cooking the next evening, I put them away, and the process repeats.

I hate using the dishwasher, so this dishes method works well for us. We also only keep a set of 4 dishes (I have a large set in storage for the few times a year we have gatherings), so that way we're never tempted to neglect the dish washing, lest we run out of surfaces to eat off of.

4. I run around and tidy DD's room (with her help) as part of our evening routine. This way, the room never gets to a state where it's actually a chore to clean.

-Other than the "hot spots" (like the dining room), I only vacuum once a month. The bedrooms really don't need it any more often than that, unless we've been wearing black socks (sock fuzz on white carpets - yikes.)

-I use vinegar and a cloth for most of my cleaning, so my "cleaning supplies" take up about 2" of space in the bottom of the pantry.

Quote:
In simplifying, I've come to realize that there is no sense at all to attach emotion to "things". People and memories matter the most. I'd rather see a picture of me in my graduation gown than to have the gown itself (and all of the moths as well. ) This is really key to me for keeping life simple.
Very true, and this has been a big help for us.
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#28 of 55 Old 06-22-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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I keep a small cooler in the car. I can bring along snacks, or I put my freezer/fridge stuff in there on the way home from the store.

I also keep a phone book, a full change of clothes for each kid and bandaids in the trunk.

I make a list of what needs to be done where and I know it costs me 3 bucks in gas to go to the big grocery/home depot so unless it'll save me more than 3 bucks I shop at the local shopping district walking distance from my house.
I love the cooler idea. It probably ends up saving you money too, no drive through stops.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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#29 of 55 Old 06-26-2007, 02:02 AM
 
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What if you have animals? What if you live in the 'burbs? Any ideas? I don't know anything about it, except in rural areas with alot of land and a big pile away from the house, that you turn every once in a while. Never done it though.
i'm actually stopping mine as i can't seem to devote the time to turn it and it attracted mice. :

sarah
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#30 of 55 Old 06-26-2007, 02:21 AM
 
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My two best tips. . .

Paying bills
Plan to pay them twice a month - like the first and the fifteenth. Then, you don't have to sit down and pay them as they come in, or risk forgetting one. And, pay bills online through your bank if possible - it takes only a few minutes!

Grocery lists
Make a grocery list of things that you routinely buy on your computer so that you can just highlight them before shopping. Post it on your fridge, along with a highlighter and a pen on a magnet so that you can note when things run out. I write our weekly menu right in the corner of my list before shopping.

OK, so how can I keep my car cleaned out??
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