Helpful Tools for a Busy Life

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I’m not organized or methodical by default. I’m creative and make a lot of my decisions based off of my feelings. But I’ve learned, through the years, that if I set up some systems for myself I will follow them. It usually takes a great effort to set those systems up, but once they are implemented, I’m so happy to have some efficiency that assists me during the day!

This list of tools is random but they are all things (big or small) that can help with various aspects of a busy life!

  1. Amazon Dash buttons. I’m always surprised that these don’t get as much love as I think they deserve. They are little buttons that connect (via WIFI) to your amazon account and are paired up with a particular item you tend to reorder. So, for example, I have a Dash button by my cats’ litter boxes so when I see I’m running low, all I do is hit the button and it automatically orders the cat litter that I have programed onto the button. Setting up the buttons couldn’t be easier, and it helps me ensure that I don’t run out of the essentials. I wrote a longer post about it here, and you can explore the Dash buttons here!
  2. Stamps.com. I’ve heard about stamps.com for YEARS via podcast ads but I finally took the plunge last year and it’s such a time saver. I don’t have to ship many items but with an increase in shopping online, I’m probably shipping more than I ever have. From simple letters to larger packages, Stamps.com is extremely easy to use and print postage at home. So now, instead of returns sitting on my dining room table for months, I can quickly ship them back without going to the post office. I realize this sounds exactly like an ad, but I assure you Stamps.com has no idea who I am. I just genuinely love the service. Use this code to sign up, C-5CVQ-P9V, and you will get a $100 offer which includes a digital scale and $45 in printing credits.
  3. Grocery delivery with Shipt. During the busyness of the fall I signed up for a year subscription to Shipt. It was a desperate act to help take something off my plate, and to be completely honest I had a little regret immediately after I signed up and paid. Was I actually going to use this service or did I just sign up for something on a particularly hard day? As it turns out, I’m completely reliant on it now and cannot say enough good things about it. I’ve had a variety of shoppers and they are all attentive and fast. On occasion I’ll receive the wrong item, but that is very rare. If the grocery store is out of something, your shopper will text or call you so you can direct them to find something else. This is one of the greatest gifts I gave myself in this season. I don’t miss shopping for groceries, and love that it forces me to think through the food we actually need, versus impulsively buying something I see on the shelf.

I also use the Echo Show from Amazon quite regularly. I’ve had the device for a few months and recently did a campaign with Amazon to showcase how we use it so if you are curious about that, you can read more about it here!

Below are few other things that I do to be more efficient in my daily life that don’t cost a penny!

  1. Keep my kids’ socks downstairs near their shoes. I swear I’ve wasted hours of my life running upstairs to grab socks for my kids when we are trying to run out the door. I got this idea from the Young House Love Has a Podcast Podcast. Now the kids know exactly what basket their socks are in so they can get ready to run out the door on their own.
  2. Place a small laundry basket at the bottom of the stairs for kids clothes. Between changing from pajamas into day clothes or a quick outfit change for another reason, there always seems to be a random shirt or pants strewn around on the first floor. I bought a pretty white basket that blends into our living room decor for the kids to throw their clothes in. When it’s full (or when I remember!!) I carry it upstairs and dump it into their bedroom hampers.
  3. I only plan 3 days of meals at a time. Meal planning always overwhelmed me and I never took time to do it. And to be honest, there are some months that I’m on a good routine, and others when I can barely scrounge together a lunch option. The goal, though, was to plan meals for a few days instead of ALL 7 of them. It made the task much more doable for me and I enjoyed it!

Are you trying to be more organized and efficient in 2019? I know I am, but to be honest I feel like that is something I’m always working towards! I hope some of these tips or tools help you as much as they have helped me.

Leave a Comment

Comments (23)

  1. Katarina says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    Happy new year, Kate! My aim is to organize our home more. I do the small basket on the stairs trick, too. My littles get dressed in our living room and their pj’s go in there. I always have bedtime baskets in their rooms: lotion, cotton swabs, brush, pj’s, undies. I “pack” the baskets each morning when I make their beds to make the evening routine go a bit more smoothly.

    • Jess says
      Posted January 3, 2019

      So smart! I love this!!

  2. Posted January 3, 2019

    Great tips! I wish some of these services were available where I live! I also plan only three meals at once. Makes things easier and gives me more freedom for spontaneous nights out! 🙂 ❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  3. Allie says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    I’m with you on meal planning! 3 days is the magic number – otherwise I get overwhelmed or make/buy too much food that we never end up eating.
    I also have that weekly notepad by Rifle Paper Co, it’s made me feel so much more on top of my to-do list to see the whole week laid out in front of me!
    xAllie
    http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

  4. Jessica says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    Meal planning has literally changed my life. Although I have noticed that going out at least two weeks just on dinners is such a great help.

