5 Simple Ways to Wake Up Earlier

Join us February 1st, as we begin the Early Bird Challenge. Do you think you can wake up early every day for 28 days? If you want to get a better start to your day, be more productive and finally get ahead of your to-do list join us for the Early Bird Challenge

Wake earlier and start your day off right! Join our free challenge that begins February 1st.

I’m writing this article for everyone who struggles waking up early. I know not everyone wants or needs to be an early riser. There were many years when my husband worked shifts that I stayed up later because he worked late.

But there are many of you who want to wake up early but struggle, I struggle too.

I don’t consider myself a morning person or an evening person. My best hours are from 9 am to 2 pm.  I am also not one who feels energized when I wake up super early.

I never thought of myself as a morning person, although I found out that when I did wake up earlier I got more done, had more energy and stuck to a routine. Getting up earlier allowed me to fit in time to exercise, which then gave me more energy and I felt better. It didn't happen overnight- it took me a while to get in a routine of waking up earlier and here is how I did it.

To be honest, I feel tired.

But, when I wake up early I am able to accomplish much more in the morning hours than I am ever able to accomplish by staying up until midnight or one in the morning. So even though I am tired later in the day, I’ve already had my most productive hours in the morning, so I don’t have to be “on” at 8pm.

Since I have struggled in this area I figured I would share some of things that have helped me make the change to become an earlier riser. And if we are being honest, when I say early I mean 6 am. I will never be a 4 am person, I have teenagers, and they seem to want to do all their talking after 10 pm.

Quit the Caffeine

I don’t drink it after 1pm, no matter what. If I do I can’t fall asleep even when my body is exhausted. My mind can’t relax enough to fall asleep.

Turn Off Technology

I’m guilty of surfing the web before I go to bed, especially now that I have an iPad. For many months I even read my bible on the computer in the evenings. I have found that computer, television, tablets, and video games do not help you fall asleep.

Not only do they keep you awake, it is easy to turn on the television to catch the end of a show and end up watching another hour or two because we get sucked in! If you need to do something before you fall asleep try reading a book.

Go to Bed Earlier

Sounds simple, but for some reason it is so hard. I often find myself looking at the clock and realizing it is almost midnight! Give yourself a bedtime and set a timer to remind yourself it is time for bed. If I want to fall asleep at 10:30 I try to go to bed at 10pm and give myself a little extra time for reading.

Reader tip: Set your alarm on your phone for an hour before you want to go to bed. That will remind you that you need to start getting ready for bed and winding down so your bedtime doesn’t sneak up on you.

It is hard to fall asleep earlier if you are waking up later. There will be a few days in the beginning where you have to force yourself to get up early even though you were up late. Pretty soon you will be tired enough to fall asleep at the earlier hour.

This year since we had a change in our school schedule, I need to get up before 6am. This was a huge adjustment since we were really enjoying our lazy days of summer. I eased into an earlier schedule by setting my alarm clock 15 minutes earlier every few days. Now I wake up before my alarm several days a week because my body is use to the new schedule.

Get Enough Sleep

You know how much sleep you need to be a productive person the next day, so make sure you get it! Some people only need 6 or 7 hours, and others need at least 8. Figure out how much sleep you need and create a sleeping schedule to accommodate your needs!

Get a Routine

This is the most important thing for me. I need about 7 hours of sleep, so I try to go to bed around 11pm and wake up between 6 and 6:30. It is important to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day.

If you are just starting to change your routine I would recommend going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier every day until you reached your desired wake-up time. (see above)

Don’t Get Discouraged!

I recently started adjusting my schedule to wake up a little earlier, after two successful days my family was hit with the crud. I wasn’t going to bed until after midnight most nights and was up with sick kids numerous times throughout the night.

I turned off my alarm and got some extra sleep so I didn’t get the crud too! I was discouraged to be thrown off track so quickly, but I realized that the crud would soon pass and I could get back on schedule.

Don’t let little setbacks discourage you, just pick up where you left off and work on establishing a good routine.

If you want help getting a better start to your day- join us on February 1st, for the free Early Bird Challenge- 28 days to jump start your morning. Sign up now! 

You might also enjoy:

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Get Organized by Living With Less!

get organized by living on less

There are so many wonderful tips and ideas for getting organized. I’m kind of an organizational junkie myself. I like to read books and blogs about organizing and I love to organize my own things (and other people’s if they give me a chance).


