Simplify, Simplify, Simplify


We’ve come up with 10 easy ways to make life simpler

By FamilyTime

 

When life gets crazy — the kids need to be ferried here and there, bills pile up, the 'fridge needs restocking — we promise ourselves we’ll get a handle on the chaos. But how?

Here are 10 ways to make your life a little easier:

  1. Pay your bills as they arrive: Don’t wait until the end of the month, and don’t give in to magical thinking that if you toss unopened bills in a basket they will “go away.” Sit down and pay your bills the day (or week) they arrive. Online bill paying makes it possible to schedule your bills so that you never have to worry about a delinquent mortgage or credit card payment accruing late fees.
  2. Try cash: Figure out how much “walking around” money you need each month (or shorter time period) and then withdraw that amount from your bank account. When you use cash you think twice about that super-sized latte or new shade of lipstick. It’s also fun to dump coin change in a jar every night and see how much you accumulate over six months.
  3. Shop weekly, cook once: Organize your kitchen so that you only have to venture out to the supermarket once a week. It helps to plan meals and keep staples on hand. When you cook, double amounts for dishes such as casseroles and stews that can stretch for two or three meals. Or, cook extra chicken or tomato sauce and use one or the other for a meal later in the week. Think about using leftovers in sandwiches and salads for tomorrow’s lunch.
  4. Don’t be afraid of “no:” It’s not easy to say no to the PTA or your child’s coach or dance teacher, but there are times when you must. Once you get used to turning things down that don’t work with your weekly schedule, you’ll feel empowered. Reserve your time and energy for those things you really want to do, or that make a significant difference to your family.
  5. Shop online: Some items are best shopped for online (paper goods, dog food). Consolidate your orders so that the online company can ship several things together. Don’t opt for overnight delivery, which costs more and wastes fuel. Save your order information on your hard drive rather than printing it (no paper, no need for file jackets). Delete the info when the package arrives in good shape. If it’s easier and okay with your boss, have packages delivered to the workplace.
  6. Reduce junk mail and telemarketer calls:Sit down with unwanted catalogs and contact them if you want to be taken from the list, or you can create a free account with catalogchoice. This organization will make sure you only get the catalogs and other mail you actually want. To stop a lot of telemarketers, register with the Do Not Call registry by calling 888-382-1222, or logging onto donotcall.gov. It won’t stop all the calls, but your phone should ring less often.
  7. Use scheduling and other handy apps: There are all sorts of apps to help you schedule your time, keep tabs of what you’ve eaten, track when you’ve fed the baby or walked the dog, and time your workouts. Once you find those that best suit your lifestyle, they will help you organize your life in ways our mothers never dreamed of!
  8. Reduce clutter: We hear this all the time, but it’s a lot easier to talk about than do. Take a few hours to clean off tables and countertops and put those items you want to save in boxes for stowing in the basement. If you don’t miss the contents in three months, get rid of it. If you successfully tackle a big job (clean out the attic, the basement, the garage), your feeling of accomplishment and sense of control will far outweigh the actual job.
  9. Pay for help: This is frequently our last resort. Why pay for something we are more than capable of doing ourselves? Sure, you can shampoo your own carpets, paint the bathroom, or trim those overgrown hedges, but are you getting it done? Sometimes, setting aside the money to pay someone to help you gain control of your life is well worth it.
  10. Wake up a little early:It sounds mad, but getting out of bed even 10 minutes earlier than you do now will keep life sane. Take a few minutes in the morning’s quiet to plan your day, do some yoga stretches, work a crossword, or just breathe in the morning air. If you don’t leap into the fray straight from slumber, you will be able to cope with the day more mindfully.