How I Simplified Our Home and Became More Content

simplified home

Guest post by Sarah of The Jelly Jars

Over the course of the last year, my husband and I have completely rewritten our life plans, moved away from the city we thought we would retire in, said goodbye to our best friends, gave away 1/3 of our possessions, and downsized our living situation from a 2600 square foot home to a 900 square foot apartment as we pursue this new dream.

The biggest surprise for me in this whole journey has been how much I’ve loved downsizing!

Here is what I have learned in the process:

1. I only own what I love.

In cutting down on our possessions, we asked a lot of questions. Did the item have great value – was it of high quality, an investment that we made? Did the piece have great sentimental worth – were we tied to it because of family history or special memories? Did the item serve a specific purpose – does it serve a necessary function in our home?

If an item met certain criteria, we kept it. If not, it was donated.

2. I don’t need as much as I think I do.

Because of this process of downsizing, I realized I had accumulated so much stuff without even realizing it. Our basement was filled with boxes of decorations and extra clothes and anything I wanted to hold on to “just in case I need it one day.”

But now, without these extra items, I realize that I am still content and still can live a full and joy-filled life because life is not made full by material possessions.

How I Simplified My Life & Became More Content

3. I opened up room in my life for things that mattered.

I am no longer worried about that season’s trends or decorations or the fact that I need a better mail organizer.

My heart is less tied to material possessions and is now more available to the little gifts that I see in our moments and sprinkled throughout our days.

4. I gained perspective.

It’s so easy to compare yourself against advertisements or movies or even your neighbors and friends, thinking you need more and more to keep up. But when I looked at our possessions with a different perspective, I saw how very much we have and that we actually are very well taken care of.

Once I silenced the driving need to keep up with friends or commercials, I have been able to find contentment with what we already have rather than being discontent with what I wish my life looked like.

The process of simplifying helped me to clean out our home yes, but even more so it helped bring about a new way of thinking for us.

Now we are much less apt to buy something without truly evaluating if it is worth it to us or if it is just a purchase to satisfy a short-term desire, and we have found much more contentment through no longer buying into the belief that we always need more.

Sarah is a mountain-loving, dark chocolate-eating, Frank Sinatra-listening, owie-kissing, truth-telling, freelance writer/blogger who seeks out a passionate life with her husband and two kiddos. She writes at The Jelly Jars.

Feeling overwhelmed with managing your home and life?

Feeling Overwhelmed With Managing Your Life & Home?

I’ve talked some about The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle this week and I hope you’ve had a chance to check it out. It’s an AMAZING collection of resources — many that I’ve already read and benefited so much from and many more that I cannot wait to read myself!

There are so many great resources in this bundle, including:

You get all of these + many, many more ebooks, printables, ecourses, and free bonuses for just $29.97 total! That’s a steal!

Grab your copy of The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle here. Or, learn more about why I’m wholeheartedly endorsing this Bundle here.

It’s only available until Monday so you’ll want to get it while you can!

Click here for more info or to buy now.

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Walgreens: Deals for the week of April 26-May 2, 2015


Here are the best deals at Walgreens this week, with thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help with compiling these:

Balance Reward Points

Buy 2 Nivea Lotion at $4.49 and $2.25 (Buy 1, Get 1 50% OFF), Get 2,000 Balance Reward Points
Use $2/1 coupon from the 4/12 SmartSource insert
$0.37 each after coupons and Balance Reward Points

Buy 1 Zegerid Acid Reducer (42 ct) at $25.99, Get 10,000 Balance Reward Points
Use $6/1 coupon from the 4/26 SmartSource insert
$9.99 after coupon and Balance Reward Points

Register Rewards

Buy 2 Colgate Optic White Mouthwash, Toothpaste or Toothbrush at $4, Get $4 Register Rewards
Use $2/1 coupon from the 4/12 or 4/26 SmartSource insert
Free after coupons and Register Rewards

Buy 3 Crest Toothpaste, Mouth Rinse or Oral B Toothbrush at $3.33, Get $4 Register Rewards
Use $1/1 or $3/3 coupon from the 3/29 P&G insert or $1/1 coupon from the 3/15 Redplum insert
$1 each after coupon and Register Rewards

