STEP TWO – Simplicity Series – Making a Simple Schedule for the Summer

STEP TWO in the Simplicity Series

Step One was the reason that I had to find a way to declutter my life.  Popped open diapers and neighbors who just walk right in.  If you want to read the whole story, check out Lysa’s site where I guest posted.

SO here is the break down for the rest of this Series:

I will give you a home challenge connected with a heart challenge.

Three days a week.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

We hit it hard in the beginning of the week and you have that week to try some of the ideas.

Or try them sometime this summer...

take baby steps or plunge right in.  

The important part is maintaining what you do and add another step: Maintain Plus!

Since I gave you a schedule, today’s challenge is keeping in the same theme:

How to Make Them Simply Work For You

It was Tuesday afternoon.  I knew I had to do something, but I could not for the life of me remember what it was. Did I remember to unplug the curling iron?  I rarely use one, so it totally could happen.  Yes, I did unplug it.

Is it garbage day?  No, that was yesterday.

I check my calendar and there is nothing written for today…oh wait, something is scribbled in the side of the margin…some numbers and CHUCK E. CHEESE!

I forgot my son’s birthday party.  And actually not so much forgot just to go…I had forgotten to invite people.

So, one call later, and a changed date, and we have ourselves a new party.

I don’t even think it counts as being forgotten if it was never really planned.  My son had no idea that I had already called and made that date.  He just new he was getting a party sometime.   He is the fourth child.  I guess he just feels lucky to be having one.

So, for me, to simplify my schedule is not just a thing I could to try if I have some free time this summer.  It is a necessity in order for my family to feel a sense of peace and fun anticipation. Children (and me) need to know what is coming.  It gives them a sense of stability.  And for fun events, it helps to get them excited.  I am not saying you cannot surprise your children, but, “Surprise, you have soccer practice in five minutes and we live ten minutes away” is no fun for anyone!

So here are some tips to help clear your calendar and make each moment more meaningful:

Don’t Over Plan – Summer leads to a more relaxed schedule, but often that can lead to more things we try to get done.  Look at the calendar in the beginning of the week and be intentional about what activities you are going to be involved with.

Build In Margin – If there is a free day, you do not have to fill it!  A free day can be a wonderful time to get things done at home or even for the children to just “be” at home, whether that means reading, jumping on the trampoline, or playing games.

Plan for Interruptions – When you are planning to go somewhere, count on adding at least ten minutes for forgotten footwear, last minute bathroom breaks, and lost bumpies (blankets).  If you add on these minutes now, you will not find yourself running late.

Make a List – Whether it is a bucket list for the summer or a list of places to visit, make that list and put them on the calendar right now.

Be Specific – When I was a teacher, I was very specific in my daily schedule because I had a principal as  my authority.  Well, God is a bigger authority and I have to be responsible for the things he has given to me : children, time, gifts, activities.  I need to be specific in my schedule and mark down what I am doing. Put down time for just you and one child even if you have four.  If you write it down, it will more likely happen.

Celebrate – Don’t forget to put in times to just have fun with no reason.  Or celebrate when a week went well and you made it to all the birthday parties! Life really does go too fast and you want to enjoy as many MOMents as you can.

Now for the Heart Connection – (Oh, I can’t wait to switch to WordPress so I can add different fonts and hearts here…)

In order for any day to run more smoothly, I have to put in time with Jesus.  We can plan our days and ask Him to join us, but what really needs to happen is for us to join Him where He is already working.  Even just ten minutes to connect and read His Word will focus our hearts and clear from our minds what are earthly distractions so that we may focus on what is eternal.

This doesn’t mean we will forget that we need a new van or that a friend has breast cancer, but by coming to Him in prayer, and worshiping Him, we will be reminded of His omnipotence and know He can help us get through any struggle and we will be focused on His omnipresence and we will remember that He will never leave us.

And those are the things that I want to remember…along with my son’s birthday party!

