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:

Soft Cookies

When storing homemade cookies place a slice of bread in the container, the cookies will pull out the moisture in the bread and they will stay soft for days

Mail Stack

I really dislike mail. My old way of dealing with it was to take the bills out, so I could pay them and leave the rest until later. "Later" rarely came, and the mail seemed to stack-up all over my kitchen counters. The stacks got bigger & bigger, until I'd have to stash them in a Wal-Mart bag when I was expecting company. Then it was really overwhelming to sort thru them when I had the time to do so.
UNTIL I made up a NEW WAY to deal with my mail! I now have 5 file folders in one of my kitchen cabinets. Each day when the mail comes, I sort the mail accordingly into the files. They are labeled as such: "Calendar" for things that need to be put on the family calendar, but are kept for reference or to take to appointments or events. "Pending/Holding" for things I'm waiting on, such as something mail-order. "To Do" for obvious reasons. "To Read" for things that I can't get to in the moment, but will look at later (I often take this file with me while waiting on doctor's appoiintments.) And "My Interests" for things that I'd like to keep or might reference later. Junk mail goes in recycling; catalogs and magazines get put in the magazine rack right away...and viola!! My "MAIL STACK" is NO LONGER!!!

Color Coordination

When you have more than one child it is easier to have their towels and washcloths a specific color (like their favorite). No question whose is whose when its bath time!

Never Empty Handed

I call it the never leave a room empty handed rule. As you go in and out of rooms, you make sure your hands are never empty. So if you see a toy or toys you pick up enough that you can carry in that one trip, take it to the room it belongs, and then once you arrive in that room as you see something in there that shouldn't be there, either trash, or dishes, or dirty laundry, you then pick it up and take it to the room where it belongs, then so on and so on. In doing this you are saving a lot of time and energy just picking up and cleaning the house while you were already in that room. I have 3 kids all under 10 and this makes my life so much easier and saves me so much time.

Hospitality

In my effort to NOT become someone whose messy house and non-culinary genius keeps us from inviting people into our home, a little trick I have picked up is this: When people are coming over for dinner, I like to set the table and add a little pizazz before they come. A nice centerpiece or cute arrangement makes me feel like I have something ready on time, and they feel welcomed, even if I am still getting things together!

No Scraping Car Windows

Mix 2/3 vinegar & 1/3 water
Spray on windows & the ice will melt away.

Clean a Little Each Day

I work full time and am away from home about 50 hours during the week. We live in a very large old farm house and keeping up with everything is tough. But, I don't want to spend all of my weekends cleaning. So, I started the year my doing one thing around the house each evening- cleaning a cabinet, cleaning sinks, vacuuming, etc. then on Saturday or Sunday I can clean a room or two more thoroughly. I limit myself on Saturdays to stopping at noon and on Sundays (after church) to 3 pm. This way I get things done but don't spend a huge portion of my time at home cleaning, I still have time to relax and I'm not exhausted. I give myself Wednesday evenings off!

Color Coordination

I am mother of four and one thing that really helped me was assigning each of my kids, my husband and myself a color. Our favorite color. And I used the colors to color code my calendar. Beginning of each week I would check to see who had what and how many events I needed to be a part of. As my children got older, it was easier because they could drive themselves, so I would start my week checking the colors of the kids who couldn't drive. That was my clue I needed to be involved. It made it easier to plan my week. My children are all grown and now my calendar is filled with the favorite colors of our grandchildren.

The Lunch Buddy

So you get to work and notice your going to need a lunch. Eating out is not the best option not healthy and expensive. So hook up with a co-worker. One week you bring the lunch, gotta make something anyway, for yourself, so what's one more? Make it simple and healthy, salad, wraps. Whatever you like, but the next day she brings it. Also a simple way to keep salad fresher longer, and make them ahead of time. Place salad mix in a Mason jar. They stay fresher longer and just grab and go. Good for everyone.

Shopping by Aisle

A few years ago a friend shared with me a Wal-Mart shopping printable spreadsheet. My husband made some adjustments to suit our family's needs and preferences and it has become a must have to grocery shop. Having a large family, the list along with meal planning is a must! The greatest thing about this shopping list is it flows by isle at our local Wal-Mart making shopping simple.