Plan | Printables

Monthly Planning Bundle – September 2017

By on August 21, 2017

monthly planner, planner, calendar

Last month, I introduced the Monthly Planner Bundle. The September 2017 Monthly Planner Bundle is now available. It can be used in combination with the Home Management Binder printables and will help to keep you organized and on track.

monthly planner, planner, calendar

The September Monthly Planner Bundle includes:

  • a cover page
  • dated planning pages for the month
  • a monthly calendar

Before the beginning of October 2017, I will add the next month’s dated weekly planner and the monthly calendar. You can download them, and print them off for your personal use.

You can join and access the September Monthly Planner bundle here. When you access the Monthly Planner, you will receive access to Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. You will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content, more free Home Management Binder printables, and new free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

Until next time,

monthly planner, planner, calendar

 

Continue Reading

Organize

Creating a Baking Station in Your Kitchen

By on August 17, 2017

baking station, baking center, baking

Some of my favorite memories are made while baking with my kiddos. Baking is one of my favorite hobbies. It’s relaxing for me to spend time making goodies with and for my family.

Creating a baking station in your kitchen is simple to do and keeps all of the needed items in one space for easy access. Our baking station is our kitchen island, and we keep all the tools necessary for baking in the cupboards and drawers. You could easily create a baking station in a specific cabinet, or an area that you set aside in your pantry.

baking station, baking center, baking

Baking Tools

Listed below are some of the baking tools that I’ve acquired and keep in my baking station. During the holidays, I pull out the cookie cutters and put them into a clear glass jar for an easy, decorative touch.

  • Stand mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cake Pans
  • Pie plate
  • Cupcake/Muffin pans
  • Bread pans
  • Cookie sheets
  • Cooling rack
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Rolling pin
  • Dough scraper
  • Spatula
  • Silpat®/Baking mat
  • Cookie cutters
  • Cupcake/Muffin baking cups
  • Parchment paper
  • Waxed paper
  • Cake/Cookie Decorations

baking station, baking center, baking

Baking Ingredients

We keep items such as flour and sugar on the counter in sealed containers. Other baking ingredients such as baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla are stored in a separate cupboard space since they are used in other recipes, as well.

baking station, baking center, baking

Baking Recipes

In another post, I talked about putting together a recipe binder. You can also use this idea to create a recipe binder specifically for your baking recipes. Keeping all of your family favorites in one place will make it simple to find them when the urge to bake strikes you. You can store the binder in your baking station for easy access.

baking station, baking center, baking

By creating a baking station, you can keep all of your baking tools in one place. Choose a space in your kitchen or pantry that works for you and set it up to make your baking items easily accessible.

Until next time,

P.S. – Sign 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.

baking station, baking center, baking

Continue Reading

Organize

Creating a Comfortable Guest Room

By on August 14, 2017

guest room, overnight guests, guests

When you have guests staying with you, your hope is that they are as comfortable staying in your home as they are in their own home. There are some things that you can do in your guest room to help your guests feel welcome and relaxed during their stay.

guest room, overnight guests, guests

Guest Room Items –

  • Chair – A comfy chair in the corner is inviting to sit in a while reading or relaxing.
  • Desk – If your guest is on a business trip, it’s helpful to have a desk where they can sit and work.
  • Dresser – Having a spot to put their clothes and other items will help your guest to feel more welcome.
  • Table/Floor Lamp – Personally, I don’t prefer an overhead light. Providing a lamp on the dresser, nightstand and the desk, as well as a floor lamp next to the chair, will keep the room well lit without the use of the overhead.
  • Pillows – Having plenty of pillows can ensure that your guests are comfortable while they are in bed.
  • Throw – Having a throw that can be used to wrap up, or layer at night in is always helpful to stay warm.
  • Hangers – Make sure that there are hangers in the bedroom closet so your guests can hang their clothes and other items.
  • Things to Read – A variety of books and magazines give your guests something to read as they’re relaxing.
  • Guest Wi-Fi Password – Share your home wi-fi password, so your guests have access while they are visiting. You can print it out and place it in a frame on the desk or nightstand.
  • Fresh flowers/Plant – Fresh flowers or a plant can brighten the guest room.
  • Candles – Candles can help to add light and warmth to the guest room space and make it cozy and welcoming.
  • Diffuser – If you or your guests love using essential oils, having a diffuser in your guest room will help your guests to be able to use their favorite oils at bedtime.
  • Essential Oils – Leave a few bottles of essential oils for your guests to use in the diffuser. Personally, I love to diffuse lavender at bedtime.

guest room, overnight guests, guests

Bathroom Items –

I keep many of the following items in a basket on the bathroom counter. My guests are invited to help themselves to whatever they may need.

