3 Ways To Be Less Busy Inside Your Home

3 Ways to Be Less Busy Inside Your Home

I try to encourage someone who is looking to be less busy but is unsure of where to start to consider two broad areas of life: life inside and outside the home. Once you think about life in these two broad areas, you can begin to consider your priorities and make necessary changes.

When it comes to life inside the home, you might wonder what kind of busyness occurs there. It is true, though, that some of the busyness of life can come from what goes on inside the home. It’s not all bad and much of it is very necessary. Finding ways to make things less busy inside the home contributes to an overall life that is more full (and less busy).

(This post contains affiliate links, so thenotsobusymom receives a very small commission if you make a purchase through the links.)

Let’s look at 3 simple ways to make life less busy inside the home.
1) Declutter

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A lot of time inside the home can be spent cleaning, organizing, and tidying. Less time can be spent on these activities when we begin to take the time to declutter.

Our stuff takes up space. Our stuff needs to be maintained and managed. Because of this, our stuff takes up our time. Less stuff means less to manage and that means more time for other people and activities.

There are a variety of methods for tackling clutter. You can take a room by room approach, or you can tackle your clutter by category. However you choose to take on this task, you will see results that spill over positively into all areas of your home life.

A few book suggestions for inspiration:

the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider

The More of Less by Joshua Becker

2) Establish Routines

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Once you have taken some time to declutter, routines can help you maintain the order you have worked to create.

I’m not going to go into the specifics of what your routines might look like in this post, but I will share that routines such as: morning, cleaning, laundry, dinner prep, and evening will help contribute to more ease and less busyness in the home. These routines keep things “running”, if you will.

For more about routines check out these blog posts:

5 Tasks To Do Before Bedtime to Prepare for the Next Day

The One Household Chore I Try to Do Every Day

Quick Tip: Make School Lunches While You Cook Dinner

3) Enlist Help

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You could definitely enlist professional help and that might be a good choice for you. If it is a good financial and practical choice for you, then go for it.

The help I prefer is already living in my house! My husband and I encourage our children to be a part of the housekeeping that must occur to keep our home running smoothly. Our children have paid chores. Our children have tasks they are asked to do just because. Our children are in our family and are expected to contribute.

Is this always easy? No. Do they sometimes complain? Yes. But I am okay with that. Their help is needed now to lessen the load. Their help is also growing in them character and maturity for the future.

For more about chores:

Kids & Chores (Blog Post)

Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma

Life inside the home can have a busyness to it, but I hope that the ideas I shared today help lessen and lighten your load.

What about you? What do you do to make life less busy inside your home? I would love to hear from you, so drop me a comment below!

Until next time,
Charissa

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My Thoughts about My First Fix from Stitch Fix

Honest Thoughts on My First Fix from

I have been curious about Stitch Fix for a very long time. I have read reviews of fixes from a number of people in my life and from a good number of fellow bloggers. My hesitation has always come from the fact that their prices always seems to be above my comfort level. I am definitely a girl who likes to shop for frugal finds saving money where and when I can. My favorite places to buy clothing includes second-hand shops such as thredUP , Schoola , and Swap.

Stitch Fix is not second-hand, but I was up for trying something new. When Stitch Fix decided to waive their $20 styling fee for a limited time I thought, “Here’s my opportunity!”. Each fix always comes with a styling fee. (The $20 is applied as credit towards anything you choose to keep from your fix.) Since this fee would not be included in my fix I knew I could shop without  pressure to buy anything.

My Experience

Last week I received my first fix, and I liked the look of their packaging.

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You receive 5 items. These were mine: 4 tops and 1 pair of skinny jeans.

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My favorite of the 5 items was definitely the green cardigan. I loved the look, the style, and the price. It was the least expensive item in my fix at just $36. And I say just $36, but I really don’t even usually pay that much for an item. (Have I mentioned I am frugal?!) I really did love the look, though, and I was considering keeping it until I noticed a snag or two in the weave. I could only guess that this open weave would continue to have pulls and snags if I was already seeing them, so I decided I didn’t want to spend my money on this one.

