The Simple-ing: Stage One

Somehow, I thought just announcing my desire to Real Simplify My Life by blogging it from the rooftops would solve all of my problems and magical elves would swoop in to reorganize my house, color block my wardrobe and fold paper into random objects. Guess what? Didn’t happen. However, I did make some little changes and try some things out. I also started boards on pinterest if anyone wants to follow along with what I have tried and what is on deck.

Snapshot of my morning studies.

The cover stories in April were:

  1. Act Small Save Big everyday strategies to save $5,000 this year
  2. Food Storage 101
  3. The Organized Home Office
  4. How to be More Optimistic
  5. Where did your Free Time Go?

I started with 1, kept 2 for future reference, don’t even recall 3-4 and 5 seemed to be more for people who worked or were much busier than I am (how I get more free time: spend less time on the internet. how I get productive free time: take Spencer to school), but I’ll look at it again.

The financial article was disappointing. There were a few gems here and there (Tried to find one to insert in these parenthesis, so on second thought, maybe nothing groundbreaking), but it mostly focused on stating the obvious. The food and drink/home section had 25 items and basically just said: use coupons, buy in bulk and shred your own cheese. There were a few recommendations for shopping at specific stores for specific savings (like shopping at drug stores from milk). I always find that surprising, but I guess it depends on perspective. They suggest that going a separate place for milk could save up 20%. I would only recommend doing this if you were already going to the store. Otherwise it doesn’t seem worth the time, gas or possibility to buy something else in the store. I’ve also found that Target, Fresh & Easy and Trader Joe’s all sell milk at least 25% cheaper than our chain grocery stores.

The other thing I found very surprising was that they suggested a big savings ($668) by buying bottled water by the case instead of at gas stations. I’m pretty surprised that there isn’t a recommendation to not buy bottled water. The monthly bills section is a little better. Many people don’t know they can appeal property taxes and get reassessed, so good to include that. And they said to dump extras on your landline and somewhere else to bundle your landline, but never to drop your landline, so I sense a corporate hand in some of this. So basically, if you’ve never read an article on little ways to save money, check this one out. Otherwise, skip or scan it. It’s mostly common sense.

 

I had a lot more luck with the food sections this month. 10 ways to cook chicken thighs! We like chicken! Lemon desserts! We like lemons! I had less luck with an online pot roast recipe, though. So, maybe I should stick to print. Starting up with menu planning was my biggest change, which wasn’t in the magazine per se, but inspired by the project. I’m sure they’ve mentioned it at some point… I did 4 days and stuck to them, with some minor rearranging. It even rolled into a 5th day when I decided to use my leftover pot roast to make chili. If you are looking for a pot roast recipe, don’t use this one. I do, however, highly recommend making chili from left over roast. Delicious!

Purchases/Trends

I only really did 2 things from here this month: purple eye shadow and the magic hairbrush. Seriously, this hairbrush is a life changer. I don’t blow dry my hair and would put it up out of the shower to keep my clothes from getting wet and then hours later, I would end up with bumpy, still damp hair. Now, I get out of the shower, towel dry, brush through and I can leave my hair down or braid it and no wet shirt. Score!  I thought I could test run the lacy bra feature when I found one that still had tags on in my dresser drawer, but it didn’t fit. I’m quite curious about preppy clothes – maybe if I need a new thing or two for BlogHer in august.

This Month’s Question: What change to your routine has save you the most time?

I found this section way more helpful than the article. This is where readers write in answers to a question posited in the issue prior. Maybe I should make it my mission to get one published.  The tips were really good: sort silverware in the dishwasher while you are loading it (I tried this – way harder than it sounds). don’t put it down, put it away (I’m trying this, but it is brutally hard. I’m a stuff abandoner.), choose kid’s clothes the night before (I did this myself for work, will use for Spence when he cares more.)

 

I also cleaned my kitchen cabinet that was on my 12 in 2012 list for April, but I got the extra motivation from reading such an organization-focused magazine. Baby steps, people. Baby steps. I realized that I can’t focus all of my energy of just the magazine and the website has a lot of listings, although not the current issues recipes (?), so I am going to consult it when I have a question. Like right now, I am thinking about changing out the liners in my kitchen drawers, I will definitely check the site for tips. Maybe I should make myself a WWRSD bracelet.

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11 Responses to “The Simple-ing: Stage One”

  1. This seems like a really fun project. I’ve always loved the recipes I’ve read in RS. I even did a whole month once a few October’s ago when they did a whole meal plan for a month feature. Lately though I’ve been singing their praises regarding their iPad/iPhone cookbook app No Time to Cook. We’re basically eating out of that exclusively, I planned all this weeks grocery shopping off of my meal planning from it. And the food is great and doesn’t take any longer than about 40 minutes, some are faster.

    Yay Real Simple.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I’ll have to check that app out. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  2. You know, I’ve ALWAYS found magazine budgeting articles to be like what you are talking about, yet they keep writing them. I think they just grab a handful of things that are trendy and slap them on the page with a few other things that are always in those lists.

    I’m intrigued by the magic hairbrush. I’m really bad about leaving the house in the morning with my hair still wet, which usually leads to me pulling it back for work. I’m trying to blowdry more, but I wonder if the hairbrush would be another option.

    Have you tried any of the lemon desserts yet?

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    My oven was broken, so I haven’t tackled the lemon desserts yet, but I think I am going to make one this week. As for the hairbrush, it does take hair from sopping to just wet, but it is still wet, not damp. If I go out right after, it is with obviously wet hair. I hate blow drying my hair, when I went to the office I used to wash it the night before, but I know that doesn’t work for everybody.

    [Reply]

  3. rachel says:

    I love this series that you are doing! Keep it up!

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Thanks so much! I’m hoping I get in to a groove and it gets a little less erratic.

    [Reply]

  4. Sarah says:

    I love Real Simple! But like you mentioned, I rarely used the entire month’s contents – then I felt like I was getting ripped off (we pay an arm and a leg for magazines in my part of the world). Stoked to see what you find helpful!

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Thanks! I’m really excited about this project, but there is a chance that maybe I need just the motivation and not the contents of the magazine itself.

    [Reply]

  5. MomEinstein says:

    That hairbrush is crazy! Now I want to try it to see if it will cut down on my blow drying time. (You know – on the weekly occasion that I dry my hair.) I feel like it’s GOT to help a little bit, right? Does it make your hair frizzy at all?

    [Reply]

  6. Suzanne says:

    Your organized cabinets are giving me a raging case of cabinet guilt. Mine are a DISASTER.

    I love this series, please keep doing it.

    [Reply]

  7. Brigid Keely says:

    I’m intrigued by that brush, excited to see your positive review of it. I was disappointed by that issue, too, but DID pull out some recipes for later use (I’m not a fan of chicken thighs, though. dark meat tastes/feels weird to me.) Did you know that real simple is on pinterest? I was all HEY I GO THERE TOO when I saw that.

    [Reply]

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