Organize

Top 5 Organizing Tips to Start Using Today

By on September 18, 2017

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Keeping your home organized is an ongoing process and takes work. There are several organizing tips that you can start using today to help keep your home organized, on a daily basis, without the added frustration that clutter can create.

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1. Keep your counters and other surfaces cleaned off.

Visual clutter can be frustrating especially if it’s taking over the flat surfaces of your home such as your counters, table, desk, or dresser top. Keeping your surfaces cleaned off helps to alleviate that visual clutter and is less frustrating and stressful for you.

2. Create a home for all of your belongings.

Everything you own should have a permanent home where it belongs. Creating a space for each of your possessions helps to eliminate the clutter.

3. Put things away when you’ve finished with them.

When you have finished with an item, put it away. Leaving things lying around leads to stress and frustration as they start to pile up. Taking the time, when you’re done with an item, to put it away means that you won’t have to worry about dealing with it later.

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4. Make the time to clean up the clutter each day.

Taking 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to clean up the clutter around your home will help you to stay on top of it. Make it a part of your daily routine. Taking the time each day helps with having to deal with the clutter all at once.

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5. Use labels whenever possible.

Giving everything a permanent home is much easier to maintain if you use labels to mark where items go. You can use labels on shelving, drawers, or on each of your file folders to give them a uniform look.

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You can help to keep your home organized by implementing the tips listed above. Utilizing the tips on a daily basis will help to alleviate the added frustration that clutter can create.

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.

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Organize | Printables

Determine What Organizing Project To Do First

By on September 14, 2017

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Staying organized takes work and regular maintenance. Right now, I have a large pile of tote bags that needs attention. Organizing them will be my next project. The area, where I store them, is overflowing and it’s causing me frustration and stress, so I need to take care of them. I will need to purge the bags that I’m not using on a regular basis and reorganize the storage area for them.

Getting organized can be challenging, especially, when trying to decide what organizing project to do first. As much as you would like to tackle everything at once, it’s best to start small. This way, it’s not overwhelming for you. Not only will this help you to consider what your plan is for each space, but also help you to maintain the space once your hard work is complete.

Start with the area that frustrates you the most.

If the drop zone in your kitchen is what is most frustrating for you, start with that space.  If your closet floor has piles of clothes, start with the closet floor. We’re not talking about doing an entire kitchen overhaul, or a complete reorganization of your closet. You’re just looking at the one area that causes you the most stress and beginning with that first.

After you finish the first organizing project, move on to the area that’s the second most frustrating space for you. Again, you are not doing a complete overhaul. That will come later and in small steps. You are simply organizing the space to make it more workable and less stressful for you.

Come up with a system that works for you.

You will need to come up with a long-term plan to help maintain the organizational system that you have set up. Simply organizing something quickly to make it look pretty and not having a maintenance plan can cause the same stress and frustration to resurface when things get messy again.

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Completing your organizing project.

Create an action plan for the area.

Decide what purpose you want the area to serve. The items that have a home in that particular area should only be the items that you use in that area.

 

Empty the area or surface.

To get things organized, you need to clean out the area or clean off the surface completely. It’s much easier to start with a clean slate and sort through the items rather than to move things around while trying to organize them.

 

Purge items that you no longer use.

If you are no longer using an item or it doesn’t serve a purpose, you need to get rid of it. Whether you give it away or sell it, give it a new life in a new home. Getting organized becomes more difficult if you are just moving extra things around from one place to another. Simplify what you have, and organizing will become easier.

 

Sort the remaining items by putting like items together.

When organizing, it’s helpful to put like items together. Grouping similar items help to keep things organized over time because you know exactly where specific items belong.

 

Give everything a home.

Everything in your space should have a home where it belongs. If it doesn’t, you need to decide where it should be kept or whether you need it at all.

 

Purchase storage items, if needed.

Purchasing storage items should be one of the last things that you do when organizing a space. You don’t want to purchase something only to find out that you will not be able to use it. You want boxes and bins that will fit your space and your needs.

 

Label boxes and bins.

Labeling boxes and containers will not only help you to know what in each one, but will also let everyone know where things go each time you use them.

 

Leave extra space for new additions.

When organizing, it’s a good idea to leave a place for any new additions to the area. Leaving extra space will alleviate frustration later on when you’re trying to add something to a space that doesn’t have room.

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Organizing Plan Printable

To get you started with your first organizing task, I am sharing an organizing plan printable. Click on the image of the Organizing Plan to join and get access to your free bundle printable.

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In determining what organizing project to do first, it’s best to start small, so it’s not overwhelming for you. Choose the space that causes you the most stress and frustration and take care of it. Taking that first step will give you the peace of mind in the long run.

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.

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Organize

Creating a Home Office Space That Works for You

By on August 24, 2017

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When my children were younger, I dreamed of having a home office space of my own. My area consisted of space in a closet that I stored all of my supplies. My desk was the dining room table. Not exactly a dream office space, but it worked for me at the time.

