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:

Price Matching

Category: Finances

When price matching (mainly grocery items) I make a list by Competing Store Ad then try to keep all price match items on one end of the cart. I place all price match items on the belt after my regular items. Having the items listed by ad keeps you from shuffling ads at the register. This keeps people behind you happier. When the cashier sees how organized you are they usually only ask to see the first ad and then the rest just flies by. Bonus Tip - It always helps ease tension if you mention to the person behind you in line that one or two of their items is available from a certain store at the sale price. The cashier usually allows the next person to match one or two items without an ad, especially if they just matched it for you.

Pre-Packing Lunches

Category: Meals

We started this school year by packing our lunches right after dinner. Each of us take a job, such as I make sandwiches, while one daughter packs the fruit and another packs the chips/pretzels. Then the next night, we trade jobs so it’s not so boring. This has been a great team building job and a fun way to pack lunches together in helping each other out, not to mention it cuts the time in half. This has saved us from stressful mornings of rushing around and throwing lunches together, which were usually less healthy.There are several times when our older daughter is gone and our 7 year old daughter has stepped up and packed her lunch for her (what a blessing to watch your kids serve one another!!) Also, we are much more likely to pack up and eat the leftovers since we’re doing it right after dinner. This has saved us from stressful mornings of rushing around and throwing lunches together, which were usually less healthy.

Teamwork

Category: Housekeeping

When our house gets "out of control" with things out of place, my 8 year old, my 6 year old and myself, go into "Teamwork" mode! We start in the family room and work together to pick up and straighten as quickly as we can! It becomes somewhat of a game and teaches the kids to work together and help each other, rather than argue about whose mess it is. Once we finish in the family room, we move onto another room in the house, inclucing both of their bedrooms, until we are done! It really has become more fun to pick up the house and much less stressful and overwhelming for all of us! And, it's amazing how much faster the mess gets put away! :)

Can Goods

Category: Meals

To lessen the time it takes me to shop I make sure I keep my staple canned goods, cleaning supplies and toiletries in stock. The way I ensure I always have what I need on hand is that I buy 2 of the items when shopping. When I begin using the last item I add 2 to my shopping list - I never run out of what I need!

Grocery List

Category: Organization

Throughout the week, I keep a grocery list on the side of my fridge, writing items down as I run out of them. But just before I head to the grocery store, I re-write my list, organizing it according to where I will find it in the store I will be shopping. This helps me not to miss anything I really need, or have to run back to the opposite side of Wal-Mart to scramble for something I have forgotten. It's wonderful for sending, say husbands, to the store too. This way they don't disappear for hours, wandering around a Wal-Mart, looking for an items in completely the wrong section. This has proven to be a huge time saver for our family!

Removing Sharpie

Category: Housekeeping

I walked into the living room one day and was horrified to see that my super creative toddler had scribbled all over the flat screen with a Sharpie, and in he office he had done the same to the laptop screen. Dollar signs were flashing through my mind! I didn't know what to use, especially with the TV because you have to be careful with those! I remembered a friend saying she had used Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover to get gum off her dryer door...so I gave it try. IT WORKED! I squirted it on a paper towel and it wiped right off! The computer screen took a little more elbow grease, as he had literally made the entire screen hot pink, but that came off too! Its a $15 miracle in a bottle!

Bath Time

Category: Parenting

I am a foster mom and I own a daycare so our evenings are very busy. During the day as I am folding laundry I simply pull out everyone's pajamas for the night and put them in the bathroom with a towel so when bath time comes each child can just go in, grab a shower and their towel and pj's are already there waiting on them- no searching and scrambling for me or them before bath.

Rest

Category: Faith

One thing I like to do is get well-rested. When I wake up, the first thing I like to do is smile and tell God thank you for giving me the gift of life. Then I set up little goals for my day. I categorize them into letters. I create at least three goals for myself. Sometimes even ten. They aren't very big goals, they can be something like practicing my piano for thirty minutes, or reading the Bible for fifteen minutes and the next day, twenty. John 10:10 says, " A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

Monthly Meal Planning

Category: Meals

The BEST thing I ever started doing. With a family on the go, and 2 boys in school and travel sports I was sinking! When it came time for a healthy dinner to put in my families bellies I was scrambling to throw something together, as I was hearing screams of "What’s for dinner?" I have created 3 month long menus to keep in rotation. It didn’t take long. I sat down with a few cook books and made a table/menu on the computer and filled in the boxes complete with the cook book and page number for quick reference. I take 10 minuets each week to create a shopping list based on my menu for the week. If we eat out one night then the menu gets pushed to the next day. Now I don’t run to the store every night and I know how much time I need to get a healthy dinner on the table. No more screams of "What’s for dinner?" it’s posted on the refrigerator. I really enjoy dinner time now!

Clean a Little Each Day

Category: Housekeeping

When we had three girls with many activities on the weekend, I found that dividing my house into 5 areas and cleaning one area a day (I worked so this was something I did in the evening) helped. By the weekend my whole house was clean and I had the weekend to attend my children's activities and still have a clean house. There were some area that were assigned to each child and husband. I still try to follow this plan today even with all my children on their own and out of the house.