Everything (in my life) should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.
September 7, 2018 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Today my dentist told me that I needed to start wearing a nightguard and I was immediately annoyed at having another thing in my life to deal with. In an effort to balance the scales I would like to hear your suggestions for things/situations/protocols that you’ve eliminated from your life with no ill effect.

Here are things which I’ve already done:
- not only do I not use a top sheet, I use a blanket or comforter instead of a duvet so the whole thing can be washed, eliminating the horrible duvet stuffing
-wash whites, colors, baby clothes, towels, basically everything all together in cold water
- my socks don’t match ever and it doesn’t matter. I no longer match up socks.
- I have a roll of red wrapping paper that gets used for all gifts no matter the occasion
posted by pintapicasso to Grab Bag (85 answers total) 137 users marked this as a favorite
I don't fold my underwear, either top or bottom. Nobody ever sees them, and DOES IT REALLY MATTER IF IT'S WRINKLED IT.

(Though, I'll note, a nightguard is another thing to wear at night, but it also eliminated tooth pain and significantly reduced jaw pain for me.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 3:22 PM on September 7, 2018 [21 favorites]

Ironing: if it's not a shirt, it doesn't get ironed. I've known people who iron socks, underwear, towels, the lot... makes no sense to me.

Buying stuff: if it's something I know I'm going to need again and again, and the price is reasonable, I buy 5, or 10, or whatever I can afford. Eliminates a lot of stuff from regular shopping.
posted by pipeski at 3:25 PM on September 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

I don't peel potatoes. They taste just fine with the peel on.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:28 PM on September 7, 2018 [41 favorites]

I stopped folding indoor pants and t shirts and just wad them up and throw them in drawers. I throw all vegetables into the same plastic bag in the crisper. I use my fingers to put sugar in my coffee. Who has the bandwidth for a spoon.

FWIW Mr. Llama got so annoyed at being told repeatedly at the dentist to start wearing a mouth guard that he finally had to ask them to put on his file to stop asking him, because he wasn't going to do it. I can kind of see his point. But we are like that around here--i.e. rejecting medical advice. That's probably not a thing I could recommend in good conscience, but I can say it's a thing we do and it's kind of liberating. YMMV.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:28 PM on September 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

My husband had a sort of ADD meltdown about all our mismatched food storage containers, which were all thrown in a bin with all different brands and sizes of containers and lids which he found incredibly frustrating.

We got rid of everything we had (donated or recycled) and replaced it with a single brand and bought only three sizes and only three of each of those sizes. Bonus is that the two smaller sizes use use the same size lid for which makes for even fewer choices.

Now when you go to put leftovers away there is no searching for bottoms and lids that match and no confusion at all.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:31 PM on September 7, 2018 [42 favorites]

I wear a retainer at night, which requires routine cleaning with those goofy denture tablets, and the irritation of dealing with this has been slightly lessened by storing said retainer in small screwcap plastic jar that's big enough for actually cleaning the damn thing instead of the standard retainer case.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:41 PM on September 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

It's a personal choice that carries a certain amount of medical risk - and doesn't work with everyone - but I take desogestrel (the progesterone-only contraceptive) purely to not have periods.
posted by lokta at 3:43 PM on September 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

Similar to A Terrible Llama, I decided to never fold t-shirts and pants again because life is too friggin short to be folding shirts and they would just stay in the clean pile anyway. I bought like 200 hangers and I hang as much of my clothing as possible. Simple. Done.
posted by gt2 at 3:44 PM on September 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

I stopped making my own coffee to put over ice and started buying cold brew concentrate from Trader Joe's. I also autopay all my bills.
posted by capricorn at 3:48 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Don’t go to the gym or hire people to work for you, get your exercise by doing e.g. yard work if possible.
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:49 PM on September 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

I don't collect the deposit on empty beer/wine bottles. Instead, I put them out on the curb, so people who need change can have the money.

In my area alcohol bottles & cans are worth 5, 10, or 25 cents each. I put mine out sitting in a plastic shopping bag that's been folded down so it's easy to see what they are, and then they're already neatly placed in a bag with a handle for easy carrying.

It spares me having a stinky beer case in the house, and the bottles are always taken within the hour, so I know someone(s) in my neighbourhood appreciates them.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:49 PM on September 7, 2018 [16 favorites]

Cooking larger batches of food less often is one way to save time spent on each meal. This is organizationally more complex but it simplifies my life by giving me more time for other things.
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:50 PM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I got rid of extra dishes so we really have enough for 4 people not 8. I got color-coded Ikea dishes for when children visit so each can be responsible for their own. I use essential oils for cleaning, pest control, perfume, skincare, and stress relief in lieu of commercial products (simpler to have one type of thing for various purposes than several types to me). I don't fold lounge wear. I don't put pants on hangers because it's a pain.
posted by crunchy potato at 3:51 PM on September 7, 2018

Oh man, this thread makes me feel so much less alone for finding “dealing with one more thing” to be an intolerable cognitive load sometimes.

I use the bus as my main mode of transit. This adds cognitive load in that I have to plan travel a little, but removes it in that I don’t have a car to maintain, and traffic is almost completely someone else’s problem.

I limit my kid to two extracurriculars. For the most part I handle piano and Mr. eirias handles swimming.

I don’t do makeup.

Count me among the non-ironers.
posted by eirias at 3:51 PM on September 7, 2018 [26 favorites]

I personally believe that the dentist/nightguard thing is a scammy upsell. The dentists keep trying to sell me one even though when I lie down, my upper and lower teeth do not touch anywhere. It seems like a whole lot of dentists are pushing nightguards whether necessary or not. I'm in total agreement with Mr. Llama— tell the dentist to cease pushing their lil profit makers.

