Simplifying Home-Life: My Current Management Strategies

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Simplifying Home-Life: My Current Management Strategies

In the whirlwind of my daily routines and responsibilities, where remote work blends with occasional on-site commitments, my experience is that sometimes home responsibilities can slip through the cracks very quickly, becoming a source of unnecessary anxiety. And that's exactly what I need less of in my life.

With that said, I've become acutely aware that the amount of stuff we accumulate directly impacts the maintenance required, and I plan to dive deeper into this in another blog post this year. I'm also rereading a book I chose last year that you might be interested in: "The Joy of Less" by Francine Jay. Not too long ago, it was re-edited, and the new version is quite beautiful for a coffee table read. You can get it through my affiliate link on Amazon here or check out Thriftbooks and get a gently used version here.

The little habits I've adopted over the past year have made home management less of a hassle and easier to maintain. And in this season, these few things have helped tremendously.

Creating a home management binder.

Creating a home management binder has been a game-changer for me. I'm spending less time answering common questions like 'What's the password?' or 'Where's the address?' or 'When was my last appointment?' or 'Where's that receipt?' and emergency contacts—to name a few. 

While you don't hear people talk about this as much as they did roughly 5 years back, I think it's essential to consider bringing it back as a backup. It also teaches family members to refer to it and not always default to one person in the house to remember key things alone—namely, these days, it's usually the mom! As I wrestled with the decision to create my own version, I realized that so many other moms have already done the heavy lifting, and there are tons of ideas out there already to get you started.

Purchasing cloth napkins.

When I first bought cloth napkins, I wasn't thinking about how much they would save me in the long run; I just loved the checkered pattern style and figured it would be cute to have. However, they actually saved me from having to buy paper towels as often. What I do now is use one for the day for meals and keeping hands wiped off or use One for little spills or drying up damp spaces throughout the day then toss it in the washer at the end of the day. And they are much more budget-friendly than you may think. I have a red and a grey set of Gingham Cloth Napkins that look just like these on Amazon.

Decluttering and reorganizing small spaces at a time. 

Decluttering and reorganizing small spaces at a time is a routine I follow every year, particularly every quarter. This is still a work in progress, as I have a space that serves multiple functions: it's both a living space and a creative/work area. So, there's always a little tweak here and there that I need to check often to keep this smaller space in order. Currently, I'm in the process of revamping my closet space and considering some new space-saving ideas, while also letting go of things I no longer need (more on this journey soon). 

My best practice is to do a visual sweep of the room or space, and anything that looks out of place or doesn't flow well, I do a quick pick-up and assess the need for the displaced items. If I don't need them, they get tossed; if I do, I put them away and find a permanent place for them for future reference.

Keeping baking soda on hand. 

The versatile ways that baking soda works are the reason I keep it on hand; it's budget friendly when I run out of dishwashing or laundry detergent or need a substitute for cleansers. Many of my baking recipes require a dash of baking soda, and it's proven helpful in a pinch for those occasional indigestion moments. I never get frazzled about not having what I need in between grocery or household shopping trips when I have baking soda on hand. 

| Also read: 22 Benefits and Uses of Baking Soda (

Using a slightly larger trash bag contributes to longevity and durability.

This was a toss-up for me, especially since I only have a 13-gallon regular non-stainless-steel trash can without a sealed enclosed top. However, on occasion, using slightly larger trash bags prevents them from sinking into the can, consequently reducing the frequency of taking out the trash. For this strategy to work best, food scraps and raw meat containers that are not being recycled should be promptly disposed of in the dumpster to prevent any potential odors from developing. But on the days I forget, a sprinkle of baking soda in the trash helps keep odors at bay!

Purchasing my groceries on a weekly basis. 

I purchase my groceries on a weekly or every week and a half basis, depending on our budget and the needs of the week. I find this routine essential for effective meal planning and budget management. I plan at least two dinner ideas that can provide leftovers for another day. I also make a point to visit my local farmers market for fresh, in-season produce. To ensure my kitchen stays stocked with essential baking ingredients, like butter, flour, and baking powder, I break up these items and add them to every grocery run. 

Another way I like to maximize my grocery purchases is by checking for online and reward app savings through platforms like Instacart and Fetch (there are so many more out there), I make sure to explore any avenues where savings are possible.

Checking in on complimentary utility efficiency for questionable bill spikes.

Last year, I experienced unexpected spikes in my water bill, which I later discovered were caused by a leak in my downstairs toilet. Sometimes, we forget to monitor our utility bills to ensure there are no leaks or questionable charges. If you have reason to doubt your bill or suspect it's higher than usual, you can request a courtesy check on your usage through the utility company free of charge by discussing your concerns with a local representative. 

When I did this, the leak was confirmed and promptly remedied by my leasing office. It was also confirmed that a credit to my account was due, which helped bring the bill back to its current usage standing.

Creating an information bulletin board or command center.

Create a centralized space where household members can quickly grasp upcoming events, priorities, and essential items for the day or week with a command center. This designated area not only displays schedules and reminders but also serves as a convenient spot for storing commonly used items such as shoes, jackets, and school gear, ensuring that everyone stays organized and focused. 

As my children transitioned into their teenage years, I streamlined our command center into an information hub containing emergency contacts and reference materials. Similar to a home management binder, this space facilitates day-to-day management and can be customized to suit your family's unique needs with a touch of creativity.

  • Here's a great starter command center that I found on amazon that you might like.
  • Check out this blog post from Minimalist Home about other command center ideas. 

Creating a home (and office) trash, recycle, and shredding day.

Paper and mail can pile up fast! Designating a place for incoming mail to go is the first step, but after that, if I don't have a system to weed through and either file or dispose of, the clutter of paper can become overwhelming very quickly. In cases like this, having a designated trash, recycle, and shredding day is necessary. Last month, I worked on mine, and it took a couple of hours; after that, I was back at a good starting point. Shredding is usually the last thing I do, since I have a smaller shredder.

Checking for expired food and best by dates on all food items is essential.

For a long time, I wasn't aware of the differences between expired, best by, use by, and sell by dates, but now I pay more attention to them. This has saved me from throwing out non-perishables that were still considered safe to eat, while helping me weed through the items that I should toss as soon as possible. It also helps me decide what my grocery needs are based on what I already have—I can make a different recipe or try a new approach to cooking things. 

Overall, this saves money and ensures I get the best quality out of the foods I purchase. Additionally, I don't feel bad about having to toss food that has exceeded its expiration date—it's a sign that I have outgrown the need for those items and I use it as a sign to look for other items I might need more and use more of.

If you are struggling to understand it all, I'd start here with the USDA site about food safety basics and check out this post on Simple Recipes.

Utility & Budget Tips

The best tip when it comes to utilities, especially if you're paying bills in rotation or using payment plans to break up payments, is to explore payment plan options through both phone systems and online account access. Sometimes, slightly different options are available from one system to another, providing additional choices that were best for my budget. This has afforded me more time between work commitments and helped bridge income gaps during slow periods or when work commitments ended.

These are the strategies that have significantly contributed to simplifying and streamlining my home-life in recent times. However, this is just the beginning. Throughout the year, I plan to share even more insights, tips, and strategies on the blog.

Here are some actions you can take next:

What are some of your go-to strategies for simplifying home-life, and how have they made a difference for you?


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