Organize

How to Keep Your Vehicle Organized

By on May 22, 2017

vehicle, car, organization

I used to spend over an hour in my car for the commute to and from work each day. I know that is short compared to some of the commutes that people have. My vehicle had to include everything that I may need for the drive and then what I would need personally while I was away from home each day.

Our vehicle often acts as an extension of our home. With our busy lives, the car not only serves as transportation but also as a place to eat, and work. As a result of its constant use, our vehicle can get rather messy and cluttered. How can we keep our car organized, so it doesn’t get out of control?

Confine the Garbage

One of the most important things to have in your vehicle to maintain the mess is a trash bag or container. If you have kids, you could have one in both the front and back seats. By utilizing the trash bag, the garbage will not end up on the floor which will help tremendously in keeping your car clean and mess free.

Glove Compartment

The glove compartment should not be the space to stash all of your receipts. Instead, use it for it to hold necessities such as band-aids, a nail kit, and a small sewing kit. These items aren’t something that we always carry with us, but they are sometimes needed when we’re away from home.

vehicle, car, organization

Center Console

If you have a center console in your vehicle,  you can use it to store items, and only items, that you would need on the road. A box of kleenex, a small flashlight, a multitool, a small multi-head screwdriver, tire gauge, change for meters, tolls or a cheap purchase, and your registration and insurance.

vehicle, car, organization

Back Seat

There are multiple things that you may need throughout the day. You can use a tote or basket in the back seat to keep these items contained. It could simply be your work tote that houses these items. If you don’t carry a work tote, create a space that could accommodate a basket or bin to keep the things you need in one spot and not rolling around your back seat.

vehicle, car, organizationTrunk

You can also keep a small bag or container in your trunk to house the items that you might need. A fabric shopping bag, umbrella, travel blanket, a travel pillow, and jumper cables are things that you could use on a fairly regular basis. If you live in a climate that experiences snow in the winter, keeping a brush/scraper, snow boots, socks, and an extra jacket could be helpful if you were to get stranded. The blanket would come in handy here, as well. You could have a separate bag or bin that you keep in your vehicle in the winter and could take it out during the warmer months.

vehicle, car, organization

To keep your vehicle clutter-free, it’s important to only keep essential items in it. The more items you have, the more likely it is for the clutter to get out of control. By keeping only the things you need, in a clearly defined space, you can keep your vehicle organized and clutter-free.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. Could you take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about our blog, Living a Simplified Life? Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You can access the survey here.

P.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 Decluttering Tips and Tricks printable and a Decluttering Checklist printable. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

vehicle, car, organization

Continue Reading

Organize

Making an Organizing Drop Zone Work for You

By on May 18, 2017

organizing drop zone, organizing, clutter free

After a long day, it’s often difficult to find the time or the energy to keep things in your home organized. In our home, we use organizing drop zones to help corral the clutter until we have the opportunity to take care of the items during our daily decluttering session.

What is an organizing drop zone? An organizing drop zone is a place where your items land, or are dropped before you take the time to put them away. The purpose of a drop zone is not a permanent storage solution, but a temporary holding space.

There are several drop zone areas within your home where things seem to land whether we want them to or not. So, how can you make an organizing drop zone work for you?

organizing drop zone, organizing, clutter free

Main Entry

Your main entry, whether the front door or back door, is the first place that you land when you get home. The first thing on your mind isn’t always putting away your things. It’s getting dinner on the table or taking care of your kiddos. By creating a drop zone, you have a place for these items until you have the opportunity to take care of them.

A drop zone in the main entry could be a table, chair, or bench where you set you your things once you get home. By taking the time to clear the clutter each day, you are preparing for the next day by making sure that everything is set to go.

organizing drop zone, organizing, clutter free

Kitchen Counters/Table

The kitchen counters are a notorious drop zone for all things clutter. You can corral the chaos by placing a basket on the counter to act as your drop zone. Again, this is not a permanent storage solution, but a temporary holding space. It is important that you go through the basket each evening during your decluttering session.

organizing drop zone, organizing, clutter free

Office Desk

The desk area is another space where you could use a basket. Place it on the side of the desk, and it can hold the paper clutter in one spot until you take care of it. This is one area where you can utilize the drop zone for up to a week before the items need to be sorted through. You can take care things in the basket while you are taking care of your weekly bills and paperwork.