Lately, I've stopped wearing nighgowns. I just sleep in whatever tee shirt I'm in at bedtime.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 3:52 PM on September 7, 2018 [6 favorites]

- I bought a pile of $5 wool pants at a surplus store and they are now the only pants I wear.
- I don't drive and I am working on eliminating biking in favor of walking.
- I don't have wrapping paper. There's always something in the recycling, like old calendars.
- (btw my dental hygienist says my dentist can "adjust" my mouthguard, eg., cut bits off to make it fit my mouth better)
- I keep my hair short so I don't have to deal with it
- In the shower, we have soap and pumice. That's it.
- Glasses instead of contacts
- If we don't use it regularly, we don't own it. We borrow it. Most recent things borrowed: an iron for a special sewing project, books from the book library, drills and a level from the tool library.
- If we do use it, we lend it. Our favorite tool to lend: 8' "bikes at work" trailer.
- minimal bills (eg yes to utilities, no to netflix)
- listservs get filtered instead of hitting the inbox
- junk mail gets a phone call and my name taken off their list
- "one-touch" rule - If I handle something, I do my best to process it/put it where it goes/etc. then and there

( PS - My dental hygienist suggests trying whatever cheap nightguard first, many people don't need the heavy-duty nightguards, and my dentist will even "adjust" it to your mouth (at no charge) by cutting bits of it off til it fits a little better.)
posted by aniola at 3:56 PM on September 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

Stop wasting your life turning your knits right side out. If it comes off your body inside out, throw it into the laundry exactly as it is. When it comes out of the dryer or off the line, stuff it in your drawer without fiddling with its sideness at all. When you encounter a T-shirt inside out and want to put it on rightside out, put your head into the small hole at the top of the shirt, not the big hole at the bottom of the shirt. Pull the shirt down over you, inverting it as you put it on. Socks, same: if the sock is inside out and you want to wear it rightside out, invert it as you put it on. So put your toes against the toe of the sock and pull the cuff up over your foot, inverting the sock. Underwear you just put on without regard to its sidedness. If it's all cotton it doesn't matter if it's inside out or rightside out.

(If I go somewhere overnight and forget my mouthguard, I am miserable. It's the best.)
posted by Don Pepino at 3:59 PM on September 7, 2018 [9 favorites]

I don't sort my silverware when I put it in the drawer. Forks, knives, and spoons all live in one shallow tupperware that fits in my drawer. It's easy enough to find what you need. Bonus is there's more room in the drawer for other stuff.
posted by hydra77 at 4:04 PM on September 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

I don't sign my name on credit card receipts, etc. I just draw a line. No one cares.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:04 PM on September 7, 2018 [23 favorites]

Forgot about this one: growing out body hair is fine for me, YMMV.
posted by lokta at 4:05 PM on September 7, 2018 [13 favorites]

I stopped using the grate in one of the bird cages because the bird doesn't go on the cage bottom. Now that was a time saver!

I resolved to stop collecting things.

I resolved to stop buying fancy tea because it doesn't get made.

Hubs goes on a yearly clothes shopping spree for new black jeans, polo shirts and sweaters - his nerd uniform.

I finally put a basket by the door so all the things that get tossed on the floor end up there.

I always eat oatmeal for breakfast.
posted by Calzephyr at 4:05 PM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've started keeping plates and bowls, which I use daily, stacked on a shelf instead of inside a cabinet. It makes things a lot smoother and means fewer steps in putting things away AND in getting them out for use.
posted by amtho at 4:06 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Most of my clothing is either black, white or gray. That way everything always matches. When in doubt, buy black.

I always use an immersion blender when making soup to puree everything, that way I can roughly chop everything before cooking instead of cutting into fiddly, evenly sized bits.

Minimal jewelry, I have basically one pair of earrings and two necklaces that I wear. I really love them but when I don't, they will be gone.

Two identical sets of sheets, that way either parts can be matched together or recombined if something is ruined.

Eating out. I have three places in the neighborhood that I like, sure, I could spend a lot of time finding new places for more variety, but it is so much simpler to just go there and be happy every single time.

I am on a continual hunt to dispense of clutter. If I don't love it or use it, out it goes.
posted by nanook at 4:08 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I once read that you shouldn’t make your bed because you should let the sheets air during the day. Good enough for me.

I am also seriously downsizing because the fewer things I have, the less time I have to spend taking care of stuff. I decided to donate rather than deal with the hassle of selling. So I always have a donate box in progress. I’m finding The Minimalists podcast good inspiration for simplifying.
posted by FencingGal at 4:10 PM on September 7, 2018 [8 favorites]

Instead of ironing, use Downy Wrinkle Releaser.
posted by amro at 4:13 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah I forgot, I have one pair of earrings that lives in my ears. I shower and sleep in them. They have flat backs so they are comfortable, and they are awesome for looking like I care about how put together I am without the work.
posted by crunchy potato at 4:14 PM on September 7, 2018 [18 favorites]

FWIW, I find a nightguard immensely helpful...but I totally agree that it's super annoying to have so many things to deal with!

- I basically only have 2 types of socks. Black crew socks and black no-show socks. I don't fold them in pairs, I just stack them on top of each other and put in a small bin in my drawer. You could also just throw them in the bin. I definitely don't fold underwear.
- If I like an item of clothing, I buy multiples in color variations. I have like 6 pairs of the same jeans in different washes/cuffs. I also do *not* understand women who have a million different bras of different types. I have several bras of the same style in different colors. Same with sports bra.
- If you find yourself needing something in 2 places, buy a second one. I sometimes do hair and makeup in the bathroom, sometimes in my bedroom. I have a second mirror, comb, brush.
- In that same vein, I bought as many duplicates as possible for travel. I used to have to rush around the morning of a trip making sure I have my toothbrush, deodorant, etc., packed. Now everything (as much as possible...I only have one nightguard!) has a twin that lives in my suitcase or dopp kit.
- lokta mentioned body hair - I did the opposite (I am a woman). I got laser hair removal on my armpits and bikini line.
- Try to keep things where you use them. Command hooks are great for this. Hook in the closet next to my jeans for my belt. Hook for my blinky arm lights (safety first!) for walking the dog in the dark in the front hall closet.
- If I make lunch, I make 2 days' worth at a time. It's almost no extra effort. I also eat overnight oats for breakfast basically every day, and make 4 days' worth at once.
posted by radioamy at 4:14 PM on September 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

I don't sort my silverware when I put it in the drawer. Forks, knives, and spoons all live in one shallow tupperware that fits in my drawer.

Oh, absolutely this--we have ours in a ceramic container but good lord I would not sort forks and spoons into their special snowflake places.

Also: hand towels for the bathroom just get thrown into a little basket in the bathroom, to be used as needed. They don't get folded or stuffed into a linen closet.

