Cut the Crap part 1: Streamline Your Life
image from here
I'm starting a new series called Cut the Crap. It's really for my benefit, but I'm hoping it can help some of you who may be in the spirit of "I am tired of feeling stressed and rushed every second of every day and I need somewhere to focus my controlling energy!"
No? Just me?
Well either way, I find the start of a new year the best time to simplify life. The daily processes that sometimes bog us down in very mundane and un-exciting ways; the over abundance of "stuff" that surrounds us that we aren't sure what to do with; those parts of life.
This is the first order of Marden family business in 2011.
One thing I struggle with is constantly feeling like I have errands to run. There is always that one extra thing we need from the grocery store, or we're out of diapers, or it's so and so's birthday at work and I completely forgot. And when you have a little one and you work full-time, the one thing you don't have a lot of is spare time, and what you do have you want to spend with your family. Not behind someone with 27 things in the express lane at Publix.
So, here are a few things I've started doing and hope to do this year to keep things running smoothly, and to give me back some time. Hopefully you find these helpful too.
1. We all have smart phones by now, so let's use them. I created a contact card in my blackberry contacts called Store List. In it I have a section for the grocery store, Target, and Costco. Any time I think of something I need at one of these places I immediately I add it here, then it's always with me at the store. I add it right then or I swear it's gone from my brain. Plus, this is much more efficient than keeping a list at home because you don't always remember to carry that with you.
2. At the beginning of every month Matt and I are going to sit down and talk through what we have going on that month, from both a social and financial perspective. We're going to plan our budget based on specific expenses for that month which may include car repairs, hair cuts, etc, and also so that I can go ahead and think of any gifts, cards, etc. I need to pick up at the store.
3. I'm starting to grocery shop and menu plan for two weeks at a time instead of one. I hate (seriously, hate) having to run to the store to get one or two things. It drives me bananas. And, I'm starting to hate grocery shopping because it's become a bit of a time sink. Doing this gives me at least an hour back. On top of this, I cook and prep most of our food on Sunday. That way all I have to do the remaining days is heat it up or throw it together. Because coming home to a whiny, hungry baby and no idea what to cook for dinner at the end of the day is not my idea of bliss. And no amount of wine can fix that.
4. Keep a shopping bag in the trunk of your car for things you no longer use, and when it's full drop it by Goodwill. Example: When you take a top out of your closet to wear on three separate occasions but never actually leave the house in it because something isn't right, it needs to go in this bag. Right then. Don't come back to it later and create more work for yourself. I'll elaborate more on this later as it's a subject near and dear to my nerdy minimalist heart.
5. And finally, I've put together a list of the must-have items we rely on weekly if not daily that I like to make sure we have on hand. Before I head to the store I'll check to make sure these are present so we don't run out mid-week. This includes things like dish detergent, diapers, toothpaste, etc...don't hesitate to add things like wine, chocolate, or an anti-stress detoxifying face mask. I won't judge.
Here's to less stress in 2o11!