How to Organize your Pantry

Five Easy Steps to Clutter Free Simplicity

We have heard these steps many times from many sources.  Some switch a few of the letters to mean different things, but the basic message is the same:

Less is Best!

So here is my Friday Foment…
( Uh, foment means the same as plan, devise, cause to happen…check it out here.   I don’t even think I am using that word right…I was just looking for a word that started with F.)

Now, it is for Friday as in you have the weekend to complete it!  Next week, I will post it earlier on Friday.  And if there are any good ideas for using an “S” word for a Saturday Challenge..feel free to share it with me!

On to the Challenge:

Pantry Overhaul

My goal is to have not only a pantry that stores food, but one that a guest in my house can find things quickly and just a place that makes me smile!!!

When I talked about simplicity in an earlier post, I shared how I wanted my home to be a place that my kids love.  In this post, I will share five steps that you can use on any cluttered space in order to organize your home and make it a place that you love.

A simple place to start is your food closet or pantry. Now, some do not have a walk in pantry that looks like this picture.

I do not have a walk in pantry that looks like this picture!  If I did, I would not have time to write this post because I would be too busy getting that kitchen towel to hang out of the Kitchen Aid mixer at just the right angle to look pretty!

Some have a small walk in pantry, some have just a cupboard, and some might have just a few shelves. I have one friend that only has four shelves, but she utilizes the space well and it is organized and beautiful with space for all she needs!

1.  SORT:

Put all of your like items in a pile.  Wow!  Did you know you had that many boxes of food coloring?  And water bottles?  I stopped counting at fifteen!

Once you have piles all over the place,


This is where you go through your piles and really decide what you need.  Do you really use the tortilla warmer?  How about that candle that has shells in the bottom of it?

 I have a pasta maker that we have used three times in the thirteen times we have been married.  I have wonderful dream like images of our family in the kitchen making pasta together and laughing as we take turns spinning the handle while oodles of noodles come out!  It happened once and I think the kids got bored after the second spin!  Toss IT!

Now, once the piles are REALLY piles you want to save,


Assign places to these piles.  Do some of the pile go together?  Party napkins, birthday candles, special napkins can all go into one pile.  If you are having a party, all you need is together.  Making lunches for the kids?  Put the water bottles, lunch bags, and cooler containers all together!

Once the piles are put together in an organized manner,


This is the fun part.  I read somewhere that the most unorganized people are often the ones that are always looking for bins or baskets to put their stuff as if a bin will hold their garbage stuff and make it look better!

I agree with that, but you have already gotten rid of stuff, so now you are looking for the perfect container.  It might be something you already have or you might have to go get a basket or a bin.  Sometimes, it looks nicer just lined up.  Like the photo above, there are a couple baskets to hold towels and a couple buckets, but the rest is in neat rows.

(Okay, I know there is hardly any food in this photo!  And the pattern that they lined up their sparkling water…C’mon!)

 I will show you what a REAL pantry looks like after I do my Foment!   (Now I know I am not using that word right…it’s not a noun…right?)

This might mean that you put some things together that you never did before.  I have two “meal” baskets where I put ingredients for my “go-to” meals.  For example, there is all my pasta stuff and sauces in one and taco shells, spices, mexican rice, beans, etc. in another.

And the last step:


This is actually a step you do after it is all done and it includes keeping it clean by checking on it every day and making needed adjustments.  For example, I kept all of my baking supplies together but I did not use the cookie cutters as much as I thought I did, so I put all of my cookie cutters in a bin and put it a little higher out of the main space in my pantry.

Now, this challenge is for you and me!  I will do this as well and I will post a REAL pantry photo on Monday.

Look for the updates!

Now, for the MOMent…

Get your kids involved!!!

No matter how old they are…my youngest actually got me started on this because he could not even walk up to the shelves without stepping over piles of lunch boxes and paper bags!  So he started to clean the pantry.

He organized it beautifully!  But I still don’t think we need the candy bin in the bottom shelf…

Any good organizing tips?