By getting rid of excess, staying organized, and embracing simplicity – Moms can find more time to focus on what really matters. Here are 30 suggestions to simplify your summer, have time to pursuit more fun and meaningful activities and to get the most out of your days. Not everything is for every family, so feel free to pick and choose

  1. Get rid of all clothing anyone in the house hasn’t worn in a year. Donating is the way to go.
  2. Keep simple charts with chores each child must do rather than dealing with fights about it daily.
  3. Buy all of the same sock style or color, for each child individually, so you don’t have to spend  time sorting. No one likes laundry even without that aggravation.
  4. Use paper plates on busy nights for much less clean up time.
  5. Spend less time online (Pinterest anyone?) and more time IN your kids lives.
  6. Next time you buy a great toy for your child, snag an extra one or two for upcoming birthday parties.
  7. Keep dollar store wrapping paper around for all occasions. Better yet, use plain brown grocery bags and let the kids color it with markers.
  8. Let the kids make cards for family and friends on plain paper, rather than buying them at a store.
  9. Keep all your online photos in online storage, like Shutterfly, so if your computer crashes, you still have access to your pics.
  10. Always have baking soda available. Whether for cleaning, tooth brushing, to add to the pool, laundry, body scrubs or to treat insect bite – it’s a very handy item to have on hand.
  11. Learn to make platters of snacks at night to have on hand for days home, unexpected visitors and healthy treats for those little hands that are always in the fridge or drawers.
  12. Don’t be a clean freak. Know that kids get dirty, houses get dirty, cars are messy. It’s OK. Roll with the flow, relax and spend less time cleaning. Seriously, you will all be OK.
  13. Read to your kids, as a family. Under a tree, camped out on the couch, or in bed, reading together makes wonderful memories. Sometimes waiting until bedtime makes it rushed – plan reading in the day, or over a relaxed lunch.
  14. The best toys for young kids are often right in your home. Get out the plastic mixing bowls, spoons and measuring cups and let them play on the floor or in the kiddie pool without worry that something will break.
  15. Let kids be kids. Let them stay up later in the summer and catch fireflies. Let them stay up past bedtime bouncing on the bed. Let them eat ice cream until it drips down their arms. Know that the years go fast and you will miss these times more than you can imagine.
  16. Join the local library reading programs, go to the classes and events and be involved. Libraries offer wonderful family experiences and are a great community place to be involved with.
  17. Give an allowance and let kids divide it 3 ways – save, spend and donate. Go to the bank once a year and let them deposit what they have saved.
  18. Ease up on “what the books say.” My son didn’t toilet train until after 4. Luckily for me, he was my 3rd so I wasn’t as stressed as if he was my first. If it’s your first child, understand that kids are all different and rest assured they will be fine by Kindergarten, so don’t stress yourself or set back the child by putting pressure on them.
  19. Go to the local craft store and stock up on assorted crafts, paints, sticks, ribbons, jewels, etc. Keep them all together in a plastic storage container or shoe box to pull out on a rainy day. Use newspaper lined trays to do crafts on for easy clean up.
  20. Sometimes the simplest thing to do is to take a walk to nowhere. Gather the family at a park, beach or neighborhood and walk with no agenda. I’ve found it brings upon the best conversations too.
  21. Ditch the electronics for a day, a week, or however long you can (and that goes for parents too.) When I tell the kids that it’ll be an electronic-free day, I don’t sit on my computer and I rarely check my smart phone. Get “old-fashioned” and really connect with your kids without distractions.
  22. Keep one large box for each child’s best school work and art work. Add the date to the back of each item before storing. Every few years, pull out the box and have fun going through it together.
  23. Cook less. Barbecue more. Eat more cold salads and raw veggies. Easy clean up!
  24. Have Grandma, Grandpa and older relatives tell stories of their childhood at family gatherings. Film it if you can, or write down tidbits. This is priceless.
  25. Try unscheduling. Relax more. It’s not always easy in this hectic world, but especially in summer, take the time to unschedule the kids and see how an unstructured day can be wonderfully relaxing.
  26. Make bath/shower night the same for all the kids. Get it over with in 1 hour. I have learned that  being a little dirty is truly OK and mine don’t bathe daily. They can wipe down with a small wet towel on the days in between. Really, they’ll be fine.
  27. Keep extra clothes, shoes, bathing suits and towels in the car. This has come in handy for all our impromptu stops without feeling the need to rush home to change.
  28. In one, out one! When the kids receive a new toy, ask them to give up an old one they have outgrown so the house is not jam – packed  top to bottom with toys.
  29. Write on your calendar in pencil or keep a chalkboard calendar. Neater , cleaner and easier. Use a different color for each child’s activities or a different color for Dr’s, sports, etc…
  30. Remember, it’s the little moments that make up the day. The way we spend our days is how we remember our lives. Live in gratefulness and appreciation, stress less, hug more, dance more, sing together, be silly , look into your child’s eyes, do your best and always show love and compassion.