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2018 Simplicity Challenge

February 06, 2018

 

The process of simplifying your life is a BIG one. It’s so freeing and exciting and it’s HARD WORK. Our 31 Day Simplicity Challenge features one step for each day that can be completed in 15 minutes or less. Physical clutter = mental clutter, so both of those areas are addressed throughout the challenge. At the end of the challenge, you’ll be able to breathe easier knowing that you’ve completed the process of purging, decluttering, and organizing your life to make margin for what matters! For daily encouragement and extra tips on the process of simplifying, join our Simplified Planner Community Group. To sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE printable e-book of the challenge, click here.

No. 1 of 31: Walk your home with a trash bag or five. Be ruthless. Papers. Receipts. Tags. Empty bottles. Go.

No. 2 of 31Go through your kitchen drawers. Do you have three carrot peelers? Two ice cream scoops? You only need one.

No. 3 of 31Clean out your fridge, pantry, and spice cabinet. Check expiration dates and throw things away. Make a list of restock needs as you go.

No. 4 of 31Simplify your phone. Delete old contacts and unused apps. Refresh your wallpaper and lock screen.

No. 5 of 31Organize the Notes app on your iPhone to hold lists of all kinds (books to read, hashtags you use, or other information you often need to retrieve).

No. 6 of 31Use the Reminders app on your iPhone to set alerts for routines or habits you’re trying to create (IE: take vitamins, put phone away, go for a walk).

No. 7 of 31: Consider reading as a brain break. Make a list of 10 books you’d like to read this year.

No. 8 of 31Walk your house with a donate bag. Schedule a pick-up or drop it off as soon as the bag is full.

No. 9 of 31Start the habit of throwing a small load of laundry in every morning.

No. 10 of 31Set a recurring alarm (or use the Bedtime feature on iPhones) for every weekday. If you’re letting your kids wake you, set it for one hour earlier.

No. 11 of 31Go put gas in your car today. While you’re there, clean out your car. Throw trash away.

No. 12 of 31Buy a few birthday cards (and small gift cards). Keep them on hand for birthdays that pop up that you’re not prepared for.

No. 13 of 31Put your number on the Do Not Call list. Visit donotcall.gov or call 1.888.382.1222.

No. 14 of 31Do something with all those precious photos and videos on your phone. Print. Back up. Store.

No. 15 of 31Consider the amount of INFORMATION coming at you all day. What can you turn off to quiet your mind? Turn off the television. Perhaps (gasp!) take a break from social media.

No. 16 of 31Identify “pain points” in your day (IE: kids getting shoes on in the morning). Alleviate these (IE: put a basket for shoes near the front door for easy access).

No. 17 of 31Dump out your purse. Throw away trash. Create a little bag of essentials. Make your bag work for you.

No. 18 of 31Ruthlessly clean out your closet. Goodbye clothes that “will fit one day.” Goodbye clothes that “don’t fit quite right but I paid too much for them.”

No. 19 of 31Clean out your medicine cabinet. Trash anything expired. Restock essentials.

No. 20 of 31Detox your social media feeds. Follow inspirational accounts. Unfollow anyone draining. Are there platforms you can quit?

No. 21 of 31Go through your credit card and / or bank statements. Identify any “subscriptions” you forgot you had and don’t need and turn them off.

No. 22 of 31Clean off your desk and wipe it down (and your keyboard). Ditch clutter. Keep only the essentials including your computer.

No. 23 of 31: Clear the clutter on your computer. Delete unused files and organize important ones. Empty the trash. Refresh your desktop wallpaper.

No. 24 of 31Take inventory of the mail coming to your mailbox. Visit directmail.com to remove your name from lists.

No. 25 of 31Make a list of ten go-to meals. Tape it to the fridge for simple meal planning.

No. 26 of 31Schedule a vacation or stay-cation for some time this year. 

No. 27 of 31Organize your inbox. Search the word “unsubscribe” and remove yourself from non-essential lists. Try Unroll.me.

No. 28 of 31Using a large piece of paper or poster board, make a list of all your commitments. Which ones can you say “not now” to?

No. 29 of 31Create your own weekly prep-list with tasks that make you feel prepared for the week ahead.

No. 30 of 31Make a list of household items you use frequently. Stock up on these. Pay attention to BOGO sales.

No. 31 of 31Rest. Schedule 30 minutes alone once a week. You give away what you put in. Take care of yourself.

