Living Simple Frugal Life
I’ll be the first to admit that I need to simplify my life and become more frugal. I am also convinced that leading a simpler life will help improve my work-life balance. So I asked an expert in this field to contribute a post we can all get the benefit of her expertise.
Super excited to introduce Rebecca who runs the Naturally Busy Blog Australia. Rebecca contributed the wonderful post below. She even created the Pinterest pins herself. #LivingSimpleFrugalLife
4 Wonderful Ways Parents Can Simplify Everyday Life
As busy working parents, my husband and I are always looking for ways to simplify our everyday life. Work consumes so much of our lives that when we are home, we want to maximise the positive interactions we have with our daughter.
So, how can working parents simplify everyday life?
This may sound counter-intuitive to simplify everyday life, but hear me out. We have actually been able to simplify everyday tasks such as getting ready for the day, by minimising TV.
I don’t know about your kids, but my three-year old-tends to be more susceptible to emotional outbursts when she has been watching TV.
My husband used to use the TV to entertain our daughter while he got ready for work, to make sure she wasn’t into mischief.
I understand the logic, but then we would get home for the day and the first thing she would do is ask for more TV.
I hated it. Then there was the drama to get ready for dinner, to have a shower, to brush her teeth because she wanted to keep watching TV.
A couple months ago, at my wits in with the constant tantrums and backchat because she wanted to finish watching the same damn episode of the Octonauts she had seen a thousand times. So I made the decision to ban TV, except for 30 minutes on the weekend, used at our discretion.
We switched it off completely. I told my husband he would have to use his imagination to keep her entertained while he got ready for work, or get more organised.
I leave before they do in the morning so I “didn’t understand” the difficulty, but I stuck to my guns.
Was it worth it?
Within a week, my husband noted that Ella was so much easier to get ready in the mornings. She didn’t have tantrums when he was ready to get her dressed. She also didn’t get into mischief while he was having a shower before work, because she used her imagination and filled the time with colouring and drawing, or playing.
The absence of TV has forced Ella, and us, to use our imaginations.
If Ella isn’t sitting on the bench helping me prepare and cook dinner in the evenings, she’s sitting at the table drawing. Or playing with play-doh. Or having a tea party with her stuffed animals.
And the tantrums about doing tasks (such as brushing her teeth) have almost completely stopped!
So while some parents may think TV is helping them simplify everyday life, for us, removing TV from our lives has actually simplified it. We don’t spend half as much time trying to settle a three-nager who has emotional outbursts at the smallest requests.
Another way we simplify everyday life is by completing multiple tasks in one hit. Write a list of all the tasks you need to achieve while in one area of the house and then batch them together! Need to use the kitchen for several tasks? Then make several meals at once that you can freeze, and do all tasks that you need to use the kitchen for.
Handy natural-living hint #1:
While you’re batching kitchen tasks with meal prep and whatnot, save the vegetable scraps to make a batch of vegetable stock that you can cook up while you’re preparing meals for the week ahead. Freeze the stock and you have a natural, ready-made stock for quick meals throughout the week.
Batching tasks together is the BEST way you can simplify everyday tasks as a busy, working parent, without having to rely on the products marketed for ‘convenience’ aimed at busy working parents.
How batching helps me live a natural life as a busy parent…
One of my favourite stories to tell when I’m convincing people it is easy to live a natural life as a working parent is when my mum was over after dropping Ella off and watching me prepare for the week ahead.
Mum couldn’t fathom how I manage to make some of my own cleaning products, cook meals from scratch while working full time with a toddler.
I was using lemons in my cooking and while I was waiting for my sauce to come to the boil, I cut up the lemon peel and stuffed a glass jar half full with them, topping up with white vinegar. In two weeks time, this would become my concentrate for an all-purpose lemon vinegar kitchen cleaner.
This is what your long vinegar should look like after a couple weeks
It doesn’t take much time at all to add natural living to my life, but it adds so much more value.
Handy natural-living hint #2:
This lemon vinegar concentrate can also be used to create a home-made fabric softener for clothing. Add 1 1/2 cups of distilled water to 2 cups of the lemon vinegar concentrate. Then add 1/8 cup of glycerin and mix it all together and store in a glass jar.
Another way I make use of time-batching is to start by making up a batch of natural laundry liquid for the fortnight ahead. If I complete this task (which requires boiling water) at the start of my kitchen use, by the time all the meals are ready to be packed away, the laundry liquid I have set aside at the start is cool enough to be stored away.
3. PLAN PLAN PLAN
This might sound neurotic but we have a shared family Trello board.
We have a shopping list, where my husband and I add items we need. We have a meal plan board where we add our meal requests in for the week, which helps us determine our grocery shopping list as well.
Two days before we need to, I add the grocery list to my local supermarket app and if there isn’t much fresh produce I want from the supermarket (we normally prefer getting our produce from Farmer’s Markets and butchers), I can organise a click and collect option from the major supermarket, which helps simplify everyday life for us!
As you can see, we also use our family Trello board to keep track of our upcoming appointments and social events as a family. Each family member is assigned their own colour and we label the cards with the corresponding colour. This really helps keep track of who is doing what when invitations come up.
4. Clean as you go
I know, I know. Housework is the bane of every working family’s existence. And who wants to spend several hours cleaning on the weekends? That’s precious time with the family after a busy week.
Cleaning as we go is the EASIEST way we maintain our home so we 1) don’t spend hours on a Saturday cleaning up the week’s mess and 2) don’t do the mad scramble clean when guests come over unannounced.
The Basket System
My mum actually had the best system for this, which I have adopted now I have left home. With 4 kids who didn’t necessarily pack up, Mum had a different coloured basket for all of us.
Ten minutes before bedtime, she would sweep the house of all out of place items and place it in the corresponding owner’s basket. We would then have to put away our baskets before we were allowed to do anything we wanted (baskets would be placed on our bed in the morning).
After a while, we realised the value of not having many items to put away. It became a competition between my siblings and I, to see who had the least to put away.
Cleaning as you go applies to the kitchen as well. After each meal, stack the dishes so they’re easy to load in the washer or to wash in the sink.
How does cleaning as you go help?
By cleaning as we go and doing one small chore each night, we spend a total of 30 minutes on the weekend finishing off the cleaning. As working parents, this system is a dream.
There you go. Four simple, yet wonderful ways that busy parents can simplify everyday life by making everyday tasks more simple.
About the Author:
My name is Rebecca and I run a blog called Naturally Busy, from Perth in Australia.
I started Naturally Busy recently to share with other parents how it is possible to live simply, and naturally.
When I had my daughter and had to reconcile my desire to live a natural life, without relying on some of the modern conveniences that are detrimental to our family’s health and development, with my career.
It’s been a relatively easy transition to return to work whilst keeping our lifestyles and parenting as natural as possible and I want to share the resources I’ve found help us with other parents in the same position.
4 Fun Facts About Me
- I love to Sew
- I have two furbabies: one American Staffy and one English Staffy.
- I completed my university degree in political science but my career has nothing to do with politics.
- Despite living in sunny Perth, I detest summer and prefer rainy days.
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Are you living a simple frugal life?
Or are you like me, also needing loads more lessons like this one from Rebecca?