Organize

How to Keep Your Email Inbox Organized

By on April 27, 2017

email, email inbox, organization

One of the goals that I have set for myself is to clean out my inbox as much as possible by the end of each day. On some days, I am successful. On other days, not so much. However, I continue to keep this daily goal so my inbox doesn’t get out of control.

Does your email inbox seem to have taken on a life of its own? In today’s digital age, email communication is in use on a daily basis and, at times, it can seem overwhelming. There are multiple ways that you can simplify your email feed and tame the clutter in your inbox.

email, email inbox, organization

Email Inbox Folders

You need to treat your inbox just like you would manage a to-do list. The items that live in your inbox should be only the things that need immediate attention. Other emails need to be taken care of promptly to keep your inbox clean.

Once you have completed whatever action is necessary for each email, you need to move it out of your inbox by either deleting the email or moving it to another location. It’s the same as crossing an item off of your to-do list.

You can easily solve this problem by creating folders for emails that you want to keep. The folder headings could be as simple as home and work, or you can create personal labels that fit the emails that come into your inbox.

By taking care of the emails that come into your inbox on a consistent basis, your inbox then includes only the emails that need your prompt attention; just like the items on a to-do list.

email, email inbox, organization

Email Services

Unroll.me, and Sortd are both online email services, and another way to clean up your inbox of unwanted email.

Unroll.me is a free service that allows you to unsubscribe from the emails that you don’t want, and combine the emails of your choice into a “roll-up” that is delivered once a day.

Sortd works inside of Google and allows you to keep track of emails and to-dos in your inbox. It has a column layout that allows you to personalize the names of the columns. When an email comes into your inbox, you can click and drag the email into the appropriate column. Emails can be ordered, in the column, by the level of importance.

email, email inbox, organization

The to-do and follow-up columns are pre-set although you can change the name of both of them. You can add additional columns and personalize them to your needs.

Unsubscribe

It’s your inbox. If you don’t want certain emails in your inbox, get rid of them by unsubscribing from them. It takes a few minutes, but it’s worth the time not to have the unwanted email in your inbox.

email, email inbox, organization

Since email communication is used on a daily basis, it can seem overwhelming. There are various ways that you can simplify your inbox, so it includes only the important emails that need your attention. Simplify your email feed and tame the clutter in your inbox by taking back your inbox and making it work for you.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Organize

How to Keep a Memory Journal

By on April 24, 2017

memory journal, journal

At the beginning of this year, I started keeping a memory journal. I purchased a dated planner and filled in each day with memories, embellishments, and pictures. It has been a peaceful way to end each day and I don’t know why I didn’t start sooner.

With social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, it is easy to document what you are doing with family and friends. But, other than the pictures and a caption, what else do you remember from those memorable events that you have chosen to share?

Keeping a memory journal allows you to keep more details about what happens each day that you wouldn’t necessarily share on social media. Maintaining a memory journal doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many memory journal systems out there. Although beautiful, they can be pricey. There are several ways that you can keep a memory journal without it costing a lot of money.

memory journal, journal

Planner

An undated or dated planner can be used as a memory journal. It gives you space each day to keep a record of what happened, and what you were thinking or feeling. Adding photos or embellishments, such as stickers, can give your memory journal an added boost of color and visual interest.

Notebook

There are so many beautiful journals that are available today. Rifle Paper Company and Target have notebooks that would be excellent to fill with your daily memories.

Bullet Journal

Bullet journals are relatively new on the journaling scene. They are a more concise way to keep track of your daily activities. You can keep track of events and memories using bullet points and short sentences to record them. Some notebooks and journals are available with grid instead of lined paper.

Online Journal

In today’s age of technology, many online journals and apps allow you to keep a memory planner. Some of them are very flexible and, you can add pictures and other digital embellishments. You can then print them out and store them in a pretty notebook or binder.

memory journal, journal, online journal

Purchases for Your Memory Journal

If you are looking to take your memory journal to the next level, there are several things that you can buy to give it more than just the words on the page.

There are multiple types of pens that you can use in your memory journal. Flair Pens come in various colors and are great to use while you are planning and journaling. If black is your chosen ink color, you can order a box of twelve.

