Holidays | Printables

Thanksgiving, Christmas and a Free Printable

By on November 20, 2017

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We are on the verge of preparing for Christmas and all that it entails. Decorating our homes, sending Christmas greetings to family and friends, and purchasing gifts for our loved ones.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, hands down. To have your family and friends gather around the table with you while digging into a delicious meal that took hours to make. After dinner, being able to sit around the table while we tuck into dessert and the conversation flows. If time allows, we play games into the evening and enjoy each other’s company.

After the evening ends, we look forward to the next day with leftovers to nosh on and decorating for Christmas. I also address our Christmas cards to send out during the long Thanksgiving weekend.

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Christmas Card List Free Printable

To help you prepare to send your holiday greetings, I’m sharing a free printable with you. You can fill in the names and addresses of those to whom you are going to send cards this year. Click on the image of the Christmas card list to join and get access to your free printable.

I use my copy to send off our cards, and then keep it with the cards that we received that year. It saves me from having to look up the addresses each year to add to my new list.

thanksgiving, thankful, blessings, christmas, christmas cards, christmas card list Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. I will see you again after the holiday.

Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Holidays | Simplify

Simplifying the Holidays So You Can Enjoy Them

By on November 16, 2017

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The holidays can bring about anxiety and stress when we’re trying to do it all. I previously wrote about planning for Thanksgiving here and Christmas here and holiday organizing here. Planning and organization are just some of the ways to start simplifying your holidays.

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Planning Ahead

Take the time to schedule your activities, menus, and decor, so you know what to expect. Make sure that you don’t plan more than you can physically do. We all have grand ideas of what we would like the holidays to look like, but we also need to be realistic.

I do not go out shopping on Black Friday. Instead, I spend the day decorating for Christmas except for our tree that we purchase and trim the week before Christmas. I also spend the weekend after Thanksgiving writing out our Christmas cards. It has become a yearly tradition and helps me to prepare for the upcoming holiday.

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Getting Organized

It’s helpful to get through the season and holiday if you take the time to get organized ahead of time. Decorate the spaces that you use the most during the holidays. Also, take some time to make sure that the most used areas in your home are in order so that you can find things you need quickly and easily. The most obvious areas are your kitchen spaces, living area, and bathrooms. If you are having overnight guests, you will want to make sure that you organize the sleeping arrangements to accommodate them.

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Take Time to Relax

During all of the hustle and bustle of the season, take the time to relax. Relaxing could include sitting, and reading your favorite book or listening to music or a podcast. Whatever you do to relax, make a habit of it especially during the busy holiday season.

One thing that I enjoy doing is making an evening to go out and take in the Christmas lights while listening to our favorite Christmas songs. It’s relaxing to spend time with my hubby while we look at all of the light displays.

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Don’t Try to Do It All

Decking the halls for a holiday can take up quite a bit of time. Simplify your decor and don’t feel that you have to decorate everything. Choose a favorite holiday tradition to do before the holiday and save the others for the weekend or vacation. Making elaborate plans can lead to disappointment if you aren’t able to accomplish them.

One year, while I was teaching outside of the home, that we did not get our Christmas cookies baked before Christmas Day. Instead of worrying about it, we made it a fun afternoon activity with our kiddos while we were on vacation.

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Simplifying

You don’t have to do everything. Attempting to do it all can add unnecessary stress and anxiety during the season instead of allowing you to enjoy it. By simplifying your expectations for your holiday and doing only what you can do, you can enjoy the holidays and the season ahead.

Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Gratitude

Gratitude and Keeping a Journal

By on November 9, 2017

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Thanksgiving is coming up quickly; unless you’re a Canadian friend and celebrated last month. It’s always a good time to take a moment and reflect on what makes us grateful. We can often overlook what we have gratitude for when things are busy or aren’t going well.