The best tip I have for getting organized is not something you can buy at Ikea or The Container Store. The best way to get organized is to get rid of the junk! I once took a time management class and learned that if you don’t take care of something the first time you pick it up, you touch it 40 more times before you actually deal with it. What a total waste of time!

No matter how many bins, baskets, drawers, containers, files, and notebooks you own, managing these tools takes time.

The less you have, the less you have to maintain.

As someone who likes to save money, I have a tendency to hold on to things because I might need them in the future. Better to reuse something you have than buy something new, right? Well… that is sort of right. When you hold on to everything it becomes difficult to manage, things become disorganized, and you end up not being able to find the stuff you were saving.

In my life there are only a handful of things I wish I hadn’t thrown away or dropped off at Goodwill, and those few things are replaceable.

Here are a few ideas for living an organized life with less.

Clothes

Stop holding on to all the these use to fit me in college outfits.

Seriously, if you ever fit into them again they will be so outdated you won’t want to wear them. Keep a basic wardrobe of items that fit you and your lifestyle. Clothes are cheap to replace at yard sales and thrift stores, so only hold on to pieces that fit you well today.

Paperwork

Paperwork clutter can drive a person bonkers! I created a notebook system to help me track all my paperwork. I keep only what’s necessary and shred the rest. Another way I simplify my paperwork is online banking and bill pay. I pay almost all of my bills online and this has greatly reduced the paper clutter in my home.

Toys

I’m plead guilty to toy clutter in the first degree. With seven kids it is almost impossible not to have a toy filled house!

Whenever the mover went into our basement she remarked that it looked like a Toy’s R Us, and that was after I had given several van loads to Goodwill.

I’m preaching to myself here, but kids don’t need every toy ever invented. They don’t even need .0005% of the toys invented.

My kids are happier and play with more of their toys the less they have. Toy clutter overwhelms kids and they end up not wanting to play with anything. Or, toy clutter gives kids the opportunity to make incredible messes with all the toys. Go on a toy de-clutter spree. Your kids will not notice and you will have a better life, I promise.

Kitchen Tools

I’m guilty of kitchen clutter too. I love kitchen tools! They are so much fun and helpful, when I can find them! Have you ever spent 10 minutes searching for that certain kitchen tool in the over-crowded drawer? I have. It isn’t fun, and it is a big time waster.

Go through your kitchen and get rid of things you have never used, then go through it again and get rid of the tools you haven’t used in over a year. You really can do more with less in the kitchen.

Food

A disorganized pantry is a huge time and money waster! How many times have you cleaned out your pantry only to find several of the same item and not because you were stockpiling? Or perhaps you run to the store to buy that needed ingredient at full price, only to find another bottle unopened in the back of the pantry weeks later.

Have you thrown out food because it has expired or gone bad in a disorganized fridge? While it is great to stock up on sales at the grocery store, create a system before you begin. Meal plan so your family eats all the leftovers and nothing goes to waste in the kitchen.

Stuff

Stuff, you know the things that clutter your home, waste your time, and rob you of your joy? The refrigerator magnet that came in an advertisement, the broken frame you know you are going to fix…. one day…, the books you will never read, the magazines you have already read.

Get rid of them. Give it away, throw it away, burn it in the wood stove, but get rid of the stuff you don’t need.

Having less truly is having more.

More time, more space, more joy. This year get organized by getting rid of the things you don’t need so you can spend time on the things that are important.



Are you tired of wasting precious time shuffling papers and looking for your missing shoe, or your vanishing purse? You dream of short-cuts to make your life more organized, but is it possible?

What if you could learn from a group of organizing gurus all at once — regular people who’ve found practical solutions to their everyday struggles, and want to share their best tips and tactics with you in all the areas you find most challenging?

The Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle includes 38 digital products on topics like how to organize your photos, decluttering, family systems, meal planning, time management, and much more. All together, it’s worth over $650, but right now this bundle is 95% off

Here’s how it works:

      1. Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this Super Bundle, then click “Get my copy now!” to go through their simple 3-step checkout process.
      2. You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, printing out planners, and redeeming your free bonus products.
      3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the area you want to tackle first and start getting organized!

