Streamline & Simplify
I feel like I have always been an organized, prepared and punctual individual. A few books I have been pouring over these last couple months have let me indulge in uncovering the “why” and helped explain the sense of calm I feel by being this way. It’s not for everyone, that’s certain, but my delight in the ease of routine and preparation has benefitted me greatly and I wanted to share a few ways how.
Laying out clothes the night before
I started doing this for my children when they were in preschool. I’d check the weather at their bedtime and get their outfit out and in easy reach for the next day so I could feed them, change diapers, clothe them and go. The habit migrated to my evening routine as well when I found myself spending more time than necessary on pairing a tank and sparkly headband in the morning. So I make my choices after I brush my teeth and lay the items in a folded pile on the vanity bench in the bathroom. It saves me time and gets me ready quickly so I can move on to other things that genuinely require effort and thought.
Food and coffee prep
Much like eliminating the time needed for clothing choices in the morning, I prep my morning meal at night also. This is quite simple and takes less than a couple of minutes as I pick a coffee mug to place in position on our coffee maker and lay out one packet of sweetener (I switched to packets so I could monitor my sweetener intake), I lay a spoon near the Keurig, then choose oatmeal, yogurt or one of my pre-made breakfast burritos. If it’s oatmeal I’ll grab my favorite ground cinnamon and another mug to heat the oatmeal in, if yogurt I’ll grab a pre-portioned pack of almonds to add, and if I choose burrito then I simply move one from the freezer to the fridge for overnight thawing. The quick action of getting myself ready for the morning leaves one less thing to fuss with when it’s GO time and the husband & kids are waking up for school and I’m trying to hustle us all out the door at the same time.
I am a colorful person. In home decor, clothing choices, and life in general. My yoga pants and a few cocktail dresses are black and that’s about it. But I have spent too many moments in front of the mirror doing the “can you see my underwear pattern/color through these yoga pants” exercise. Ladies – you know what I’m talking about. Every day it was a chore to decide, “well, maybe these purple-y ones are dark enough” or “hopefully these polka dots and pineapples won’t show too much.” As I was reading one of Gretchen Rubin’s fun books about happiness, organization and simplifying I had a brilliantly obvious thought. Go get some black underwear! DUH, right? In the five years that black yoga pants have been my main form of pants it had never occurred to me to have a supply of black underwear. So I popped over to the Hanes Brands Outlet nearby because they sell my favorite microfiber bikini cut and purchased a pile of black ones in my size knowing that I love the fit, the fabric and I’d never have to make any special effort to choose my undies on the days I wear my regular uniform. All my crazy colors and patterns are still there and get used with pajamas, jeans, sundresses, etc. but a noticeable portion of nearly every single morning has been made easier by not having to choose that one thing.
Keep a gym bag ready
I began keeping a small gym bag ready in the car stocked with several pairs of barre socks, deodorant, body wipes, lotion, ear buds and a phone case that straps to my arm. I never have to worry about not being prepared as I always have these things with me should it be an odd day and my workout doesn’t happen as usual. I can grab the phone case and go walk while I’m waiting to pick the kids up. Or if I took my socks in the house to wash, I have spare pairs so I don’t need to purchase another set in order to take class.
Online grocery ordering
I avoided this for ages, to my husband’s dismay and confusion. Mainly because I like going to the grocery store. I like walking the aisles and looking and touching and smelling. Generally I made it through fine whether the kids were with me or not. If we went as a family of four on a Sunday morning, it somehow ended up being a different story and that’s all my husband saw – the obnoxious chaos of going grocery shopping together. But at Christmas 2015, it was a choice I made out of panic. It was a crazy time of year, the kids were out for their break and we needed a very large amount of items for several large meals. I wasn’t as confident this time that the boys could control themselves long enough for me to get every last herb on my list and the grocery store was running a one month free trial of their pick-up services. So we tried it from mid-December through mid-January. I didn’t want to love it as much as I do. My orders are saved as orders, the individual items kept in a list for 6 months for easy reorder. It mostly eliminates the buying of random crap and I can get what I know we need and what I’m using for that week’s meal prep. Such a time saver! I generally choose the time slot that falls immediately after school pick up since our store is on our direct path home. It is absolute perfection to cultivate my list throughout the week, plan my meals on the weekend, place an order Sunday night with a Monday afternoon grocery grab and go. Mom heaven, y’all.
What are some things you do to make life easier for yourself? What are some things you could do (if you wanted to)?