Keeping a Journal

One way that I reflect on my gratitude is to journal each day. I purchased a pre-dated planner that I liked at the beginning of the year and write in it each day. My entries can include daily activities, my thoughts or feelings, something that I want to make a note of, or what I’m grateful for each day. Ideas for what to journal about are endless.

Journaling is part of my daily routine. I make time for it each evening. It doesn’t take me long to write about my day, and I enjoy looking back at what I’ve written. I also include pictures for some of my entries. I purchased a Polaroid Zip®, and the photo paper has an adhesive back. The photos add visual interest to my journal.

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Daily Gratitude Pages

Do you journal or have you considered journaling? You can start by downloading and printing out the Daily Gratitude pages that I am sharing with you today.

If you are more of a list person, you can use the two-column printable. If you like to write more in a journal, you can use the lined printable. Click on the image of either Daily Gratitude page to join and get access to your free printable.

 

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gratitude, grateful, thankful, journal

 

Take a moment and reflect on what you are grateful for by starting a journal. Ideas for what to journal about are endless.

Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Plan

Life Happens Whether You Plan On It or Not

By on November 6, 2017

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My kiddos are all older, and one-by-one have been leaving the nest. A couple of weeks ago, my youngest son called and told me that his new job was going to be taking him four and a half hours from home. I knew that this was a possibility but, it still didn’t prepare me for the news. I started thinking about what we needed to do to make this move happen.

Immediately, we started planning and prepping for his move. We spent time right away finding a place for him to live. Thankfully, we found something within just a few days. He has been spending the weekends packing up his room. We wrote out a list of things that he needs and even bought items for his new place. The next month is going to be crazy. However, we also want to make sure that he can settle in his new home without any issues. He’ll be starting his new job just a few days after he moves. I’m thankful that things are falling into place for him.

My husband and I have often talked about moving to an area that’s within an hour or two of where my son will be living. Relocating has been a conversation that has taken place over the last few years. It’s not something that we decided on when my son told me that he was moving. I have to admit though; I would be happy to live closer to him rather than further away.

Life happens whether you plan on it or not. How can you manage things when life doesn’t go according to plan?

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1 | Breathe

Sometimes, it feels like life can knock the breath out of you. It’s important to take time to breathe and take care of one thing at a time, so you’re not overwhelmed.

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2 | Relax

With all that is going on, take the time to relax and take care of yourself. Indulge in a favorite pastime, read a book, listen to music or a podcast, or exercise to relieve the stress. A nap isn’t a terrible way to relax either. It helps you to recharge so you can take on whatever life is throwing at you.

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3 | Take things as they come

We often want to take care of everything at once, so it isn’t hanging over us. Instead, take each thing, one at a time, so that you can give it your best.

4 | Do what you can

We can’t do everything. Do what you can and don’t feel guilty if you don’t accomplish everything on your to-do list. I often take one day during the week to catch up on things. It makes me feel better when I devote the time to do that.

5 | Look for the good

There is always good in your life no matter how crazy things can be. Look for the good and take the time to savor and be grateful for it.

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Whether you plan on it or not, life happens. You can manage things when life doesn’t go according to the plans you have made. Take a breath, relax, and take things as they come. You’ll get there.

Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Holidays | Plan | Printables

Planning for Christmas and a Free Printable

By on November 2, 2017

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already November. While my husband was handing out Halloween candy to our trick-or-treaters Tuesday night, I was ordering Christmas cards and the ornaments that we gift our kiddos each year. Planning things out helps me to approach each holiday or event with less stress because I know that things are ready to go.

I shared a Thanksgiving Planner Bundle a few weeks ago. Today, I’m sharing some ideas to plan for Christmas, as well as, a free Christmas Planner Bundle to help you with your planning for the holiday season.

Planning for Christmas

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1 | Christmas Cards

Order or pick up your Christmas cards now. By doing it sooner rather than later, it gives you the time to get your list together, write a note, and address them to send.

