How to Keep Toy Clutter to a Minimum

Is your house overrun with brightly colored, plastic things that light up and make noise? Has your foot ever been impaled by a tiny sword, whilst simply walking across your living room floor? Have you ever lost a pet or child in a mountain of toys….inside your own home?! It’s time to get this clutter under control!

Is your house overrun with brightly colored, plastic things that light up and make noise? Has your foot ever been impaled by a tiny sword, whilst simply walking across your living room floor? Have you ever lost a pet or child in a mountain of toys….inside your own home?! It’s time to get this clutter under control!

How to Keep Toy Clutter to a Minimum

You may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of toys your little ones have, and not know where to begin. While I advise parents to start during year one, it’s never too late to scale back. We’re all feeling the Tiny House Nation concepts right now of, “Less is more,” and, “Let’s spend our money on life experiences instead of stuff.” Though you may not dream of moving your family into a home the size of a closet, you will definitely gain (and teach your children in the process) from applying a few practical principles.

Out with the old and in with the new

Every time your child gets something new, something old should hit the road. You can include your child in this process, which gives them a sense of control and might teach them to be less sentimental about material objects. If you can get them to part with an entire set or multi-piece toy, it will be less clean-up headache for you in your daily life. A few times a year, especially around birthdays and other gift-giving holidays, go through and get rid of as many toys as possible (without scarring the child for life…and that is actually a larger number than you would imagine). I suggest focusing on things that accumulated in your home, that your child may not even notice is missing.

Don’t physically toss the items you’ve collected. That’s wasteful and teaches your child that these things are disposable, and that they can always get more. If you don’t want to make a few bucks by consigning or selling (through Facebook groups, on Craiglist or through a garage sale), simply donate them so someone else can benefit from the items. With older children, I would encourage you to involve them in the selling process, so they can see that the toy they hardly used translates into money for his/her bank account.

Buy less and ask for less

There are many opportunities throughout the year, to buy for our little ones. Stores make up holidays every month to get you to spend. Stop yourself. Even if money is no object, what better use could it have than bringing more junk into the house? You could even consider clothes or food treats over toys. While it may seem drastic, consider not buying toys on holidays either. Instead, take your child somewhere they have always wanted to go, throw them a party, do anything memorable…I promise they will not feel deprived, especially if a slew of friends and family members will be buying them toys on said holiday, in addition to your excursion. And when it comes to those friends and family members, when they ask about buying for the child, don’t try to stop them. They will buy anyway! Instead, speak up about the child’s sizes or about a surprise you are trying to plan. Who wouldn’t want to pitch in toward a swim with dolphins or even a year of gymnastics classes?

Organize & create rules

As early as possible, get your kids involved in the clean-up process. Teach them that everything has its place, and that we can’t take out more than one thing at a time. Even if you simply stock up on big baskets from a craft store and toss all toys inside at the end of the day, they will be out of sight and out of your way! Things don’t have to be elaborately organized to have a big impact, and the easier you make the process, the less pushback you’ll get from your child.

Incorporate these suggestions into your life and you’ll be well on your way to bringing down that toy mountain!

How do you keep toy clutter to a minimum in your home?

Free Freezer Labels

Do you like to have an organized freezer?  Martha Stewart has some great freezer labels available for free!

Click here to print your labels!

Make Over Your Evenings in 15 Minutes a Day

As I referred to in this post the other day, There’s a brand new Make Over Your Evenings course available! If it interests you, you’ll want to get in on the course today because Crystal is having a fantastic introductory sale.

Do you feel like life is overwhelming and exhausting? Do you run out of energy and focus before the day is even over? Are you ready to make a change?

If you are, then join me in taking Crystal Paine’s brand-new 14-day Make Over Your Evenings course.

In just 15 minutes a day, you learn how to:

  • Establish a Realistic Evening Routine that works — and that sets you up for amazing success!
  • Design a Prioritized To Do List for each day — one that you’re actually excited to wake up and tackle!
  • Create a Best Stuff List of the most important activities and commitments you should be invested your time, life, and energy into right now.
  • Eliminate calendar conflicts once and for all — and how to do so without guilt or frustration.And more!

The course includes a handbook, daily videos, worksheets and projects.

The Crazy-Can’t-Miss-Low-Low-Low Launch Sale Prices:

  • 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET – just $7!
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET – only $10!
  • 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET – only $13!

Head on over to MakeOverYourEvenings.com to learn more about the course, and get in on the rock-bottom price for this fabulous course today!

3 Things I Like to Do Each Evening for Success the Next Day

Success the Next Day

Does your day typically start with you feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do?

As a mom with a newborn and a preschooler, I usually find myself overwhelmed each day. 🙂 Simple tasks such as getting lunch made is a big deal if the baby is awake. However, I’m learning and getting into more of a routine each day thanks to three things I try really hard to accomplish each evening.

I’d love to challenge you to try doing these three things every single night. The things I try to do are not hard or difficult or time-consuming, but by doing these three things almost every single night, I set myself up for success every morning when I get up. And I believe that a successful day begins the night before.

