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:

Leftover Grease

Category: Meals

I love to cook, but I despise left over grease!  You can't put it down the sink, you can't dump it into the trash can... It's just a MESS. I had read a long time ago and finally started putting it into practice that when you need to drain grease from your food just put a piece of aluminum foil in a bowl, drain grease into it, freeze THEN throw it in the trash. No mess, Yay!

Picking out Outfits

Category: Parenting

Once my girls got to the ages that they didn't like my taste in clothes for them, I would allow them to pick out a group of tops or pants or dresses or whatever, and then I would tell them which of the clothes they had picked out that I would allow them to wear. They got clothes they felt were stylish and I retained control over appropriateness.

White Board

Category: Organization

We have a large dry erase board in our kitchen and below it are 2 strips of cork to hang schedule/papers on. There is a section for groceries and the kids know to write it on the board if something has run out. We've used it for reminders of upcoming due dates/calls to make/what we give up for Lent/etc. I used it for the grandparents too and keep a kids' schedule on the board if we're out of town. If task is completed - away it goes with the eraser.

Laundry

Category: Housekeeping

I have found that if each of my family members take the hanger that was just 'emptied' from the shirt and put it in the hamper with the dirty clothes, then the clothes go to the laundry, get sorted, along with the hangers, I then have the hangers on hand when the clothes come out of the dryer. I also color code the hangers, so each person can come and grab their color hangers.

Microfiber

Category: Housekeeping

I keep a microfiber wipe and a bottle of glass cleaner in each bathroom. I have several in my house, so I alternate which ones I use throughout the day. This way, I am in each bathroom at least once. While I am in there, I use the rag and glass cleaner to wipe down the mirror and sink. It takes less then 60 seconds, and the sink and mirror are always clean that way. I also keep disinfecting wipes by each toilet and wipe it down too. This all takes less than 2 minutes to do, and helps reduce the spread of colds and flu too! I find that half the battle in simplifying is a having the tools you need at hand when you need them!

Job Jar

Category: Parenting

Discipline: We have a job jar with simple (5 minute) jobs inside. Whenever our kids are not listening, not obeying, etc., we tell them "Job Jar". They must reach in and get a job and a timer, set it for 5 minutes, and do the job. It helps me not get so frustrated and it teaches them to do work and that there are consequences to wrong actions. The house gets a little cleaner in the process! Jobs might be: washing the windows, lint brush the couch, vacuum the stairs, read, learn a Bible verse, etc. We also have a slip of paper that says, "Mercy!" They love getting that one!

Excercise/Housekeeping

Category: Housekeeping

As a mom and grade school teacher, I often find that time doesn't seem to be on my side. In keeping up with the housework, I tend to not have much time left over for exercising. To be sure that I get my exercising in, I act like house cleaning is a race. I time myself to see how long it takes to clean each room, and I try to step it up the next the next time so that I can beat my previous time. That way my heart is elevated, so I'm getting my exercise, AND I'm getting my housework done =)

Hairspray

Category: Housekeeping

Spray your hairspray in the shower with the shower curtain pulled so you don't get the residue all over the counter or floor. I was amazed at the buildup on the floor and counter when I sprayed my hair standing at the counter. You just have to make sure you don't put on your sox and shoes until after your hair is done!

Cookies

Category: Other

There are just two of us in the house now but we still enjoy homemade cookies. I will bake one or two different batches of cookies. Rather than having dozens of cookies laying around, I will keep some of them in a container to enjoy. The rest I will divide up in 1 dozen portions, put them on a paper plate in a freezer bag and then label and date them. We have homemade cookies to enjoy over a long period of time. Do the basic same thing with big pots of chili, goulash, casseroles, etc. Freeze portions size containers for the two of us. Remember to label and date.

Memorizing Phone Number

Category: Parenting

In order to help my five year old memorize my cell phone number I used it as the code to unlock our iPad. He has to enter it anytime he plays on it. Once he has that memorized, we'll change it to my husband's number.