Duplicates of things--I like a particular lipstick, one goes in the medicine cabinet and one goes in my handbag. I like to keep it modularized and swappable and don't want to chase down my most loved lip balm or whatever.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:16 PM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have to second radioamy - buy duplicates of anything that makes life easier/better. (Then get rid of the the inconvenient and/or less-good stuff.) You eliminate some stress and you also eliminate the need to make a lot of random choices about things you're not deeply invested in wanting to choose.
posted by VioletU at 4:22 PM on September 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

I have eliminated trying to put coordinated outfits together and the agony of clothes shopping. This took some time to set-up, but I only buy clothes in a certain color scheme. I decided on two base neutrals (for me, gray and navy), and accent colors (I went with pink, light blue, and cream). There was a guide on the internet that laid it all out which went into more color suggestions, but I opted for sticking to almost all neutrals for simplicity's sake. It's been a few years now, and I have the wonderful pleasure of just *grabbing anything* in the morning and everything goes together and makes a cute outfit with *zero* thought. It is the exact amount of time I want to spend on clothing. It also means when I go shopping my eyes glaze over anything that doesn't fit my color scheme, and I can scan through a store's options effectively. Eliminating the art of creating just the right outfit, or juggling my wardrobe has been amazing, plus, hilariously, I look more professional and put together than when I was trying really hard.
posted by missmary6 at 4:26 PM on September 7, 2018 [34 favorites]

I hate hunting for this stuff so in my living room, kitchen, and office I have a pencil holder with a pen, mechanical pencil, Sharpie, x-acto knife, nail file, letter opener, and pair of small scissors.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:54 PM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I refuse to eat in the car.
While on the surface, this may seem to make life more complicated, after all, what could be easier than a bag of drive-through, it has a bunch of knock on effects that make life simpler.

For one, with children, it immediately cuts down on the number of extracurricular activities you can participate in. There's no rushing from one class or sport to another if you need to actually stop and eat in the middle.
This in turn gives the children more free time for homework because they have actual downtime while dinner is prepared and aren't attempting to complete it in the car between events.
Which leads to better school results because they can take time and care for their tasks.

It also has a tendency to keep the car cleaner.
No food in the car means no smells, from the cheerios when they were babies to after school apples to teenager fries, the only way you can tell my car transports children is the presence of a car seat.
Going home for meals also makes it possible to trade out activity bags. No sports equipment or uniforms or instruments piling up in the third row.
A clean car is a happy car.
posted by madajb at 4:55 PM on September 7, 2018 [20 favorites]

  • No shaving, no makeup, a haircut twice a decade whether I need it or not. No dry-cleaning. No ironing. It helps to have a partner who shares this general outlook.
  • Buy clothes in multiples. If I find something I like, I put a search for it on ebay and buy more as they show up. I never buy new clothes.
  • Got rid of most duplicate bedding and just wash the stuff I'm using and then put it back on the bed. I am a huge fan of the "air it out" school of bedmaking (i.e. do not make the bed, fold down blankets during the day, fold them up at night)
  • Shelves for clothes, shelves for dishes, much easier to see when you're running low on stuff, I like to look at nicely organized things. I do a ten second fold on clothes before they go on the shelf.
  • Tub/box thing for socks (which goes on the shelf!), paired after I do laundry. Not sorted any more than that.
  • Nearly always buy the same general food when shopping. Will do a special shop when I'm doing a special thing but most of the time my pantry is the same within some seasonal fluctuations.
  • One email address and judicious use of filters for sorting. Doubles of all tech crap I need (charging cables, headphones and etc) so I do not need to pack it when traveling. Charging station in the house.
  • Post office box so junk mail never gets into my house. Always keep extra stamps and envelopes in the house (and a big bag of padded envelopes) so I never have to hunt for them
  • Each bathroom has their own cleaning supplies, no sense carrying them around

posted by jessamyn at 4:59 PM on September 7, 2018 [9 favorites]

I have long hair and it goes in a bun with one ponytail elastic Every day. If I don't brush my hair nobody notices. If it gets lose, flip head reapply elastic. Done, simple easy. No variation..

I don't eat breakfast because fuck figuring out anything I don't have to. My routine before work has zero variation. Alarm, groom, clothes, keys door. No food, no TV, no breaks. 15 minutes awake to door.

Caffeine (diet soda is my preference) is stored in car (provided weather appropriate sooo exactly this time of year.) Drink on way to work.

No nail polish, make up or jewelery . I work in a hospital so I have abit more leeway with this than most.

I have basically three pairs of shoes two are black and I rotate them out. One pair of flioflops for summer casual wear. Winter I have two pairs of snowboots.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:59 PM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm not sure this counts, but I gave myself permission to get rid of presents that I don't actually want and it saves a ridiculous amount of mental energy.

My relatives show their love through gift giving and refuse to hear me when I say I don't want anything for my birthday, no really, just take me out to dinner, so I had amassed this guilty mountain of clothes that didn't fit my style and knickknacks I had nowhere to put.

Now when I get one of those gifts, I take it home, write a thank you note, and put the item directly in the "donate" box in my closet for the next time I make a trip to the thrift store. Sometimes I even do the KonMari thing and thank the object for showing the giver's love for me.
posted by Basil Stag Hare at 5:01 PM on September 7, 2018 [24 favorites]

Response by poster: I thought of some other things I do that some may find helpful:
- I only own one bra. I wash it in the sink like once a month. Ymmv obviously, I hang it up to air out overnight.
- Rubbermaid makes a type of storage container system where one lid fits a variety of container volumes. It’s so great.
- I get my haircut once a year, and just cut it straight across myself using regular kitchen scissors in between.
- wrote about this before and it’s a little different now that I’m postpartum but I got my wardrobe down to a radically small amount of clothing - like less than 10 items total. This has been the single biggest timesaver - in less laundry, planning outfits just once and virtually no clothes shopping.
posted by pintapicasso at 5:08 PM on September 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

I did Konmari, and that plus sticking with my color palette for clothes and home stuff is very simple and, in the case of the colors, very economical.

I've worn a nightguard for nearly 40 years. Without it, my jaws feel like they traveled for miles and miles and miles -- sore and exhausted. My nightguard makes my ability to be comfortable and productive much simpler!
posted by jgirl at 5:10 PM on September 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

With really limited exceptions (special occasion dresses, etc.) I just don't buy clothing requiring hand washing or dry cleaning, even though that essentially rules out certain types of fabrics.

