11 January 2012

Preparation for a streamlined life

We all know about preparation for big things - taking a year to plan a wedding, months to prepare for a baby, compiling 72-hour emergency packs for times of crisis. But that self-same principle can be applied to every transition in your home for a relaxed, streamlined life. Here are some ways that I use the principle of preparedness in our home regularly, to help things run smoothly.

Yesterday I showed you how I keep our car stocked and prepared for trips out. I have also started scheduling in fuel fill-ups - every Wednesday, when I do our grocery shopping, I will stop and fill up with petrol, whether we are running low or not. (Even if it's less than a quarter-tank I need to put in, great - cheaper bill that week.)


Because if I don't keep the tank full, invariably it will be running low when I am in a hurry to get somewhere and it just adds to the stress.

Another way we are always prepared for a trip out is with our water bottles. When we have used them I clean them and refill them and they go into the fridge.


Being stainless steel the water stays fresh and doesn't take on a plastic taste, even if they stand there unused for a week or more. (I used to store them lying down in a bottle rack that fits into the top of our fridge but I found that the plastic caps tainted the taste of the water.) Anytime we feel like going out, whether it's to the park or running errands, to the beach or on a drive somewhere, we just grab our bottles and go. Nice cold water all ready and one more getting-ready-to-go-out step eliminated, making for a smoother exit.

Sunday mornings are pressured enough trying to get everyone ready for church and out the door on time so I keep my church bag ready at all times.


It contains paper and pens for the kids, some Mentos sweeties in a small zip-lock bag, my lesson manuals and scriptures, a cereal bar or two and a little pouch containing essentials like lip gloss, hand cream, nail file, band-aid, gum, hand sanitiser, tissues, safety pins, headache tablets, cough lozenges etc. You've seen the pouch I keep in the car - it's similar. I have duplicates in my church bag and handbag so I don't have to move things from place to place. So on Sundays before we leave for church all I have to do is grab my scriptures from my nightstand, my diary / planner from my desk and a bottle of water from the fridge.

If I use up anything at church (a cereal bar, tissues, paper, or a pen runs dry) I replace it when I get home from church so I don't have to think about it when getting ready for church the following week.

Another bag I like to have ready at all times is my camera bag.


It sits next to the bookcase in our office area, on top of my huge CD organiser:


It is always stocked with SPF20 lip balm, mini bottle of sunscreen, empty CF cards, three fully-charged spare batteries, and tissues. All I need to do is add my camera and I'm ready to walk out the door. Even if the battery in my camera is almost flat and the card is almost full, I know I have fresh spares with me.

I know planning ahead isn't rocket science and these certainly aren't original ideas, and not the only ways we prepare ahead, but I wanted to share them because they make such a difference. When rounding up kids and getting ready to go out things run so much more smoothly if we've got things ready ahead of time - and items are less likely to be forgotten!

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