Printable sticker paper gives you the option of printing out photos from your online photo album. It comes in both matte and glossy depending on your preference. You can then cut them out using a paper trimmer and add them to your memory journal

If cutting out individual photos isn’t something that you want to do, HP Sprocket and Polaroid Zip are both portable photo printers that can easily be used in for memory journaling. Both print out pictures via Bluetooth from your phone. They would be great to take along when you’re traveling so you can print out pictures, and memory plan on the go.

memory journal, journal

Keeping a memory journal allows you to keep details, and pictures of what you do each day and doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Instead, use what speaks to you and make it your own.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Plan | Printables

How Meal Planning and Prep Can be Helpful and a Free Printable

By on April 20, 2017

meal planning, meal prep

My husband and I spend time during the weekend to plan and prepare meals for the week ahead. This is a system that works well for us and we continue to do it.

Meal planning and preparation seems like a daunting task, but the benefits outweigh the time that it involves to complete it. Taking the opportunity to make sure that your meals are planned out and prepped for the week can be helpful when you’re tired after a long day at work. It’s better than wondering what you are going to make when you get home each day.

Meal Planning

Meal planning on the fly is a lot like grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You never quite know what you’re going to end up with when you’re finished. It’s helpful to take time, once a week, to plan out what you are going to have for dinner each night. Planning ahead helps with adding the needed items to your weekly grocery shopping list. It also helps to plan around what activities are going on each night. With our busy lives, is it easier to make a meal in the Crock Pot® or Instant Pot® or would reheating something be a better option?

A tip to help you out with meal planning is to come up with about a month’s worth of different meals. Once you have done this, you can rotate them, so you have a different menu each week. Coming up with a month’s worth of meals can seem like a daunting task. You can use some of your family’s favorites in the rotation, as well as adding some new additions. The internet also offers great inspiration for recipes that fit your lifestyle.

 

meal planning, meal prep

Meal Preparation

Another way to help with the never-ending question of what you’re going to have for dinner is to do some meal prep ahead of time. If you are making something, cook extra so you can freeze it for later. Cooking ahead works well for so many items and saves time during the week.

For example, if you are baking chicken for dinner, bake some extra chicken, with a little light seasoning, and either freeze it whole or slice it up. You can then take it out for a meal, let it thaw in the refrigerator, and use it. If you leave it whole, you can add it to your favorite recipe, or if it’s sliced up, you could make chicken tacos or fajitas, a chicken stir-fry, or use it in a white bean chicken chili.

Making extra or meal prepping saves you valuable time during the week and simplifies your weeknights after a busy day. It also gives you a more nutritious and sustainable meal than grabbing something on the go.

Free Printable

To get you started with meal planning, I’ve included a free weekly menu planner.  You can use it to plan out your meals each week. Click on the image of the Menu Planner to join and get access to your free printable.

menu planner, meal planning

 

The benefits of meal planning and preparation outweigh the time that it involves to complete it. Taking the time to plan out your meals and prepare them ahead of time for the week can be helpful during your busy week. Download the free printable and get started on meal planning today.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Organize | Printables

How to Get Started on Your Organizing Journey and a Free Printable

By on April 17, 2017

organizing, get started organizing

My organizing journey started just before I became a teenager. I went into my room one weekend and didn’t come out until it was completely cleaned and organized. Since then, I have strived to keep things organized and utilize the systems that we have put in place.

Organizing can be a scary word. It can evoke feelings of fear and panic especially when you don’t know where to begin. It’s easier to admit defeat than to try to figure out where to begin.

Most organizing plans fall through because people don’t create a system or keep up the system that they have initially established. To begin your organizing journey, you have to commit to wanting to be organized and be willing to maintain the systems that you put into place. 

People take the time to accomplish cleaning their home each week. Keeping their home organized is another story. It is not a difficult task, but many people put it off. It’s so much easier to shut the drawer, or door than to tackle what sits behind it.

You need to give some serious thought about where you want to begin. What are your organizational goals? What is the most important task for you to complete first?  Are you willing to make a commitment to maintain the systems that you put into place?

organizing, get started organizing

Your Organizing Journey

To start, you first need to create a plan of what you would like to organize. Each of these specific areas become your organizational goals. Like any goal, you must take steps to achieve it.

1. Write down your organizational goals. What do you want to see organized? List each of the items or areas that are important for you to tackle.

2. For each of the organizational goals, create an action plan. There could be multiple steps that you need to reach the target that you have set. What are the steps that you need to take to achieve your goal? What items do you need to make this happen? During this time, you should be honest with yourself. If you aren’t using something, it’s time to get rid of it by giving it away, donating it, or selling it.

