Simple Living Quick Tips

How many kitchen gadgets do you need? Sometimes freeing up storage or counter space is worth more than hanging onto a stand mixer or food processor that you use once a year.

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Simplify cooking: declutter the kitchen! Keep 1 set of pots and pans; give away extra crock-pots, electric fry pans, and blenders; get rid of or repurpose containers without lids and lids without containers.

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Start using public transportation once in a while. Taking the bus or train saves on gas and car repairs. As you get used to it, you’ll find more ways to get around.

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Declutter your file cabinets. Shred old tax records you no longer need (over 3 years if employed, over 7 years if self-employed, double check with your tax professional). Start keeping electronic files, instead (backed up, of course). You can print them out if needed.

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Keep a notebook in your vehicle. When you get in, write the date, start mileage, destinations; maintenance, gas, etc. Use for tax, business, and insurance records.

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For about the same amount of time as delivery, and a fraction of the cost, add extra cheese and toppings to a decent frozen pizza. Sit back and enjoy!

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Sort through decorations. Toss broken and worn. Donate unused and unwanted.

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Use your holiday list, start picking up items for gifting.

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Minimize the holiday hassle – make a list, check it twice. Who do you really need or want to shop for? Stick with your plan.

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Time to clear out the summer clothes. If you haven’t worn it for 2 years, give it away.

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Minimize the magazines and periodicals. Limit them to a dozen, total.

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When you’re ready to toss packaging, take a second look. Did you need an extra basket, box or bag for some purpose? If so, reuse. If not, toss.

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Start your holiday plan now. Decide place, budget, and priorities. Stick to it, to save time, money and stress and enjoy the season.

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A big scarf doubles as a little shawl – and even does duty as a hat.

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Use lavender essential oil on bumps, bruises, and sprains to lessen the impact and promote healing.

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Set timers for 15-20 min. This gives me 3 jobs/hr for 4-5 hrs/day, then I can work on a longer project for a couple of hours.

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Watermelon balls, grapes, and sliced bananas make great frozen treats.

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Honey and olive oil will deep moisturize and help tighten pores.

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Use a sugar and olive oil scrub twice a week to slough off dead skin and minimize pores.

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Iced tea or club soda over diced, frozen fruit makes a great, sugar-free drink.

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One pot of beans, one week of meals:

day one – barbeque beans with chips;

day 2 – refried beans (tacos, burritos);

day 3 – beans and rice;

day 4 – on top of salad;

day 5 – ham and bean soup;

day 6 – with stir-fried veggies;

day 7 – chili.

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Simple, healthy petfood: chicken legs, yellow veg, green veg – cook until soft. Mash meat and veg for pet, cook bones to make bone broth for you.

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Make a big batch of rice. Serve with chicken; stir-fry with veggies; warm with milk, sugar, and cinnamon; add to soup and meatloaf.

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Make a big salad once or twice a week. Eat 1-2 cups with lunch and dinner every day.

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To keep or give away? Do you really love it? Keep it. Would it bless someone else more? Give away.

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Fold a dishcloth in 4 and stitch down for a reuseable sponge.

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After the holidays is a good time to start a new decluttering habit. Collect 10 items a day and put away, throw away or give away.

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Overwhelmed by the thought of all the decorating, celebrating, gift giving and cooking traditionally connected to the holidays? Next time let it go. Choose 1 or 2 activities that are important to you –decorate, cook a feast, bake cookies. Let go of the rest. Enjoy other peoples’ Christmas lights.Cut out or cut back on the gifts, give your time and attention instead. Be appreciative of others’ efforts (the feast, the baked/homemade goods, the party).

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Cook once and eat all week AND lose a few holiday pounds? Make a roast (beef, chicken, ham, etc.) the first night, then slice some up for sandwiches and chop up the rest for the soup pot. Add some potatoes, rice or noodles, 2 or 3 different veggies, cover with water and cook until potatoes, rice or noodles are done. Season to taste. Leftover gravy makes soup superb!

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When I was changing the batteries in my truck, I managed to conduct current from the live terminal to my ring finger. The resulting burn was very painful and had gouged out several layers of tissue, as well. The ring came right off, and after washing well with soap and water, I slathered the wound with raw honey and covered it with several layers of gauze. This was repeated 3 times a day until the tissue grew back and the wound became very itchy. It was now closed and dry (it is still peeling off and replacing layers of skin). I am keeping it moist with my homemade lip balm. We shall see how much scar tissue I end up with.

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The drought all across the southwest has everyone thinking about gray water re-use. A big one is the toilet. Though it seems that plumbing the gray water from the sink or shower to the toilet has too many unresolved issues with local building and safety departments at this time, there are a couple of other simple ways to use gray water to flush.

One thing we do at the Arizona homestead and in the rolling homestead, is to shut off the water to the toilet tank, collect sink and warm-up water (the cold water that goes down the drain while you’re waiting for it to warm up) in a dishpan or pitcher, pour it into a bucket, then use a pitcher to scoop it out and pour it into the toilet bowl when it needs flushing. If you don’t have enough gray water, or just want to clean the bowl, you can turn the water to the tank back on and flush as usual.

Another option is to just pour your gray water from your dishpans, right into your toilet tank and flush as usual. Just make sure there are no particles in the water that will clog the hoses. Turn the water to the tank on or off as needed.

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I saw a commercial for “Meta” (Metamucil) this week, and it made me wonder…why not just eat yummy, high fiber foods to stay “regular”? They will also help the rest of your body stay healthy. Here are some ideas to add to your daily regimen:

 Oatmeal or granola

Salad greens

Whole, raw fruit

Sesame and sunflower seeds

 Make sure you chew everything thoroughly. A bit of fat, coffee or dark chocolate will also help “move things along”.

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 Baking soda, vinegar, and hot, soapy water can clean almost anything you need to clean. Keep these three basics on hand and you have almost everything you need.

Use baking soda as an abrasive to clean sinks and counters. Vinegar is a great disinfectant.  Hot, soapy water cleans everything from dishes to laundry to walls.

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This week we went on a hike and forgot the sunscreen. Mrs. D came home with a painful facial sunburn (thank God most of the rest of me was covered). I had just read about the soothing effects of apple cider vinegar on sunburn but had been loathe to try it. The pain, however, overrode my fears and I sprayed some ac vinegar diluted ½ with water, all over my face, wiping my eyes before opening them. I could not believe it, but it took the sting away and cooled the burn. I followed the ac vinegar up with aloe vera gel, which further cooled and soothed my skin. Every time the affected areas start to itch, I spritz with ac vinegar and the itch is relieved.

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Need a small floor mat for in front of the kitchen sink, the bathtub or the front door? Dollar stores usually carry carpet squares just the right size for such applications. They also work great under the doggie dishes.

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Conserve water! One thing living off the grid in the trailer has brought home, even more, is water conservation. One way we conserve is the way we do dishes. Thanks to Chris and Cherie at Technomadia for bringing this to the next level: use a spray bottle of soapy water to soak dishes. After a few minutes scrub clean, then rinse using just a dribble of water to get all the soap off. That’s it!

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Want to make a quick air freshener? Get a small, travel size spray bottle and fill ¾ of the way with rubbing alcohol. Add about 20 drops of lavender or other essential oil. Give a quick shake to mix and spray wherever a sweeter smell is desired. Bonus – the alcohol also acts as a disinfectant!

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