A Simple Start Tips

We're asking you the question "What simplifies your life?" Share your tips and tricks on making life a little more simple. Tim and Pam will select 10 tips and the submitter will receive one of 10 great prizes! Share your tip here or view the others below.

Here are the tips we've received:

Sunday School

Category: Organization

As a Sunday School Teacher for grades 1-6 I used to fill rushed each Sunday morning trying to get to church early enough to get things set up for class. Now when materials come in for the quarter I divided the materials, student pages and teaching aids, by the week that they will be used and put them into a 13-space fan-fold organizer. I also try to prepare the memory verse cards I send with each students weekly so that they can learn the verse prior to coming to class each week. This has cut down on the weekly stress and only takes a couple of hours of dedicated time every quarter which will then allow me time to do my Bible Study each week and feel more prepared for teaching.

Think About It

Category: Time Management

Do not give an answer when asked to volunteer or help with something until you've had at least 24 hours to pray about it and decide whether it is the best way to use your time to serve the Lord in light of family and personal time commitments. Give yourself permission to say "no" but if the answer is "yes" then make sure it's the best so you are not over committed and feel stressed and pinched for time.

No More Scrubbing

Category: Housekeeping

If I make something and it sticks to the pan, I take all that I can out of the skillet or kettle without scraping it and then I put water in it, with dish soap and let it boil on the stove. Clean up is so easy. I love this method. When I was pregnant with my son, his grandma taught me the boil method. This saves so much time and energy. No more scrubbing.

Shopping Cart

Category: Other

I park closest to a shopping cart holder. I feel quilty when I don't take a cart back and I get in more steps for exercise.

Multiple Electronics

Category: Organization

I use plastic bread ties to label each cord that comes with my electronic gadgets. I get the plastic bread ties from bread bags or potato bags. I write on the plastic bread tie with a permanent marker what gadget it belongs to . This makes it easier to find the cord you need and when you get rid of a gadget you know what cords go with it. I have several cords that I don't know what they belong to but I'm afraid to get rid of them because I may still have the item it belongs to. This helps to clear up some clutter of cords that I no longer need. I also do this with each item that is plugged into my surge protector. That way if I need to unplug something it's easy to identify which cord to unplug

Eliminate Clutter

Category: Organization

Always, always,always keep a narrow "stairway" basket at both ends of the stairway. We started this when our kids were little and now with them married and gone it still helps eliminate clutter and provides a "temporary" holding place until someone goes up...or down the stairs!

Dishwasher

Category: Housekeeping

When you load the dishwasher put all the same utensils in the same dividers. Then when they are clean and you are ready to put them away, it is a breeze!

Car Rides

Category: Parenting

I am not very big on watching DVD's in the car because I feel that some of the best conversations I have with my children happen during car rides. However, sometimes I need a little help keeping them occupied. I have a bag in my center counsel with a few small flashlights and sheets of stencils (stars, butterflies, animals, etc.).  I give them each a flashlight and a sheet of stencils and let them explore from their seats! They love it. It is especially fun for night time.

Theme Meals

Category: Meals

Meal planning can be overwhelming, what made it easier for me was to do theme days for every night of the week. We eat breakfast on our busiest night for dinner. Other theme nights are Mexican - tacos, enchiladas, nachos. Italian - spaghetti, lasagna, chicken parmesan. American - hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches. 'Soup Sunday'. Everyone knows what theme for dinner we are having every week and it makes it easier coming up with meals when you can just focus on a type of cuisine.

Organizing Receipts

Category: Organization

You are to keep certain papers and receipts for 7 years (in case you are audited, etc).  if you need to look up old receipts- I do this by keeping a file for each of the 7 years in the top of my closet, and in each file are categories of: Auto repairs, Gas Receipts, Utilities, Tax Receipts, etc. At the end of each year, I shred the oldest year of papers and use that file holder for the new year. This has been an excellent way to simplify such an overwhelming task!