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March 7, 2008

Making Life Easier

As I set the salt and pepper shakers back in their cupboard this morning, I thought you might enjoy hearing some ways that I’ve learned to make life a little easier for myself. I hope you will share some of your ideas as well by leaving a comment.

I always put the salt and pepper shakers back in the same place each time I use them. They are identical in color and shape, so knowing that the salt is on the right is a real time-saver for me. It took awhile to train the rest of the family to do this, but it was worth it. The “S” and “P” have worn off, so this is the easiest way for me to be sure I am truly picking up the salt!

Organizing gurus say that you should get rid of duplicate items, but I’ve found that duplicates are sometimes a real luxury or even a necessity. I have two sets of measuring spoons and three sets of measuring cups and I use them all.

Another organizing suggestion is to keep things where you use them. I took this one to heart and keep scissors in several places – the kitchen, by my chair in the living room, at the computer desk, and in the barn. I even have extra pairs of reading glasses in several places – at the computer desk, in my purse, on my nightstand, in the basket with my Bible and devotional. Since I have a standard Rx for reading glasses I can buy them at the dollar store or pharmacy.

I put a pretty gift box on the china cabinet to hold the bills, stamps, calculator, return address labels, and a pen, so that everything needed to pay bills is in one place.

One day when I was facing the “what should I make for dinner?” dilemma, I made a list of all the main dishes that we normally eat. Then I made another list, separating these dishes by their main ingredient: chicken, ground beef, etc. Now when I have a pound of ground beef in the fridge but no idea what to do with it, I can consult this list and decide, based on the other ingredients that are needed, or the time I have available for prep. Next to each dish I noted where to find the recipe – the cookbook name and page number, for instance.

I made a second list of the same dishes, divided by method of cooking – crockpot recipes, or quick-fix, or “takes all day”. Yet another category tells me if a dish requires lots of eggs or milk/cheese – I make these during the spring/summer when we have fresh goat milk and a surplus of eggs. (For instance, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, etc.)

Using these menu lists, it was easy to make a master shopping list. I can add other things we need before going to the store. We usually buy pretty much the same items every time we go; this way I don’t need to think about it.

When I measure herbs and spices to flavor a pot of chili, or tacos, etc., I make an extra batch at the same time. The second batch is put into an empty spice jar (I save the empties for this reason) and labeled, to use another time.

A three-drawer chest next to the second bathroom holds towels and other necessities, since there is little storage in the bathroom and the only linen closet is at the other end of the house.

Till next time…


  1. I am totally loving the meal list idea! :)

    Also wanted to let you know that the drawing has been completed on the blog for the grand giveaway!! I am also holding a poll for another prize for the winning name. :) If you have a moment, stop on by and cast your vote!

  2. All of these ideas are terrific! I love the one aout the scissors placed everywhere you use them and the same for the reading glasses.

    One tip I will be implementing immediately I think - is the nice gift box holding all the bill-paying items. WOW! That solution is wonderful!


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