Here’s my list of three things I try to do every night:

Tidy Up

Waking up to to a tidier house makes my heart sing. Especially if the kitchen is tidy with the dishes washed and the counter cleared. Some nights this can seem daunting because I’ve let the entire day’s worth of dishes pile up. Though, if you’re not in the newborn stage of life, you should have a much better time getting this done. Do it, you’ll feel great in the morning!

Go to bed at a decent hour

This is one thing that I have rarely let slide, even if I have website projects to do. As a mom, I’m not guaranteed to get 8 hours of sleep each night. So by making sure I go to bed at a decent hour, or as soon as the baby falls asleep, I know I’ll at least get a couple of hours before I have to wake up again! Sleep makes a happier mommy. Even if you’re not a mom, or have older kids, I can’t stress the importance of going to bed at a decent hour.

Make a To-Do List

Finally, probably the most important task for me these days. Making a to-do list of the things that have to get done the next day. Currently, my list looks a little like this:

  • Brush teeth
  • Shower
  • Eat

Haha! But in all honesty, If I get those done and get Sienna to preschool and other activities, I feel like I’m winning! A to-do list is important for me because sometimes I have a hard time unwinding in bed if I can’t shut my brain off. So jotting down the must-dos, including my meal ideas for the next day, helps me to relax.

What are some things you like to do each evening to set yourself up for a successful day?

Need some encouragement to have a better evening routine? I’m SO excited that Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom will be launching a brand-new 14-day course called Make Over Your Evenings on Thursday.

On Thursday morning they’ll be offering a very very low price and you won’t want to miss it (more details coming soon!). Plus, 25% of all sales will go to a special project in South Africa!

But you don’t have to wait until Thursday! Go HERE and you can sign up for Day 1 for FREE!

Free 12 Week Organization Challenge

Free 12-Week Organization Challenge

Need some motivation for getting your home more organized? Sign up for a free 12-week organization challenge over at S is for Sarah!

What I’m Doing to Prepare for Baby Number Two

What I'm Doing to Prepare for Baby Number Two

Nothing! Ha! Well actually that’s not true, but let me tell you, things are different for me with the second baby. I don’t have huge urges to go shopping or decorate a pretty room. (This baby won’t actually have a room of their own…) However I am a list maker at heart and love to be prepared. 🙂

This time around, I’m mostly concerned with having things in order for after baby’s arrival. So, here you have today, my brain dump of things to prepare for baby #2:

Wash the newborn clothing

I will pull out all the itty bitty clothes, blankets and swaddling blankets that I have from my daughter so I can wash them. They’ll be going in an empty dresser drawer I have.

Buy batteries for the swing and bouncy seat

I picked up a swing and a bouncy seat for this baby (they were free!) that need new batteries. So I’ll be sure to pick some up 🙂 I’ll also check our baby monitor, though I can’t remember if it’s battery operated or not.

Possibly buy a stroller

I’m toying with the idea of purchasing a double stroller, either new or used. My daughter still loves to ride in the stroller, especially if we’re on a long outing. So I think I could get my money’s worth by the amount we would use it. Plus, if I get a “good quality” one, I can resell for a great price.

Pack an overnight bag for my daughter

She’ll be staying with grandparents so really all she needs is her special blankets, PJ’s and clean clothes.

Pack diaper bag

I’m sort of dreading lugging around a big bag again, but really what can you do! The bag will come with me to the hospital, of course. Here’s what I’m planning on having in it:

  • sleepers
  • diapers
  • bum cream
  • muslin blankets
  • wipes
  • snacks

Set up the car seat

Obviously most of these things on my list won’t be done until closer to baby’s arrival, but still they need to be done! Setting up the car seat in the car needs to be done. (Fingers crossed if fits in the car with the other seat!)

Set up the playpen

My daughter slept in our bedroom for the first few months in a playpen beside me and I intend on doing that again. Makes night time a lot easier, plus, the baby won’t have its own bedroom in this small place of ours! And I definitely don’t want a tiny baby sleeping with the other…that just speaks of unrestful nights for everyone in my mind!

Set up the diaper changing station

I have a drawer in an end table in the living room that I stock with some change mats, diapers and wipes. We don’t have a change table due to space constraints and the fact that I find it easier to do diaper changes downstairs.

Stock up on household essentials

I’ll be taking inventory closer to my due date to see if we’ll be needing any toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap…etc. Mind you, my husband or other family members can go out for me if need be 😉  I also want to have gripe water, diapers, wipes and other things on hand.

Pack my overnight bag

I’ll need stuff for the hospital too I guess!  I’ll pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, comfortable clothes, makeup, chapstick, hair brush, phone, camera and possibly my laptop. I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting, but I’ll figure it out.

Freezer cooking

This is a BIG one on my list!  My plan is to spend the month of February stocking the freezer with some delicious freezer meals.  I’d like to have at least 20 dinners on hand. I’ll be mixing up some homemade freezer meals with some store bought pizza, lasagnas and other things that catch my eye. I plan on having my freezer meal plan available for you all to enjoy, including the recipes, shopping list and labels!

