#202 Meal Prep

People who are more organized are less stressed. People who are less stressed – are happier. People who have more free time – are happier.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#202

Meal prep

Hundreds, if not thousands of blogs in recent years have been dedicated to different ways of meal prepping. This is not one of them. I’m writing about it because when we have taken the time to do a little meal prep our lives become a little easier, happier, and ultimately… more productive. Yes, it takes a little time and commitment but if that’s how you spend a rainy day then on a nice evening when all you want to do is sit on the deck and enjoy a summer evening – your meal will be almost effortless.

Menu

Perhaps the most important element and the first step in doing a little meal prep is deciding what you’d like to eat this week and get the grocery shopping done. Thinking ahead means that those decisions won’t have to be made day by day – sometimes the most challenging thinking after a long day of work. Grab your family members and make it a joint venture or… kick everyone out of the kitchen to other tasks, turn on some jam music, pour some wine and go to town!

Sides

If you know that you’ll be grilling in the evenings then plan your ‘side’ dishes in advance. Boil a big batch of potatoes so that you can throw together a potato salad, smashed potatoes, or potato casserole (make that ahead of time and freeze).  If you’ll be having corn on the cob, cook a few extra on the evening that you want to eat them fresh and then shave the kernels off the cob for a corn side dish later in the week.

Stock the freezer

Don’t forget the endless opportunities to set aside pasta dishes, casseroles, and soups or stews! Most of them freeze really well and if you pull it out in the morning, it’s ready to bake when you get home – no thought or real effort involved! You’ll be able to come home, change, and spend 5 minutes making dinner rather than the 30 or 45 minutes it might  have taken to get dinner on the table.

Time efficiency

What’s clear in the study of happiness is that when we use our time efficiently, we feel more organized. People who are more organized are less stressed. People who are less stressed – are happier. People who have more free time – are happier. So, it stands to reason that you’ll be happier overall if you step away from binge watching HGTV or ESPN on the next rainy day and make an effort to …

Meal Prep

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#215 Organize your ‘tupperware’

Organization helps us to feel a sense of order – to feel in control of our lives. It’s great that we keep general appearances in good shape but superfluous if each time we open a cabinet or drawer, the chaos screams hello.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#215

Organize your ‘tupperware’

I am using ‘tupperware’ to represent all food storage containers which, I think is a generational thing but you know what I mean. Like yesterday’s post, this suggestion is more about a tiny thing that will make you feel better each time you open the cabinet than some grand design to promote happiness. Ironically however, you may find a sense of ‘feeling good’ overcome you because your level of annoyance will be reduced each time you open the cabinet where you keep food storage containers.

Chaos

There’s an entire industry aimed at helping us keep these plastic or glass dishes with their accompanying lids under control. It’s interesting because one would think it’s much easier than most of us make it and I’m not sure where it goes so wrong. It’s true though, unless you live alone or you have anal tendencies, it seems to be a major challenge to keep any consistent organization to the food saving containers we accumulate over time.

Hoarding

Maybe it’s because this is the place we grant our hoarding desires a pass. We may tend to keep every container that is REusable – adding it to our already sufficient supply. Eventually they accumulate to the point that they overrun any good intention. And… what happens to the lids? Do they meet up with the socks that disappear? Ideally, we keep the lids and bowls together but then we run out of room quickly and so the nesting of bowls takes place and maybe, the lids get disgruntled because some of them disappear for good.

Organize

So, the challenge is to get in there again. First rule – discard any container that does not have a matching (and well fitting) lid. Next, consider how often you will use said container. If it’s a keeper, set it aside – if not, recycle or repurpose it and get it OUT of the cabinet. Once you have all the keepers together, make the choice to nest them and stack the lids or store them with the lids attached; either is perfectly acceptable.

Feel Good

Organization helps us to feel a sense of order – to feel in control of our lives. It’s great that we keep general appearances in good shape but superfluous if each time we open a cabinet or drawer, the chaos screams hello. This is one small step you can easily take to keep disorder – and mayhem – at bay. Next time you put away the dishes, take a few minutes and…

Organize your ‘tupperware’.

I love hearing your thoughts and idas. Please share in the comments below.

#216 Clean your Sock Drawer

I’m convinced that the fad popular with kids these days of wearing non-matching socks is because it is easier than finding matches and/or cleaning out the sock drawer.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#216

Clean your sock drawer

You may wonder how this particular tip helps you lead an easier, happier, or more productive life and yet I know a ton of people who have a sock pile… a stack of single socks that lie in waiting for the match. Some lay so long that the elasticity of them degrades and any attempt at stretching results in that unwanted crinkle sound depicting sock death.

Marry those babies

Cleaning your sock drawer reunites all those singles; re-pairing them and increasing the ever-eroding options you have each morning as you dress your feet. How many of us wait until the drawer is empty of pairs before we take some time to organize? I’m convinced that the fad popular with kids these days of wearing non-matching socks is because it is easier than finding matches and/or cleaning out the sock drawer. For those of you not wanting to adopt the fad… maybe it’s time.

Repurpose singles

If your house is like mine, there will be socks that don’t match. I used to keep them for a year or so and then at the end of a year I assumed they were buried inside my washing machine or tucked in a sheet I never use so I threw them out or found a way to repurpose them (very interesting link here).

