Category: Kristine George

One-size-fits-all not a real-life option

I recently had an interesting conversation with someone who’s read a recent article of mine and asked me if I enjoyed living a minimalist life. Assuming she deduced this about me from my articles — and already anticipating the coffee coming out of my own mother’s nose when she reads her cluttering former hoarder of a daughter described this way — I decided to make this topic fodder for this month’s “Sweet Simplicity.” While I would hardly describe myself as a minimalist — and I do know folks who follow this mantra and follow it beautifully — I certainly fall into the category of “Aspiring Former Hoarder.” Minimalism, defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a style or technique that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.” While I find that notion to be appealing, it is honestly never going to be an option for my family and our lifestyle. That being said, there is great utility in finding ways to make the space that surrounds you — whether it is your home, office or even your vehicle — a more peaceful setting. This summer, I have dedicated myself to decluttering areas of my home that I have never touched — namely my children’s rooms and any place that they spent time as a baby — and am finding that while the inevitable nostalgia that accompanies such an exercise does slow...

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Take time to enjoy summer

Aw, sweet summertime. Summer is my favorite season for so many reasons — the longer days, the chance to spend so much time outdoors and the opportunities to enjoy lots of pool and beach time just send me to my happy place! By the end of the school year, we are always a little relieved to put the backpacks and lunchboxes away for a few months, too! Whether or not you have kids at home or not, there is something sort of wonderful about the slower pace of the summer season. Some days, it is certainly simply because it is too hot and humid to do anything but relax but the warm weather is a great time to reset your schedule, get some much needed Vitamin D energy and find ways to simplify your daily routine! My first order of advice this month is to take time to enjoy the summer season. If you are a teacher or someone who is not commuting to work on a regular basis, you probably already have some ideas on how you plan to accomplish this. For the rest of you, my advice is to take at least three days — in a row — to simply enjoy everything that summer has to offer. Weekends are usually so busy with cookouts and barbecues while just taking a little mini staycation can provide tremendous...

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A good strategy for a clean sweep

I don’t think there is a greater natural high than seeing my house in the immediate moments after I have cleaned it from top to bottom. It has become an increasingly rare occurrence in recent years, as I have focused my attention on spending my spare time with my children — but as I have focused my own self growth on finding ways to live a more simple life, learning ways to live more efficiently and more effectively have made those sparkly clean house moments much more frequent. I’ll confess, when I first got married, I had a cleaning service that came to my house weekly. Looking back to that time — pre-children — I kind of chuckle, thinking at how easy I had it compared to my ccurent housekeeping chores, which now include cleaning up after two kids, four pets and a slightly messy (but completely lovable) spouse! Now that I have learned some good life hacks when it comes to house cleaning, I actually enjoy doing it — and really enjoy how lovely my house is to be in when my chores are complete! Whether you were born with a mop and bucket in your hand or are a slow learner like me, I have dedicated this month’s musings to helping share ways to make cleaning your home sweet home a little more of a treat! •...

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Tax time doesn’t have to be taxing

Last month, we completed our dreaded trip to our accountant’s for our annual filing of our tax return. I say “dreaded” because of all the receipts and paperwork I have to go through from the past year to make sure I have calculated all of our deductions correctly. This year’s process was far less cumbersome, thanks to a purchase I made using last year’s tax refund — a handy document scanner that I now use to scan each receipt and piece of paper that I need to save. I have everything saved by month and category on my computer with a back-up on our family’s Cloud account. It takes just seconds to do each time I need to scan and save something and has not only helped streamline the process of finding receipts but has helped to ultimately declutter my desk! Do you find your family finances to be in need of some simplification? I have compiled some simple living hacks to help you streamline your financial life so you can better monitor — and perhaps even make improvements — everything happening with your hard earned money! • Streamline Your Banking Life: When my husband and I first got married, we had accounts at several banks. We had his-and-hers checking and savings accounts, a spending account at a different bank that enticed us with one of those signing bonuses,...

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Learn to schedule with a plan

As I sit here typing this latest article, my windows are open and my house is full of the smell of fresh air, thanks to an unseasonably warm February day. The springlike weather has me ready for the busy season that inevitably awaits my family and me — both of my boys are busy with school and sports, and both my husband and I get busy with volunteer and work obligations. It is a flurry of activity to be sure but somehow, we survive each year, thanks in part to some scheduling strategies I have added through the years. Whether you are single or managing a busy family, working or retired, here are some scheduling strategies to make your life a sweeter and of course, a simpler one. The idea is not to have a schedule free of commitments but to have a fulfilling life where you have time for what you love and what really matters most to you and your family! I know the notion of developing a schedule sounds contradictory to a simple life but typically having a schedule in place will actually prevent you from over scheduling your life. Before you commit to any new activity, obligation or appointment, you need to know what you have already committed to, right? It isn’t all that different from setting a budget — who goes shopping without knowing...

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