After our children starting moving out on their own, I was able to claim one of their bedrooms for my home office space. I spend a lot of time working in my home office during the day, and I wanted a space that was warm and inviting.

There are several things that you can incorporate into your home office space that along with a good organizational system will create a space that works for you. Today, I’m going to get personal and share some pictures of my home office space with you.

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Desk/Work Space

Having a good desk or work surface is extremely important. You need sufficient space to work. A good work surface was the one item that I spent most time searching for so I could find one that best fit my needs. The desk that sits in my home office is a corner desk with two distinct surface areas. The first area holds my desktop computer and my printer. The second area provides space for planning and doing other paperwork.

Filing System

The filing system in my home office space consists of two separate spaces. There is a file drawer in my desk that houses papers that I access frequently. I keep my business and financial records in the file drawer. I access them several times during the month, and it helps to keep them close at hand to where I’m working.

There is also a filing cabinet in which we store papers for a longer period. We keep things such as previous year’s tax returns and our automobile records in the filing cabinet. These items are not accessed as frequently, but we need a place to keep them. Even with a lot of items that are now paperless, you always end up with paperwork that you need to keep.

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Bookshelves

Bookshelves are a must for me in my home office. I keep the books that I reference regularly, as well as other resources that I access on a consistent basis.

Using a bookshelf that is lower allows for you to keep the books that you use most frequently and also allows you to use the top for beautiful decor to add a personal touch to your home office.

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Adequate Storage

Having proper storage is important to organize the items that you use in your office. With my office being a former bedroom, I have access to a closet to store some of my larger items. I also have a wall storage system, an old armoire that I repainted, and a drawer system. Those items in addition to the bookshelves that I have to help me to keep my office items organized.

Comfortable Chairs

Having comfortable desk chairs was important to me since I spend so much time working in my home office. The chairs that I chose are a banker style seating that also has rollers so I can move around easily. If you have space, adding a comfy chair to sit in while you’re working or reading would also be a great addition to your space.

Adequate Lighting

Having proper lighting is important while you are working. My home office has overhead lighting and task lighting. I rarely use the overhead light unless I have a large project that I have to spread out. I have task lighting at my desk and craft table, as well as a lamp on the opposite side of the room.

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Create an office space of your own that embraces your personality. Incorporating personal touches into your home office along with a good organizational system will create a warm and welcoming space that you enjoy working in each day.

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.

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Organize

Creating a Baking Station in Your Kitchen

By on August 17, 2017

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Creating a Comfortable Guest Room

By on August 14, 2017

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Getting Organized for Back to School

By on August 7, 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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®.

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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.

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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.

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Organize | Printables

Creating a Recipe Binder and a Free Printable

By on July 31, 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

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My Favorite Organizing Books

By on July 27, 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Organize | Printables

Introducing the Home Management Binder

By on July 10, 2017

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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,

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Get Things Done When You Feel Like Procrastinating

By on June 26, 2017

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Procrastinating has taken over at our home. Earlier this year, we cleaned out my Mom’s home. Some of the items were things that I chose from the estate to add to our own home. We are storing furniture in the lower level of our home for our boys. They will take it with them when they move into their own homes later this year. There are also files and memory boxes that we will need to sort through eventually. There are more items that have been added to our already long to-do list and it has become overwhelming.

When you are overwhelmed, it is easy to procrastinate. There are always other things that need to be done, and it’s easy to put off the things that are just waiting for you to take care of them. How can you get things done when you feel like procrastinating?

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Make a List

No, it’s not the neverending to-do list that you normally keep.  Make this a short list of the items that need to be completed. Keep this list to only two to three items. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by the length of the list. Number the items according to the order of importance that you want to complete them.

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Tackle One Thing at a Time

It’s important to focus on one item at a time. Start with item number one and once that is complete, you can think about completing item number two. It’s easy to want to get everything done at one time. Realistically, though, we know that isn’t going to happen. It’s better to focus on one task at a time rather than spreading ourselves too thin by tackling everything at once.

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Break Things Down Into Manageable Steps

Once you have determined what task, to begin with, you need to break that task down into manageable steps. Procrastinating takes place when the steps are too large to handle and you don’t feel like you have the time to complete what you have set out to do. Consider the amount of time that you have to complete each part of the task, and plan accordingly.

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Celebrate Your Progress

Even if your progress is a small victory, take the time the to celebrate it. Indulge in some me-time whether it’s just relaxing or spending time doing something that you love. This not only rewards your efforts, it also helps to motivate you to continue.

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It is easy to procrastinate when you are overwhelmed. Instead of putting things off, make a list of what needs to be done, choose one item to complete, and break that item down into manageable steps. You’ll feel so much better when your list of items is complete instead of hanging over you.

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, you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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