Bookwise, I usually limit myself to what my local library carries. It's a really easy way to filter what would otherwise be an endless TBR list and avoids the stress of spending $ on a book I end up hating and feeling obligated to finish it.
posted by eeek at 5:13 PM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Work clothes: I have eight pairs of the same black trousers, six identical lightweight tops in different colors, and every fall I buy 5 or 6 V-neck merino sweaters in different colors from Uniqlo. I wear one of those combinations to work at least 3 days a week. I have some other clothes too, dresses and patterned trousers too, so I'm not pulling a Jobs/Zuckerberg, but I only have to think about what I'm wearing to work if I actually want to; otherwise it's grab, grab, don. None of them need to be ironed. (I do hang the tops to dry). I mix it up enough that I honestly don't think anyone at work has noticed, not that I'd care if they did.

I also don't store summer and winter clothing anymore. Everything I own stays in my (tiny) closet or dresser all year. If I accumulate more than I can store, I purge it.

I no longer iron either. Nor do I dry clean, except for certain beloved garments.

My kids go to a million kid birthday parties so I just went to the dollar store and bought like 25 brightly colored gift bags. Like you, I have two rolls of silver and gold paper for non-baggable gifts, but now I don't have to wrap anything either. We reuse the gift bags brought by their friends at their birthday parties as well, so the bags just circulate around the 2nd grade/pre-K circuit and I don't have to waste or recycle the gift wrap. I bought my kids cheap but fun personalized cards and we use those instead of birthday cards (I wouldn't use birthday cards at all but otherwise it's easy to lose track of who sent which present for thank-you purposes

Similarly, I bought 100 notecards with my initials on them in a restrained font and use them for nearly all social mail. Thank you notes, happy birthday notes, Christmas gifts, etc.

I told my husband I was declaring sock bankruptcy a couple of years ago and bought a bunch of identical socks in the hope of minimizing matching. This hasn't been as successful as I hoped--it worked great for athletic socks but less well for other kinds of socks, mostly because so many women's socks are sold in multi-packs containing different patterns.

I made my kids start doing more of their own stuff. Finding shoes, getting dressed, locating backpacks, etc.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 5:13 PM on September 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

Fuckin Facebook. If you're on it you'll be amazed at how easy it is to quit and how little you miss it.
posted by saladin at 5:25 PM on September 7, 2018 [41 favorites]

I eat the same meals over and over. Cuts down on food waste, time spent cooking, and significantly speeds up shopping.

I refuse to do more than one grocery trip a week and accept alternative versions of my staples when they're out of stock. If I do have to visit a different store for something, I stock up on whatever it is if possible.

I own 3 pairs of shoes and don't care if I wear them over and over (they are: one pair of sandals for the summer, one pair of athletic shoes for exercise, one nice pair of loafers for the office).

I own ONE really good winter coat. I never have that sinking realization that I left my stuff in "the other coat" like I did when I had many coats.

If a recyclable item is going to take a lot of time and effort to scrub clean, I just put it in the trash can.

I don't buy kitchenware that can't go in the dishwasher and I don't buy clothes that can't go in the washer / dryer with everything else in one large mixed load.

I have a phone charger/cable next to my bed, computer, and in the kitchen so I can always be charging.

I keep paper towels and cleaning supplies in each bathroom so I don't have to go get them from some central location (such as the kitchen) before wiping the bathroom(s) down.

When I lived in a two story home, a vacuum on each floor.

I own about 40 socks, all identical. Purge every few years and start fresh.

I sort junk mail at the mailbox and dispose of it on the way into my home. In a house, that's into a bin in the garage. In an apartment, that was a shared recycling bin in the mail room.

One simple haircut every few years. No makeup. No nail paint, piercings, or anything to maintain on my body.

A tissue box and wastebasket in every room. No need to "look for" these things or leave the room if you have need of either.

Throw out receipts as soon as I get them (or decline them if possible). Keep only the ones that might have an item I might need to return but I don't keep receipts from food, gasoline, other consumables (sorry, Mom).

Live in a house with the smallest yard I could find.

Live in a house with a HOA that handles all exterior work.
posted by paris moon at 5:29 PM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

breakfast and lunch ...
and drinking straight from the carton of (soy) milk
dont tell my wife
posted by forforf at 5:41 PM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

• All black socks and T-Shirts all in same style.
• If it hasn't been used for three years get rid of it.
• PO Box is a huge clutter saver.
• No ironing in our house and don't own a tie or suit or wear any jewellry, watch etc.
• Short beard and #1 haircut.
• Unlisted landline.
• I resist buying more books and no longer buy magazines at all, or papers.
• Keep each of my job files in a transparent plastic sleeve.
- I did hang them along one office wall like meal orders but that was vetoed, It did mean current jobs were always front of mind tho'.
• I dont have kids, siblings or living relatives so that simplifies a bit more than normal I guess.
posted by unearthed at 5:57 PM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

My practices:

1. Seconding not folding shirts -- hang every shirt you own on hangers.

2. Seconding not folding underwear or socks -- if you can get away with it buy one color or one kind of sock. This way you will never have to search, just grab.

3. Pared down makeup down to 4 products -- concealer, blush, lip color, mascara

4. Dove bar soap -- can be used on face and body.

5. Even if I like the idea of it, and wish it were me, I don't buy what history tells me I'm probably never going to use: journals, planners, calendars, kitchen appliances, kitchen gadgets, eyeshadow, candles, seasonal decor, tchotchkes, flavored teas, cookbooks, and the list goes on.

6. I'm an under-buyer. I don't stock up on much. When I run out, I buy more. (I do stock up on paper towels and toilet paper at club store.) I am an under-buyer in every part of my life. Example: I like fresh breath. I brush and floss. I don't buy mouthwash, gum, or mints. I like yoga. I have a mat. I like to stay healthy and look good: I don't buy supplements or vitamins or protein powder or bottled juices or beauty products (I do like moisturizer and sunscreen and my four cosmetics). And on and on. Keep it simple. I don't have stuff "just in case". Most of the time it's not needed.

7. Set up coffee night before. Set up everything you can the night before.

8. Have kids make their own lunches the night before.

9. Everyone in household is responsible for their own laundry. "Complete the cycle" -- wash, dry, hang in closet. Don't leave in basket or dryer or table.

10. Do at least one load of laundry every day.

11. I don't go to baby showers or bridal showers unless VERY close friends or family -- I've been to enough in my lifetime. I don't go to any kind of product sales party.