Other Deals In Ad

Clearasil Ultra 5 in 1 Acne Control – $7.99
Use $2/1 coupon from the 4/26 SmartSource insert
Submit for $5.99 Mail In Rebate coupon found in the 4/26 SmartSource insert
Free after coupon and rebate

Garnier Fructis Shampoo – $2.99
Use $2/1 coupon from the 4/26 RedPlum insert
And use $2/2 Walgreens May Coupon Book
Free after coupons

L’Oreal Advanced Shampoo – $3.99
Use $2/1 coupon from the 4/26 RedPlum insert
$1.99 after coupon

New to shopping at Walgreens? Be sure to head over and check out Walgreens 101 where I explain in detail how to maximize the mileage of your money at Walgreens. See the full list of deals at Walgreens this week over at Passionate Penny Pincher.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Walgreens deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Walgreens deals post will be deleted.

 

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Rite Aid: Deals for the week of April 26-May 2, 2015


Here are the best Rite Aid deals this week, with thanks to Shannon for her help in compiling them. If you are new to shopping at Rite Aid or have questions about their coupon policy, click here.

M&M’s Medium Bags – 2/$6
Buy 2 and use Buy One Get One Free coupon from the 4/12 RedPlum insert
$1.50 each after coupon

Nescafe Clasico Coffee, 7oz, Maxwell House Instant Coffee, 8oz, or Folgers Gourmet Coffee, 10oz – $5.99
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 3/29 SmartSource insert
$5.49 after coupon

Nestle Pure Life Purified Water, 24pk – $2.99
Use $1/2 coupon from the 4/26 SmartSource insert
Use $1/2 coupon from RA Video Values, April
$1.99 each after coupon

Tic Tac Big Pac, 1oz – 3/$3
Use $1/2 printable
$0.67 each after coupon

Kellogg’s Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, or Cocoa Krispies, 8.7-11oz, or PopTarts, 6-8pk – 2/$5
Use $1/1 printable
$1.50 after coupon

See the full list of deals at Rite Aid this week here.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Rite Aid deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Rite Aid deals post will be deleted.

 

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CVS: Deals for the week of April 26-May 2, 2015

Here are the best deals at CVS this week, with a big thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help in compiling them:

Buy 1 PayAnywhere Credit Card Reader at $9.99, Get $9.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
Free after ECBs

Buy 3 Hallmark Cards at $1.99, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $2/3 printable
$0.33 each after coupon and ECBs

Buy 2 Tena Pads (12 – 30 ct) or Liners (44 ct) at $5, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $5/2 coupon from the 4/26 SmartSource insert
$1.50 each after coupon and ECBs

Spend $15, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)

*Deal Idea*

Buy 3 Coca Cola (12 pk) – $3 (Limit 3)
Buy 4 Coca Cola (2 L) – $1.25
Pay $15 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs
$10 for all 7 items after ECBs

Spend $10, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 2)

*Deal Idea*

Buy 3 Colgate Total (5 -6 oz) or Mouthwash (500 ml) – $3.79
Use 3 $2/1 coupon from the 4/12 SmartSource insert
Pay $5.37 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs
$0.12 each after coupons and ECBs

Spend $20, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)

*Deal Idea*

Buy 2 Huggies Diapers – $8.99
Buy 2 Kleenex Tissues – $1.50
Use 2 $1.50/1 printable or $2/1, $1.50/1 coupon from the 4/19 SmartSource insert
Use 2 $1/1 Huggies CVS printable
Use $1/2 Kleenex CVS Coupon from the Minute Clinic Coupon Booklet
Pay $13.98 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs
$4.49 each (plus 2 Kleenex) after coupons and ECBs

Buy 2 Scott Bath Tissue (12 – 18 pk) – $6.99
Buy 1 Scott Choose-A-Sheet Paper Towels (6 pk) – $5.49
Buy 1 Kleenex Tissues – $1.50
Use 2 $0.50/1 printable
Use $0.55/1 printable
Pay $19.47 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs
$4.82 each or $.27 per toilet paper roll or $.80 per paper towel roll

Other Deals In Ad

Meta Health Bar – $1.49
Use $1.50/1 coupon from the CVS machine
Free after coupon

