Home Uncategorized Simplicity: 8 Tips, Tricks & Thoughts For Simpler Living

Simplicity: 8 Tips, Tricks & Thoughts For Simpler Living

by Kelly Crawford

Life is complicated enough. I’m on a constant mission to simplify our lives in every area I can. Here are a few ideas for your inspiration!

1. Streamline cleaning products, toiletries, etc.

Note: Please be aware that companies are fiercely competing for your attention and money. Shopping for toothpaste can be a nightmare–can I get a witness? Being very interested in marketing, I pay attention to strategies.

Clever companies are brilliant at “new and improved” products, and even better at convincing us how badly we need them. But often the hype is just that and the simpler we keep our product choices the better.

Some have done away with commercial brands altogether in favor of cheaper and healthier alternatives. Baking soda and water cleans hair…and teeth. Vinegar is an excellent household cleaner. And hey, why can’t you wash your body with your shampoo and cut back the number of bottles in the shower? Shave with conditioner?

2. Kid’s Baths

If you have many children, you probably already throw several of the little ones together at bath time. AND, you may have figured out that they don’t have to be bathed every night (it’s bad for hair and skin). One thing we do to simplify bath time is squirt a bit of body wash or shampoo into the bath water. By the time they’re done playing, they’re clean–no scrubbing required. Wash hair and be done.

3. Counter Tops

Simply put, the fewer things that are sitting out on counter tops, the easier to keep the surfaces clean. Take a fresh look at your bathrooms and kitchen.  Are there things that could find a home in a cabinet? Could you hang a few baskets to group things and get them off the counters? Could you just pare down?

4. Location, Location, Location

Take an inventory of utensils, cleaning products and supplies. Are they in the place that makes the most sense? If your little ones help set the table, have you considered moving your dishes to a lower cabinet or drawer? Would dressing for bed be easier if the children kept their pajamas under their pillow? Give some thought to making things as practical to find as possible. I’d also stick a “delegation reminder” in here…your children need practical jobs around the house teaching them responsibility, helping prepare them for their own home and participating as a team player in the home. Don’t forget to delegate the age-appropriate jobs–it makes everyone’s life easier.

5. Storing Sheet Sets

Most of you probably know this trick, but I was delighted to find out how to keep sheet sets neatly stored. Fold sheets as neatly as possible then tuck them inside the pillowcase, smooth flat and stack. My friend wraps hers with twine and a label!

6. Charts and Lists

I like to have a chore chart for each person (including myself) posted in a central location. It can take a lot of nagging out of the day, especially if you have agreed with your children on a negative consequence in the case they don’t complete their chores. One simple way you may want to consider posting lists is right on the refrigerator with a dry erase marker. You could also paint a wall or the front of a cabinet (or inside the cabinet door) with chalkboard paint.

7. Plan Meals Ahead

For many people, a super-rigid menu doesn’t work. But it can be a real problem to leave this area completely undone. I suggest jotting down 6 or 7 meal ideas before the week begins. Look over the menu and make sure you have the ingredients you’ll need. As the week progresses, you may switch the meals around or have an unexpected dinner invitation. But having a meal idea on hand will keep you from spur of the minute take-outs. (That chalkboard inside the cabinet may be a good place for menu planning.)

8. Slow Down–On Purpose

I heard the phrase “having in quantity” (life status) versus “having with quality” (life quality). Often the life we end up living is not driven by the things that are truly important to us, but rather what we think are important to others. We must choose to exclude the things in our lives that rob us of quality living–things that rob us from relationships. Saying “no” to more things or more activities may just be the simple way to simplify.

These are just a few things to help you get started really thinking about how to simplify your life. Choose simplicity.

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Shannon July 21, 2011 - 12:58 am

I love this reminder to simplify. I really have been thinking that once a week we should be going through the house gathering some “get rid of items”. I have started making a stack in the laundry area of clothes that we longer need. We get a lot of great hand-me-downs and frugal secondhand store items. What happens is that we end up with and overabundance of clothing (a good problem to have). It has started to overwhelm me to have so many clothing items, so as pull clothes out of the dryer I access it’s need to stay. Anything stained, faded, or that I have seen too many times I just add to the stack to pass on to others. About once a month I try to pull out some clothing that in each kid’s area that is outgrown, etc..

I love the sheet trick, so I might have to implement that. I also love all my pretties on my kitchen cabinets, but they do drive me insane… I think you have inspired me to move them up above my cabinets….. and the stuff up there may have to find another home. I’ll try to part with it… Function is most important.

I hope your family is doing well. I would love to see an update on your living situation, etc..