  5. Sandy says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    Happy New Year! I don’t like that Shipt charges you a fee AND the prices at your grocery stores are jacked up! I want to save time AND my money. I never shopped at Walmart but now I get all of my groceries (except meat) delivered for $7.95 and prices are same as in store. Plus I’m not buying things that I stroll by and shouldn’t buy. Most times I’ll order and pick up for free. I usually reserve delivery for when times are too busy. But I don’t have subscription and prices are the same.

  6. Cheryl says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    Instead of the Amazon Dash buttons, I closely examined what products we use on a regular basis and set up Amazon Subscriptions so the items are automatically shipped on a regular schedule. You get a extra discount if you order at least 3 subscriptions . Here are some things I subscribe to: dog treats, dog pill pockets, hair dye, dishwasher tabs, snacks.

    • Michele says
      Posted January 4, 2019

      This! For absolutely almost everything! Dog food and treats, diapers and pull-ups, baby wipes, pledge and windex, Diaper pail refills, coffee, vitamins, maxi pads, the juice my husband likes, eyebrow pencil, mascara, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, dry shampoo…the list is endless, and you can set each item to its own schedule and edit it as necessary. So easy, so cheap, so convenient, so much less I have to worry about cramming in my cart at the grocery store (especially with the bags of dog food!)

    • Kate says
      Posted January 5, 2019

      Thats a great idea!

  7. Kara says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    These are great ideas! Do you know if all/any of the services you listed are available in Canada?

  8. Casey says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    What’s the benefit of signing up for Shipt versus a delivery/pick up service that each individual store offers? Also, is there a minimum purchase amount? I find it’s things like when a kiddo needs medicine or I’m out of just one ingredient for a recipie, that grocery delivery would really come in handy!

    • Lisa says
      Posted January 3, 2019

      Shipt shopper here! If you order under $35 there is a delivery fee over that and there is not. There is a yearly fee that you can usually find a discount on. Depending on your area will depend on speed but generally you can get orders in two hours. You can always put a note that delivery early is acceptable 🙂 especially for those medicine times.

  9. Karalee Waltrip says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    Where is this super cute weekly planner/list available to purchase?! Thanks for all the helpful tips!!

    • Mackenzie says
      Posted January 3, 2019

      Looks like it’s from Rifle Paper Company! They have a lot of cute calendars and planners.

    • Mackenzie says
      Posted January 3, 2019

      Pretty sure it’s from Rifle Paper Co.! They have all kinds of really pretty planners and calendars.

  10. Jenn says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    Do you find buying cleaning products like cascade, bounty etc is cheaper on amazon than Costco??? We were just talking about getting a membership. We didn’t have a Costco near us when we lived in CT.

  11. Hannah says
    Posted January 3, 2019

    Oh my goodness, meal planning 3 days at a time! That idea is life changing for me & feels doable!! Thank you!!

  12. Posted January 4, 2019

    All great tips for when you have a hectic lifestyle!

  13. Hilary says
    Posted January 4, 2019

    Ah I’m doing Emily Ley’s simplicity challenge and totally recommend it. It only takes 10-15 minutes per day for the month of January and all of the suggestions are FREE! I love the meal planning tip. I’ve gone a bit old school and started doing Taco Tuesday, Sandwich Wednesday, etc. to make meal planning easier. Still gives me enough flexibility to change things up but less mental effort.

  14. Lindsay says
    Posted January 4, 2019

    The concept of meal planning for 3 days only miiight have just saved my life. I’ve been meal planning for years, but once I had my son last year, it just felt so much more stressful. I thought cooking 2 huge meals on Sunday that we ate on throughout the week would help (so we weren’t trying to cook every night), but it just made Sundays soooo stressful. I’ve come to 2019 trying to figure out a way to simplify, and my conclusion I was planning too much. By the end of the week I was tired of the meals or we ended up having too much because of an unexpected work lunch, etc. Then Saturday we were eating questionable week-old leftovers. Yuck. I think trying to cook 2-3 a week small amounts will help a lot!! Plus embracing quick meals like tacos or breakfast for dinner. Thanks for the tip!!

  15. Haley says
    Posted January 4, 2019

    I love those types of planners.

  16. Shea says
    Posted January 6, 2019

    I just have to ask, where is the weekly calendar from? Such a pretty pattern!

  17. Emily says
    Posted January 7, 2019

    I’m really hoping to get more organized in 2019. Clutter is my biggest issue — we live in a small apartment and not everything has a “home” so it’s easy for things to spiral out of control and then I’m living with piles of stuff everywhere!

    I’ve just ordered a few decorative file boxes so that bills/magazines/etc have a place to live that’s NOT my kitchen counter!