I don’t know about you, but for me? 2010 was a great big drama queen. Oh yes, there were many things I enjoyed, but there was also a lot of unnecessary fuss and stress. That plus the financial challenges we’re all facing these days, led to my husband and I deciding to make 2011 the year of Living Simply. See, when we really took the time to examine our lives we realized that if we just made it a priority to take care of ourselves (eat better, move more) and get the house organized, so much of the stress we experienced last year would disappear.
The problem for us kind of snowballed when we moved 5 times in as many years. Now that we’re settled in one place for a while, we realize that not having set places for things is really getting in our way. So I scoured the internet and my local library for sources to help us achieve a simple, streamlined, well-running home. I know many of you have made similar resolutions, so I’d like to pass along some of the websites that have been most useful to my family:
1. Simple Mom- www.simplemom.net
One of the best books I’ve found on home organization, Organized Simplicity, is written by Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom. The book is awesome and the website is just as good. You’ll not only find helpful tips on time management and organization, but an array of downloadable forms to help you such as chore charts for the kids, packing lists, and the most usable and effective “To-Do” list I’ve ever used, the “Daily Docket.” Visit Simple Mom to learn how to use these valuable tools and download them for free!
A big part of simpler living involves eating at home as often as possible. This has not only saved us quite a bit of scratch, but has freed up a remarkable amount of time (who knew?) Plus, when we do eat out, even if it’s just at the neighborhood diner, it all the more special. The following 3 sites have proven instrumental in our meal planning:
2. The Kitchn- www.thekitchn.com
The cooking division of the Apartment Therapy site, The Kitchn is full of useful tips on food storage, kitchen organization, entertaining and of course, cooking. Want to know how to avoid ruining your nonstick pans? Or clean your dishwasher? What to cook for a small dinner party on short notice? It’s all here!
3. The Project Girl- www.theprojectgirl.com
Run by graphic designer Jen Allyson, this is a great site for home organization in general. Pretty, fun, downloadable checklists abound on this site, but my favorite by far is her weekly menu planner. There are 2 free menu planners to choose from, both cute enough to live in plain site on your fridge. I like how each one has a shopping list divided into categories such as “Dairy”and “Frozen” – I can’t tell you how much easier this little form has made my weekly grocery shopping!
4. A Year of Slow Cooking- www.crockpot365.blogspot.com
I LOVE my crockpot! And I try to plan at least one slow cooker recipe a week. It often takes less prep time than ordering pizza and there’s nothing like coming home to all those yummy smells at the end of a hard day. But I am terrible at coming up with recipes for my slow cooker! That’s why I’m so grateful for this site. In 2008, Stephanie O’Dea embarked on a blog-speriment to use her slow cooker every day for an entire year! You’ll find 365 really yummy recipes (with photos) and also gain a world of slow-cooking tricks.
The last site I’d like to recommend is the aforementioned….
5. Apartment Therapy- www.apartmenttherapy.com
Founded by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, this site is not only chock-full of eye candy (a must to hold the interest of an interior designer like myself) but is also a well-spring of sources and tips to help you run your home. But all the glorious shelter-porn aside, I think the singlemost helpful feature of this site is the Apartment Therapy “Eight Step Home Cure.” While I STRONGLY recommend the Apartment Therapy book which describes this home organization/decoration process at length, you can join fellow home-challenged readers on the site and go through the whole process together, sharing photos, insights and comments. And the best part? You give yourself a party at the end!
Don’t you just love the internet? I hope you’ll find these sites helpful in creating a saner, simpler 2011. And if you have any sources you’d like to share PLEASE do! I’ll take all the help I can get!
Wishing you a Happy 2011 with extra cheese,