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:

One Room At a Time

Category: Housekeeping

When cleaning the house, get a laundry basket and clean one room at a time. Anything that does not belong in the room you are cleaning, put it in the laundry basket. That way, you are not constantly running back and forth, from room to room, upstairs and downstairs, getting sidetracked and trying to clean little bits at a time. Focus on one room only, then when that room is clean, move to the next room with your laundry basket. Be sure to unload items belonging in that room. When you are finished cleaning that room, move on to the next. You will be finished when your laundry basket is empty! If you only get one room completely clean, great! Maintain that room while cleaning the other rooms the next day!

Food Stuck On

Category: Housekeeping

For the stuck on food splatters on your stove top, I like to use a wash cloth wet with hot water, set the cloth on the food spot and let sit about 5 min or so while you do something else. When you come back, it will wipe right off. This is especially good for those special top stoves that you cant use many chemicals on- works every time!

Communication

Category: Other

During or after dinner, while the family is still together, it can be while we are doing the dishes, we talk about what the next day will hold, who needs lunches, etc. While we are cleaning up the leftovers, we make sandwiches, for lunch or pack the leftovers to go. Marking bags, or filling lunch boxes. This makes the morning go smoother, as we have discussed the next day. It also helps so we are aware of what needs we have for the next day like: homework, permission slips, "item" you need to bring from home to work. This has saved us many rushed mornings, as we know 2 to 3 hours before bed, what we will need in the morning. I find it also frees up time for Bible or quiet time in the morning that often can get missed through the busyness of getting ready.

Freeze Food

Category: Meals

My trick that I thinks works for me is when I am baking cookies, casseroles for dinner, I make extra and freeze so that when I am busy I can pull out something to bake. It's good for when I am working and then come home for one of the children's games. I put the container out in the morning by dinner time it is ready to bake. I freeze cookies and just put out a dozen at a time. Cookies stay fresh and you don't have to baking all the time.

Flylady

Category: Other

I make my life simpler by using flylady.net and the great ideas and recipes she displays. Some examples are loading the dishwasher as you use your dishes, doing at least 1 load of laundry a day and doing your housework and exercises in 15 minute segments. She even gets kids involved.

Clean with Peanut Butter

Category: Other

If you have a DVD or CD that won't play, the best way to clean it is with peanut butter. Simply smear a teaspoon or so of peanut butter on it and wipe it all around with a paper towel. Once the entire surface is covered, wipe off the peanut butter with a clean paper towel. Clean with windex or glass cleaner. Works every time!! :)

Taking Kids out to Eat

Category: Parenting

When my kids were younger and my husband and I wanted to go out to eat with them I always had a meal sack that we would take. I would have one for each of them and inside I would have some toys that they were not allowed to play with at any other time. Sometimes it would be play-doh or an etchasketch or other toys that were not just out around our house. It would hold their interests because they were not toys that they would normally play with and it would allow my husband and I to order and enjoy some family time without all of the stress that comes with taking little ones out. Also I would have a little snack in the bags in case out meals took awhile to arrive the little ones weren't eating the crayons.

Leftovers

Category: Meals

To make leftovers enjoyable, save money at work, and make easy weekend lunches, we put our evening meal leftovers into lunch portions and put them in Rubbermaid brand food storage containers and freeze them. We put them into portion sizes according to how much we can eat.  Rubbermaid containers freeze well and do not crack. Make a label with the name of the food and use a good glue stick to attach the label. Glue stick is effective in the freezer, other glue is not. Sometimes my husband will come up with fun names for the leftovers. Then each morning, we can choose our lunch out of the freezer. This makes our leftovers something we look forward to rather than "aargh" leftovers.

Encouraging Cleanliness

Category: Parenting

My son is now 19 and a sophomore in College. When friends come to his room to study or watch TV they all say "Wow are you neat" When he tells me this, I'm sure it's because he got in the habit at a very young age. You might wonder, well what happened if he didn't do all the items on the list- that's easy. The Toy or show of the moment was taken away.

Washing Dishes

Category: Housekeeping

I hate doing dishes, but I also hate to waste water. The key is, I run it every night at bedtime (set the timer after dinner clean up) and empty it first thing in the morning. I prefer to let it run at bedtime so it catches any dishes we might generate from late night snacks. Voila! My family is home most of the day, so by the end of the day, it really is pretty full. Also, my family knows that the stuff in the dishwasher is always dirty, so there's no excuse for leaving things in the sink or on the counter. Sort your silverware as you put it in the rack. One slot for knives, one forks, spoons, etc. It saves me minutes every day, not having to stand at the drawer and sort as I put it away.