3 things I’m NOT doing in 2016
It’s always fun this time of year to think of the things I will do in the next twelve months—get back to a running routine, for example, plant a container garden in our current rental house, and expand my travel writing (hopefully with restoring a vintage travel trailer in tow—we’ll see).
But just like how everything needs to have a place in our homes—or else something has to go to make room for a new thing, so, too, it goes with time. If I want to have time in my life to pursue new and good things, I need to say a hearty no to something else.
I call this my To NOT Do List.
In order to have time and mental space to pursue the things I’m truly interested in, here are a few things I’m crossing off my list in 2016.
1. I won’t be fancy with our meals.
I love cooking real, wholesome meals in tandem with my husband, Kyle (he also loves to cook, blessedly). But after a year of nonstop travel, I’m still relishing in the beauty of simple, standard meals (on the road I was surprised more than anybody how much I craved cooking a simple roast chicken, veggies, and potatoes).
There’s something freeing about landing on about a dozen quality, solid recipes that our family loves, and simply rotating through those. If we ate all twelve meals for dinner, plus made enough for leftovers, plus had one night of low-key grazing (that’s our typical Sunday plan), this means eating those meals only twice per month.
No reason to get fancy about this. I just make a plan for two weeks, then repeat until we crave a change. (If you’re curious, I use Plan to Eat to house all our recipes, drag-and-drop menu plan, and generate our grocery shopping list.)
2. I won’t hound the kids about their tasks.
At ages 5, 8, and almost 11, our kids are old enough to do a sizable portion of the house cleaning. We don’t do straight-up allowance, per se, but we do give them a commission for basic upkeep of their stuff, their spaces, and good attitudes towards tasks we ask of them.
And at this age, I shouldn’t really need to hound them about getting them done (alright—it’s okay if the five-year-old still needs reminders). I created laminated chore checklists for each of them, then mark which tasks we need them to do that day.*
This frees me from both needlessly worrying about whether they’re given ample opportunities to show responsibility, and from spinning with exhaustion hearing my voice asking them to do the same things ad nauseam.
*I’m sending a free PDF copy of our kids’ chore lists in my monthly newsletter for January, which I hope to send out soon. If you’re not yet on the list (it’s free), head here to sign up, and you’ll get the PDF.
3. I won’t make my own cleaning products.
I’ve made my own cleaning products for years (a lot of my recipes are in the back of my first book, Organized Simplicity), but right now, that’s just one. more. thing. to deal with. I want to focus my mental energy on work and writing projects, helping with my kids’ education, and encouraging Kyle as he starts his new business. These all take higher priority for me.
Having healthy cleaning products at the ready makes things easier right now, and I don’t feel guilty about this in the slightest. In fact, I have them auto-sent to me via ePantry, along with several other of our household staples (I even get our toilet paper here).
My favorite brand is Mrs. Meyers, mostly because of their out-of-this-world scents made from a blend of essential oils and plant-derived ingredients. All holiday long, I actually relished in the excuse to clean my countertops because that meant I could use my Orange Clove-scented multi-purpose spray. (I’m unabashedly nerdy that way.)
I’m moving on to lavender for the new year, and I honestly love every product I’ve used. And right now, ePantry has a fantastic deal on Mrs. Myers products.
If you place your first order with ePantry this week, you’ll get these things, free:
- Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap
- Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap
- Grove Walnut Scrubber Sponges
- Grove Kitchen Towel
- Casabella Cleaning Caddy
With this new year’s offer, they’ve also added the following stuff to your order (but you’re welcome to change these out or add more things, so long as the total is at least $20):
- Mrs. Meyer’s Foaming Hand Soap
- Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Spray
- method Antibac Bathroom Cleaner
- method Toilet Cleaner
- Dr. Bronner’s Bar Soap
- Be Good Dish Brush
The total for all of this is $26.24, which is a song (I priced all this at a nearby big-box store for a collective $70). Head here to sign up and place your first order by Friday, January 8 at 6pm PST.
If you’re already an ePantry user, like me, you can still get this deal for 50% off—head here to add it to your basket.
I love delivery services because things I’d buy anyway comes straight to my door (I started using one for occasional grocery runs, and it’s been a game-changer). So often, these services don’t include the toxin-free products that are a non-negotiable in our household. Which is why I’m over the moon that ePantry has brands like Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation, Earthpaste, and Acure Organics (plus many, many more).
I don’t frequently tout brands here on the blog, and I’m all about making things from scratch when it makes sense. But I do when I genuinely believe in and use them—and this is me with ePantry. This service has made our household routine simpler, so I’ll gladly recommend it to you. I think signing up for ePantry is a great first step for simplifying your 2016—especially when it means stocking your supplies for free.
ePantry is loving how much Art of Simple readers are eating up this deal, so to say thank you, four of you will win a set of two of my books, Notes From a Blue Bike and Organized Simplicity, along with a few other fun surprises! These books give a solid boost to a new year, if I say so myself. If you’d like a chance to win the books and surprises, snag the Mrs. Meyers deal—head here if you’re new to ePantry; here if you’re already a user to add it to your cart at half off. (And yep, if you signed up via AoS in the past few days, you’re automatically signed up for the book drawing!)
Don’t forget—this deal ends this Friday, January 8 at 6pm PST.
(Psst… ePantry currently doesn’t ship outside the continental U.S. Bummer, I know.)
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