Wednesday, December 30, 2015

5 steps to live a simple and organized lifestyle in 2016



1)  Re-evaluate - How was 2015 for you?  Did you make goals or try to change your routine, but failed? What do you think caused you to fail?  Many times we learn more when we fail than if we succeed.  Think about how you will change the way you approach 2016.  Obviously you are reading this blog because you want to change your lifestyle.  Think about what needs to change, your eating/exercise habits, finding a way to keep a clean home with a busy schedule, or getting the house in a more manageable and organized state.  Re-evaluate your life in its current state, think of changes you want to make in 2016 and how you want to go about making the changes.  Take time to research using social media, pinterest and blogs like Clean Life, Happy Life to help you get ideas and tips.  Start the year off with one or two goals.  As you succeed in your initial goals you can add additional goals.

2)  Make a Plan -  Write down your goal(s), give yourself a realistic deadline, make notes as to what needs to be done and breakdown each item in a timeline.  Calendar items to be done and keep the plan in an area you'll see it and can be reminded often.  By writing your plans/goals out and dissecting into smaller task it will all seem more attainable, you'll know exactly what is expected of you and by when.  This year we are implementing our POP concept.  Each task, each day, each week we are going to Plan Organize and Prep (POP).   We feel this is a great way to get all your thoughts on paper, organized and completed in a quick and orderly fashion.

3) Simplify - More then likely you are holding onto items you don't need.  Do you really need 4 spatulas? Are you still holding on to clothes that don't fit?  Are you and/or you family involved in too many extra activities?  Having to many items surrounding you may leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed and unable to think clearly.  By living a simplified life you will have less items to clean, will be easier to get organized, have more free time and you'll feel calm and comfortable in your life.
Go through your home* and look at each item (*Don't think this will be done in a day, schedule yourself a room or two a day).  As you go through each item, ask yourself, "Do I really need this?  Did I use this item in 2015?"  If you answer no, well then it goes!  There may be items that are harder to let go, you know you haven't used them in a while, maybe they hold sentimental value. Put the 'hard to let go' items in a marked box and keep in a closet.  If you find you need the item, you'll still be able to access it and then you'll know you should keep it.  After 3-6 months, any items left in the box can go.   During this process you may come across items that seem to large to tackle right away, like a box full of loose photos.  Put those items neatly aside and add them to your 'plan list'  and either schedule time to take care of those items, or mark with a symbol so you know that on a rainy day you can look back at the list and address those items then.
A great way to simplify your closet is to reverse all of your hangers.  As you wear things, hang them back up the normal way.  After 3 months, go through the items still hanging in reverse, unless it is a seasonal item, special occasion, or has sentimental value.....it goes!   
Remember, most only wear about 20-30% of what they own.  Its good to have seasonal basics.  Try to purchase items that will easily transition with other items/seasons.  Have fun with accessories to change the look of an outfit, cardigans and scarfs can easily turn an evening outfit into work attire.  If you find it hard to let go of items because they still have tags or expensive, look into consignment shops, ebay, have a swap party with some friends or have a garage sale.  Even if you only get a few dollars for each item, its can be a great way to feel a little better about letting go.
Use this flowchart to help you decide if it should stay or go



4)  Organize - Keeping your life/home organized will help you find things when you need them, save you money and you may even find yourself with extra time on your hands.  Usually the kitchen, countertops where mail/bills get tossed, closets and kids toys are the most unorganized, start there.  Make a plan (remember step 2?), maybe start with researching ideas on pinterest (our boards), evaluate your space and get rid of all items you no longer need, group like items, measure the space and shop for organization items like baskets, shelving and containers, lastly, make labels for all items (check out our pantry before/after).  Labels may sound silly to some, but I will be the first to tell you, it really does help to have guidance to where things belong.  If you have young children, use photos on the labels.   
As your home becomes organized you need to make sure you keep it up.  Schedule (more in #5) yourself time to clear off counters, make sure mail/bills don't start piling up.  As you put items away, do a quick check to make sure items are staying organized in their designated areas.
Another great way to organize your home and family is creating a command center.  This area will serve as an organized space for backpacks/purses, keys, mail and family schedule/calendar.  Find an area near your entry/mudroom door or kitchen.  Each family member will have a place to set down their items as they first walk in, instead of just throwing on countertop or floor.  Its a great place to keep the family's schedule/calendar and they can all see what the plan is for the day and week.
NOTE: If you find something is not working for you and your family, don't be afraid to change it!  There are many ideas out there, you may need to tweak an idea to fit your families lifestyle.

5) Schedule - Last, but certainly not least, get yourself on a schedule!  This is by far the most important step! Having a schedule will keep you on task, less likely to stray from your goals and easily keep up all your hard work done in steps 1-4.  By keeping a weekly schedule/calendar you'll know exactly what you are doing, where you need to be and what you need to accomplish for that day.  
Many times were so busy and we say, "I wish I had just one free hour to sit and read a book."   
Well, schedule it and it will happen!!  
When it comes to your cleaning routine, try to spread the tasks out throughout the week.  Scheduled yourself a few minutes in the morning to wipe counters down, pick up items on the floor or put a load of laundry in.  In the afternoon/evening tackle a room or two.  Whatever you decide, write the schedule down and try to keep it the same every week.  
Use our weekly POP calendar to help you plan your week.


POP!


It's a new year, perfect time to get a new routine.


This year Clean Life, Happy Life is going to POP!  We are introducing our 3-step POP concept: Plan, Organize, Prep. Every day, every event, every task think POP.  First you'll plan the details,  think about what needs to be done, how do you want to tackle the task. Then organize yourself on paper, dissect the tasks and write down the order you'll need to do things and a timeline.  And lastly, prep anything that can be done ahead of time.
Example: packing my child's lunch for school.  First I plan what I am going to make for lunches for the week, and make sure I have all the items.  Then I organize my thoughts on a piece of paper, writing them down on note pad and hang on the fridge to reference later in the week, I also organize the items I'll need for the week, making sure everything is in a place and easily accessible.  Lastly, I prep.  Every night I bring out the items the lunch will be packed in, make sure ice packs are in freezer and pre-make any items that I can.  By doing these steps each morning everything goes smoothly and I am not spending more then 5 minutes putting together the last minute items and packing it up.  Need ideas for lunches, check out our lunch blog here.
Every Sunday we suggest taking the time to plan out your week, organize your to-do list, and prep items before the busy week starts.  Use our POP Weekly FREE printable to help you.  The weekly calendar will help you plan out meals, get your home clean by doing a lit bit each day throughout the week, get a little exercise in, and help you keep up with your to-do list.  


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Elf on the Shelf Honorary Toothfairy

My daughter recently lost her second tooth.  Since our Elf on the Shelf "Sparkle Cakes" was visiting, I thought it would be entertaining to incorporate him into the fun =)  She absolutely loved it!  In fact, when she woke up at 5am to find her Elf with $5, she was so excited that she ran into our room to show us and was not able to go back to sleep......it was a two cup of coffee morning for mommy and daddy :-\



Below you'll find a template for you to use for your honorary tooth fairy.  Print and cut out each item.  You can use text tool to write in your elf's name, or hand write it in.  

If your family hasn't named your tooth fairy, there are a bunch of fun name generators out there on the internet.