Managing Life's Stuff, Tips and Time Savers

Four Things That Make Life Easier

Most of the time, the focus here will be on buying less and clearing out more, but there are a handful of things that I have found make life in my home easier, cleaner, and calmer.

Turkish Towels: These thin little wonders have lightened my laundry load considerably and save space in linen closets and beach and pool bags. I would not recommend them for shower use since they don’t have the soft absorbency of cotton terry, but if your family frequently uses a pool or visits the beach or a lake consider buying a dozen of these. I also use them as light blankets out on our porch. Super compact, pretty, and quick drying, you can pile 10 of these in the space it takes to store 2 or 3 regular beach towels. They will also save your washer during the summer months.  A dozen (rather than 3 or 4) fit in a large load, and they don’t hold onto sand. You can find them at several retailers, but try Etsy for well-made and well-priced options.

Indoor/Outdoor Rugs: It pains me a bit to recommend something made of a plastic rather than a natural fiber, but the newest iteration of indoor/outdoor rugs made of soft, durable Polypropylene are pretty hard to beat. There are a huge number of great looking options available, and they can be the best solution for entryways, mudrooms, playrooms, high traffic areas, and porches and decks. These are affordable, soft underfoot, and amazingly durable and fade proof. They are also stain and mildew resistant and super easy to clean. The small ones (3 X 5) I use as entry mats fit easily in the washing machine. I wash them on a delicate cycle and hang them to dry.  The larger rugs can easily be scrubbed clean or hosed down and hung in the sunshine.  They honestly dry in minutes. Polypropylene is generally considered to be a safe plastic. But you can learn more here and elsewhere online.

Bento-Style Lunch Boxes: These are a lifesaver if you brown bag a lunch for the office or pack lunches for kids. A quick search for bento boxes will show the many different systems available. The ones pictured allow a number of different container configurations. They keep each item separate and protected from being squished. You can pack dips and dressings in the smallest containers, which expands your lunch options. Lids are available, along with sleeves that make the boxes easier to carry and provide space for a cold pack to keep food fresh. These systems save you from using wasteful and expensive plastic and paper bags, and I find they do some of my thinking for me by giving me the building blocks for a meal rather than a blank slate. This makes it easier to pack up a decent lunch, even on a Friday when my energy and refrigerator inventory are running low.

No Top Sheet Kids Beds: My kids can’t seem to sleep in a bed the right way. The top sheet ends up smashed down at the bottom of the bed and any extra blankets end up on the floor.  I finally just gave in and found the solution made bed making and sheet changing a snap and created a little less laundry. I make each kid’s bed with only a fitted sheet and a fresh pillow case and then use a duvet cover over a lightweight down comforter as their covers. It takes half the time to change their sheets and even my six year old can make a half-hearted attempt to pull up the comforter to make her bed. I wash the sheet and pillow case every week and wash the duvet cover every second or third time I change sheets. To quickly replace the washed duvet cover, turn it inside out, put your hands through the bottom to find the top two corners, grab the top two corners of the comforter with your duvet-covered hands and give a good shake. The cover should fall right over the comforter as it turns itself right side out.