  • Deodorant
  • Soap
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • First Aid Items
  • Razors
  • Shaving Cream
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Dental Floss
  • Cotton Balls/Swabs
  • Blow Dryer

guest room, overnight guests, guests

Food Items –

One way to feel your guests feel welcome is to make some of their favorite foods. Also, it’s helpful to find out if your guests have food allergies and intolerances. As someone who deals with both food allergies and intolerances, it always means a lot that someone cares enough to ask even if I don’t want to make extra work for them during my visit.

guest room, overnight guests, guests

Keep your guests comfortable during their stay with you. By providing some of the comforts of home, your guests will feel welcome and relaxed during their stay.

Until next time,

P.S. – Sign 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.

guest room, overnight guests, guests

Continue Reading

Organize

Getting Organized for Back to School

By on August 7, 2017

school, organization, back to school

It’s the time of year when the kiddos are heading back to school. As crazy as it can get, it’s helpful to have some systems in place to help things run more smoothly.

school, organization, back to school

Routine is Key

We were lucky to have one of our kiddos who was very routine oriented. He would get himself up in the morning, get ready, eat breakfast and get out to wait for the bus without us having to say anything to him. He was the youngest which is probably a good thing. Otherwise, we would have been spoiled and expected all of our kids to be that easy to get off to school. I found that creating a routine helped. Especially, when our kiddos were younger.

It’s helpful to have a routine each morning, evening, and at bedtime. Having a routine set up makes it easier to maintain things as the school year progresses.

Each week, have your child help you to decide what they are going to wear each day. Then the morning of, you don’t have to worry about it. Make sure to pick out an extra outfit or two if your child is picky and not always on board with what they have chosen previously.

Also, I found it extremely useful for my kiddos to have a homework folder. Especially when they were younger. The homework folder was pulled out of their bag right when they got home. This allowed for me to see exactly what needed to be completed and make sure it was done and back in their folder before they went back to school the next day.

school, organization, back to school

Family Calendar

Our family found it extremely helpful to have a family calendar on display where every family member could see it. We put ours on a board in the kitchen. Our family calendar includes appointments, activities, and what is for dinner for each day. When our kiddos were in school, I printed ours out from Google Calendar, but you can just as easily get a dry erase calendar and make it work for you. The hubby and I had a calendar synced on our phones so we could add things and both see them.

The kiddos were required to let us know their schedule as far ahead of time as they could. Obviously, things come up at the last minute. Knowing what to expect each day made it easier to deal with the unplanned things that happened.

With four kiddos, we had dinner at home around the table, each evening. Adding dinner to the calendar allowed our kiddos to know what was planned for that evening. We would often find them checking it and even making meal requests.

school, organization, back to school

Plan Meals

As mentioned above, we added dinner to our family calendar each week. When you’re busy with work and the kids are in school, it’s helpful to plan out your meals. If it’s an especially busy night, you can have leftovers (if your kiddos like them), plan out something quick or make a meal in your Crock-Pot® or Instant-Pot®.

school, organization, back to school

Homework Space

Creating a homework space for your kiddos that is free of distractions is a helpful way to help them create positive study habits. Our kiddos spent a lot of time at the dining room table and that worked well for us. They were able to work on their assignments and get help if they needed it.

Having the needed supplies on hand to complete assignments is also helpful. Stock up on pencils, pens, notebook paper, and other essentials. I hit the back to school sales and find all sorts of bargains to stock my supply stash.

You can also keep a homework caddy with pencils, pens, highlighters, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks, scissors, a ruler and sticky notes make good additions and keep the items easily accessible.

school, organization, back to school

With the kiddos heading back to school, it’s helpful to have set systems in place to help things run more smoothly. Wishing you and your kiddos a great year!