organizing drop zone, organizing, clutter free

Closet

Closets are their own drop zones. Clothes often end up somewhere other than where they belong, and the closet can quickly get out of control. Taking care of your clothes by putting them away or into the laundry basket can help to clean up this drop zone quickly and easily. You can easily take care of this during your decluttering time each day.

organizing drop zone, organizing, clutter free

Stairs

If you have stairs in your home, very often clutter can take over. A basket or bin by the stairs can act as your drop zone until you take care of it. If you have children, you could have a separate basket or container for them. You could also have a bench that opens to house the drop zone. You can designate different baskets or bins for each family member, and the clutter will remain out of sight until you take care of it.

organizing drop zone, organizing, clutter free

Maintaining Your Organizing Drop Zone(s)

It’s important to remember is to take the time each day to remove the clutter from the drop zones. It gives you a fresh start the next day without the clutter becoming overwhelming. By utilizing and maintaining your drop zones, you can help to keep your home organized and clutter free.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. Could you take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about our blog, Living a Simplified Life? Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You can access the survey here.

P.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 Decluttering Tips and Tricks printable and a Decluttering Checklist printable. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

organizing drop zone, organizing, clutter free

Continue Reading

Organize

How to Use Binders to Stay Organized

By on May 15, 2017

binder, binders, home management binder, homekeeping binder

The organizing system that I use in our home consists mostly of binders rather than files. The binder that I use regularly is a home management binder. Both my home management binder and the other binders I utilize keep all of the information that I need on a regular basis easily accessible and at my fingertips.

Using a home management binder can be helpful in keeping your daily life organized. I previously wrote about utilizing one in a previous post entitled, Using a Home Management Binder. This system works well, but sometimes the amount that you need to include in your binder can cause it to burst at the seams. That’s where multiple binders come into play to help organize your important and frequently accessed paperwork.

Using binders to organize your life saves you time from having to dig through the filing cabinet. The binders can take up residence in the room that they are being used in most frequently. How can you use binders to help you stay organized?

Binder Supplies 

  • Multiple binders in various sizes depending on what you’re storing in the binder. I like to choose different colors in a variety of sizes so that I know what I’m reaching for by the color and size.
  • Dividers should include some with pockets for items that can’t be punched to store in the binder.
  • Top loading sheet protectors for important documents that you can’t punch or to use a dry erase cover for binder pages that you use daily or weekly (daily planner; cleaning schedule; menu planner).
  • Hole punch
  • Label maker

email, email inbox, organization

Home Management Binder

  • Yearly Calendar –  An overview of the entire year.
  • Weekly Planner – Keep track of what you need to complete during the week.
  • 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. You can also keep seasonal cleaning lists of things that need to be completed around your home.
  • Home Projects – A master list of the home projects that you want to complete.
  • Contacts – Contact information for friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Website User Names and Passwords – A list of your usernames, passwords, and the email associated with the sites that you access for personal use.

meal planning, meal prep

Menu/Recipe Binder

  • Shopping List – A list of what you need to purchase for your weekly meal plan.
  • 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.
  • Kitchen and Freezer Inventory – A list of what you have in your pantry and freezer so you can incorporate items into your weekly meal plan, and use things promptly.

garage sale, yard sale, sale

Finance/Budget Binder

  • Bills/Stamps – Store the bills that need to be paid in a pocket divider along with a book of stamps so you can send them out when you need to.
  • Bill Tracker/Checklist –  Bills that you have to pay and the dates that they are due. Check them off as you pay them each month.
  • Account Information – Your bank account information and the account information for the bills that you pay each month.
  • Debt Management – If you are paying down your debt, keep track of your debt payoff so you can see your progress.
  • Donations – Donations that you make each year, along with the receipts.
  • Expense Tracker – Your daily/weekly/monthly expenses.
  • Legal Documents – Copies of legal documents such as your will, power of attorney, loan documents, and safety deposit box information. (The originals should be kept in a safe location such as a fireproof safe.)
  • Property Records – A copy of your mortgage, deed, and property tax information. (The originals should be kept in a safe location such as a fireproof safe.)
  • Retirement Planning – Information about your retirement plan and login information for easy access.
  • Tax Information – When it’s tax time, don’t go searching for all of the documents and receipts that you need. If you keep them in your binder, they will be easy to find when you need them.

