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:

Weekly Meal Planning

Category: Meals

I used to work two full-time jobs, and this was so convenient for me to use on a daily basis...and my husband can even follow these simple plans! First, write down every meal that your family likes to have for dinner onto a piece of paper. Make columns for beef, chicken, pork, fish and pasta. Once you write these items into the columns, take out your calendar and write one from each category into a space for the week. On the nights where you know you will be running a lot (kid activities, church night, etc.), write in something that you will make earlier in the week that can be used as leftovers to reheat that night. For example, I might make an oven roast on Sunday night - then on Wednesday night, we will just reheat those items and have dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes! By doing this, not only will you find that you can shop easier, but you will also save money, and you NEVER have the same meal more than twice in the entire month (and you can avoid eating beef more than once per week)!

Organizing Kitchen Drawers

Category: Organization

One of my absolute FAVORITE things to do for organizing the kitchen drawers - once the paper towels have all been used up, take the roll and use it to store your kitchen tongs (toast tongs, gripper tongs, silicone tongs, etc). Close the tongs, then slide them into the paper roll and voila - more drawer space, and those darn things aren't getting stuck on everything in the drawer when you pull something else out!

Unclutter Your Life

Category: Organization

Throw 10 things away a day to unclutter your life. Example: short pencil, old appointment card, paper clip, rubber band. If you are uncluttered in your home your mind will be uncluttered too.

Decorating for Christmas

Category: Organization

To simplify decorating for Christmas, I have each room's decorations placed in it's own clear tub with the name of the room written on a white card and taped to the inside so it is visible. Once you have decorated, take a picture of each area in that room and put that photo(s) in the box when you put everything away. Next Christmas, get out the boxes and use the photo to remind you where each item goes. I have been doing this for over 30 years. Have my daughter doing it to. We can't imagine doing it any other way!

Recipe Key

Category: Meals

There are many websites that help with meal planning. Here is just one that helps you find recipes based on ingredients you have on hand. It has many other features to help simplify your planning. Best of all it is free. http://www.recipekey.com

No

Category: Time Management

JUST SAY "NO"!!

Diaper Changing Station on Each Floor

Category: Parenting

If you're a parent with a child in diapers and live in a multi-floor home, keep a diaper-changing "station" on each floor. For instance, we have our changing table in our son's nursery, but we also have a bag with wipes, cream, diapers, and an additional outfit in our family room so we don't have to run upstairs every single time we need to change a diaper or change a messy boy!

Labeling Cords

Category: Organization

 I always label cords and cables for my computer, TV, etc. You can either use the plastic clip from a bread bag or use an adhesive label, mark with sharpie and wrap around the cord or cable near the plug so that if you ever need to rearrange, you will know what you are unplugging. I just got a new DVD player and this trick saved me so much time as I was reorganizing everything that gets plugged in behind our entertainment center!

Praise God 7 Ways

Category: Faith

On the inside of my front door, I have a hand-written sign that says, "Praise God 7 ways". It doesn't matter what my mood is, or how bad my problems seem, by the time I've come up with seven different praises I'm so grateful that I'm able to serve Him and for His many blessings that I have a smile on my face and a prayer in my heart and I know He's right there with me, whatever may come. A perfect way to start every day.

Preventing Pasta From Sticking to the Pan

Category: Meals

If you put about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the water before it starts boiling (just to avoid fires) the pasta will not stick to the pan. :)