Until next time,

P.S. – Sign 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.

school, organization, back to school

Continue Reading

Organize | Printables

Creating a Recipe Binder and a Free Printable

By on July 31, 2017

recipe, recipes, recipe binder, cookbook

One way that we keep our favorite and most used recipes in one place is by storing them in a recipe binder. We have nicknamed it the Family Cookbook, and we use it nearly every day.

I’ve talked about how to use binders to keep essential items organized here. Depending on how extensive you want it to be, it is relatively easy to put together a recipe binder. Personally, I took the time to type out and print the recipes before I added them to the binder. Typing them out also makes it easier for me to make changes if needed, and to share them with others.

Recipe Binder Supplies 

  • Binder or photo album
  • Dividers for each category that should include some with pockets for items that can’t be punched to store in the binder. Personally, I use top loading sheet protectors and add tabs to them for each category.
  • Top loading sheet protectors to store recipes so you can easily remove them from the binder when you’re cooking. The sheet protectors will also keep your recipes splatter free.
  • Hole punch
  • Label maker

Recipe Binder Categories

I organized my recipe binder by categories and inserted the recipes in alphabetical order, so they are easy to locate.

  • Appetizers
  • Bread
  • Soups, Stews, Chilis
  • Salads
  • Main Dishes
  • Side Dishes
  • Casseroles
  • Breakfast
  • Dessert
  • Beverages
  • Holidays

Recipe Binder Free Printable

To get you started in creating your recipe binder, I am sharing a recipe binder bundle. The recipe binder printables include a cover page, category title pages, and a recipe page that can be printed out to write out your recipes. Click on the image of the Recipe Binder to join and get access to your free bundle printable.

recipe, recipes, recipe binder, cookbook

Gather your recipes in one, easy to access location by creating a recipe binder. It will keep all of your favorites organized, and when you’re cooking, it will be something that you turn to time and time again.

recipe, recipes, recipe binder, cookbook

Until next time,

P.S. – Sign 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.

recipe, recipes, recipe binder, cookbook

Continue Reading

Organize

My Favorite Organizing Books

By on July 27, 2017

organizing, organization, books, resources

Organizing is something that I have loved to do for as long as I can remember. Organizing ideas and projects are often on my to-do list. Even though I love organizing, I often need inspiration and find it in books and magazines, as well as on websites and blogs.

Today, I’m going to share my favorite, organizing books. These books have a permanent place on the bookshelf in my office. All of these are great resources that I turn to time and time again.

organizing, organization, books, resources

My Favorite Organizing Books

Complete Book of Clean: Tips and Techniques for Your Home – Toni Hammersley

What’s inside – This book gives tips, methods, and checklists to help you keep your home clean. It has beautiful illustrations, with pictures, as well as hand-drawn illustrations. One of my favorites!

Complete Book of Home Organization – Toni Hammersley

What’s inside – This book offers multiple solutions and tips on keeping every area of your home organized. Like Complete Book of Clean, by the same author, it is beautifully illustrated with pictures, as well as hand-drawn illustrations. Another one of my favorites!

The Easy Organizer: 365 Tips for Conquering Clutter – Marilyn Bohn

What’s inside – Just like the number of days in a year, unless it’s a leap year, of course, this book offers 365 tips for mastering the clutter in your home and personal life. From time management to the specific areas of your home, each tip provides ideas of how to handle multiple organization problems.

Homekeeping Handbook – Martha Stewart

What’s inside – This book is an overall guide for cleaning, organizing, and maintaining the areas and systems of your home. An excellent reference guide to refer to again and again.

Home Organizing Workbook: Clearing Your Clutter, Step by Step – Meryl Starr

What’s inside – This book focuses on helping you get your home organized. It also offers organizing solutions, as tips for different spaces in your home.

The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well Hardcover – Deborah Needleman

What’s inside – This book offers home decor tips and tricks, and it’s one of my favorites. The author is the founding editor of Domino Magazine. It is beautifully illustrated and offers ideas of how to personalize your space.