Manuals/Warranties Binder

  • Manuals and Warranties – Keep these in the binder along with receipts of purchase and receipts of any work that has been completed. Heavy duty top-loading sheet protectors can be used to store the manuals.
  • Car Maintenance Log – Keep a log of the maintenance on each of your cars.
  • Home Maintenance Log – Keep a log for the maintenance that you have done on your home.

Medical Binder

(Keep a section for each of your family members.)

  • Insurance Information – Copies of insurance cards/information.
  • Medical Information – List of doctors, medical conditions, surgeries, and other medical histories.
  • Health Tracker – If a member of your family has an ongoing medical condition, track their health each day.
  • Medication Trackers – List of medications and what they’re for, dosages, and refill dates.

Birthdays and Anniversaries Binder

  • Important Dates – A page that lists the birthdays and anniversaries for your family and friends.
  • Cards – Either keep a small stash to send out or buy cards for the month and store them in the dividers with pockets. You can have one divider per month.
  • Contact Information – A list of personal contact information that includes addresses of those you would send the cards.
  • Stamps – Keep a book of stamps in your binder so you don’t have to search for them when you need them.

Holiday Binder

  • Holiday Date Page – A printout of the dates for the yearly holidays.
  • Decor – Plan out your decor for the upcoming holiday along with the dates of when you are going to decorate and put things away.
  • Meals – A detailed plan of what you’re planning for your holiday meal, along with the recipes that you will need, and a guest list.
  • Gifts – A list of who you are buying for, gift ideas, sizes, and order information.

Fitness Binder

  • Fitness Schedule – Track what your goals are and what you’ve completed each day.
  • Water Tracker – Make sure that you are getting enough water each day.
  • Measurement Info – Keep your measurements so you can track your fitness progress each week.
  • Food Journal – A journal of your meal plan and what you’re eating each day.

School Binder

(Keep an entire binder or a section in one binder for each of your kiddos.)

  • Information from school – Keep information from the school, and your child’s teacher(s), including website information, and class syllabi, so it is easy to access.
  • Schedule – A sheet that keeps track of your kid’s practices, and school activities.

Blog Binder

  • Blogging Content Planner  – Plan out your posts using a content planner to detail your ideas. You can also brainstorm future blog post ideas.
  • Editorial Calendar – Track your upcoming posts and stats for your blog and social media posts.
  • Income and Expenses – Separate pages for your blog and business expenses and income.
  • User Names and Passwords – A list of the usernames and passwords associated with your blog and business.
  • Contacts – A list of business contact information.
  • To-Do List – A list of items that you need to accomplish, or goals that you would like to achieve.

binder, binders, home management binder, homekeeping binder

Multiple binders can help you organize your important and frequently accessed paperwork. Determine what binders will work for you and put them together to help keep important items easy to access.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. If you could take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about being organized and Living a Simplified Life, I would be truly appreciative. Thank you so much! You can access the survey here.

P.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.

binder, binders, home management binder, homekeeping binder

Continue Reading

Organize

How to Put Together a Work Tote That Works for You

By on May 11, 2017

work bag, work tote, tote

A work tote can be essential if your job takes you outside of the home. When I was teaching, I carried a tote back and forth every day. I need to be sure that I had everything that I needed for the work day. My latest tote was a rolling backpack that did the job but didn’t cause undue stress on my shoulders and back.

Whether you work at a job outside of the home or work from home, you often need a work tote to carry all of your daily necessities. Putting together a work tote is a personal experience based on your needs. You don’t want to carry too much as it will get heavy after carrying it for a while. However, you also need to consider what you will need during the day while you are away from home. How can you make your work bag work for you?

work bag, work tote, tote

 

Laptop or Digital Device

Much of our daily work lives are connected to a laptop or digital device. Your work tote should have room to carry it if this is something that you need to use each day.

work bag, work tote, tote

Notebook or Journal

There are times when you need to jot down information that is necessary later. Carrying a small notebook or journal can keep everything in one place so you can refer to it later.

