I’ve been pretty uninspired, hence the lack of posts. January has been really busy around here, and as is usual at the beginning of the year I like most people I'm always looking for a little more order in my life.
Routine and schedules can make me feel like a bird in a cage sometimes but when life is chaotic and when time is in short supply it's good to have a starting point. I would not take the time to write these posts if these things didn't make a huge difference in my life--they are huge! People ask me all the time how I find the time to do so many things (not necessarily well but I can definitely juggle)...this is how I find time. I organize my life in a way that keeps me from wasting time on routine stuff so I can spend time doing the things I love.
I’ve already covered Paperwork Management in this post. Hopefully that has helped someone..It wasn't a perfect system and It may have been a bit confusing so I have simplified it even more and I’ve come up with an idea to update it and to do an Organize your life series. I was completely inspired by Simple Mom who is a genius at organization. Here’s what I’ll cover:
Organizing your Time/life
Organizing your Email
Organizing your Money
Organizing your Craft Supplies
What else...any suggestions?
Sound good. K. let’s get started.
*these are merely suggestions, if what you do works for you and this seems like too much--by all means skip it, or at least share your great ideas with us in the comments. These ideas require a little prep time. My theory is a few minutes of thoughtful planning and organizing saves hours of decision making, finding things, making extra runs to the store and generally losing one's mind. This has also saved us a ton of money.
At the beginning of the month Plan a Monthly Menu—I actually plan my menu from the 5th to the 5th but you get the idea…plan a month or so of meals.
- If you use Google calendar create a new calendar and make it a different color than your main calendar fill in and print.
- To simplify menu planning Create themes that work for your family. For example. Mondays we have Mexican, Tuesdays we have pasta, Wednesdays we make something easy (because our oldest has piano lessons and we get home later) Thursdays we have asian or stir-fry, Friday we have homemade pizza (using this recipe)and dessert. Saturdays we have something new and Sundays we have something good…Now obviously Monday Tuesday and Thursdays are interchangeable, having a theme is not essential it just makes it easier to fill in the entire month.
- Plan a menu for 2 weeks and repeat if a month seems like too much work
- Once you print the calendar with the menu planned use the white space to write the ingredient list, and then circle what you need in a Master Grocery List. Simple Mom has a great Master Grocery list here (scroll down a little to find it).
- Do the bulk of your shopping once a month using the menu as your guide. We go to the store weekly for fresh items and fruit, but most of the ingredients can be purchased ahead of time. Now that I make mostly everything from scratch my shopping is really basic—we are saving so much and our meals are so much tastier.
Still with me. That was the menu planning.
Snacks like pretzels, animal crackers, and whatever else I’m buying for the kids out of boxes and bags and it all goes into snack size zip lock bags and in a big shallow basket in our pantry (see above pic..it's not too shallow). When I’m making school lunches or running out of the house in a mad rush it’s ready to go in the bag. I also do this with baby carrots, grapes, etc..the key here is to do this on shopping day and stock the pantry and fridge right away. This also helps me know when I’m running out of things. I just look in the basket. Or in the fridge drawer I designate for snacks.
· Put all sandwich making supplies (cheeses, meats, and whatever else you want) in a large container with a lid.
· Use delicious. This is a tool that I ignored for a long time, but a quick subscription later I am LOVING it. When I find a recipe online I want to make, I tag it and use the key words totry. I also add words like recipe, dinner and more specific stuff like pasta. Delicious makes it super easy to find and print when I’m creating the monthly menu.
· For those of you with little ones, create a drawer dedicated to sippy cups, bibs, little plates, etc. I also have two sippy cups ready in the morning with water. My son knew very early on where his cup sat on the fridge and grabbed it himself when he needed it.
· I make homemade snacks in bulk about once a week-whole wheat muffins(which are really really good) (recipe here), cookies and breads and sometimes a batch of salsa to have on hand. It takes about an hour of prep time and we always have good homemade snacks around.
I don’t have any ideas for breakfasts and lunches.I think I'll make homemade Belgian waffles ahead of time and toast them to warm them up in the mornings--putting frozen pancakes in the toaster works well too. For lunches I think I’ll make a table in word and put in some lunch ideas—so as to rotate. There's not much variety in my son's lunches (for his main meal) any ideas? I'll share my chart as soon as I have it.