12. Intermittent fasting. Saves money and time. I don't eat until 3pm. That means I'll have a light meal or snack at 3pm and dinner around 6pm. Done.

13. Only keep basic pans and kitchen tools. (chef's knife, stock pot, enamel dutch oven, one saucepan, frying pan, larger frying pan with lid, two cake pans, toaster, microwave, etc.). Got rid of anything that is duplicate or cluttering or used once a year -- like bundt pans.
posted by loveandhappiness at 6:00 PM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Smart lights that turn on and off on a schedule.

Clean as you go. Don’t let things pile up. Even a 20-minute chunk of time where you run around wiping countertops and throwing in a load of laundry will keep things reasonable.

Smart note/list apps to track your shopping and to-do items, instead of writing it down on paper and then having to remember the paper.

Run errands on the way home from work so you don’t have to make a special trip on the weekend.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:27 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Nthing the capsule wardrobe idea, but taking that one step further, I've optimized my wardrobe so that I rarely need socks unless I'm at the gym. 90% of the bottoms I wear are skirts or ankle pants, so I don't need socks with either for three seasons, and in winter I almost exclusively wear skirts with tights or leggings. Another plus is that I don't have to worry about hemming anything.

Contacts over glasses, unless I'm doing a sport that isn't glasses-compatible, and even then wearing daily disposables instead of fiddling around with monthlies. I buy 90 pairs of lenses every two years when my Rx changes, and that gets me through.

I regularly wear and like makeup, which I understand is an odd thing for most minimalist sorts of women, but my day and night looks are basically the same three products - powder foundation, lip stain, eyeliner.

I end up spending a fair bit of money on haircuts to get layers that look good air-dried with minimal product - this is a thing that wouldn't be relatable for people with naturally straight hair, though, but the investment is worth it to not walk around looking like the love child of Buckwheat and Cousin It.

Duplicates of toiletries for home, work, travel, and the gym so I don't have to worry about packing stuff.

Duplicate bedding, so I can swap out sheets without having to immediately wash them and/or argue with an SO over the idea that it's okay to like clean sheets. I also haven't made my bed in the mornings since 2005.

Unless it's a textbook or a desk reference for work, I choose ebooks over physical books these days.

Same breakfast every weekday - a protein shake in a blender bottle.

For lunch and dinner, I meal prep each weekend so I can plan to have some variety in my diet.

I don't necessarily subscribe to other peoples' ideas of minimalism - I fill my home and life with things that I actually use, like flavoured teas and non-machine-washable wool sweaters. It's okay to like and value things even if I want to simplify my life, and I don't have to justify those tradeoffs to anyone.
posted by blerghamot at 6:27 PM on September 7, 2018 [12 favorites]

Discloths that can all be bleached. Though I started buying only white dishcloths, the older ones, with color, are still around, and those get bleached as well. I'll take faded over nefarious-looking stains any day.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 6:44 PM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think life is better when every room has a trash can.

Probably TMI: I don't shower unless I've gotten sweaty / dusty, but since I need to wash my privates (as a woman), I fill a water bottle and wash while sitting on the toilet.
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:45 PM on September 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

Set the table directly from the dishwasher. Skip putting dishes away to take out again.
posted by jazh at 7:10 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I don't have a car (or drive at all). For some, this makes life more inconvenient. For me in my specific situation (live in a city with OK transit, no kids, no mobility issues), it makes life much simpler.

This has become kind of a cliche at this point, but it truly works great for me, and wasn't a conscious decision until one day it was: the majority of my clothes are jeans and different styles of black tops. I have very few decisions to make about what to wear, or what makeup/shoes/earrings go with the day's outfit. I can also wash most of my clothes in the same load--no lights to separate out!

Speaking of makeup, I use a moisturizer with SPF included so I don't have to apply two things to my face, a foundation that still looks good when I apply with my fingers instead of using a sponge or brush, and very forgiving blush that requires no precision in application. And my hair is dry, brush, and go--no styling, ever.

I stock up on the necessities (TP, Diet Dr Pepper), because running out when I need is is inconvenient but so is restocking on weekly grocery trips.

I've unfollowed everyone except my partners, close friends, and the family I like on Facebook. This cleared up SO MUCH cognitive space. Yes I'd rather leave FB entirely, but I'd lose valuable connections to my geographically-strewn people.

Honestly, though, the biggest thing that simplifies my life is that I say no a lot. Highschool acquaintance or distant relative's wedding? Regretfully decline. Work social event I "should" go to but don't wanna? I'm sorry, I won't be able to make it. Etc. I save the effort for the truly important people and events, and don't let a sense of obligation
posted by rhiannonstone at 7:14 PM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

That comment about cleaning out recyclables reminds me that we let the dog prewash all the dishes unless we’ve made something heavy on garlic or onions, and she also takes care of some recyclable items, like yogurt containers.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:37 PM on September 7, 2018 [10 favorites]

I stopped having tea or coffee with breakfast; if I'm honest, I never liked the taste anyway at that time of day. Now I just take a caffeine pill in the morning along with my other medications, before I even get out of bed. Instead of having to do half my morning routine all groggy and slow, I'm nicely awake by the time I'm halfway through my morning shower. Not having to make and drink coffee shaves a few minutes off my morning routine as well, which is nice. Sometimes I still have tea or coffee at other times of day, though.

I also grew a beard, stopped cutting my hair more than once a year, and stopped shaving every day. Also, I discovered that my hair is a lot happier and easier to deal with if I don't wash it every day, and if I use only conditioner when I do wash it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:44 PM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Luna bars or Quest bars for lunch every weekday.

I do occasionally shave something (a leg, a pit, whatever), but only when I feel like it, which is maybe every other week or three.

Nthing no makeup. I was semi-concerned about possible issues with this when I recently had a supervisor who is very hyped up about "looking professional," but she was fine.

We keep a white board on the side of our fridge where we write down things we need to buy at the grocery store as we run out - so much easier than trying to remember that when it comes time to do our weekly grocery list.