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My least favorite item in the wardrobe was the v-neck striped shirt. I love stripes, but this shirt reminded me of something I would have worn in eighth grade which was many, many years ago. I was not drawn to this shirt in the least, and the $58 price tag was not appealing even if I had liked it.

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The other shirts were just OK. I don’t think either of them were something I would normally choose. Although I am in favor of trying new styles, neither of these tops interested me after trying them on.

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$48 off-the-shoulder top

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$44 striped top

The jeans were probably my second favorite item. They fit me well, and I liked the style and dark wash. What I couldn’t wrap my mind around was the price. These jeans were $88. I know that you could argue a high price means great quality and try to convince me that they would last forever. I don’t want to worry about my $88 dollar jeans, though. I prefer to find a more inexpensive pair, and wear them without a second thought.

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In the end, I didn’t choose to purchase any of the items from my first fix.

Final thoughts
  • Receiving the box was lots of fun. I didn’t choose the items like I might in a traditional store (online or not), so there was a lot of fun in the unknown that occurred when the box arrived.
  • I think Stitch Fix is a good way to try items you might normally pass over. I was definitely given some things I wouldn’t normal consider. Did I choose to keep them? No. But that doesn’t mean that couldn’t happen in the future.
  • I appreciate the fact that you can try the items on in the privacy of your own home with other items in your wardrobe.
  • You only have 3 days to make a decision. I share this because I almost forgot! Don’t put the box to the side. Break into it right away, and start trying on the 5 pieces.
  • There is a Facebook group where people buy and sell items from their fixes. It is a good option if you miss the 3 day window or if you want to keep your whole box (which results in a discount), but you aren’t interested in all the pieces.
  • You can order your fixes to come every 2-3 weeks, every month, every other month or every three months. You can also choose manually scheduled shipments if you simply want to order a fix when you desire. I chose that option.
  • Stitch Fix items are definitely more expensive than the clothing I typically purchase, but I am glad I gave it a try.
  • Even as I put the items back in mail (with the provided prepaid bag), I was thinking, “I might give this another try!”. I actually received an email sharing another “fee waive” because I wasn’t satisfied with my first fix, so now I will definitely give Stitch Fix another try! I will keep you posted!
Interested in Trying Out Stitch Fix?

If you’re interested in Stitch Fix, check out my link! ($20 styling fee will be waived for first time customers!)

What about you? Have you tried Stitch Fix? What has been your experience with them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time,
Charissa

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My Favorite Companies that Offer Credit to New Customers

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I like being less busy. I like saving time.

I also like saving money.

The not so busy life is about living with intention, and being wise and careful with our money is another way to live intentionally.

There are plenty of ways to save money, and I have written about this topic occasionally here on the blog. One way I have saved money over the last several years is by taking advantage of credit offers from companies. Make sure you read that prior sentence correctly. I didn’t say credit card offers but credit offers. I’m talking about free money.

Companies will offer a small amount of credit to new customers in order to increase interest. If I hear about or read about a company doing this, I take notice and investigate further.

Over the years I have found a handful of companies (I discovered through first-time credit) that I continue to use and promote.

I am happy to be sharing them with you today (in no particular order):

1) thredUP

I talk about thredUP almost every other day (or so it seems) and for good reason. I am a huge fan! ThredUP is an online consignment shop that sells thousands of clothing items in great condition for terrific prices. ThredUP offers $10 credit to first time users. When I first tried them out I found an item for just about $10 and paid only shipping for my first piece. I continue to build credit with this company by selling my own clothes and by sharing my referral link.

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My latest purchase from thredUP. ($7.99, excellent condition)

2) Schoola

Like thredUP, Schoola is a second-hand, online clothing store. I have purchased numerous times from Schoola.  I love shopping for brands I love for great prices. I love buying second-hand and wearing previously loved items. New customers can get $10 credit! Take a look and discover some great finds!