Minutes to spare

It really takes just takes a few minutes to lay them all out and make matches of the ones that have been separated from their mate. Matching the few pair that exist there will allow you to feel more organized, a little accomplished, and aware of what’s really there. Consider taking a couple of minutes as you dress tomorrow to …

Clean your sock drawer.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#237 Clean out the Linen Closet

If I look closely, I believe there is still a SpongeBob pillowcase deep in the bowels of my upstairs linen closet leftover from my son’s bedding ensemble more than 20 years ago.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#237

Clean out the linen closet

Why is it that the linen closet is likely at the bottom of our priority list? Maybe because it rarely gets seen by guests and it often collects those items that don’t tend to make sense anywhere else. Mine stores much more than just linens and the only truly organized ones that I’ve seen are those from emptynesters. Does that mean that having kids in the house prevents an organized linen closet that isn’t a junk magnet? Or perhaps it means that kids universally can’t seem to stack towels and sheets in a straightforward manner. In either case, there’s a chance that yours needs a little attention.

Stored Junk

If I look closely, I believe there is still a SpongeBob pillowcase deep in the bowels of my upstairs linen closet leftover from my son’s bedding ensemble more than 20 years ago. I believe there are water bottles that haven’t been used in ten but made sense to have at one point. These are typical items hiding in the crevices of sheet stacks that are better delegated as drop cloths these days. Some of those I kept only because they made for good Halloween costumes.

Let It Go

Check the top shelves too… that’s where the peach shower curtain from 2003 I thought I’d keep as a backup is hiding along with the bath mats that got replaced a few years later. I’m pretty sure the backing on that mat is now fully dry rotted and will disintegrate as soon as I take it off the shelf. They both have to go. As a rule of thumb – if you haven’t used it in three years – get rid of it. If it’s torn, tattered, or torn, get rid of it. If it’s stained or dingy – get rid of it.

As a side note… most animal shelters will take your tattered towels, sheets, and blankets. Please consider donating them when you…

Clean out the linen closet.

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#293 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Keeping a few key pieces and of course, the valuable or treasured items is a must but the rest can go. In some cases, there may be enough to create a different kind of treasure…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#293

Clean out / go through your jewelry or ties.

One of my daughters recently offered to help me get rid of all my turn of the century necklaces; an offer I refused because I’ve been around long enough to know that they’ll eventually come back in style. However, there are items in my jewelry box that definitely need to be discarded.

When was the last time you ventured to weed out your jewelry stash? Do you still have Holiday pins that are now tarnished? How many serpentine necklaces are there that were broken due to their delicacy? Would you be willing to take a bet on how many single earrings are in your jewelry box cemetery? In addition to many of those pieces, I know mine is large enough to contain some of the trinkets and treasures that my children bought at ‘Santa Sack’ while in elementary school; you know, the adjustable rings and pop bead necklaces they were so proud to present.  Something has prevented me from disposing of them until now.

Keeping a few key pieces and of course, the valuable or treasured items is a must but the rest can go. In some cases, there may be enough to create a different kind of treasure… Pinterest has a plethora of ideas.

Dudes have the same issue at times with ties. My dad’s tie collection grew annually and only a few of them were actually in style or matched his taste. Seemingly, ties are the gift given when we just can’t figure out what else works. Cheap ties tend to be wider and thicker than the good ones; meaning that they collect dust faster and end up in the back of the heap – forgotten.

My grandfather kept his ties (much to my grandmother’s chagrin) so long that he had a few classic tucked away in the back of his closet when Paisley made a comeback. That’s not to say we shouldn’t wean down the collection. Again, keeping some of the ‘classics’ is appropriate, or the one that only gets worn on St. Patrick’s Day each year. Maybe there’s even vindication for keeping the one he proposed in – assuming that someday there will be a re-creation photo session to celebrate a big anniversary. Other than that – keep only the ones that are clean and in-style.

This is one of those productive tasks that takes minutes but offers great satisfaction each time we open the jewelry box or each time we reach for a tie. Go ahead, put it on your master list

Clean out / go through your jewelry or ties.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#312 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Personally, I’ve developed a comfort level with dust bunnies that may not be entirely healthy. I’m honest enough to say that I have yet to master this seemingly simple system …

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#312

Deep clean something

Some of you may already do this on a regular basis and it may contribute significantly to your level of happiness and/or good living. I do not. And yet, it definitely IS something that ends in total satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

I have a friend who deep cleans a room in her house each month. For years, she has committed to moving through a room – top to bottom & inside, out – re-identifying the need for and usefulness of everything it contains. With an eleven-room home, she gives herself the holidays off and then starts from the beginning – giving each room another do over. Organized drawers, filed papers, freshly caulked and painted woodwork, windows, light fixtures, etc. – once a year.

Oddly enough, one of my comforting childhood memories is coming home from school and finding my mother embedded in this process. The house smelled clean, the tidiness felt safe, and I knew she was taking pride in our home – providing an environment where we could flourish.

Personally, I’ve developed a comfort level with dust bunnies that may not be entirely healthy. I’m honest enough to say that I have yet to master this seemingly simple system but I strive to make it happen and can at least attest that the gratification of having accomplished one entire room has been amazing!

Some people I’ve known only deep clean when they move from place to place, others do a Spring cleaning annually, and my good friend found solace in creating a deep clean rotation. No matter the specific procedure or the direct timing, it always feels good once you’ve…

Deep clean something.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.