And we use our grocery store's shopping service (i.e., we order what we need on their website and they assemble our order and deliver it to our car when we arrive) - I was skeptical about this one at first but OMG it's a life-changer. Saves time AND the mental/emotional energy it takes to get through a crowded grocery store at the end of a long day. It costs a bit, but we figure we're breaking even or possibly even saving money since it means we're not in the store making all kinds of random impulse purchases.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:51 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have only three pairs of socks. They're Darn Tough brand, all medium-weight and charcoal grey, and I'm fine letting them air out and re-wearing unless they're actually dirty. They only start feeling like they need a wash after about two weeks of that. (I have confirmed with a bluntly honest third party that they don't smell.) I don't generally bother with socks at all when it's hot but even when I do need to wear them in summer, the wool doesn't get too warm. Every once in a while I manage to wear a hole in one, at which point I set it aside until a second is worn out too, and then I file for a free replacement pair.
posted by teremala at 7:57 PM on September 7, 2018

re: Nightguard, dentist one was $800. I got one from Evil Internet Retailer for $20. Works great.

Nthing hand wash and hand dish wash. I avoid them if I can. I don't think I own anything that needs Dry Cleaning.

We also have done grocery shopping service with car delivery and it's great. At the Walmart near us, it's free.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:01 PM on September 7, 2018

I roll my clothes, travel style, to put in my dresser drawers instead of folding. It fits more and you can see what's in the drawer easier.

If you have a ton of knickknacks but they're sentimental, get a storage box for some of them and rotate them every few months so you get some new decor.

I too absolutely hate planning/packing lunch and I've given myself permission to have basically a kid lunch box every day. Sandwich, fruit, small bag of chips, yogurt or nuts. Same lunch every day. It's the only thing that's ever made me able to pack lunch effectively.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:03 PM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you do laundry, uh, less frequently, I've liked having two kitchen and bath rugs, that way you can just toss in the laundry when it's dirty and you always have a clean backup and don't keep forgetting to grab your gross rug to wash on laundry day.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:07 PM on September 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

Leaving butter out on the counter in a butter dish, so that it's soft whenever we need it, is a tiny aggravation and time-saver. It really doesn't ever seem to go off.

When I drive into my driveway after work, I take the mail out of my curbside mailbox and dump anything that isn't aimed at me specifically ("you may be approved" offers, retail catalogues, reams of newsprint full of sales coupons) directly into the outdoor recycling bin, before I even reach the front door. I'm never going to use those coupons for Mr. Clean. I can look at the catalogues online later if those new boots I glimpsed on the cover still haunt me.
posted by nantucket at 8:19 PM on September 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

One car.

No pet.
posted by Elsie at 8:44 PM on September 7, 2018

- automatic bill payment for everything including rent. My expenses are pretty consistent and I know I have the money, so less stress and paperwork and planning!

- broom, dustpan and trash can in every place that regularly needs sweeping (house, garage and patio).

- not wearing makeup, and having a haircut that looks BETTER if it isn't washed every day and air dries.

- recycling bag right by the front door so junk mail can go directly into it

- having some essentials (like toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, some kitchen staples) that I replace right when I start using the last one, so they never run out.
posted by centrifugal at 8:49 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I discovered it is possible to rent tools from my local tool library at very reasonable prices, allowing me to free up a bunch of space in my garage.

I use an electric towel drying rack on a 30 minute timer to keep my shower towel from getting icky.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:01 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Skipping the clothing stuff because you do many of the same things I do. No kids, so I can get away with it, but not wearing anything to bed sure cuts down on needing to keep a drawer full of sleepwear. I have a couple of yoga pants for wearing around the house with tees, and that's it.

A while back, I didn't have easy access to a laundromat (and no washer/dryer in my building) so I washed everything in a WonderWash. Because of the size restriction, I switched to using hand towels for showering instead of full-size towels. I never bothered switching back. Because they're about the quarter of the size of a regular towel, I can use a fresh one every day without having to do extra loads, and they do a perfectly good job. I kept the WonderWash and use it to handwash my scarves, since it does the best job of getting all the soap out.

Liquid chalk markers write directly on the fridge (do test first, leaving for a day or few). You can also use them to write your to-do list on the bathroom mirror, or leave notes/reminders for family.

I have a spare shelf in the pantry, so when I have an awful week coming up, I meal plan by arranging all the dry items for a given meal together (e.g. jar of sauce, box of pasta, garlic cloves, can of olives) and do several meal groups in a row. That way I know I have everything I need in advance and don't have to hunt.

When vacuuming, I use the tube to vacuum the inside bottom of my oven. I also cook bacon in the oven so I don't have to babysit it while it spits at me. I use the IKEA Stabil splatter screen when cooking anything on the stovetop, and their microwave dish cover (I hesitate to mention but have met many people who don't know this is something that exists???), which keep me from having to clean like I used to. I never cook directly on a baking sheet, but always line with foil (or parchment, rarely) because then I can justify not washing them every time. After cooking, I use a brush/dustpan on the counters for crumbs and spray the sink and countertops down with a weak bleach solution before going to bed. Whenever I make eggs, I throw the eggshells into a jar with water to soak, then use this to water my plants (the orchids like it especially).

I don't buy books or music or dvds or subscribe to streaming services or cable, but consider the entire Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to be my personal collection, managed on my behalf by some lovely and talented friends. I visit to collect my requests every couple of weeks. I have one bookshelf to hold my school and research books, plus what I check out from the library, and gave away the rest.
posted by notquitemaryann at 9:26 PM on September 7, 2018 [10 favorites]

I hate figuring out lunch/breakfast, so I eventually just gave myself permission to buy them every damn day at my work cafeteria. I budget for it, it probably replaces other luxuries in my life, and I’m always well fed when I want to be.
posted by whitewall at 9:43 PM on September 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

I take magnesium citrate because it makes me not clench my jaw, and therefore not need a mouth guard. I remember to take my mag cit by setting myself alarms on my phone but with great songs I love, so I feel a happy association with the alarm going off and taking my magnesium citrate.
posted by andreapandrea at 9:44 PM on September 7, 2018 [8 favorites]

I got an undercut and then grew the, uh, top part? out. And now I cut it all myself and I love it. Clippers for the undercut, and then scissors for the long hair, done and dusted. (I like it because I can do a lot with this particular hairstyle and it's super-flattering for me, but I think it lends itself well to 'shove in a ponytail and go every day' or whatever you might like.)
posted by kalimac at 10:46 PM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Alarms on my phone set up to repeat as needed to remind me to do chores I tend to forget (trash can to the curb for example)
Figuring out what the limiting item was for laundry (underwear) and the dishwasher (cereal bowls) thy was making me have to do the chore more frequently than I wanted. Buying more of those to do the chore less.
Having more routines. Things I do every morning, things I do after every meal, things I do every evening. The more I can let my brain go on autopilot the happier I am.
No more 24 hr news cycle. Log out of twitter, get off of Facebook. Books, tv, or podcasts for entertainment.
I have a list of must Do chores in the evening they are related to food prep and hygiene (personal & house). I really try to do just what is absolutely necessary to feed myself the next day and not be gross. Everything else waits.
The three minute clean: i periodically put on an unbeat song that i love and clean for the duration of the song.
posted by CMcG at 3:15 AM on September 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I get my groceries delivered through instacart. Costs more, sure, but gets me like 3hrs+ back every weekend.

