(This is the first post in an installment in which I share my results working through the projects in the ebook One Bite At a Time. Stay tuned for more!)
I wrote a review of Simple Mom’s new ebook 52 Bites here: Simple Living, an Ebook
I promised to update you as I progressed through the book. Here are some of my favorite projects so far and what I’ve done with them.
# 3 is Create a Morning Routine. Even though I began waking earlier than my kids before I got the ebook, actually writing down and implementing a morning routine has been a wonderful addition to my life! On the rare occasion that my alarm doesn’t go off and I accidentally sleep in, I feel “off” all day. I love my morning routine!
Because I’m getting up earlier and have peaceful quiet time in the morning, I’m able to “Eat my Frog” (project #1!). While I don’t really have any task that I dislike, getting my blog post written first thing in the morning gives me peace all day. I can focus on my kids and my household tasks more easily when that “frog” is in my belly.
I already had an Evening Routine (project #4). I unload the dishwasher, tidy the kitchen, pick out my clothing for the next day, and pick up the living room.
Menu planning (project #5) has been part of my routine for years. After the birth of my 3rd baby I found it challenging to get dinner on the table, so I would set aside time to make browse through my cookbooks and plan a menu. I love knowing, in the morning, what’s for dinner. It saves me time, money and stress.
Project #6 – create a family purpose statement, really baffles me. Honestly. This is something that has been niggling in the back of my mind for years, ever since I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While I know in my heart what I want my family to stand for, it’s hard putting it on paper and committing to it. I am probably overthinking it, honestly.
What I DID do in preparation for this project? I asked everyone in the family to write down one thing they loved about each member of the family. Initially I planned on creating some piece of artwork to hang on the wall out of this, but I realized that I could also find out what each member of the family values. I see common themes popping out in their descriptions: fun, caring, love, listening… I need to sit down with my husband and talk about this during our Couples Meeting. (Project #13 – we were already doing this. Every week we have a budget meeting slash weekly update where we discuss things we want to bring up at our family meeting. It’s fun and I look forward to it all week.)
Project #7 encourages you to Downsize your book and magazine collection. Boy, did I ever. I realized that there was no value in keeping a book that I wasn’t in love with. I do love books! But if I hadn’t referenced it in a year, it went. I’ve made about $150 on Amazon.com in the last two months selling books.
I also appreciate what Tsh said in her book Organized Simplicity about avoiding “twaddle” in kid’s books. I firmly agree. While the occasional Captain Underpants has made it’s way into our collection (and I’m ok with that), I made a concerted effort to get rid of junky kid lit.
Interestingly in this past week I’ve increased our collection of great kid’s books. Our library sold off a bunch of great titles for $1 apiece, and then I hit a yard sale of a former schoolteacher. I picked the finest (Blueberries for Sal, etc) ones and made off like a bandit… $0.25 each!
I’m soooo tempted to get an e-reader so I can keep my book collection small. My fear is that I’ll spend too much money and time reading.
When it comes to magazines, I am now taking pictures of great articles, recipes or photos that I want to keep and uploading them to Evernote! LOVE that. Now I’ll actually see and use them in the future, but without the paper clutter.
Project #17 is another big one: Create an essential papers file. I started working on this one right away. Since I have an online business, I have various expenses that debit automatically from my Paypal account, and income from various sources. If something were to happen to me, there has to be a way for my husband to get to my money and stop the recurring expenses.
I write down my username and password for all of these sites. We still need to get our wills drawn up. Yikes. Time to act like grownups.
Project #21 – Organize your files. I don’t have a lot of paper, but I did go through my personal files and threw out a lot of stuff. I created a separate homeschool binder, for answer keys, worksheets that have yet to be used, lists of sight words, Spanish vocabulary, and other odds and ends that were floating in different places. Now it’s all in ONE spot.
Project #22 – Declutter kid’s toys. We don’t have a lot of kid’s toys, but my 10 year old son is decluttering his room and started an eBay business. I’m rejoicing at this, because he was formerly a bit of a packrat!
That’s where I’m at so far. I didn’t mention every project listed in the book, because many of them are things I already am in the habit of doing (using cloth in the kitchen instead of paper, for instance).
If you haven’t already read this book, I highly recommend it. At $5, it’s really a no-brainer. If you pick up just ONE idea that makes your day run a little more smoothly, it’s worth it. Get it here: 52 Bites.