Jessica July 21, 2011 - 5:55 am

Several of those are new ideas for me! Thanks for sharing!

brenda July 21, 2011 - 7:57 am

I just read this in Acts today:

2:44-46 I’m not going to quote the whole thing….
“…and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. …..they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,”

I just love that! I had never noticed that phrase “simplicity of heart” AFTER they sold their possessions and goods!

Ginger July 21, 2011 - 10:52 am

Great ideas here.
Since my littles were 2 yo (now they’re not the youngest anymore, but still “the littles”), I’ve had all our dishes in the lower cabinets since they are the ones who unload the dishwasher. All of the kids have a sports bottle in their own color and we keep them all in a central location on the kitchen counter. Same cup every day. I have plastic cups in different colors for the adults (forget glass for now, we can return to glasses when the kids are older). I find guests like having their own color of cup, so they always know which one is theirs.
Re: location, we keep a roll of paper towels, a bottle of glass cleaner, sink cleanser, and a sponge in every bathroom as well as in the kitchen. Just made sense.

Kim M July 21, 2011 - 8:00 pm

Love your ideas, Ginger!

Titus July 21, 2011 - 2:09 pm

I don’t feel bathing children together is Godly whatsoever. Children don’t need to be exposed to one another like that! How is a little girl suppose to learn modesty if she sees her naked brother?

Word Warrior July 21, 2011 - 5:15 pm

LOL! Who said the girls were bathing with their brothers? I have 3 little girls who bathe together.

Kim M July 21, 2011 - 8:06 pm

I always love your ideas, Kelly.
The framed paper paper idea is great. 🙂 I might have to try that…. it would also make a great gift as well!

Charity July 21, 2011 - 8:15 pm

The tips and reminders are awesome!

I love doing a weekly menu! I make a menu that encludes all meals and snacks for each day and then I make a list for the grocery store/farmer’s market. I have found that “menu-ing” saves me time each day, saves us money, allows me to plan for us to eat healthy, “square” meals, keeps us from wasting food (leftovers), and my husband loves reading over it and looking forward to upcoming meals. 😉

I think I may have snorted laughing when I read the bathing comment and my husband certainly did. I’m certainly not trying to raise ungodly children by having them bathe together, but all of mine all littles and aren’t even at the age to “feel” naked. Gracious, I’ve actually taught my 5yr and 4yr old little girls how to change our 3month old little boy’s daiper and they’re a great help in introducing our 2yr old little boy in potty training. Is that a bad thing?

Valerie July 22, 2011 - 12:02 am

I loved these tips! Thanks so much for taking the time to write them. 🙂

Peace For Earth July 22, 2011 - 5:05 am

Quality time is important, but as the saying goes, “Quantity has its own quality”… 🙂

Amanda July 22, 2011 - 10:53 am

Vinegar is a GREAT hair conditioner. I mix about 1/4 cup to a gallon of water and use that to rinse my hair as we live out in the country and have high mineral content well water. It doesn’t weigh my hair down like regular conditioner and leaves it super-soft. It’s also great mixed half-strength with water for a carpet cleaner.

Titus July 22, 2011 - 11:37 am

I go by what the Bible says! Here is scripture clearly stating not to show your child’s nakedness!

9The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.

10The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
Leviticus 18:9-10

Emily July 23, 2011 - 12:23 am

So you will not change your granddaughter’s diaper I suppose? These rules are meant to apply to older children. I feel like you are not taking these things in context. Not to say that you are flat-out wrong, but that there is scriptural room for dissent in this area. Are fraternal twins sexually sinning as they leave the birth canal naked? Obviously not, so you draw a line somewhere. If someone else draws that line at a different but equally innocent point in childhood, they are not being wrong, just different.

Katy July 25, 2011 - 7:43 am

Our sons bathe together, but that will be ending soon as the splashing is becoming too much. Hehe.

I store things where they are needed. This just makes it so much simpler than running back into the kitchen every time I need a cleaner for another room.

I finally learned how to fold a fitted sheet (thank you youtube videos) and now can do the pillowcase trick. I store these in my closet along with the towels (as it’s the closet in the bathroom). I can put these away quickly each week when I do those loads of laundry.

I don’t buy a cleaner for everything. You are right, there’s a great attempt to get us to buy something for every single little job. My house won’t implode if I use one cleaner for the counters and the other hard surfaces in my home. And it might not smell like lilacs and lemon verbena, but it smells clean.

I use a wipeable table cloth. We have two younger children, messes happen. So my wood isn’t ruined, I buy an inexpensive table cloth that can be wiped after each meal, or with that mid-meal spill. Sanity saver there.

Veronika Rumpel August 3, 2011 - 4:13 pm

First-class info it is actually. I’ve been searching for this precise article.


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