3. Implement each organizing goal by taking the action to achieve it. Working toward each goal could take some time. Follow the steps that you have created so you can accomplish it and not get frustrated in the process. Start small so you can easily maintain what you have worked so hard to achieve.

Free Printable

To get you started, I’ve included a free organization plan printable.  Click on the image of the Organization Plan to join and get access to your free printable.

 

organization, organization plan, organization printable

Get started on your organizing journey, today. List out your organizational goals and create an action plan to implement each of those goals. Once you have done that, create a solid routine that will help keep you organized. Once you have an established routine, organizing won’t seem so scary.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Organize | Printables

Using a Home Management Binder and a Free Printable

By on April 13, 2017
home management binder, homekeeping binder
One of the things that I use on a daily basis is my home management binder. It contains my weekly planner and all of the information that I need to access on a daily basis.
A home management binder is not a new idea. However, it can be helpful to keep track of anything and everything home related. It helps to keep relevant information in one useful place that can be easily accessed and will be a valuable, go-to resource.
home management binder; homekeeping binder
Using a binder, dividers, clear sheet protectors, and the items listed below, you can create a home management binder that you can tailor to your needs.

What to Include in Your Binder –

  • Calendar – Keep track of what you need to complete during the week.
  • Schedules – A sheet that keeps track of your family’s appointments, practices, and school activities.
  • To Do – Your to-do list can be kept weekly, monthly or yearly.
  • Cleaning – A cleaning schedule that lists each task and the day that you complete it.
  • Finances – A bill tracker of bills that you have to pay and the dates that they are due.
  • Menu Planning – 
    • Meal Prep – Plan out your meal prep for the week. If you map out several weeks at a time, you can then rotate the weeks for a variation.
    • Favorite Recipes – To help with your food prep, keep your favorite recipes in your binder, so they are easily accessible.
    • Recipes to Try – A list of recipes that you would like to try. You can add them to your meal prep rotation.
  • Freezer Inventory – A list of what you have in your freezer so you can use things promptly.
  • Home Projects – A master list of the home projects that you want to complete.
  • School – Information about school for each of your kids.
  • Medical – Insurance information, medical and medication trackers for each of your family members.
  • Contacts – Contact information for friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Birthdays and Anniversaries – Important dates for your family and friends.
  • Website User Names and Passwords – A list of your usernames, passwords, and the email associated with the sites that you use.
  • Fitness Tracker – Track your fitness schedule and what you’ve completed each day.
  • Holiday Planner – Planning for an upcoming holiday for decor, meals, and gifts, if needed.
  • Blogging – A blogging planner and calendar of upcoming posts and stats for the blog and social media.

 Free Printable

To get you started, I’ve included a free weekly printable.  You can use it as your weekly calendar, keep track of your schedule, track your cleaning tasks, weekly menu planning, and things that you need to complete during the week. Click on the image of the Weekly Planner to join and get access to your free printable.

home, home management, home management binder, home binder

Utilizing a home management binder will help to keep track of anything and everything home related in one place. It will be a valuable, go-to resource that will help to keep you organized.

Until next time,
P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.
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Organize

How to Efficiently Change Out Your Seasonal Clothing

By on April 10, 2017

seasonal clothing

 

Changing out my clothing each season used to be a chore that I dreaded. I had large totes that I stored the clothes in. The clothes for the most recent season would be moved into my closet and I would pack last season’s clothes back into the totes and haul them down to our basement level to store them. I was making more work for myself than I needed and eventually streamlined the process.

Changing out your seasonal clothing can be a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several easy things that you can do to make it easier to accomplish.

1. Keep year-round items as a mainstay in your dresser or closet.

Instead of changing out your lighter weight clothing, keep it in your closet or dresser year-round. Things such as t-shirts, lightweight sweaters, and pants should have a permanent home so they don’t need to be moved when your clothing is changed out.

2. Keep your seasonal clothing close at hand.

It may seem convenient to tuck your seasonal clothing away in clear totes and put them away in an unused closet or storage area. However, it makes it very difficult to easily access the items when you need them or you’re changing out your clothing. It is better to pare down your wardrobe so you have the essential items you need. That will also make it easier to change things out when it comes time to do so.

seasonal clothing

3. Keep a dresser for seasonal items.

If you have the space for it, keep your seasonal items in a dresser so you can easily access them throughout the year. When you’re planning a vacation to a different climate, you don’t want to have to dig through bins that you have stored away. It is easier to keep them in an area that is close at hand.

