The sound of your life should be a hum of vibrant activity, not the jarring frenzy of a jackhammer. Here are 15 ways to simplify + streamline life and home.

Here’s where I stand on busyness: I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, and it certainly isn’t a sin. We’ll probably always be busy, because our lives are full.

The key is to be busy and full with the right things, to take life in stride instead of racing through it frantically.

You want the sound of your life to be a hum of vibrant activity, not the erratic and jarring frenzy of a jackhammer.

So how do you take the hectic out of the busy? Here are 15 ways to simplify and streamline your day-to-day:

1. Write down all of the commitments and activities you participate in

Put everything on paper: all of the extracurriculars, regular church get-togethers, book clubs, ministries, sports practice, everything. You might tell yourself you don’t have that many activities scheduled, but seeing it all written out could change your mind. Are you doing too much? Is there something you need to pass on this year? Don’t say “yes” to every good thing that comes your way, or you’ll muddle your priorities and end up saying “no” to something you meant to cherish.

2. Do the same things every day

Implement of series of small routines into your day that you repeat regularly. Start morning and evening routines, but also begin a “just got home from work” routine, “before the husband gets home” routine, or “after lunch” routine. Anything that makes sense for your schedule. Adding structure to your day like this helps you feel productive without feeling hectic. Even if you’re a naturally spontaneous person, daily and weekly routines create a rhythm that you can use as a jumping off point.

Both of these courses are self-paced. You can watch the videos and fill out the workbook on your own time…and each lesson only takes a few minutes! These courses are definitely worth looking in to if you want to craft more meaningful routines in your day.

3. Declutter one small area each week

Getting your household clutter under control has a domino effect. You’ll find that an uncluttered home makes you a better homemaker, changes your spending habits, and makes you more relaxed, among other things. But decluttering your whole home can take some time! Start small, working on just one thing per week.

4. Keep all of your lists in one place

This simple habit will help you feel less scattered, and keep your desk from looking like a circus of post-it notes. It’s not a bad idea to be in the habit of writing things down, but there’s not much point if you can’t keep track of what you wrote. Try keeping all your lists in one loose-leaf notebook.

5. Meal plan (or at least do menu mapping)

Meal planning is an essential homemaking practice that will save you money, time, and mental energy. Write down breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and then build your shopping list around the items you need to make them.

6. Start a meal database

Keep a list of all of your family’s favourite and go-to meals, either in your list notebook or on a spreadsheet on your computer. Think of as many meals as you can in one sitting, and then every time you have another meal that’s especially easy/frugal/beloved, add it to the database. When you plan your menus, you won’t have to wrack your brains for ideas–just glance at the database and select from there (perhaps just adding one or two extra dishes that you’ve been wanting to try).

7. Make lunch an either/or affair

To simplify your meals still further, give yourself just two options at every lunch. One option will always be leftovers, if they’re around. The other option will be something you like and can vary easily, like sandwiches, a meal salad, or soup. You might want to choose this second option based on the season–soup in the winter, salad in the summer, for instance.

Do you know how easy it is to get dressed for work when you have a prescribed uniform to wear? You’ll enjoy that same simplicity when you choose a “lunch uniform.” Always have the ingredients on hand that you need to assemble your lunch uniform. You can add variety by stocking different salad toppings or making a different batch of soup every week.

8. Prepare food before you get hungry

Yes, meal prep really will simplify your life! Hunger leads to bad tempers, hasty mistakes, and stress. Try to always do a little meal prep before you or anyone else you’re responsible for gets hungry. Prep something for dinner in the morning or mid-afternoon, even if it’s just chopping vegetables or making a side dish. Fix lunch before you reach the danger point, even if you end up putting it back in the fridge while you all go outside to play for an hour. When it comes time to actually get the food on the table, you’ll do so with ease because a chunk of the work is already done!

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