Monday, January 16, 2012

One Thing

During my mom's recent visit, we were talking and I asked what one thing she would impart to me if she could ...


She encouraged me by saying that she observes me working on getting this and making an effort at choosing to simplify some things.

For example, I bought Christmas jammies instead of making them. And, even though we had lots of homemade food for Christmas - I picked some convenience things to help me out and make time for the things we really wanted to have homemade. I bought rolls, meatballs and pizza already made. But, we had homemade cinnamon rolls, cookies and chili. Just picking and choosing was a huge step in simplifying!

But, like a lot of things - I could do better. So, I challenged myself to come up with some things that I could still simplify. I sat here with a blank screen and thought of things that frustrate me or feel complicated regularly!

meal planning/grocery lists
book storage for littles
library dilemma
clothing for my littles - storage, organization
deep cleaning
chores/allowance for littles
recycling plastic grocery bags and foam egg trays
phone calls (mostly how to manage my children while I'm on the phone)

Whew - there's my list and I'm hoping to make progress on these things throughout the year. I have a couple of them in progress already and ideas for several more. I'll be sharing on things as I make some progress.

Your turn! What in your life needs simplifying?


Ginger said...

everything! One area is I am now buying processed chicken strips or nuggets when Publix has them B1G1F and rice mixes B1G1F to simplify dinners for my son when I get home at 5:30 (I am doing a homebound for an 8th grader with cancer and my schedule is irratic.)

Kimberly said...

I'm working on the meal planning / grocery list thing. I finally took some time and put together a list of 35 meals in a spreadsheet that I know my family likes. I then divided them up into weekly lists to get variety and balance out more complicated meals with quick ones. I then made a master grocery list for each one. Rather than matching my list for the week to store sales, I just go with my list for the week and have a second list of what I need for future weeks in case it is on sale. My plan is to rotate through these weeks and not waste time figuring out what to fix each week and what ingredients I need. I was also able to link my meal plan directly to the recipes on- line which saves time finding the recipes. I will see how this works for a couple of months and then I will hopefully be able to add some more meal ideas.

Wendi said...

Great list! I need to simplify cleaning, paper clutter, and children's toys.

Annie said...

Funny, Monica, but many of these things are also on my list for this year. I'd love to bounce ideas back and forth if you're interested.

*carrie* said...

Thanks for sharing, Monica. I've been meaning to tell you that I've struggled more lately with the kids' clothing issue.

I think for me this question is more about my tendency to over-commit. I am so glad I let go of the church library this past fall. That often seemed to be the responsibility that was "putting me over the edge." And of course there are other things I could cut out, but that was the clear choice for me at the time.

Love you!

Jeremiah and Stephenie said...

I'm LOL about your egg carton dilema! We have chickens and sell eggs, so everyone (it seems) saves egg cartons for us. Dealing with that is also one of my issues.
I have recently begun trying a new way of meal planning. Basically, it's this...4 1-month meal plans for the year. One for each season. Use it for three months and then change with the next season. Meal planning is such a chore for me, but this way, I have a month planned and each week I just pull from that list what we want for the week. I also have a master grocery list for the meals that month (just suppers) and I can take that to my pantry/freezer and mark off what I already have before I go shopping. Our family are creatures of habit and they like to eat what they like to eat. We only have two repeats on the menu and so I figure that if we only eat a particular meal once a month for 3 months they won't get tired of them. In the spring, I'll make another month meal plan using different recipes for what's fresh and in season. More salads, maybe some grilling, etc, to change things up. We've only just begun, so I don't know if my idea is going to be all that great, but I'm thrilled with not having to meal plan until the end of February! LOL

Maggie said...

I try to think about whether something matters in eternity. We women tend to be so OCD about things but if we stop to ask God then our husbands and children about things around the house, they aren't so OCD. When I was newly married, I received a letter from a friend who was also married. She wrote that things were going well in her marriage but she had encountered one problem...her husband expected dinner on the table every night at a certain time! I laughed at that one. She and I were both working outside the home at the time so I understood exactly what she meant. It didn't really matter what dinner consisted of but it needed to be on the table at a certain time! If we take care of those things that must be done, everything else tends to fall in place and there are more days than not when crisis management is the theme of the day but God is Lord of our schedules too! Thinking of you.