Working File

If you have items that you carry back and forth with you between work and home, you may want to consider getting a heavy duty file or file system that can hold them. This way, they will not get ruined in transport.

Small Bag with Personal Items

Consider what your needs are throughout the day. Pack a small bag with personal items such as lip balm, and a nail file/kit. Tailor your bag to what you use on a daily basis. Personally, I also carry essential oils, so I have them when I need them.

Bag with Office Essentials

Carry your favorite pens, highlighters, and sticky notes with you in another small bag. You can also add electronic accessories that you will need such as a phone or laptop charger.

Umbrella

Sometimes the weather makes a change during the day. Be prepared by carrying a small travel umbrella in your bag, so it’s there if you need it.

work bag, work tote, tote

Putting together your work tote is a personal experience based on your needs. Choose a bag that you like, and that works for you, and consider what you will need during the day. Make your work bag work for you.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. If you could take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about being organized and Living a Simplified Life, I would be truly appreciative. Thank you so much! You can access the survey here.

P.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.

work bag, work tote, tote

Continue Reading

Organize

How to Run a Successful Garage Sale

By on May 8, 2017

garage sale, yard sale, sale

When the weather begins to warm up, thoughts start to turn to garage sales. There are so many that pop up around town; in particular on the weekends. Attending a garage sale is easy; you find the garage sales that you want to visit and stop in to see what type of treasures it holds for you. Holding a garage sale is an entirely different matter. It takes hours to set up because you need to organize and price items, so you are ready for sale day. There are several things that you can do to make your garage sale run smoothly.

garage sale, yard sale, sale

Start with an online pricing guide.

There are several pricing guide options if you search for them online. Pricing guides help to give you a gauge for pricing your items. Knowing what to price each item can take quite a bit of your time if you aren’t sure what to ask for it. There is a garage sale pricing guide here that is rather comprehensive.

garage sale, yard sale, salePrice all of your items.

You should price all of your items, so customers don’t have to ask you what something costs. If there is a line, people will often avoid it and leave instead of waiting to ask you. If you have similar items, a well-placed sign will work just as well as marking each of the items individually. Keep in mind that people will haggle the price. If there are items that you don’t want to sell too cheaply, increase the asking price by about 15%-20%, knowing that the sale price will probably end about where you want it to.

Organize items by item type.

Just like in a store, items should be placed by item type, so they are easy to find. You certainly wouldn’t look for kitchen items in the hardware department. Keep your customers in mind as you set things up as to how they will shop your sale.

Greet your customers.

It’s helpful to greet your customers with a “hello” and a smile. People are more willing to talk to you about sale items if they perceive you as friendly and welcoming rather than cold and distant.

Don’t make customers dig for sale items.

It is best to display your items, if at all possible. Sometimes, due to space, you need to put items in boxes or bins. If this is something you need to do, make sure that you group like items by type in each box or container. Also, don’t make customers dig for sale items. It will deter them from wanting to buy things if they can’t see what you have to offer.

garage sale, yard sale, sale

Ensure that you have the money to make change for customers.

Before the garage sale, make sure that you get coins and smaller bills to make change for your shoppers. You don’t want to be given a larger currency and not be able to finalize the purchase because you can’t give them change. A calculator is also helpful to add up the purchases and make accurate change.

garage sale, yard sale, saleHave a stash of bags to put the sold items into after the sale.

If a customer buys multiple items, you can’t expect that they will be able to carry them out without help. Having a stash of bags will contain the items so they can easily carry them to their car. Smaller boxes will also help with some of the bigger items. Keep newspaper, tissue, or smaller paper bags on hand to wrap more delicate items so they don’t break.

garage sale, yard sale, sale

A garage sale is a good way to eliminate some of the items from your home while also making some money in the process. Implementing the above items can help ensure that your garage sale will run more smoothly. Set it up, get ready to go, and open your doors for business. You’ll be a garage sale pro in no time.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. If you could take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about being organized and Living a Simplified Life, I would be truly appreciative. Thank you so much! You can access the survey here.

P.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.

garage sale, yard sale, sale

Continue Reading

Clean | Simplify

How to Make Laundry Seem Like Less of a Chore

By on May 4, 2017

laundry

Laundry is an essential chore that needs to be completed. In our home, my husband and I take care of our laundry, and our children take care of theirs. This is a system that we have been doing for many years and it works for us.