It’s even backed by a full money-back happiness guarantee, so you can know for sure that it’s right for you. I’ve purchased several of the products in this bundle (at full price) and love them, so don’t wait to get some of my favorite products for 95% off!

 

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Five Simple Ways to Help Your Children Live a More Sustainable Life

This post is in partnership with IKEA, all opinions are my own.

I believe most parents want their kids to inherit a cleaner, greener world. As an adult I try to live a greener life, and I want to be an example to my kids as well.

Today, there are so many opportunities for kids and adults to live sustainably, many of which are things our grandparents probably did without thinking. As a society we’ve been accustom to convenience, but sometimes that means more waste and it isn’t always best for the world we live in.

5 simple ways

I find that the easiest way to get my children involved is to make greener choices the most convenient option in our home.

IKEA has some great inexpensive items you can use in your home to help your children learn how to live a more sustainable life. In fact some of these items are so popular you probably already have them in your house.

Use less paper products in the kitchen. 

If you know me, you know I love my paper towels, but I also try to use dish cloths and rags whenever possible.

To make this happen I have a drawer of dish towels in my kitchen. We use them for drying dishes and hands and cleaning up spills.

IKEA dish towels

We use two to three towels a day and I throw them into whatever load is in the wash at the end of the day.

Every few months the dish towels get moved to the rag bin and we replace them with fresh towels. Not only are we creating less waste, we are saving money by not using a roll of paper towels every single day.

ikea towels 2

Having the towels close to the sink and easily accessible encourages my kids to grab a cloth towel instead of a paper towel when they need it.

Smaller bowls = less food waste.

 Most of my children have eyes bigger than their stomachs and tend to take huge helpings if I’m not watching. Usually they can’t finish their food because they filled their grown-up sized plate with a grown-up sized portion.

I solved this problem years ago by using the dishwasher safe, unbreakable IKEA plates and bowls. They are cute, colorful and small!

Kids can’t help but take smaller servings on these kid sized dishes and if they are still hungry they are always welcome to get seconds, or even thirds.

IKEA bowls

Ever since I started using smaller dishes for the kids we throw away significantly less food every week.

I also use these plates and bowls for myself! They are great when you want to track how much you are eating and make sure your portions stay in check.

Reusing bath and pool towels to save water and money.

With six kids at home, we do a lot of laundry. One way to live a little greener is to encourage the kids hang up their towels after their showers instead of getting a new one every time. (There are even hotel chains who are rewarding guests with extra points for doing the same thing!)

However, it can be hard for younger children to reach the towel bar in most bathrooms.

We install a lower towel rack in our bathrooms so the kids can easily hang up their towels after they swim or take a shower. If the towel is hung up immediately after they use it, it can be used for several days without smelling gross.

When we rented our house we used the over the door towel racks so the kids always had a place to hang their towel. We also use them for pool towels and guest towels. This rack from IKEA has pads on the hanger so you don’t damage your doors when you use it.

Make it easy to recycle.

We have two recycle bins outside, but I don’t always want my younger children going out at night by themselves to throw something in the bin.

Keeping a small bin inside the house encourages kids of all ages to recycle and makes it easy for them to put boxes and cans in the bin throughout the day.

Ikea Recycles

A small lightweight container like the IKEA DIMPA fits anywhere in your home and has handles so it is easy to carry out to the recycling bin several times a week. It folds up when not in use so you can put it away if necessary.

I’ve come to realize that if I make it easy for my kids to do something, there’s a significantly greater chance that it will get done when I’m not around to remind them to do it.

Encourage outside free play.

One of the best things we’ve done as a family is live close to green spaces (or have a large yard for the kids to play).  Our kids love being outside, and finding fun activities that don’t require a ton of resources or electricity.   outdoor play

Not only does outside free play give them the opportunity to appreciate the world around them (and hopefully help keep it cleaner) it limits their screen time.

I hope as they grow older they will continue to appreciate the environment around them and be good stewards of their resources.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Samsung Addwash

“This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of hhgregg. All opinions are 100% mine.”

When we purchased our home in Maryland it came with a washer and dryer. The excitement of finally owning a front loading washer quickly waned after using it for a few weeks.

The clothes didn’t seem to get as clean as they did in my top load washer and I was surprised to find out that in order to add something to the already in progress load the washer would have to completely empty itself of water and then restart.