Agnes said...

Can't wait to see your ideas to simplify your list, mine would look like a lot like yours. Also trips to different activities would be nice to simplify too...

Jen said...

Simplifying is a great goal in life! I am always working towards a more simple everything! I have a 3x5 card on my fridge that says this (I "think" I copied it down from a bbok years ago....) It really helps me:
1. Why am I doing this?
2. Is it necessary?
3. Is it important to God? To me?
4. Why is it important?
5. What am I getting out of it?
6. What is it costing me?
7. Is it worth the price?
8. Does it have eternal value?
9. Does it honor God? My husband? My family?

this simple list has helped me to evaluate everything in my life =] Remember it is all a journey and when we let go...our hands are left open to recieve better things!!

angie said...

I'm sure there are more things that I need to simplify, but the one thing that stands out to me right now is packing/unpacking from errands. It seems that I never leave the house empty-handed and return with even more. I feel like I am always packing and unpacking bags. I need to keep a set amount of things at the ready. Also, I keep some home office things upstairs and some downstairs, so I must constantly run between the two places. Need to streamline this process, too.

Mom said...

Dear Monica, I treasure the memory of that conversation :) and I am especially thankful that you (and Carrie) have long ago gotten the most important thing I wanted to impart to my children -- faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

As for simplifying your life, I am learning that it is a lifelong quest because our lives change, so the things we need to simplify change as well. There are lots of ideas online, on blogs, and in books, but it also takes some trial and error to find out what works for you. Keep up the good progress! :)

I love you very much! Mom

Lauren(in Savannah) said...


I would love to hear the library dilemma.
We homeschool so when we go to the library (which I LOVE) we check out TONS of books. I bring a rolling suitcase and we get books on the units we are studying or season/holiday type books and my Amish books and Hallmark Hall of Fame dvd's. Then we keep all the library books and dvd's on one shelf and there is a basket beside the stack and when we are done with one we put it in the basket. Also I return books to one branch only. We have had trouble with them not being shelved and I did not recieve credit for returning some so this way I know where I returned them and then they can be looked for easily.
An ongoing problem for me is storage of kids outgrown clothes. I have four girls ranging from 21-6 and sometimes I save things for the little ones and that makes for a ton of clothes.

Kelly said...

Everything also! BTW, when i am on the phone my rule is don't talk to me unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding! haahaha!

Dawn said...

For me, my biggest challenge has always been fitting chores, exercise, and schoolwork into our mornings. I'd love to move something to after lunch, but I lose all my motivation by then!
Still working on this!!

Christy Stanton said...

Thank you. I struggle with some of these same areas especially meals, deep cleaning, and child allowances. Looking forward to to seeing your ideas! I like Jen's Simplify list and will be adding it to my refrigerator!;) Thanks, Christy

Bella @ Lil Daisies said...

A great post Monica! I think there are so many of us that share your struggle with these areas. In fact, God has been showing me so many areas in which I need to simplify and then to allow HIM to magnify in those areas.
One of my biggest areas is how I over commit myself to TOO many things, activities, etc.
It is hard to let go... but, I am working though a very similar list to yours - each day, each moment seeking God in HIS wisdom to help me with simplifying.

Shall pray for you too as we journey together through this.


Rachel said...

This post really has me thinking about what areas of my life are too cumbersome and or just more difficult than they need to be. I've been rethinking my grocery gathering and menu planning and have decided for now, I'm hoping to do that mainly once a month. Other areas I need to simplify and solidify: our morning schedule, a routine for kids getting chores done, and keeping my island clear so cooking is easier and more enjoyable. I'm also coming to terms with being okay with buying bread at the store sometimes, buying convenience foods once in a while for busy/tiring days, and saying no to outside obligations in this season.

Jen said...

I have a few in progress but my next big one is reading the Bible. I would like to divise up a plan to just simply reading the Books everyday without feeling guilt if I miss a day or two. As with organizing, I echo your mom's insight. I am at a point right now less is truly more.