organization

10 Frequently Asked Questions about Meal Planning

When I tell people I meal plan for our family, they always want to know how I do it.  I shared how I meal plan in this post, read here.  Then, after I explain how I do it they have lots of questions.  So, I thought I would answer a few of the most frequently asked questions I get pertaining to meal planning today!

1. How do you think of meals to make your family?

1. Ask your family for suggestions.

2. Create a list of your favorites.  Read this post for 25 go-to meals our family loves.  

3. Make a  board on Pinterest for main dish ideas, here is mine!

4. Go through the main food types – Italian, Mexican, all-American, soups, meat & side, within each of those categories you will come up with several ideas.  For example for Mexican cuisine, you can make fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas to start.

2. Do your kids eat everything you make?

No!  However, I only make one meal at dinner so the rule of thumb at our house is they have to eat the same number of bites as their age.  So, my 3-year-old has to eat 3 bites of each food item to be excused from the table.  I do ask my kids for any meal suggestions and they are always excited when their request is granted. #tacos #alwaystacos

3. How do you come up with new meal ideas and not get stuck in a rut?

I try to incorporate a new recipe one time every week or every other week, depending on our schedule.  New meals take more time to prep so I might save that recipe for the weekend.  Some new recipes are winners and some are losers.  With the Simple Purposeful Living Meal Planner, I will circle ones we like and cross out ones we don’t!

I also can flip back in the 52-week meal planner and see what foods we have been eating a lot and which ones we haven’t had in a while!

4. What do you do for breakfast?

My family has a few basic choices and I make sure to check my pantry for what we need when I make my grocery list.  My husband loves cereal and orange juice so I just ask him what kind of cereal he wants next and order that for him.  The kids usually go between frozen pancakes & waffles, cereal, bagels, and toast.  I usually just do a Lara Bar with my coffee!

5. What do you do for lunch?

Once again, I just make sure my kids have items they like to take in their lunches.  They are creatures of habit so they like to take peanut butter sandwiches or meat and crackers with raw veggie, fruit and a small dessert.

My husband takes leftovers every day to work so I make sure to make more than I think we will eat of most meals.  Lucy and I either eat leftovers or she eats what the big kids pack in their lunches.  I sometimes like to eat those bagged salad mixes too!

Buy your meal planner here.

6. How often do you meal plan?

I like to meal plan once a week.  It works well for our family so that our meal plan matches our schedule.   If you are just starting out, I would suggest meal planning once a week so you don’t get overwhelmed.

7. Why do you meal plan?

I hate that feeling of not knowing what to make for dinner and then not having the right ingredients on hand to make something.  We don’t have the budget to eat out very often, so meal planning helps me to make simple meals that match our busy schedule without a headache.  A little planning ahead makes my world go round.

8. How often do you go to the store?

Once a week.  Once I meal plan, I order all my groceries online and pick them up usually on Mondays’ for the week.  Occasionally, I forget something or something comes up I didn’t account for and then either my husband or I will run to grab that item but that’s rare!

9. Do you use coupons or shop at different stores?

I don’t.  I online grocery shop.  Not being in the store, I am not as tempted by all those things not on my list.  I save a substantial amount of money and stay under our weekly grocery budget ($125) almost every week!

10.  What tools do you use to meal plan?

I use the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  You can create your meal plan and jot down your grocery list on the adjacent perforated grocery list.  When I get stuck on what to make, I can flip back and see what I have made in the past.  You can buy yours here.

 

How do you meal plan?  What questions do you still have about meal planning?  Make sure to leave them in the comments and I will answer them!  Don’t forget to head over to the Simple Purposeful Living shop and check out our new products!  They make perfect Christmas gifts.  Give the gift of simple and purposeful living this holiday season!

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with LindsayBecky

Shared Kids Closet DIY Organization System

Happy Friday!  Last weekend, we completed several to do list items for the adoption which is a Friday Favorite for sure!  We worked hard on our dossier paperwork to do list!  We also did a little closet organization, so our girls can start sharing a room.  We will hopefully need the nursery for our newest child by fall (read more about our adoption here).

Vera’s closet before was the builder basic installation with just one hanging rod.  We added a simple bookshelf and it worked fine for her but I knew this space had a lot more organization potential and I was going to need to find it because it will house two little fashionista’s wardrobes ;)!

Before

I knew I wanted to divide the closet in half so that each sister had their own area to organize clothing and accessories,  room to stow books, keepsakes and extra bedding.  I searched Pinterest to gain some inspiration and found this idea.  Then, I tweaked the idea based on our needs.  Once I had the idea solidified in my mind, it was off to our local home improvement store to find the necessary pieces for the job.  This project is perfect for a weekend!

 

Project Materials

3 Cube Bookshelves (44 inches each) x 2

Metal Closet Shelves (size dependent on space & cut to size)

Wall-Shelf Brackets (2 per shelf)

L Brackets (to brace bookshelf to wall for safety – secure on both sides on top & bottom)

Level 

Drill

Jig saw to cut shelves to correct dimensions

Screws (4 to screw to shelves together and 2 per L bracket)

 

The Process

We bought two 3 cube shelves (like these).  Our closet is 96 inches tall (standard 8 foot ceilings) so placing two cubes together would be 88 inches tall.  Once we assembled the shelves, we measured and placed them in the middle of the closet, then stacked them and screwed them together.  For safety, we secured them to the wall with L brackets on both the bottom and the top so they wouldn’t topple over!