Personal Organizing Workbook: Solutions for a Simpler, Easier Life – Meryl Starr

What’s inside – This book focuses on helping you get organized on a personal level. One of the chapters focuses on managing your to-do list. It also offers organizing solutions, as tips for different areas of your life.

Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day – Becky Rapinchuk

What’s inside – I have adopted the daily cleaning method from this book, and I am hooked. The book also offers cleaning methods for all of the areas in your home, as well as organizing tips, and natural cleaning preparations.

organizing, organization, books, resources

Home organizing, home keeping, and cleaning books are excellent resources to keep on hand. They keep all of the information that you need to access right at your finger tips.

Until next time,

P.S. – Sign 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.

organizing, organization, books, resources

Continue Reading

Plan | Printables

Introducing the Monthly Planner Bundle

By on July 24, 2017

monthly planner, planner, calendar

Two weeks ago, I introduced the home management binder. I refer to my planner multiple times a day and would be lost without it.  The Home Management Binder allows me to keep everything in one easy to access location. I am now introducing the Monthly Planning Bundle. The Monthly Planner, used in combination with the Home Management Binder printables, will help to keep you organized and on track.

The Monthly Planner Bundle includes:

  • a cover page
  • dated planning pages for the month
  • a monthly calendar

monthly planner, planner, calendar

monthly planner, planner, calendar

monthly planner, planner, calendar

monthly planner, planner, calendar

Before the beginning of each month, I will add the next month’s dated weekly planner and the monthly calendar. You can download them, and print them off for your personal use.

You can join and access the Monthly Planner bundle here. When you access the Monthly Planner, you will receive access to Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. You will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content, more free Home Management Binder printables, and new free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

Until next time,

Continue Reading

Plan

Get Away by Planning a Day Trip

By on July 20, 2017

day trip, get away

One of my favorite things to do is to take a day trip. The hubby and I choose a place that we would like to explore, plan the day, and take off. We usually look for places that are an hour or two from home so we can spend a majority of our time enjoying what our destination has to offer.

Planning a vacation was the topic of a previous blog post. However, taking time off for a vacation isn’t always a possibility. A day trip is an excellent way to get away to relax and recharge without taking a lot of time off.

day trip, get away

Choose a Location

Choose a location that has something that you would like to see or do. Whether it’s a shopping destination, museum, historical site, sports game, or simply enjoying nature, there are plenty of new places to explore.

day trip, get away

Plan the Day

Before taking off for the day, the hubby and I choose where we would like to visit, and what we would like to do when we reach our destination. We also look for a local restaurant where we can dine. However, we don’t plan out the entire trip.

Some of the best memories are made when you’re being spontaneous. If you see a place that you would like to stop, do it. If you don’t reach your planned destination, it gives you a good reason to go back and visit.

day trip, get away

Make Memories

Take the time to make memories while you are enjoying your day trip. Pick up a souvenir, or take pictures throughout the trip. Add your itinerary, thoughts, and feelings of the day, along with the pictures you took, to a travel journal or scrapbook.

day trip, get away

When you don’t have the time to take a vacation, take a day trip instead. Take the day to relax and recharge while making new memories.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign 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.

day trip, get away

Continue Reading

Plan

Planning for Your Next Vacation

By on July 17, 2017

        vacation, trip, getaway

My husband and I have spent the last few days on vacation. We have a favorite spot that we visit a couple of times every summer. It’s always good to get away and recharge.

Planning a vacation takes time, but the end result is definitely worth it. Taking the time away from everyday life is a welcome break. It’s helpful to take the time to rest and relax. What do you need to take into consideration while planning your next vacation?

 

vacation, trip, getaway

Choose a Location

Do you have a favorite place that you love to visit? Is there somewhere that you’ve always wanted to travel? Do you let adventure take you places?

Choosing a location to travel to can be one of the most challenging parts of planning a vacation. Researching your travel location online is helpful in planning your vacation. There are multiple travel sites that give relevant information and personal reviews. Taking these into consideration can help you have a successful vacation.

vacation, trip, getaway

What to Pack

Packing can be difficult especially when the weather is subject to change. Consider the forecast, and plan accordingly. Choose clothes for each day of your vacation and add a sweater or jacket just in case it’s needed. Staying somewhere that has a washer and dryer is a bonus.