Emerald Trail Mix – $1
Use $0.50/1 printable
$0.50 after coupon

Buy 1 Fructis Shampoo, Conditioner or Styler – $2.99
Use $2/1 coupon from the 4/26 RedPlum insert
$0.99 after coupon

Buy 1 Arm & Hammer Liquid Detergent (25 – 32 Loads) – $6.99, Get 2 Free
Use $1/2 coupon from the 4/26 RedPlum insert
$1.99 each after coupon

New to shopping at CVS? Be sure to check out my CVS 101 post that gives you the full scoop on how to get the best bargains at CVS. See the full list of deals at CVS this week here.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your CVS deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your CVS deals post will be deleted.

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I’m giving away a Vitamix & a $500 Amazon gift card!

Win-a-Vitamix-Pin

Who wants to win a Vitamix or a $500 Amazon gift card?!?! I’m giving both away this weekend!

I love my Vitamix and we use it all the time — to make smoothies, frappes, iced coffee, sauces, and much more. It’s one of our favorite kitchen appliances!

And who wouldn’t want to win a $500 Amazon gift card? You can use it to by groceries, household items, books, or even a large ticket item.

I’m giving away a Vitamix AND a $500 Amazon gift card this weekend to two readers who helps me spread the word about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. One reader will win the Vitamix and one will win the $500 Amazon gift card.

(Psst! Have you gotten your Ultimate Homemaking Bundle yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Go read all about this special offer here — it’s only available through Monday!)

Enter to Win a FREE Vitamix or a $500 Amazon Gift Card

It’s really simple to enter to win and will take you just a minute or two to do so…

To enter, just share about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle with your friends and family on social media. You can use Facebook and/or Pinterest!

Entry Option #1: Leave a comment on this post telling me what you’d do with the $500 Amazon gift card if you win it.

Entry Option #2: Click here to share this post about 5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day on Facebook.

Entry Option #3: Click here to share this post about the Homemaking Bundle on Facebook.

Entry Option #4: Click here to share this post about Eliminating Paper Piles on Facebook.

Entry Option #5: Click here to repin this pin on essential oils & the Homemaking Bundle on Pinterest.

Entry Option #6: Click here to repin this pin on paper piles & the Homemaking Bundle on Pinterest.

You can do all six things if you’d like — and enter up to six times. Leave a separate comment for each entry option if you choose to do multiple entries and each comment will count as an entry.

This giveaway will be open through Monday evening at midnight. I’ll choose and notify the winners within a few days.

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5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day — Even When Life is Stressful

5 Things You Should Do Every Day -- Even When Life is Really Stressful

Are you in a period of life where it just feels like everything is overwhelming and out of control? Like you just have too much to do and too little time? But you try as hard as you can to cut some things from your life and schedule and you just can’t come up with anything to cut?

Maybe you have a newborn and a toddler. Maybe you’re in the midst of a personal crisis. Maybe things are really stressful at your job. Maybe you’re caring for a special needs child or an aging relative. Maybe it’s a thousand other things…

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 4.13.59 PM

I get it. I really do.

Some days, some months, and some years, life is just very exhausting and stretching. Sometimes, you just wish you could find a way to run away to a very quiet, clean place where you don’t have to worry about bills or work problems or kid’s struggles or health issues or any other things that can weigh us down in life.

If you’re in a season of life where you are feeling overwhelmed or if you would just love to find a way to have a little more order and structure in your life, I encourage you to develop the habit of doing these five things every single day.

They might seem so simple — and they are! — but if you’re not doing these on a daily basis, commit to making them non-negotiables for 3-4 weeks and see if it makes a difference for you.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 4.16.42 PM

 1. Write a Short To-Do List

If you don’t have a plan, there’s a good chance you’ll live life just spinning your wheels and putting out fires. Pre-determine a few top priorities for each day and write these down on your to-do list.

I suggest no more than 5-7 items on your to-do list each day, otherwise, you’re probably setting yourself up for defeat and frustration.

5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

2. Make Your Bed

Truth be told, this is something I’m still working on myself. However, I’ve been much more committed to making this a priority after watching this video. (Yes, go watch it. I’ll wait for you!)

