I think most (dare I say all) of us are struggling with the demands of life as a parent. Even if you have no children, there are always tasks that need done, food that needs made, rooms to clean, calls to make. There seems to be a constant barrage of responsibilities flying at you faster than you can check off your to-do list. How can we make life easier?
Over the years I have found (and am still seeking out) different tools and tips that help make life easier as a parent, or as an adult human being in general. I thought it was due time I share these with you, in case some of these tips and tools are useful to making your life run even just a little bit smoother. The less time and energy spent on the must-do’s of life, the more chances we have to seek out and explore our passions, which I strongly believe is vital to a balanced and happy life.
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11 Tools to Make Life Easier
Wowee woo, did the addition of this to our home make life easier! I can’t believe I went nearly 30 years without this handy contraption that calms the constant storm of laundry. I used to chuck all of our clothes into a single laundry hamper, then take it all out to sort come laundry day, taking up valuable time to sort the dirty clothes into piles of colours, hoping I would be able to do all the loads in a day so I wouldn’t have to pop them back into the hamper to get muddled up again. There is no way I would go back from my 3-bin laundry system now. Simply pick up one of the pre-sorted hampers, pop the contents in the washer, and place it back on the rack. Boom.
Moving on from the laundry sorter, there are endless opportunities for making life easier around your home by simply including proper storage for your needs. Contraptions like pull-out garbage and recycling bins for the kitchen, stacking bins for pre-sorting the bottle and can recycling, a cabinet that offers hidden storage for disc golf bags, boots, and preschool bags (whatever your consistent leaving-the-house needs may be), or stylish shelving with bins or doors for sorting all your craft supplies. These have all made my life a whole lot easier because they offer a place to keep the things we need access to, making our home easier to keep tidy. (Though, you should be warned we are a messy family. If you stop by, don’t expect our home to look like a magazine or you will be sorely disappointed.)
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Before you rush out to purchase shiny new storage systems, I highly recommend giving The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up a read. This book honestly changed my life in a variety of ways. Beyond teaching me how to properly remove excess things from my life, I also gained a new perspective on what makes me happy and how to declutter my mind. I also had a ton of laughs while I read, and learned such things as how to properly thank my hand bags and how to store socks so they don’t cry. Trust me – well worth the read. (You can read some of my posts from my own Konmari-inspired decluttering here.)
I had no idea these were a thing until I found some in a little kitchen store. I’ve since seen them in a variety of shops, and can’t get over how much more enjoyable doing the dishes can be with the proper tool for the job. All those water bottles and sippy cups with straws are no longer impossible to clean. And now that we’ve switched to stainless steel straws (another well-used purchase), our straw cleaner gets it’s fair share of easy and satisfying use around here.
Pull-out garbage/recycling bin
This has been a handy addition when we renovated our kitchen a couple of years ago. It keeps garbage and recycling tucked away (well, as long as you take it out to the proper receptacle when the bins fill up) and makes it easy to access to the garbage and recycling bins, as well as helping to keep our cat out of them. We bought ours (a Rev-A-Shelf) from Wayfair.
I cannot even begin to explain how much I value my Crock-Pot. So much that I have two, now. Making a meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, even drinks) is just so easy when all you have to do is pop some ingredients into a pot and turn it on (don’t forget to plug it in – that can be highly disappointing). Pulled pork is as easy as throwing in chopped onions, then a tenderloin, a tidbit of water, and some BBQ sauce and voila! Grab some buns and coleslaw, and dinner is handled and ready when it’s time. Check out my slow-cooker Pinterest board, where I’ve been saving some of the most appealing recipes to try.
I have yet to try a pressure cooker, but I’ve heard great things. All the power of a slow cooker in a crazy fast time, apparently. Have you tried one? I’d love to know what you think.
I have only lived in two places with a dishwasher in my life, so have been quite accustomed to hand washing dishes. However, once we got a dishwasher that finally worked when my daughter was about 2 years old, I cannot explain how much time this freed up. Not only time, but it also helped keep my house looking tidier and more spacious without all the dirty dishes sitting on the counter, waiting to be washed. Now dirty dishes are loaded promptly and easily into the dishwasher racks, where they stay out of sight until a full load is ready.
Seriously, if you don’t have a dishwasher, especially if you have a child or two or ten in the house, invest in this valuable tool to make life easier by saving you time and sanity. It’s a whole new world. If you don’t have space to install a full-size dishwasher, they make handy dandy portable dishwashers and counter-top dishwashers, too.
Dishwasher-safe food containers
Okay, so this one is health, planet, and convenience all tied into one. We’ve been slowly ditching our plastic food container collection and replacing it with glass. Glass is a much healthier choice for food storage containers, cutting out the BPA and other chemicals that mimic estrogenic hormones that can leach into your food. Extreme heat and cooling (as you see in a dishwasher) is especially harmful in bringing out these chemicals, even if the plastics say dishwasher friendly. You already know how much I love my dishwasher, so safe and effective dishwasher friendly food storage containers had to be had, and glass really was our best choice. (I still hand-wash the lids because it makes me feel better.)
Though you might worry about breakage, we have not been entirely gentle with our containers (there is a 4-year-old living with us) and they have lasted through beach bag plunkings and straight up droppings. So far so good in the durability department.
Essential oil diffuser
Finding this handy dandy tool made a big difference in my home. When I was originally introduced to essential oils, I found out there are a lot of ways to use them. The easiest and most quickly appreciated is through the use of a diffuser that uses a cool mist to propel the aromatherapy throughout the house. Instead of smelling like overcooked eggs or “cat” (a common complaint from my husband), my house can quickly smell like citrus bliss, grapefruit, fir trees, or one of the many other oils made from natural plants. Make sure you invest in an 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oil so that you can get all the benefits of the natural oils without the chemicals typically found in other kinds of air fresheners.
I used to use one of those mop and bucket type mops, where the mop head strands get all gross and crusty and mopping always seems like a gigantic chore, filling and lugging around a heavy bucket of water as you mop. Once I switched to a microfiber pad mop I have never looked back.
Some microfiber pad mops come with a spray feature right on them, which is handy. However, the one I tried worked for a while before the spray feature broke, and so I’ve been using it as a regular mop and toting along a spray bottle of cleaner. I have made my own floor cleaner before, but right now I’m opting for simplicity and using a non-toxic store-bought wood cleaner for our floors.
The really, really nice thing about using a mop like this is that I can set my daughter up with the light-weight and easy to control mop and the spray bottle of non-toxic cleaner, and she is more than happy to spray and mop the floors for me. We’ll see how long the joy of mopping lasts for her, but for now it’s one wonderful way she can help out around the house.
My little green notebook is my lifeline. I use my bullet journal every day to keep track of all the many things there are to do at home, at work, and in my personal life. It’s small enough to come with me wherever I go, and holds all the important information and a constant running list of the things that I can’t forget to remember. I have found that since I started bullet journalling last year, I am far more capable of handling all of life’s to-dos and tend to get more done. Don’t forget to keep track of those I-Dids, too!
The best bullet journals are small, hardcover, have lots of pages, and dotted grid paper in them. I also like to choose a notebook that inspires me, with a beautiful design or an inspirational quote on it. This keeps me reaching for it and aligns with the philosophy of only allowing items into your life that spark joy.
Do you have any more suggestions for items that have become a well-used addition to your home because of how they make your life easier in some way? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment in the section below to share your idea so we can all make life easier together.
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