Laundry can be overwhelming. Especially, if you are taking care of it for multiple people within your household. There are several ways that you can tackle this task and make it less of a chore.

Smaller and More Frequent Loads

Washing smaller loads, more frequently, will keep your laundry from piling up and becoming a chore that you dread. You can add a load of laundry to your daily task list during the week and then you won’t have to tackle so much during the weekend.

Your laundry schedule could look similar to this:

  • Monday – whites and lights
  • Tuesday – darks
  • Wednesday – delicates
  • Thursday – towels
  • Friday – sheets

Throw a small load in the washer before you make dinner, or sit down to relax after work. You can easily transfer it to the dryer after it is finished and finish by folding it and putting it away. Since it is a smaller load, this won’t take very long to complete.

laundry

Sorting Your Laundry

If you sort your clothing and linens ahead of time, into separate baskets or hampers, it saves the hassle of having to sort it out on laundry day. This also allows you to see the size of your load so you can complete it before it gets too large.

Share the Load

If you children are old enough, show them how to do their own. Middle school seems to be a good age to get them started. This will teach them some responsibility and means less for you to complete. Something else that you may want to consider is assigning a specific day for each family member. Otherwise, there could be an influx of laundry on the same day. Get your child their own laundry basket and get them started learning on this lifelong task.

laundry

Instead of making laundry an overwhelming task each week, take a different approach. Completing smaller loads during the week and sharing the load can make it less of a chore to tackle and gives you the time for 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.

laundry

Continue Reading

Organize

How to Keep Your Home Office or Studio Organized

By on May 1, 2017

office, home office, studio, studio office, organize, organization

After our children started to move out on their own, I was fortunate enough to claim one of their rooms for a studio office. I have been able to add my own personal touch and make the space truly my own. I spend a lot of time in my studio office and I wanted something that was warm and inviting especially since many hours of my day are spent in there.

If you have a designated home office or home studio, you are indeed lucky. Even if you just have a corner that is an office or a studio (craft) space, it is important to stay on top of keeping it organized, so it doesn’t become a dumping ground. You can also add your personal touch. So, how do you keep your home office or studio organized? Let’s start with some basics.

office, home office, studio, studio office, organize, organization

Filing System

Create a designated space, within your work area, for papers that need immediate action. This could be a small file box or a folder that houses these items.

Establish a larger filing system for papers you need to keep, but won’t access every day. This could be a file drawer in your desk or a filing cabinet. Either way, have a designated spot to store important papers that you will need to access later.

Home Management Binder

In another post, Using a Home Management Binder, I spoke about the items to keep in a home management binder. This should be your go-to for the important information that relates to you, your family members, and your household. Keeping this information in one place saves you the time searching for it later.

Label Maker

If you haven’t taken the plunge to purchase a label maker, you may want to consider it. It keeps your files and other items that need to be labeled looked clean and streamlined. There is multiple colored label tape that you can purchase to add a pop of color to your files and other items.

Bookshelves

A bookshelf isn’t just for books. You can use it to store items, as well as add your own personal touch to your space with decorative items.

Alternative Storage

Bins, baskets, and other containers can be helpful in storing smaller items that need a home. That doesn’t mean that they should be stuffed with all of the things that you want to hide or deal with later. Instead, use each one for a specific item. A few categories could be: notecards, envelopes, office supplies, and notebooks, to name a few.

office, home office, studio, studio office, organize, organization

Infuse Your Own Style

It’s your space, so infuse your own personal style. Add a fun pen/pencil holder, funky file folders, or a fun planner. You could also add some of your own personal items for a fun and unique touch.

office, home office, studio, studio office, organize, organization

Keeping your home office or home studio organized makes it much more pleasant to work in without all of the added clutter. Personalize your space to make it your own and don’t be afraid to make adjustments to it if something isn’t working for you. Overall, enjoy the space that you have created.

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.

office, home office, studio, studio office, organize, organization

Continue Reading

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.

email, email inbox, organization

Continue Reading

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.

memory journal, journal

Continue Reading

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.

meal planning, meal prep

 

Continue Reading