I stopped bullet journalling and started using a to do list app to have one less thing to carry around in my purse.

I got a e-reader so I wouldn't have to choose every morning what book I was going to bring with me.

I cut my hair so short I don't have to brush it. Every morning I get it wet, throw some product in it because curls, and go.

I have a wardrobe 'palette' of navy, white, tan, green, and brown, and buy to fit a particular silhouette that looks good on me. Everything goes together and looks good on me.

I eat cereal for breakfast most mornings because fuck any effort besides pouring two things in a bowl, and I allow myself to buy lunch at work.

I've also just given up on my husband's messes. He can't be bothered to put up his clothes or organize his Lego collection or put up cleaning supplies when he's done with them, so I just make sure his stuff goes by his desk or next to his side of the bed, and let him deal with it. I keep the rest of the apartment clean, he doesn't mind the mess, and I mind the mess in his spaces much less than I would mind cleaning up after him, so it works for us and keeps that sort of thing off my plate.
posted by bridgebury at 6:10 AM on September 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

- I keep my hair short so I don't have to deal with it

For the same reason, I keep my hair long. If it bugs me, I can tie it back or put it up in 10 seconds flat. I haven't had a haircut for years and years.
posted by JanetLand at 7:13 AM on September 8, 2018 [5 favorites]

- I left facebook years ago. No regrets.

- I use a couple zip pouches (with fairly consistent contents: pens and note cards; chargers and cables; misc. travel stuff; etc.) to store small items, which helps a lot when switching between a shoulder bag, bike panniers, or luggage day to day.

- When I'm making dinner and chopping things like onions or peppers, rather than worry about prepping the right amount, I err on the side of chopping extra and figure that I'm already most of the way to making an omelette for breakfast the next day.

- If I'm leaving, always lock with a key, rather than the doorknob. That ensures I don't forget the key. I also metaphorically apply this to a lot of other things -- rather than expending attention to detail on whether I remembered to pack something, habitually do things so the object remembers for me.

- I got a keychain where I can easily remove most things, and clip one on and off easily. Rather than carrying around lots of bulky keys, I usually just have two or three (and clip on the comparatively enormous car key, if I'm driving that day).

- For things that I tend to carry with me and move a lot from room to room (in particular, my cell phone!), I try to have a consistent spot in each room where I put it if not in my pocket or bag.
posted by silentbicycle at 7:25 AM on September 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

I gave up fighting with (and losing to) my hair, and just bought a bunch of caps. Saves time and a lot of frustration.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:44 AM on September 8, 2018

One knife, fork, spoon, plate, bowl, pot, pan. (Pan is cast iron, I never lift it off the stove.)

Dawn for dishes AND laundry.
posted by MountainDaisy at 8:39 AM on September 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I like a lot of variety in life, so many of the simplification/minimalism tricks above make me sad. The following things have worked for me, though (it's a long list):

- On Mondays, bring lunch for the whole week into work. This is either a huge container of leftovers from Sunday dinner, unassembled sandwich ingredients, or uncut salad ingredients. I like taking a break at lunch so I'm happy to wash/cut/assemble lunch at work but hate doing so the night before.

- Telling my hairdresser I will not brush my hair or use any products so the cut needs to look good with a one-minute blowdry.

- Jewelry: I like earrings, but I only wear ones I can leave in 24/7 for weeks at a time. A stack of rings that all fit on the same finger so I can just grab one, and a hook with necklaces that match everything.

- With limited exceptions, all home decorations are useful. Decorative bowls hold fruit, a scarf holder adds color to my room, pretty wooden boxes hold tiny items. If its only purpose is to look pretty and it takes up space, it goes.

- Dresser dividers or separate drawers. Bras and underwear get thrown in one compartment, socks and tights in another. Sweaters and dresses get rolled and lined up (faster than folding, no crease lines, and I can see everything). I hang up as many things as possible, but the idea of hanging up knits makes me cry because they get stretched out.

- Wardrobe is black, grey, white, blue, and burgundy. Nothing clashes.

- Glycerine soap for face, body, hands and cleaning. Buy a giant container when running low.

- Jojoba oil as an all-purpose moisturizer. None of this separate hand/face/body/lips moisturizer rubbish.

- Menstrual cup instead of dealing with tampons/pads.

- Giant laundry basket with a lid and separate compartments for lights/darks.

- One cast iron pan for cooking almost everything. This gets left on the stovetop.

- Frequent-use items get left out. Coffee beans, granola, etc. are in glass jars on the countertop.

- Immersion blender, garlic press, two sharp knives (chef's and paring) on a magnetic board.

- Moka pot for making coffee, although I still have a pourover thing for when I'm impatient. Some people find coffee makers easier - I don't.

- Most importantly, decide where I want to use my bandwidth/time in terms of tidying up. Making my bed, tidying the couch throw, wiping down the counter after every use, putting away my yoga mat every day? No.
posted by ersatzhuman at 8:42 AM on September 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

I feel like everyone is sleeping on DRESSES for super simple clothing options. No matching, no thinking, instant outfit, usually more comfortable than separates. I have tons of clothes but find myself cycling through the same six neutral-colored jersey and cotton weave loose-fit dresses for weeks at a time and still feel put together every day.
posted by LeeLanded at 9:11 AM on September 8, 2018 [22 favorites]

"I resolved to stop buying fancy tea because it doesn't get made."
I resolved to stop making dinner and instead drink up the dozens and dozens of fancy teas I have been amassing for decades because I fancied that one day I would become a tea drinker. I have become a tea drinker. Most of it is perfectly palatable despite being very ancient; there's not enough caffeine in the caffeinated ones to keep me awake; I've lost 20 pounds. Besides, dinner is a goddamn pain in the ass.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:57 PM on September 8, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'm Dutch. That means (among other things) that I consider bread or cereal to be a perfectly fine breakfast, and bread to be a perfectly fine lunch. It seems that in many places in the world, people are expected to prepare (or have prepared for them) hot dishes for breakfast and lunch, or else consider themselves deprived.
Not so over here! You will never hear a Dutch person ask what's for lunch, or wonder what to have for lunch; bread with various toppings, that's what's for lunch. That's just how we roll, or slice. Try it some time if it seems like a good idea.