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2 | Simplify Your Decorating

I decorate for each season by changing out the top of the buffet in our kitchen, several hanging shelves in our bedroom and my studio office, and a few changes in our living room. I add to the winter decor by adding our tree, the manger set, and a bowl for our Christmas cards. Otherwise, I keep the Christmas decor quite simple and doesn’t take long to put out or away. The winter decor stays out until the next season change.

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3 | Set Up a Gift Wrapping Area

Trying to wrap all of your gifts at one time can be stressful. Instead, set up a gift wrapping station and wrap your gifts right after you purchase them or when time allows. You can then hide them or put them under the tree.

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4 | Take the Time to Make Memories

One of my kids’ favorite memories was going sledding on a large hill behind our home and then coming in for hot chocolate and cookies. Take the time to make memories no matter how busy the holiday season may get. Whether you bake cookies, drive around to look at Christmas lights, or spend time decorating the tree, make memories that will last a lifetime.

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5 | Create New Traditions

When my husband and I got married, we started a tradition of purchasing a Christmas ornament for each one of our kiddos to mark a special event during the year. We continue to do this each year.

Another tradition involves our extended family. We stopped buying Christmas gifts for each other several years ago. Instead, we do an ornament exchange. Each person brings an ornament and leaves with a new one for their tree. We make a game out of it, and it’s a lot of fun.

Christmas Planner Bundle

To help you start your planning for Christmas, I am sharing a Christmas Planner Bundle. The Christmas Planner Bundle includes a cover page, guest list, menu page, grocery list, cooking schedule, to-do list, table decor page, and traditions page. The traditions page can be used to document the customs that your family has each year. Or, you can use it to record the new traditions that you incorporated this year. Click on the image of the Christmas Planner to join and get access to your free bundle printable.

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Planning for a holiday or event helps you to approach it with less stress, and makes it more enjoyable. Download the Christmas Planner Bundle and get started on planning for the holiday today.

Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Holidays | Organize | Printables

Holiday Organization and a Free Printable

By on October 16, 2017

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If I’ve calculated correctly, there are just 37 days until Thanksgiving and 70 days until Christmas. Not that I’m counting. Cue, laughter. Autumn is the time of year when I start to think about what I need to do for the upcoming holidays. This way, I can plan and take care of items when I have the time over the next couple of months.

It’s helpful to organize things ahead of time, for the holidays, so things go more smoothly. In a previous post, I shared a Thanksgiving Planner Bundle that will help you plan for it. However, what else can you do to prepare for the upcoming holidays, especially if you’re hosting?

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1 | Organize Your Space

When I say organize your space, I don’t mean a complete overhaul. Leading up to the holiday season is not the time to reorganize your entire home. Organizing your space should include those areas that you are going to be using the most while celebrating the holidays. For example, when we entertain, we use our living room, kitchen, and bathrooms. Those are the spaces that I would focus on to make sure that they are in workable order. If you have anyone staying with you, your guest room will also be on your list. If you’re concerned about the appearance of other areas of your home, just shut the door. Don’t add extra stress by trying to do it all beforehand.

2 | Organize Your Tasks

Come up with a schedule that works for you and divide up the tasks that you need to complete before the holidays. Shopping for gifts and sending out cards are things you can finish weeks ahead of the holiday. However, you can plan out meals ahead of time, but they need to be prepared in the days leading up to and on the day of the holiday. Make a list of what you need to get done and create a schedule to get everything accomplished.

Free Printable

To help you start making a list of your holiday tasks so you can add them to your calendar, I am sharing a To-Do list printable. Click on the image of the To-Do List to join and get access to your free printable. You can print off a separate page for Thanksgiving if you’re in the United States, and Christmas.

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**Look for a Christmas Planner next month to help you start on your Christmas planning.**

It’s helpful to organize things ahead of time for the holidays. Planning and taking care of items when you have the time over the next couple of months helps the holiday to be less stressful. Do what you can and don’t worry about doing it all.