 

 

4 Tips for Keeping Your Refrigerator Organized

January 18, 2017

It seems like one of the most difficult areas in our homes to keep clean in the refrigerator. Anyone else feel this way? Luckily, we’ve found a few simple tips that work for us. We’ve discovered that doing these four (incredibly easy!) things regularly helps keep our fridge from becoming completely overwhelming.

  1. Start from scratch. In order to keep an organized fridge, you have to begin with an organized fridge. Take everything out (put things in a cooler if you need to), throw away things that are expired, wipe the shelves down, and start fresh.
  2. Organize by category. The best place to store meats is on the bottom shelf. This way, they won’t drip and spoil all the foods below it. The refrigerator door is the warmest place, so don’t put eggs or dairy in the door. Have a designated place to put your leftovers and other ready-to-eat foods (like yogurt, cheese, and deli meats). Keep all of your produce in the same drawer. When you organize items by category, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for in a pinch, and you’re less likely to just throw things in the fridge without making space for them.
  3. Toss things regularly. Go through and toss items that have expired (or things you know you’re not ever going to use again). Don’t keep extra condiments just because you might use it one day. If you haven’t used it in a few months, chances are you’re not going to need it and it’s just taking up valuable space in your fridge. Do this once a week.
  4. Wipe it down. Having a little spill on the shelf or leaky bottles of salad dressing can make your fridge seem like more of a disaster than it actually is. Once a month, go through and wipe everything down. Clean the sticky mess off of the shelves, wipe down all of your condiments, disinfect the door handles, etc. The key to maintaining a tidy fridge is staying on top of the mess.

Simplifying 2017, Part 3: Your Routines

December 30, 2016

This part of our “Simplifying 2017” series was the part I’ve been most excited to write. I firmly believe that traditions, routines, habits, and systems make people feel safe, secure, and like they belong to something within a home. I think repetition like this makes us feel steady. And when we feel steady, we feel peaceful. My mom and dad worked a lot of these things into our family when my brother and I were growing up – particularly around household chores and holiday traditions. And these are the two areas I’ve found myself focusing on within my home. My kids thrive on structure and love to know what’s next, what’s expected, and what to look forward to. These routines don’t have to be complicated, but being consistent with them will really change the game for your efficiency and, I believe, for the ways you love your family too.

SIMPLIFYING YOUR ROUTINES

  1. Create simple traditions: On Sundays, we eat cinnamon rolls. I buy them by the can at the grocery store and pop them in the oven a few minutes before everyone wakes up. The smell inevitably draws Brady down the stairs. And then twins start pointing at the oven saying, “Bite! bite!” as soon as they come into the room. It’s super easy and seems somewhat insignificant but Brady KNOWS we have cinnamon rolls on Sundays. He starts talking about them on Saturday afternoon. There’s something about the fact that he knows it’s going to happen that makes him feel happy, loved, taken care of.
  2. Establish routines for household chores: Laundry. Do I need to say more? Gracious. Sometimes I feel like it’s going to drown me. I’ve gone through phases where I’ll wake up a few minutes early every day, pop a load in, and get it folded and put away before anyone wakes up. Those days are great. But in some seasons, that doesn’t happen. Instead, I chose Wednesdays and Sundays as our laundry tackling days. Bryan knows that once the kids go to bed, it’s folding time (I move it and get it processed through during the day and dump it on our guest room bed). Together, we watch TV and fold laundry, then put it all away. Because I know laundry will get taken care of on Wednesdays and Sundays, I don’t worry about the piling up that happens during the other days of the week.
  3. Decide who does what: Eight years ago, when Bryan and I were newlyweds, we took some advice from my Mom (who did this with our family of four when I was a kid) and wrote every single household chore down on post-it notes. We spread them out on a poster board and started choosing. I took the ones I knew I could accomplish (and some I even enjoyed doing) and Bryan did the same. Eight years later, he STILL takes the trash out to the street and folds the majority of the laundry and I still empty the dishwasher and plan the meals.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our Simplifying 2017 series, and don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Part 4, along with lots of fun giveaways, discounts, tips and more as we head into the new year. And, if you haven’t picked up your Simplified Planner yet, now’s the time! Orders over $100 get FREE domestic shipping until January 2 (and Happy Stripe is almost sold out)! Get yours before they’re gone! AND my book, Grace, Not Perfection, is on sale on Amazon for under $10 (for a limited time)!! The e-book is just $3.99! Check it out here.

GIVEAWAY

Today we’ve teamed up with our friends over at Minted to give away a $150 gift card (we ADORE their custom art prints!), along with a copy of The Life-Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson, Make it Happen by Lara Casey, Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley, and a monogrammed Simplified Planner bundle.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

copyright 2018 emily ley