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:

Pasta

Category: Meals

You know when you have those 1/4 full boxes of pasta.  I do no like to have multiple boxes of pasta open in my pantry so I have gotten containers and labeled them by their cook time. So I may have different shapes of pasta but they will all cook at the same time. Now when I open box and don't use it all pour what is left in the appropriate cook time container.

Pre-Cook

Category: Meals

I always keep a bag of cooked/diced chicken in my freezer. This is for days when meal planning just doesn't make it from the to-do-list to the table. I can warm it up in no time and make any number of meals- chicken tacos, chicken & rice, chicken stir fry etc.

Kids and Medication

Category: Parenting

When we get sick in our house it seems that they are sick at the same time and everyone is on some kind of medication. Some once a day some three times a day and so on. If my daughter has to take a medication twice a day for 10 days. On the side of the medicine bottle I draw a type of grid. Long line down and then 10 lines crossing that long line and I write am on the left column and pm on the right that way I can put a little check mark in the column so that I know if I gave her her medicine for that time or not.

Meal Planning

Category: Meals

As a mother of 5 it is hard to find time to plan meals and go to the grocery store. So I made a list of all the meals that I fix and then made a master grocery list from my list of meals. I saved my list on the computer so it can easily be printed off and adjusted as needed. I go on one big shopping trip every other month and buy enough to fix each meal twice (once each month). Before I go shopping I print off my list, look through my pantry and freezers to see what I may still have and cross it off my list. I also print off my menu and cross off the meals as I fix them. This has saved me tons off time and money.

Small Space Organizing

Category: Organization

I am an older woman who lives with my son and daughter-in-law. I am also blind. I've had to learn to deal with the blindness and I also have to put quite a bit in a relatively small amount of space. I bought 3 book shelves of varying sizes that occupy my bedroom, and the walk-in closet. I have different sized and shaped baskets that sit on the shelves with bath supplies, cleaning supplies, spices, my medications, important papers, first aid supplies, etc. Each basket has a Braille label under it so that I know what is in the basket. Since I'm home, quite frequently, by myself, this makes getting things done and staying organized much simpler. You don't have to be blind for this organization trick to work. It's a great way to organize a child's room, or a home office.

Code System

Category: Parenting

Because my children would always try to figure out what gifts they had under the Christmas tree by shaking, feeling them, etc., I have stopped putting names on them. Instead I have gone to a code system, which changes every year. For example, I might give each child a symbol (heart, star, etc.) instead of their name, or color code smiley faces with each color representing a different child. I kept the code written down in a secret location. It has really stumped them and added to the anticipation for Christmas morning! (Works for curious spouses, and other family members too!)

Flip Flop Reinforcement

Category: Other

Take the pop tab off the pop can and use it to reinforce the toe button on the bottom of flip flops. My daughters are flip flop divas and this saves lots of money, by increasing the life of the flip flop so that the button doesn't wear through the hole as fast.

My Mop

Category: Housekeeping

I am a senior citizen with osteoporosis, so bending and reaching is a problem. My mop is my friend. I clean my shower from top to bottom, Clean my sliding glass doors, top of the refrigerator even the bathroom stool. of course I have a separate mop for that.

Organizing Mail

Category: Organization

My husband and I are overwhelmed by mail and junk mail. The kitchen counter started turning into our store-all for mail. I knew a changed needed to take place! As the mail comes in, I am opening it right over a trash can and have a filing bin, out-going mail bin, and shredder right by me. So important mail gets filed, outgoing mail gets placed in a safe place, and junk mail gets in the shredder. It is definitely a simple organization trick, but has saved us from shuffling through piles and missing important bills/letters that were needing to be mailed out.

Teamwork

Category: Housekeeping

I find each person's interest when it comes to housework and allow them the pleasure of being a product part of our family and keeping our home running well. My husband would rather load the dishwasher everyday than put them away (so he loads) and my teen would rather put them away then load...so they TEAM IT together and are very productive. My 6 yr old son HATES putting clothes away, BUT my 4 yr daughter LOVES putting clothes on hangers and helping me put them all away...so we TEAM-IT together. Simplifying for me is zeroing in on what they are good at, and encouraging them to help be productive. I feel it will serve them very well in the future. Sure they do things they don't enjoy as well, but I always keep an ear open and an eye peeled for what they LOVE and ENJOY. It makes it more pleasant and enjoyable and most importantly more productive!