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Latest purchase for my son from Schoola. (75 cents, excellent condition)

 

3) Ebates

Ebates is a website that earns you cash back on online purchases you make at thousands of stores. Simply go to the website (or the app) every time you make an online purchase. Ebates will bring you to the site you are looking to purchase from, and that’s it. Rebate checks are sent to you several times a year. I’m waiting on my next check! If you’re online shopping anyway, you might as well shop through Ebates! First time customers can get $10 credit (after spending $25).

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4) Stop & Shop’s Peapod

I have shared in the past that one of the ways I make my life a little easier is by grocery shopping online. Stop & Shop’s Peapod is the service I use in our area. Having groceries delivered to my door each week is a real time and money saver. I was first drawn to this service when I saw that they offer $20 credit to first time customers. I placed my first order, and the rest is history!

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I’m always looking for creative ways to save money, and finding companies that offer credit for first time customers is one of my favorite ways. I usually try to stick to the credit given, try out a new company, and receive an item for little to no money!

What about you? Have you tried any of the companies I mentioned? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Until next time,
Charissa

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My “Not So Busy” Will Look Different Than Yours

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Perhaps you’ve been following this blog for awhile and considering more deeply the “not so busy life”. Maybe you wonder if you’re getting it right. Perhaps you read some of what I write and think that you would never be able to choose what I choose to do (or not to do).

I’m here to share with  you that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the not so busy life.  My “not so busy” will look different than yours.

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I was recently talking about simple meals, one of the ways I like to make my life a little easier (and less busy), and a friend shared that she likes complicated. In this case, she likes and enjoys complicated meals. For her, making an elaborate meal does not add stress to her life, it does not make things busy for her because she truly enjoys it and is very good at it.

I like simple (almost across the board), and I certainly like simple in the kitchen. But you see, we can both want a life that is less busy, and one of us can like to make simple meals while the other enjoys planning and prepping more complicated meals.

The not so busy life is not going to look the same for all of us.

For you the not so busy life might be eliminating 4 activities from your calendar, and for your friend it might be eliminating 1.

For one person it might look like spending more time at home with the family, and for another it might look like choosing to spend free time pouring into the community.

The not so busy life of a working mom is going to look different than that of a not so busy stay-at-home mom.

A family with 5 kids will make choices far different than a family with 1 child.

Same desire, different choices.

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I share this because you aren’t going to find posts from me that outline specifically what the not so busy life looks like. Yes, I have shared 4 traits of the not so busy mom. Yes, I have invited you to consider two broad areas of your life when looking to make life a little less busy. But I don’t write posts where I tell you that your day should look like this or your calendar should (or shouldn’t) have these activities. I don’t give you step by step instructions.

I do encourage you to consider your priorities.

I do encourage you to live a full life without all the busy.

I will share what works in my life and where and how I have found success.

I will share stories, tips, and tricks as a way of inspiring, a way of spurring ideas in your own mind and life.

But a lot of the specifics? Well, that is going to be up to you.

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What about you? How are you pursuing a full life without all the busy? I would love to hear from you, so drop me a comment below!

Until next time,
Charissa

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How I Organize My Kids’ School Papers

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If you have school age children, then you have school papers. In fact, you have lots and lots of school papers.

It can be overwhelming to figure out what to do with all that comes home in the backpack each day. I have 3 children (1 in middle school, 1 in elementary, and 1 in preschool), so that’s 3 backpacks with plenty of papers and various projects. Thankfully, I have found an organizational system that works for our family, and I am sharing it with you today!

Sort the Papers As Soon as Possible

The kids and I go through the papers almost immediately after coming home from school. We deal with that stack of papers right then and there. In our home, school papers generally go to 1 of 3 different places:

“To be Saved” Basket

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Papers that have the potential to make it into the child’s memory box (more about that later) are placed in a basket that we keep right in our dining room hutch. These tend to be special projects, unique writing pieces, or even a high scoring quiz or test.

The items in this basket are not necessarily going to end up in the memory box, but they do have that potential. The basket is sifted through now and again as the year progresses and as more work comes home.

