Simple Organization-Systems

 Last week I wrote about the basic questions that need to be answered if we need and want to make changes and head in the right direction.  

These were the simple questions I asked myself the last month.

Have you ever made a list of things that bring you joy?  Things that you enjoy doing?  Things that you hate doing?  What you want your day to look like?  A week?  A year?  Your life?  What is one or two feelings you want to have and others that you want to avoid?  What are your priorities?  What do you want to accomplish this year?  How do you want to feel?  How do you want to show up for others?  What do you worry about the most?  Who do you want to be? 

The next step after answering these questions is to figure out solutions or action steps that can apply to "real life".  Practical, calm, slow and steady steps forward.  Not freak out, I'll never be able to do this, this can never happen, one million excuses answers but tons of grace, and experimentation and willingness to find a way.

It's really simple problem solving and all about developing simple systems for goals.

When I adopt a "system" whether it's for meal planning, laundry, self-care, cultivating more joy, it seems like these things actually happen and then soon become habits and then create order and peace.

One easy example:

I want to buy take out less and have easy simple meals every night.  

That means I need meal plans, and enough food for those times I can't or don't want to cook.  Which also means I need to get ORGANIZED and create a system to streamline it from start to finish.  

The thing I hate most about meal planning is thinking of the meals.  I can fill out my weekly menu plan so much faster if I have ideas and suggestions.  Better yet, if there are themes assigned to each day, a weekly grocery shop time planned, along with an ongoing list it makes this whole process so much easier.

I also don't like wasting time and money on meals kids won't eat.  

Here is what I did:

1. I bought a magnetic menu pad with a grocery list on the side and hung it on the fridge.  I designated a day (right before I go grocery shopping) for menu planning.

2. I wrote down all my go-to meals, consulting kids on what their favorites are.  I asked them what some of their favorite fix-it-themselves meals are.  I made a big long list so that I can easily fill out my menu for the week without having meal-brain-freeze.  I also decided I wanted to add new meals into our meal cycle, so I started a board on Pinterest called Meals I Want To Try.  When I am browsing and come across one I 'Pin It' and now I can easily (without getting lost in the bottomless wonderful pit of Pinterest) print off a copy and stick it in my Menu folder...which holds my list of ideas and past recipes that I love.  (Years ago I made my own cookbook.  This is a time-consuming projects but one that turned out so awesome.  I use that cookbook often, but a binder of favorite recipes or recipe card box is enough.)

3. I make sure to check out the cabinet and freezer to make sure we are stocked up on fix-it-yourself meals for the kids while I'm making the grocery list.

I have found it also helps me to set a challenge-like a month with no take out.  It motivates me to stay on track.

Now I have a system in place, a SIMPLE system, with the tools I need to make it is day-to-day easy.  It actually helps me enjoy something I was dreading also, and saves me money and time.

And remember this is a simple process for ANY part of life.  Whether it's self-care, making time for things that bring us joy, a cleaner house, better nutrition for the family, spending more one-on-one time with children, streamlining things we don't like to do, ANYTHING - developing a simple system works!

It soon becomes a habit and either maximizes or minimizes (depending on what it is) a part of life that helps me shape my days, weeks and years according to what I want the bigger picture to look like.


  1. Love this! I do my meal planning very similarly but I am definitely going to make a list of faves to make it easier to plug them in. I have binders of tried and true recipes. I remove ones that I don't use so these are all go to's. Then I print recipes to try or bookmark them in instagram/FB but if I really plan to make it, I print it out. After I make it, if it was a hit it goes in a binder, if it's a flop the print goes in the recycle bin and I remove any bookmarks. The biggest thing that helped me years ago is to remember every meal doesn't have to be complex. Tacos, meatball grinders using frozen meatballs, Philly cheesesteaks using shaved steak all are meals! If I rotate those into more time consuming meals like chicken pot pie, enchilada bakes, etc, it makes feeding my family much more doable. Looking at the schedule and planning ahead means I can still feed everyone even if I am working all day and have an evening commitment because I will either assemble something the night before or plan a slow cooker meal so its hands free that evening.

    1. So true! Feeding our families is a huge part of our lives and can be so time consuming-the secret is just what you said-planning ahead! Thank you!

  2. Hi Sarah, Thank you for taking the time to come up with these questions and share them with all of us. For anyone reading the comments, I highly encourage each of you to set aside some time alone to answer these for yourself. It was such an eye-opening and helpful exercise for me. I have felt utterly depleted and overwhelmed, so with the new year upon us, I decided to take some time to evaluate where I've been and where I want to be in the future. I often turn to your blog Sarah for encouragement, a reality check and a reminder of just how valuable home, children and simplicity is. I was so happy to see this post and the questions you came up with--it was just what I needed. Your work on this blog is so meaningful to me. Thank you and I hope 2021 is filled with every good thing your heart desires:).

  3. Thank you for writing this. It is very helpful! Many blessings this year for you & your loved ones.