I also do not put on special clothes for riding a bicycle or insist on taking a shower afterwards. I just cruise along in my normal clothes, without working up much of a sweat. Riding a bicycle is not a sport to me, it's just transportation. It's not a race. This makes it much simpler.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:24 PM on September 8, 2018 [12 favorites]

Cute pull on sneakers in the Spring and Summer, Blundstones in the Fall and Winter. Tall shoe horn by the door. Laces are the enemy.
posted by stray at 2:32 PM on September 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Mute text message alerts for everyone except the few people who tend to need you urgently (generally that's spouse, parents, and childcare). Everyone else can wait a few hours and you can get back to them when it's time to poo.

Mute email alerts, period. Check email like in the old days, once every couple hours- NOT for every single email.

Turn off all notifications for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. You can check those sites when YOU want to, not when they want your addicted little pageviews.

Use communication tools as your tools; don't be their servant.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:23 PM on September 8, 2018 [13 favorites]

Since you mentioned hand washing bras: fuck that. I only handwash stuff that absolutely can not go in the washer. Bras, polyester work tops, etc., go in mesh bag in the washer with other clothes on cold and hang dry (hang the bras by the center gore, not the straps.

I'll also argue for getting one more bra. They'll last longer if you give the elastic time to rest in between wearings. Also washing your bras a little more often (every 1-2 weeks) will make them last longer too (and is easy if you just throw in with your other clothes).
posted by radioamy at 6:31 PM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I plan to simplify by not paying into an FSA next year. YMMV depending on who services your FSA but I'm not saving an amount of $ equal to the amount of time I spend keeping track of receipts and submitting claims and then the phone calls when things don't get accepted to understand what arcane rule of the FSA I've broken. [I do have one of those debit cards so I can just pay expenses directly from the account, but the FSA company asks for documentation on just about every charge....].

Likewise, I gave up some contract work because my husband determined that I was earning very little after taxes and whatever I was earning was probably worth less than the time he spent on dealing the complications these gig jobs brought to our taxes...

So in general, I've put more thought into the time vs money equations.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 6:45 PM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I try to outsource as much as possible to a digital system so I don't have to remember to do things.

I use the app Pillboxie (I think mathowie recommended it) to keep track of when to take all my meds and if I've taken them. I do have one of those nightly pill containers, but I have drops and nasal sprays and such that don't make it easy to remember if I took it today. And my brain simply does not have enough space to remember that!

Everything else goes on the iPhone reminders app—from one-time things like returning library books or remembering to make an appointment tomorrow morning, to recurring things like refilling the dog's medication, to changing the filter on my air purifier, paying rent, etc.

We also use OurGroceries for grocery lists. It's super customizable and makes it really easy to make your weekly grocery list, and also lists for other stores (Target, etc.). You can use it on the web or phone app. You can even add lists for recipes so if you know you're going to make X for dinner tomorrow, you can just quickly add all the ingredients to your list. I also try to put stuff on the list as soon as I see we're running out.
posted by radioamy at 9:03 PM on September 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have a couple of pairs of jeans with one belt per pair that I leave in all the time.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:30 PM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thought of a few more:
- crockpot for cooking, cuisinart for chopping. Or buying pre-chopped veggies as much as possible.
- kid eats what I eat ala Ellyn Satter
- weekly meeting for 30 minutes with spouse. We look at the calendar for the coming week and use Trello to track to-dos. This simplifies things throughout the week because instead of having to remember to talk to him about such and such, I just make a trello card when I remember and we do it.
- re-occurring get togethers with friends/loved ones. reduces back and forth on planning. Same time, same place, same people.
posted by CMcG at 9:57 AM on September 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Instead of folding laundry, I dump out the basket, toss the socks and undies on my clothes shelf, then put the rest back in the basket to pull from as needed. Turns out nothing in my life is even marginally improved by fewer wrinkles and I end up wearing the same handful of outfits week after week anyway since starting a desk job during weekdays. Also, jeans may or may not ever need to be washed. At the very least they last a cycle or two longer than most clothes.

Instead of making fresh coffee every morning, just make a big pot that'll last for a day and night or two.

Re-using the same cup until you lose sight of it or it gets sugarfied cuts down on dishes and helps build a habit of always keeping your water filled. Sometimes I end up with double cups and just keep the dusty old water as backup in case I don't feel like getting up for more water for a little longer. Re-using the same bowl is a good goal too but in my experience it's hard to go too many days in a row before you forget to clean it out immediately and then it's just easier to get a fresh bowl.

Make the motion you get to open the door and get out of the car include hitting the lock. Just be careful because the habit can be thrown off by passengers if they're the type who are not ready to exit the car immediately once parked.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:20 PM on September 10, 2018

Frozen vegetables, just as good if not better than fresh. Microwave, saute. Instant goodness without having to spend time scrubbing and washing veggies or worrying about them turning yellow in the fridge.
posted by storybored at 5:18 PM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I keep thinking about this thread! A lot of people have mentioned laundry because it's such a drag.

We just moved to a bigger place and I finally have more closet space, and I am looking forward to getting a bigger hamper that has dividers. I had this years ago, and it was so much easier to sort the laundry as I took it off instead of before washing. We even used to have a towels hamper in the bathroom. It's not feasible for everyone, but if you can swing it, it makes a huge difference.

CMcG mentioned weekly spouse meetings. We're not quite as organized as using a Trello board (but I love that idea), but radiohusband and I do sit down every weekend to look at the week. We look at who has schedule changes, who is going to cook on what days, and we make the grocery list.

We share a car so it's super important to know who needs the car when. If either of us needs the car, we put a calendar even on our own calendar and invite the other as "optional" (I don't know if this is something that all cals have as an option but we both use Gcal.)
posted by radioamy at 1:02 PM on September 14, 2018

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