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Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Plan | Printables

Five Steps to Plan Your Day and a Free Printable

By on October 9, 2017

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I plan out some of my days and others seem to plan themselves. When my days are scheduled, things seem to fall into place. When they plan themselves, I need a little extra help. Planning my day is a routine that helps me to feel productive and organized even when my day doesn’t feel that way.

There are five things that I do to plan out my day. Doing these things each day helps my day to run more smoothly.

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1 | Check Your Calendar

One of the first things that I do in the morning is to check my calendar. Doing this helps to give me a big picture of what my day entails.  My calendar is the tool that I use to keep track of everything that goes on during my day. Whether it’s an appointment, a phone call that I need to make, an email that I need to send, or a package that’s arriving; it goes on my calendar. I also choose my top priorities for the day. These items are non-negotiable, and I make sure to complete them before I turn in for the night. Typically, these are the items that I do first each day.

Takeaway – To help organize your day, choose a calendar that works for you whether it’s paper or digital. Knowing what to expect each day helps you to get your day off to a smooth start.

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2 | Check Your Email

Although I don’t spend much time on my phone first thing in the morning, I do take the time to check my email. Checking it allows me to see if there is anything immediate that needs my attention so I can add it to my calendar. Again, this gives me an overview of what I need to do each day.

Takeaway – Take the time to check your email each morning and add the action items to your calendar. If an email needs immediate attention, add it to your top priorities list.

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3 | Plan Out Your Day

After checking my calendar and my email each morning, I spend some time planning out my day. If I have an appointment in the morning, I schedule work items and things that I need to accomplish at home for the afternoon. Planning out my day usually takes about five minutes and gives me a big picture of how my day is going to flow.

Takeaway – Plan out your day, so you know when things are going to take place. Write down what your schedule is for the day and choose your top priorities.

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4 | Create a Nighttime Routine

At the end of each day, I check my calendar and my email one last time to see what I need to take care of the next day. It’s easy to talk yourself into doing one more thing, but it helps me to relax when I know what tomorrow is going to bring. I also take the time to determine what I’m going to wear in the morning. It’s one less step in the morning and gets the next day off to a better start. One last thing that I do before I turn in for the night is to take the time to journal my day. It helps me to put the day into perspective as I recall the events that have taken place.

Takeaway – Creating a nighttime routine allows you to look back on your day and prepare for the next one.

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5 | Take the Time to Relax

It’s important to schedule the time to relax. One of my favorite pastimes is reading, and I often do these each evening before going to sleep. Another hobby that I have started doing to relax is painting in watercolor. Each of these things is relaxing for me, and I look forward to doing one or both of them at the end of a long day.

Takeaway – Indulge in a hobby that you enjoy and make the time to relax each day.

Free Daily Planner Printable

To help you start planning your day, I am sharing a Daily Planner printable. Click on the image of the Daily Planner to join and get access to your free printable.

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Take the time to plan out each day. Planning your day out ahead of time will help you to feel productive and organized.

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Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Holidays | Plan | Printables

Thanksgiving Traditions and a Free Printable

By on October 2, 2017

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It’s officially October which means that before we know it, Thanksgiving will be upon us. Preparing for the holidays takes time, and planning will help you to be sure that everything is just the way that you want it to be. Today, I am sharing Thanksgiving traditions we enjoy as well as a free Thanksgiving Planner Bundle.

Thanksgiving Traditions

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Food – When you think of Thanksgiving, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pie spring to mind. When my children were younger, we would also make cutout cookies. My boys loved frosting and decorating them with as many sprinkles as each cookie would hold. It was a tradition that I carried on from my own childhood and one that I hope to continue.

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Family – After dinner and before dessert, we spend time talking around the table. In order to add to the conversation, there is a conversation starter type question inside of the name cards at each spot. Our family is small enough that we can have each person at the table answer each question. It’s interesting to hear each person’s answers.