We then measured for 2 shelves on either side. We  wanted both shelves to be 40 inches apart.  So, the first shelf would be 40 inches off the ground and then the next would be 80 inches off the ground.  That measurement mirrored our two shelves in our adult closet, so there’s room for the girls clothing to grow as they do! We re-used the existing shelf and brackets as well bought two additional Rubbermaid brand 48 inch shelves, cutting each to the custom size needed.  He used brackets to affix them to the wall.  Scott used a hand level to make sure the shelves were level!

To finish up, he patched and painted the holes from the previous shelf placement.   By then, I was ready to organize the closet!  My favorite part of a project ;)!  So far, we have all of Vera’s clothes in there and everything fits.  Everyday clothes will go on the bottom racks so the girls can easily access their outfit choices for the day and then less used pieces like dresses and out of season clothes can go on the top rack!

After

Lucy is ready to move in!  As you can see even longer maxi style dresses have room to hang comfortably!

 

Before and After

 

We also gave Solon’s closet a quick makeover in anticipation of him needing more floor space.  He is giving the girls his bunk beds and taking Vera’s queen bed.  We moved his bookshelf into his closet so he could still display his legos and books.  He doesn’t have as many hanging clothes so he still has plenty of space and more storage for his coveted collectibles ;)!

 

Before we tackled these projects, we decluttered the kids closets (read more about my closet decluttering tips here).  It was much easier making these changes with a clutter-free space!  Now the girls can’t wait to move in together.  I better start planning the rest of the transition!  Have a great weekend!

 

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with Andrea and Becky – check out their blogs for more fun!

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10 Steps to Cleaning Out Your Clothes Closet

Last week I asked the ladies in my e-mail challenge accountability group what they needed help with and response after response was their closets.  It seems many of us, me included, have a love-hate with closets. I love the fact that they hold so much and that you I close the door but that also means what lurks behind is out of sight, out of mind.  This means I can defer the maintenance.
 
Seasonal changes spark the perfect opportunity to take inventory of what you have, what you need and what you don’t!  So, I decided it was time to start.  

 10 Steps I follow when Deep-Cleaning a Clothes Closet

1.  Choose a closet.

My youngest daughter’s closet held the least amount of stuff so it seemed to be the most logical starting place to help me gain momentum in the great closet purge of Spring 2018 :).  
 
 

2.  Set up sorting areas.

I use boxes, laundry baskets or totes to create areas for each category — keep, not sure, re-home, donate and toss.  The not sure pile is important because when you touch items for the first time, there may be some you just can’t decide on.  Put it in the “not sure” pile and come back to it later in the process.  The re-home pile is for items that still serve a purpose in your home but don’t belong here.

 

 

3.  Empty the closet completely & begin sorting. 

I know this seems like a lot of work but you will purge way more if you touch and feel every single item.  If you are taking the time, you want to do it right.   As you empty the closet, sort items into the designated areas you set-up!


 

4.  Ask yourself some questions as you sort.

 
Do I love it? 
Do I use it?
Do I have duplicates?
Does it fit?
Does this belong here?
Is this item worn or tired?
 
 Let the answers to these questions guide your sorting.  Remember, no one wants items that are stained, torn or in poor repair so do not donate those items!  
 

5.  Place the items in the keep pile back into the closet.

 

6.  Assess the donate pile.  

At this point, sort clothes that you want to consign, those that you want to keep for hammy downs and those that you want to donate.  If you have clothes that you want to consign that are not currently being accepted, store in a covered tote in a storeroom clearly labeled and then set a reminder on your phone to take during that season!
 
Place all donations into garbage bags and take them right to your car to donate.  Remember, don’t donate items that are stained, ripped or worn.  Save the donation center time by giving them items they can resell and bless others with!
 
 

7.  Stowaway hammy-downs. 

I like to keep hammy-downs in my kids’ closets because I don’t forget to sort through them that way.  Sort items by size, then place them in a clearly labeled tote and place in the closet.
 
 

8. Address the Not Sure Pile. 

At this point, sort through this pile again based on the room in your closet.  Remember just because you have room doesn’t mean you have to use it.  Leave yourself space to breathe! Place the items you want to keep in the closet and then sort everything else accordingly.

9.  Toss the trash.

10.  Re-home the items that do not belong in your closet.

I am always shocked about what gets stowed in the closet that better belongs somewhere else.  I found seasonal decor to trash.  I quickly put everything where it belonged to finish out the process!

 

Your closet should look fresh and clean! There should be room to breathe and you can take an informed inventory of what you need to buy for the upcoming season!  You can also take advantage of the current end of season sales for anything you might need for next season!
 
 

Take a before and after picture of your space to remind yourself of the hard work!  Once you have found success with the first closet, you will feel empowered to tackle the next.  Are you ready to deep clean your closet?  I need to get to work on the rest of mine!

Check out this post about how we converted a small closet into a shared closet space for sisters, maximizing the space and function with a simple DIY organization solution!

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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