If you have kiddos, you’ll need to pack their clothing, as well as packing for whatever they will need during the trip. Planning out and packing some activities for down times can be helpful to keep them occupied.

If you’re working during your vacation, consider what you will need. Will you need your laptop? Do you need your planner? Is there paperwork that you need to take with you? Plan out what you need so you’re not missing something while you’re away.

vacation, trip, getaway

Getting There

Whether you’re planning to drive, or flying is your choice of transportation, you need to plan out your route and purchase plane tickets if needed.

While driving to a vacation destination, my hubby and I like to stop at places that we would like to visit along the way. This gives us the opportunity to stretch our legs, and take in something new.

vacation, trip, getaway

Accommodations

What are your ideal accommodations? Do you like to stay in a hotel with amenities, or would you rather be on your own in a home style accommodation? Choosing where you stay is easy to research online. Look at the ratings that have been left by previous occupants. You should also consider the location of your accommodations in relation to what you are planning to do while you are on vacation.

vacation, trip, getaway

Meals

When traveling, my husband and I often find a small rental with a kitchen. We have found that preparing our own meals is cheaper than eating every meal in a restaurant. We do indulge in a couple of meals at restaurants. I like to find restaurants that are local to the area. You can often ask for recommendations from people that live or work in the area.

 

vacation, trip, getaway

Pets

We travel with our pets so pet-friendly accommodations are important to us. Make arrangements ahead of time to board your pets or engage a pet sitter. It’s important to take care of this as quickly as possible as quality kennels fill up quickly, especially on holiday weekends.

If you take your pets with you and have plans to go somewhere for an extended period of time, you may want to consider looking for a pet daycare in the area. This will allow you to enjoy your daily adventure without having to worry about your fur babies.

vacation, trip, getaway

Before You Leave

Before you leave home, take care of any cleaning and laundry that need to be done. Also, make a list of things you want to accomplish when you return home. Taking care of these items will make things less stressful when you return home. You will have enough to take care of with unpacking, laundry from your vacation, sorting your mail, and getting everything put away. You don’t need extra items to contend with when you walk through the door.

vacation, trip, getaway

When You Return

When you return from your vacation, make sure you find the time to print off your pictures and record your adventures. Whether you journal your trip or create a travel scrapbook, you then have a keepsake that you can use to reminiscence.

vacation, trip, getaway

 

The end result of planning a vacation is definitely worth it. It’s important to take the time away from everyday life to rest, relax, and recharge. Plan your next vacation, and enjoy!

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign 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.

vacation, trip, getaway

Continue Reading

Organize | Printables

Introducing the Home Management Binder

By on July 10, 2017

home management binder, home keeping binder

 

I would be lost without my home management binder. It keeps all of my important information that I frequently access in one place. In looking for binder printables that would work for me, I eventually created printables that served my needs. Today, I’m sharing those free printables with you.

Choose the printables that you need from the Home Management Binder Package, and print them off at home. The size of the printables are 8 1/2 x 11, but they can be resized to fit your needs.

Home Management Binder Package

home management binder, home keeping binder

  • Cover page (2 title options)

home management binder, home keeping binder

  • Weekly Planner – undated (1-page and 2-page styles)
  • Cleaning Planner
  • To-do list
  • Home Projects list
  • Website/Passwords list
  • Contacts page
  • Shopping List

home management binder, home keeping binder

  • Meal Planner
  • Refrigerator/Freezer Inventory
  • Recipe page (keep track of your favorite or most used recipes)
  • Account Information page
  • Donations page
  • Home Maintenance page
  • Car Maintenance page
  • Medical Information page
  • Medication Tracker

home management binder, home keeping binder

  • Important Dates
  • Holiday Meal Plan page
  • Gift Ideas page
  • Fitness Planner
  • Meal Log page
  • Holidays page for 2017 and 2018

You can join and access the free Home Management Binder Package printables here. When you access the Home Management Binder Package, you will receive access to Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. You will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content, more free Home Management Binder printables, and new free printables that you won’t find on the blog. I am hopeful that the printables are as helpful at keeping you organized as they are for me.

Until next time,

home management binder, home keeping binder

Continue Reading