Thanksgiving Planner Bundle

To help you start your planning for Thanksgiving, I am sharing a Thanksgiving Planner Bundle. The Thanksgiving Planner Bundle includes a cover page, guest list, menu page, grocery list, cooking schedule, to-do list, table decor page, and traditions page. The traditions page can be used to document the customs that your family has each year. Or, you can use it to record the new traditions that you incorporated this year. Click on the image of the Thanksgiving Planner to join and get access to your free bundle printable.

**Look for a Christmas Planner next month to help you start on your Christmas planning.**

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Preparing for a holiday takes time and planning.  Download and use the free Thanksgiving Planner Bundle to get started. Then, create your own traditions that you will remember for years to come.

 

Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Simplify

Nesting at Home During the Autumn Season

By on September 28, 2017

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Autumn evokes images of all things cozy. The cooler temperatures mean the layering of sweaters, scarves, light jackets, and boots. Outside, autumn has a distinct smell and the colorful leaves crunch under our feet. Inside, we begin nesting as our autumn decor is on display and we sip a hot beverage and tuck into the comfort foods that celebrate fall.

Nesting at Home

Light some candles –

When the weather is cooler, lighting candles will add light and warmth to a space to make it cozy. Find candles that include your favorite fall scents to make your home smell wonderful.

Create your favorites –

Get creative in the kitchen. No, I’m not talking about pumpkin spice everything. I’m talking about creating some of your favorite, comfort foods that you indulge in during the cooler months of fall. Whether it’s homemade macaroni and cheese, or a white bean chicken chili, make your favorites and enjoy.

Indulge in a book or several –

Autumn is always a good time to experience a new book. As much as I love the idea of a physical book in my hands, I find that I’m using my e-reader more frequently now. Bookbub allows you to enter in your personal preferences and sends you an email each day with suggestions that are free or discounted to a few dollars. My virtual bookshelf is full, and I continue to add to it.

Try a new hobby –

Have you wanted to learn a new craft? Autumn is a great time to learn a new skill. If you find something that you love to do, it will take you through the cold days of winter. Currently, I’m all about learning to paint with watercolors.

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Enjoy Autumn with the change of the landscape, the cooler weather, and the tastes of the season. However, you choose to embrace it, enjoy everything that this season of change has to offer.

Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, but you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Organize

Tools to Make Your Organizing Projects Easier

By on September 25, 2017

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When I’m organizing, there are several tools that I rely on to get me from the beginning to the end of a project. These tools are essential for every organizing job and I use them every time I set out to organize something.

Have you thought about organizing, but you aren’t sure where to start? In a previous post, I talked how to determine what organizing project to do first. Today, I’m going to talk about some of the tools that you can use to help with your organizing projects and ultimately meet your organizational goals.

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Calendar

Whether you like to use a calendar on your phone or you’re a paper calendar user, it’s helpful to schedule the time to organize. Just like other things in your life, if it’s not scheduled, there’s a good chance that it may not happen. The organization sessions don’t have to be too long. Schedule when you have some time to focus on organizing without interruptions.

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Labels

Labels are an essential part of organizing. Each one of your possessions should have a home that it goes back to when you’re finished with it. Labels help to aid in making that happen. There are many different types and styles of labels. Using a label maker will add a uniform look to your labels. I especially like using the label maker when making labels for my files.

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Storage Items

Even though you should wait until your organizing project is complete before you splurge on the items that you that you need to finish your project, they are still important tools to consider. Boxes or bins can add a finishing touch and help you to maintain the area that you worked so hard to organize. Some of my favorite organizing containers are fabric covered. They add a pop of pattern or color when I open a cupboard or drawer.

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Time

Don’t underestimate time as one of your most valuable tools. It’s a necessary part of accomplishing what you’ve set out to do. When organizing, time is a vitally important tool in getting things done.

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There are essential tools that I rely on to get me from the start to finish of an organizing project. Using these tools will help with your organizing projects and ultimately meet your organizational goals.

Until next time,

P.S. – Have you signed for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library? By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library; you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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