I sold that pair and went back to my trusty top load washing machine a few years ago. This spring I was contacted by hhgregg to see if I was interested in reviewing the new Samsung Addwash Front-Load Steam Washer and Steam Electric Dryer. Given my history with front loading machines I was initially hesitant, but after I read a little more about the Samsung Addwash I decided to give it a try.

Upon arrival the hhgregg delivery team worked quickly to install my new Samsung washer and dryer. They managed to get them into a tight space without damaging my freshly painted house. Before they left, the had the washer and dryer hooked up and working which was great. My husband would rather install six ceiling fans over one washing machine, so we really appreciated their white glove delivery service.

samsung addwash review

The Pros

I’ve been using the Samsung Addwash for a few weeks and am impressed with how well the clothes get cleaned. With three teenage boys (who play sports, skateboard, ride bikes, and generally ruin all their clothes with dirt and stink) I knew I could put this machine to the test.

With my previous machine, I often had to run two rinse cycles or run everything on heavy duty to make sure the clothes looked and smelled clean and fresh after washing. So far I’ve tried several cycles and have seen great results.

It has a quick wash feature. I’m sure this has never happened to you, but my kids will often tell me they need a jersey or pair of shorts on the day of the game. The requested jersey is usually sitting at the bottom of the hamper covered in grass stains and smelling horrible. The quick wash feature on the Samsung Addwash takes about 30 minutes and still gets the clothes clean.

samsung addwash

The Samsung Addwash is 5.0 cu. ft., which makes it one of the largest front load washers on the market. I’d rather do one or two huge loads during the day than multiple small loads. Large loads save me time and money, both of which I would like more of on a regular basis. 🙂

The delicate cycle gets delicates clean without ruining them. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on dry cleaning and I’ve found that many of my hand wash/ dry clean clothes can be successfully washed on the delicate cycle. I usually do one load of delicates a week and then hang them on a rack in the living room to dry. I figure this cycle has saved me hundreds of dollars a year on dry cleaning (between me and my husband) so I love that this Samsung washer has a delicate cycle that is truly easy on your hand wash clothes.

The dryer can keep up with the washer. Having lived in numerous houses (thanks to the Navy) I’ve had the opportunity to try many different brands of washer and dryers. One of my biggest bet peeves is that many dryers aren’t able to keep up with large capacity washers. I find myself running the dryer two times to get a single wash load dry.

The Samsung steam electric dryer does a great job of getting clothes dry and is energy star rated so you spend less on each load.

The steam feature on the Samsung dryer allows you to steam the wrinkles out of clothes, which means less ironing. Let me repeat…. less ironing.

samsung dryer

All these features make this Samsung washer and dryer great appliances, however my absolute favorite feature is the AddWash™ door. If you are like me, laundry goes something like this.

Me: “Everyone bring me your uniforms.”

Kids: Arrive in the laundry room with most of their uniforms.

Me: Starts load of laundry.

Teenage boy: 10 minutes later… “Wait mom, I need this shirt washed for tonight!”

With my other front load washer I would have to stop the load, wait for all the water to drain out (a huge waste), then add the shirt and the load would restart from the beginning. With Samsung AddWash™ technology, simply pause the load, open the AddWash™ door, close the door and restart the wash.

The AddWash™ technology is a game changer for me and I find myself using it with almost every load of laundry.

The Cons

The washer and dryer are both very deep. The dryer is 32 inches deep with an additional 5 inches required for the vent tube. In my long and narrow laundry room this makes for a bit of a tight squeeze. Make sure you measure your laundry space before purchasing any washer or dryer set to make sure it fits.

The pedestal is optional. My last front load machine was stackable, so it wasn’t an issue, but I think the pedestal is really a must have for this set. The pedestal is an additional cost, which is why I’ve listed it as a drawback. I think the set is much better if you don’t have to crouch down to get the laundry in and out.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the Samsung AddWash Front-Load Steam Washer and Steam Electric Dryer from hhgregg. This set is energy efficient, has all the cycles I need for my family, and does a great job getting our clothes clean. If you are looking to purchase a new washer and dryer that uses less energy and water while still doing a great job on your clothes visit hhgregg to learn more.

samsung addwash laundry pair

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.