Isn’t it amazing how such a simple thing can make such a big difference? 5 Things to Do Every Single Day -- Even When You're Overwhelmed With Life

3. Get Dressed in Something That Makes You Feel Great

Anne Bogel and Dear Abby Leigh have both written on the importance of “dressing for the life you want to have” and I think there is a lot of truth in this. When you put a little effort into how you dress, it can impact your entire day.

I want to write more in-depth on this topic soon as making dressing nicer a priority in my life in the past six months has actually made a huge difference in my productivity and overall outlook on life. I’ve found that I get more done, I feel more energetic, and I just feel happier. It might almost sound weird, but I dare you to try it. 5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

4. Do One Load of Laundry From Start to Finish

So, this is also something I’m still really working on. And I need about five more years of success before I should be preaching about anything laundry-related. :)

But what I can tell you is that by watching the Simple Homemaking Video Course that came as part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and then by following the advice to follow through and finish all the parts of laundry every single day I’ve experienced incredible freedom this past week.

I honestly had no idea how much being 3-5 loads behind on laundry all the time was dragging me down.

5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

5. Keep Your Kitchen Clean

When my kitchen is clean, it feels like my whole house is pretty much clean. When my kitchen is messy, the rest of my house can be clean, but it will feel like the whole thing is a wreck.

Maybe I’m the only person who is this way, but I can’t encourage you enough to develop a system for keeping your kitchen clean. Just at least try it and see how you like it!

What works for us is to make sure the kitchen is completely clean twice a day. At night before bed, I load and start the dishwasher, wash/dry/put away any larger items that won’t fit in the dishwasher, and wipe down all the countertops and table.

In the mornings around breakfast time, I unload the dishwasher, re-load it with breakfast dishes, and wipe down/clean up anything that needs to be cleaned. Throughout the day, as we use plates/cups, we rinse and stick them in the dishwasher — which means that, for the most part, our kitchen always looks pretty clean. And a clean kitchen makes me so happy!

5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

Bonus: Take 5 to 15 Minutes to Do Something for YOU

Carve out a little time each day, if possible, to do something that fills you up. Whether that’s reading or napping or chatting with a friend or journaling or texting a friend or gardening… whatever it is, take time to refuel and refresh yourself so that your tank is not depleted.

But Wait! Is This Really Realistic?

Now, you might have read through all of those above and thought, that’s great, but I just don’t have time to implement any of that right now. Well, I wanted to show you a practical example of how you could accomplish all of it with minimal time and work each day.

So here’s an example of a morning and evening routine that wouldn’t require much extra time and effort but would allow you to accomplish all five of these things every day, plus more: 5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

Example Morning Routine

  • Get up, make your bed immediately, and make coffee (unload the dishwasher while the coffee is brewing).
  • Spend 10 minutes journaling/praying/reading while you’re sipping coffee.
  • Start a load of laundry.
  • Do 10 minutes of quick exercise (maybe a YouTube video workout or a walk or run around the block).
  • Shower, get dressed in something you love, do your hair and makeup.
  • Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer.

Example Evening Routine

  • Load the dishwasher, start it, and wipe down all the countertops.
  • Fold and put away the load of laundry you washed and dried in the morning.
  • Lay out your clothes for the next day.
  • Take 5-15 minutes to do something you love.

See? It doesn’t have to take hours of time!

Just being a little more intentional with your morning and evening routines to make sure you accomplish these important daily tasks can not only help you feel more organized, it will keep your house cleaner, and probably help you feel a lot less stressed.

What items would be on YOUR Daily Top 5 List? I’d love to hear!

Feeling Overwhelmed With Managing Your Life & Home?

I’ve talked some about The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle this week and I hope you’ve had a chance to check it out. It’s an AMAZING collection of resources — many that I’ve already read and benefited so much from and many more that I cannot WAIT to read myself!

There are so many great resources in this bundle, including:

You get all of these + many, many more ebooks, printables, ecourses, and free bonuses for just $29.97 total! That’s a steal!

Grab your copy of The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle here. Or, learn more about why I’m wholeheartedly endorsing this Bundle here.

It’s only available until Monday so you’ll want to get it while you can!

Click here for more info or to buy now.

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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