Category: Sweet Simplicity

There’s time to make some tweaks

As the calendar flips to August, the carefree feelings of summer are quickly dwindling and I already have a pang of panic about just how busy our lives are going to become once the back to school routine returns for our family. There is something so relaxing about summer — longer days, county fairs and carnivals, swimming and beach days all certainly make this a season built for relaxation and decompressing. As much as I love fall and all that will be coming around the corner with my beloved string of favorite holidays, I always feel a bit anxious this time of year as I prepare for the heightened pace of activities that will be coming soon. August is a great time to make some important tweaks to your lifestyle — all while you are still fully immersed in your more laidback summer attitude. A few small tweaks to your routine can make all of the difference in the world — and help you sustain the slower, more serene pace of summer throughout the year. You need about a half hour or so to do all of these things — but I assure you, it is a small investment of time that will yield lots of worthwhile zen in the long run! Make a High Value List: Do you get overwhelmed with all of the obligations you have? I...

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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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