4. Utilize that cedar chest or cedar closet.

Many times, a cedar chest or cedar closet is under-utilized. It is a storage space for items that are not used frequently. Instead, use your cedar chest or cedar closet for your woolen items and heavy sweaters.

5. Take the opportunity to donate items.

If there is clothing that you haven’t worn in a while, take the opportunity to donate it. The items can be used by someone else, and you don’t have to move them with each season.

seasonal clothing

Utilizing the space that you have readily available is important to efficiently store and change out your seasonal clothing. Implementing some of the ideas that are listed can make it easier to accomplish.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Clean

Creating a Cleaning Schedule That Works for You

By on April 6, 2017

Cleaning is a chore that needs to be completed each week. I used to put it off until the end of the week and then attempt to get it all done on Saturday. It wasn’t the most strategic way to approach it and cleaning all day left little time to do other things that I wanted to do.

In order to effectively tackle the cleaning that needs to be done each week, it’s helpful to have a cleaning schedule that helps you to reach your goals. It’s not easy to think about spending one of your days off to clean your entire home from top to bottom.

If you think about the items in your home that need cleaning, it’s easy to think about dividing them up to accomplish them. An item can be accomplished each day to give you the clean home that you are striving for. This will free up your day off for something that you want to do instead of something that you have to do.

clean, cleaning, cleaning schedule

Kitchen –

  • Clean the counters, sink, and appliances.
  • Run the dishwasher.
  • Change out the kitchen towels.
  • Clean the old food out of your refrigerator. It can go out on trash day.
  • Once a month, clean out your refrigerator and wipe down the shelves. Doing this will keep it looking and smelling fresh and clean.

Bathroom –

  • Clean the counters, sinks, and toilet.
  • Change out the towels.
  • Once a month, wash your shower curtain and bath mat.

Dust –

  • Dust all of the solid surface furniture within your home.

Floors –

  • Vacuum solid surface and carpeted floors.
  • Mop or steam clean solid surface floors.
  • Furniture, lampshades, ceiling fans, and vents should be vacuumed once a month to help keep the dust from accumulating.

Laundry –

  • Launder one load of clothing each day to help keep it from piling up.
  • Launder bedding once a week. If you want to save yourself time and effort, strip your bed, wash the sheets, and put them back on the bed. You can switch them out every two to three weeks.

 

clean, cleaning, cleaning schedule

 

One way to make cleaning more efficient is to put together a cleaning caddy so you can take items from one location to another. Using smaller bottles for sprayable items like vinegar, and a container that you can sprinkle baking soda from are also helpful.

What to Include in Your Cleaning Caddy

clean, cleaning, cleaning scheduleHaving a cleaning schedule can help you to complete the cleaning tasks that need to be done each week. Divide the tasks up by day to accomplish them and give you the clean home that you are striving for along with the time to do other things.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Organize | Simplify

How to Remain Clutter Free

By on April 3, 2017

clutter free

One of my daily goals is to clear the clutter around our home before I go to bed each night. It is important to me to utilize the organizing systems that we have in place to complete this. I am able to rest easier knowing that I don’t have to face it the next day.

Working to remain clutter free can be an overwhelming task. It certainly doesn’t have to be. There are several things that you can do to stay on top of the clutter.

Give all of your items a home.

One of the easiest ways to get overwhelmed with clutter is to have items that don’t have a permanent home. Everything in your world should have a place where it is stored. If it doesn’t, you need to question how important it is to you and what purpose it serves.

Spend 10-15 minutes each day tackling the clutter.

Take 10-15 minutes each day to stay on top of the clutter in your home. Put the items away in their respective homes. Taking the time to do this each day will save you time at the end of the week when you’re trying to take care of everything.

When an item comes in your home, another item must leave.

Just because the items that you have are organized does not mean that you should get more stuff. If an item comes into your home, another item should be leaving. When you buy that fabulous blouse that you just have to have, another item of clothing that you don’t wear as frequently should be removed out of your drawer or closet. Not only does this save space, but it also avoids having a cluttered mess that you have to contend with each day.

Donate, recycle, or toss items that no longer serve a purpose in your life.

If you have items that you are no longer using, consider donating, recycling, or tossing them. It doesn’t make sense to hang onto something that you are no longer using.

Doing these things can help you to stay on top of the clutter that invades your home. Working to pare down the clutter, as well as devoting time each day to stay on top of it will help you to remain clutter free.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Birthday and Anniversary printable download. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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