“Important Papers” Binder

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There are plenty of papers that come home for each of my children that need to be saved for most (if not all) of the year. These papers include things like: master calendars, class schedules, classroom rules, login information, etc. Our binder is divided into three sections, one for each child. If a child comes home with an important paper then we 3-hole punch it, and stick it in their section of the binder.

Field trip forms and other timely information are not kept in the binder. These forms are dealt with as soon as possible. I sign the form and return it to the back pack. We write important dates on our calendar and discard the paper.

Recycling Bag

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I know. It can be really hard to get rid of work your child has completed. If we keep everything, well, we might have a hard time finding the kitchen table in a few months. If the paper is not going in the basket (and then possibly the memory box) or the binder, then it gets recycled. We still take the time to acknowledge the work. We ask about the assignment or have them read a part of it to us. But yes, it quickly makes its way to the recycling bin. And yes, this is something our children know happens.

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Sometimes we hang items on the fridge or a door to display the work for a period of time. Sometimes these items make it to the memory box, and sometimes they don’t. It’s nice for the kids to see their work around the house.

Keep the Special Work in a Memory Box

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The memory box is the final stop. Work that has remained in the basket is now considered as material for the memory box. By the end of the year, we have a small stack of papers in the basket, and we look through that to choose the work that will make it to the box.

Each child has a memory box with a section for each grade they have completed. The section includes a school photo for the year and (about) 8-12 papers or small projects from the year. It’s a great way to remember the child at that time in their life!

School papers are inevitable, but keeping them all is impossible. A simple organizational system seems to be the best way to tackle the paper problem. I hope you found a little inspiration from our system!

What about you? How do you organize school papers?  I would love to hear your ideas, so drop them in the comments below!

Until next time,
Charissa

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My Five Favorites (January 2018)

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Happy middle of January to you! Another month, another favorites post! This month’s favorites (like previous posts) are a little of this and that. I love sharing the things I am currently enjoying in the hopes of perhaps introducing you to something new!

(This post contains affiliate links, so thenotsobusymom receives a very small commission if you make a purchase through the links. Thank you for supporting the blog!)

Bolero Facial Wipes

I like to use facial wipes to remove my makeup each evening. I have tried a variety of wipes over the years. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on these types of products, so I was so excited when I found the Bolero brand at the Dollar Tree. Each season brings new “flavors”, and I am currently loving the Lemon Verbena & Mint and the Argan & Shea Butter. These products can sell for up to $11, so if you see them at the Dollar Tree, buy them!

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Suave Leave-In Conditioning Cream

I read a very positive review of this cream in a magazine and decided to give it a try. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think about leave-in cream, but I have loved how this product works in my hair. I use just about a quarter-size amount, comb through the end of my hair (avoiding the roots), and usually rinse just a bit. My hair is definitely smoother and softer after using, so I am sticking with this product!

MIRA Water Bottle

My fifth grade daughter was in need of a new water bottle. My kids have always loved the camelBaks, but she was looking for a different style of bottle without a straw. I decided to buy her this MIRA water bottle for Christmas. She loves the design! It definitely keeps her water very cold all day, and it is easy to clean! I’m thinking about getting one for myself in the hopes of encouraging myself to drink more water!

Walking at Home

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Walking is definitely my favorite form of exercise because it’s simple and fun! You can walk alone or with a group. You can walk in silence or listen to music or a podcast. In the winter there are many days when walking outside is not so easy, so I have been walking at home! Leslie Sansone has a program you can find on YouTube with a wide variety of “walks”. Pick a video and start walking. I have been very grateful for indoor walks this winter!

thredUP

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(Recent thredUP purchase. You can check out this video to see me wearing it!)

If you have been around this blog for even a small amount of time then you know I love second-hand shopping. Online second-hand shopping is my absolute favorite. I have been shopping from thredUP for several years, so it needed to make it onto my favorites list one of these times. First time customers can get a $10 credit towards their first purchase! If you want to know more about thredUP and why you should purchase your second-hand items from them, you can check out this post.

To find more of my past favorites, click here!

What about you? What have you been loving? Drop some of your favorites in the comments below!!

Until next time,

Charissa

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