Blog scheduling

Another big one on my list. Even today as we “speak” I’m behind the scenes getting things ready on Simply Frugal so that I can take at least 2 weeks completely off after the baby is born. I’ve got some great articles and other things in the works that I hope you’ll really enjoy!

Whew!  I’m sure there are some things missing from my list, or I went overboard in some areas, but the list keeps me sane 🙂

What are some things you did to prepare for baby number two (or more)?

Free 4 Week Simplify eCourse

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Get The Motivated Moms 2016 Printable Chore Planner for Only $6

motivated Moms

What is Motivated Moms?

Motivated Moms is a chore planning system to help you have a clean and organized home and still have time for yourself! Available as a printable ebook, or an app for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch or Android.

Motivated Moms is a great idea for anyone who would like an easy system to help them to know what to do each day. Just consult the list, do the work, check it off for the day and enjoy your free time!

Are you looking for a planner that tells you exactly what you need to do every day to keep your home and life in order? Motivated Moms Chore Planners might be just the thing you need!

The Motivated Moms Chore Planners lay out a plan for what chores you should do each day to stay on top of your household organization and help keep your home looking great.

I used this planner last year and found it extremely helpful. I definitely recommend it! Especially if you don’t have the time or desire to create your own home cleaning schedule.

There’s no coupon code needed. Sale is valid December 29, 2015 – January 4, 2016.

motivated momsapp

Also for a limited time only, you can get a One Year Subscription to the Motivated Moms app for only $5.99! (No code needed.) Get it from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon. Plus: with purchase of year subscription of app data from the website only, a free 2016 ebook download will be included!

Make Over Your Mornings eCourse only $9!


Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind I’m talking about.  Where you’re literally scrambling from the minute one of your kids wakes you up in the morning — until the time you fall in bed that night. 

You know you’ve worked hard and taken care of needs nonstop throughout the entire day, but it seems like there is very little to show for it. 

Well, I am excited to introduce you to a course that will free you from that hamster wheel of exhaustion!

Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com has created the Make Over Your Mornings course to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your days, eliminate decision fatigue, cultivate your soul, and MORE!

Some of the topics covered in the 14-day course include:

  • Discovering why a well-planned morning revolutionizes your whole day
  • Establishing bedtime routines
  • Designing a morning routine centered on your biggest priorities
  • Goal-setting
  • Setting up a task management system
  • Prioritizing exercise and healthy breakfasts
  • Creating internal and external motivators
  • Establishing accountability
  • Building stamina when things get tough

Crystal has created this AMAZING 14-day course that takes a unique three-fold approach:  a chapter to read, a video to watch, and a project to complete – all of which will take no more than 15 minutes of your time. 

We all have time for that!

A tiny investment — just 15 minutes of your day – can yield potentially amazing results for yourself and your family. 

Head on over to MakeOverYourMornings.com and get in on the rock-bottom price for this fabulous course today! (Just $9.00 through January 8, 2016!)

If you’re not quite sure about the course, you can scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up for a free 1 day peek!

7 Simple Tweaks for an Easier Day

7 Simple Tweaks for an Easier Day

7 Simple Tweaks for an Easier Day

Do you wish you had more hours in the day? Does your energy level not match the number of tasks you have to complete? If you are feeling like you need a break, you may just need to be working smarter, not harder. Take a look below at 7 simple tweaks for an easier day so you can start feeling less stressed and more effective. Here is how you can get started.

1. Make your to-do list the night before.

Before you go to sleep, make a to do list of all the items you need to do the next day. Not only will this help you feel more relaxed at bedtime, but it will give you a solid and focused foundation to work on as soon as you wake up. The end result is feeling more accomplished at the conclusion of the day.

2. Let the light in.

As soon as you wake, start bringing natural light in. Open your curtains or take a quick walk outside. It will help wake your body and let your brain know it is time to get to work. This is a simple step that can help get your day off to a strong start and help you be more productive.

3. Keep tasks in the car.

Keep a basket of quick tasks in the car that you can work on when waiting in the car pool line or for your child to get out of practice. Tasks can include a daily journal, items you need to read, paperwork that needs to be filled out, your daily calendar to update, etc. This can help you make the most of those spare minutes.

4. Carry a water bottle.

Not only can staying hydrated keep you more productive, but it can save you time from having to stop and look for drinks. If possible use a measured water bottle so you can keep track and make sure you consume enough water each day.

5. Set realistic goals.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Set realistic goals that you can achieve over the course of a day. This way you will feel success at the end of the day when your list is able to be checked off. Try making a list of 5-7 goals for the day and then gradually work your way up as you get into a groove.

6. Don’t leave loose ends.

Many times we move onto another task before finishing the one at hand. Get into the habit of not leaving loose ends. That can just lead to you feeling frazzled and overwhelmed. Instead, finish one project or task before moving onto a second so you can feel a sense of completion and accomplishment.

7. Utilize helpful apps.

There are thousands of apps out there that can help make your day easier. You can find everything from time saving apps, to digital calendars, reminders, to even apps that send you daily inspiration. Try experimenting with some new apps and see if you can find any that are helpful to you.

What are your techniques for making your day run smoother?