Wouldn't it be nice if we had more time to spend with our families? Wouldn't you love a free minute to curl up with a good book? You can easily make the most of your time by working to simplify your life. Whether it's creating a snack and lunch station for your kids or adopting new habits, you can easily create more time for yourself and to spend with your family.
Set Bills to Pay Automatically
If you're good with keeping up with your finances, paying your bills automatically can save you so much time. Just make sure you have money in your account to cover these bills. Another great tip is to have your paycheck deposited into your bank account. This will make sure you have money to cover your bills and prevent the need to sit in the bank drive thru to cash your check.
We have our income direct deposited into our bank account. I request ebills directly through our checking account when possible, so that I receive the bill and pay directly through online bill pay. If that's not available, I schedule payment in online bill pay as soon as I receive the bill (scheduled for the about a week before the bill is due). That way I never have to wonder if I forgot to pay a bill and it releases that mental energy. I use Quicken to keep track of all my income and bills for the month (and to ensure that I'm still on budget for the month).
Use Your Calendar for Reminders
Do you always feel like you're forgetting something? Use your calendar to schedule everything. As soon as I get my boys' school calendar for the year, I put everything into my Google Calendar so I won't forget anything. If I need to cancel a trial subscription or put a followup of crabgrass preemergent on my lawn, it all goes on my calendar so I don't forget. That way I don't use up mental energy trying to remember everything.
Start Cleaning Habits
Do you hate washing tons and tons of laundry each week? What about washing lots of dishes? When you get in the habit of washing a load of laundry each day and emptying your dishwasher each night and running it each night, you'll save so much time.
You want to run your dishwasher even if it's not completely full because if you wait until the next day, you'll have more than will fit. If you don't have a dishwasher, wash your dishes by hand after each meal. The chore will go much faster. Look for little ways that you can save time by doing the work regularly.
When you get into a routine, you spend less mental energy by thinking about what needs to be cleaned. You just do it. Then, you can evaluate any additional cleaning tasks that need to be done.
Declutter Your House
When you have too much stuff in your home all around you, it is easy to feel overwhelmed all the time. It takes a lot of time to manage lots of stuff. You are always having to clean it, organize it, or it just leaves you feeling tired thinking about having to deal with it.
Create a plan to slowly and methodically declutter your home. You don't need to do it in an entire weekend. Just take a few minutes here and there and tackle certain areas. I find I'm most successful when I start in a room, and then break that room into different areas to tackle. For example, in my kitchen, I start with just one cabinet or drawer at a time. You don't want to process to seem overwhelming (or create a bigger mess) or you won't follow through and finish.
Also, give yourself permission to not declutter perfectly the first time. Just do the best you can, and sometimes it takes several phases of decluttering before you can let certain things go.
Make Freezer Meals
Freezer meals will make it so much easier to get meals on the table. Once a week, or month, spend time making meals that go in your freezer. You can make things like lasagna that just need to be popped in the oven or meals that you dump into the slow cooker. Either way, spending a bit of time once a week or month will make cooking for your family much easier.
If you don't have extra time to devote to making freezer meals, consider doubling or tripling the recipe when you're making dinner a few times a week, and then freeze the leftovers in containers that make it easy to reuse the freezer meal again in the future.
Create a Snack and Lunch Station for the Kids
Wouldn't it be nice if your kids could easily grab their own snacks and pack their own lunches? Cut an over-the-door shoe organizer to fit the inside of a bottom cabinet. You can attach it using Velcro. This can be used to store small snacks like granola bars and fruit snacks. You can have bins in your refrigerator to store cold snacks and juice boxes.
You could also create an area using bins so that the kids can easily pack their lunch. For example, have a bin for fruit and vegetables, one for protein, and one for dairy. Instruct your kids to pick one protein, one dairy, and two or three vegetables. You can then have an area outside the fridge for dry goods that can go in their lunch.
Just make sure everything is within easy reach. It will make your life so much easier.
Put Together Outfits for Your Small Kids
Does your child spend way too long getting ready in the mornings? Does her room look like a tornado hit it when she gets done? Save time by helping her put together outfits for the week. Slip a pop can tab over the top of an hanger so that you can hang another hanger with it. This will keep the outfits together and make it easier for her to grab an outfit each morning.
When you take the time to simplify your life, you'll have so much more time to spend with your family and enjoying a bit of time for yourself.