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:

Chores

Category: Housekeeping

Break chores up and divide among those able to do them. Kids can vacuum and dust and even clean the tub and toilets on top of maintaining their own rooms. Schedule one day as normal chore day. I raised four boys. Someone would walk the dog, someone else would do laundry, another would do the dishes and the fourth would dry the dishes and put them away, switching chores daily or weekly. Also count the number of rooms that you have to clean and then "deep clean" one room a week or a month or a day, whichever suits your schedule. DO NOT try to do all of the cleaning for the whole house in one day. You will be exhausted. Remember a little dirt never hurt anybody.

Not Sorting Laundry

Category: Housekeeping

I don't sort clothes when I wash them. There is a great product out called Color Catchers by Shout. I have used them for years. You just throw them in with your clothes and any color that bleeds from the clothes is caught on the sheet. Simply throw it away after the wash. Showed this to my son when he was 12 and we have never had a problem, works really well with red clothing and blue jeans.

Fast Pancakes

Category: Time Management

Save ketchup or salad dressing containers. Make a large batch of pancake mix on the weekend, and funnel it into a ketchup or dressing container. Then, when the kids want pancakes during your busy week, you can whip them out in the time it takes to make toast!

Quick Grocery Shopping

Category: Time Management

A lot of people plan their meals and make a grocery list accordingly, this is what I do as well but I take it a step further. After having my list written out I rewrite it to go in the order of the isles at the store. Most of us know where to find each item in the store so this isn't too hard. It makes for a much faster in and out when you have little ones in tow. You don't get to one end of the store and realize you forgot something at the opposite end- this way it's all in order. My friends and extended family are continually amazed at how quickly I can get in and out of the Super Wal-Mart with a weeks worth of groceries without forgetting anything on my list. Usually in 30 minutes or less!

Same 30 Recipes

Category: Meals

Keep menu plans simple by using the same 30 recipes each month. One day each month (or how ever often you choose) can be open to try out a new recipe. Works well if recipes are written out on notecards and kept in a file box or written down in a binder and in page protectors.
Saves time and money and you don't have to feel like you need to reinvent dinner. Most families have favorite recipes, anyway. This can create memories for kids, too. Kids will be able to pass along signature recipes from one generation to another.

One "To-Do" A Day

Category: Parenting

I am a stay at home mom with two little boys, 2 &1/2 and 1. I am also a type A, neat freak and I put ridiculous pressure on myself for a clean, well-organized home. Sometimes in my worry for this, time with my children is replaced with cleaning, organizing and "To Do" lists. I discovered over this holiday season a way to simplify all the things I need to get done. After one list of priorities is made I plan on doing one of the things each day. That way I have plenty of time to invest in my children the way God wants me to and I can put my guilt in not being "super mom", behind me!

Starting the Day with Prayer

Category: Faith

A few years ago, I have made it a priority to start my day with a simple prayer before stepping out of bed, 'Lord, this day I serve you, we can do this together!' This allows for open conversation throughout the day in all the obstacles and challenges I face. I have seen an amazing difference in my daily routines and multi-tasking agenda. I also see a difference in my day and my mood when I forget to invite Him into my day... It's that simple.
HE really IS Good ALL the time.

Stinky Shoes

Category: Other

To get rid of the stinky sneaker smell I put shoes in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer overnight. Then I put them in the sun (out of the bag) to defrost ;) gets the stink right out. It works with flats, sneakers and boots! This makes my life easier because my house doesn't smell like feet and I don't waste any money on deodorizers.

Sorting Laundry

Category: Housekeeping

These are my tips for simplifying the ever-present chore of laundry.
1. We bought a 3-bin laundry hamper. Everyone, including kids, sorts their own laundry when they get undressed - whites in one, jeans in another, miscellaneous darks in the third. No more huge sorting task!
2. Boys white socks rarely come off their feet white, soeach person pre-treats their own socks (sprays, scrubs, rinses & hangs to dry) This saves A LOT of time, because I can simply throw all the whites in without having to pretreat all of the socks. And with the extra dirt rinsed, I rarely have to rewash or rerinse a load.
3. Lost or mismatched socks - NOT A PROBLEM! Everyone pins their pair of socks together before throwing them in the laundry, so when they come out of the dryer, no sorting and matching to do and NO LOST SOCKS!

White Board

Category: Other

If you accidentally write on a white board with permanent marker, use a dry erase marker and go over the permanent marker - it will take it off!