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Once the kids are gone and the nest is empty, it’s time to simplify and streamline the household so you can spend your effort and energy on more productive and more fun stuff. You aren’t getting pulled a million different directions like you were when the house was full of growing children. Now you get to be more intentional and focus on your priorities.
How do you simplify?
I like to think of simplifying as automating as many things as I can, that way I don’t need to think about them nearly as often. What I can’t automate, I pare down to the most essential–stuff like household chores and grocery shopping–not the fun stuff. Then I get to fill the rest of my time with the things that I love to do and are most important to me. This is simplifying to me.
How do I simplify my life?
Simplifying my life means cutting out what doesn’t serve me, my family, or my values. If it’s not a “hell, yeah,” then it’s a “hell, no!”
Simplifying your life may take some time upfront, to list out what you are doing and what your responsibilities are, and to think about what your priorities are. You need to take time to decide, intentionally, what is important to you. This is something that no one else can decide for you. There are no right or wrong answers here. But you need to decide what they are and commit to honoring the space you make in your life to prioritize those important things.
Be aware that the non-essential will try to slip back in. You must be vigilant and guard your simplified life carefully!
How to simplify household chores
As the kids have grown and gone my household chores have simplified themselves! I don’t have any grand plans for how to keep on top of household chores. Mostly I have a schedule, I spend the least amount of time possible on household chores, and I focus on “good enough” and not perfection. For more help simplifying with household chores, check out my hero, and fellow simplifyer: FlyLady.net.
The amazing thing about the internet and living in 2021, is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to simplifying and streamlining you and your household. For almost everything you need help with, there exists a free or almost free option online. Check out these great simplify and streamline ideas below:
What can’t you get on Amazon? And if you have Amazon Prime, which includes streaming TV services, (The Expanse or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, anyone?) it’s a price and a convenience that’s hard to beat.
If you have a pet, and that seems like a given after emptying your nest, ordering all your pet supplies for great prices and great customer service, delivered right to your door. The great thing about Chewy is you can set your pet food and other supplies on subscribe and get a better price on all things for your pet.
Grove Collaborative is another great subscribe and save service with a focus on eco-friendly house cleaners and personal products. They have a great referral program so you may even be able to get your order for free!
The Local Grocery Store
Almost every grocery store these days has free pickup and a delivery option. You simply order your groceries online and pick them up from the store parking lot when you’re ready. No more wasted time on the grocery aisles. And for a fee, you can have them delivered right to your home. What’s simpler than that?
A great way to save money and stress is with meal planning. But in your simplified life, you may not have the time or the interest in planning your meals. That’s where eMeals shines. They give you weekly menu plans and shopping lists to go with it. Most customers of eMeals even save money on their groceries over planning meals themselves.
If you hadn’t become a fan of slow-cookers or CrockPots while you were raising a family. You’re sure to become one now. You might want to size down to a 2-quart cooker when you’re cooking for just one or two. But putting a few ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and having a hot meal at dinner time with minimal effort is perfect for the empty nester on the go.
Pressure cooking is having something of a renaissance these days. It’s not your mom’s pressure cooker she used in the 70s. Today’s pressure cookers are safer and more versatile. Most of today’s pressure cookers can double as slow cookers, rice cookers, and even yogurt makers. It’s like an entire kitchen in one small appliance.
Freezer meals go hand in hand with slow cooker meals. Just prepare a few meals in 1-gallon zip-top bags, freeze and when you need it, just dump it in the slow cooker and press start. Dinner with almost no work at all! Pinterest and Google are great places to search for easy to put-together freezer meals.
Automatic Bill Pay
Are you still writing checks to pay your bills? I didn’t think so but I had to ask!
Even if you aren’t writing checks, you may not have automated your bill paying. If you are serious about simplifying and streamlining your household, definitely check with your bank and get those bills set up automatically. No more late fees!
If you are looking to stay within your budget, have you ever wanted to try the envelope system? The “envelope system” is a method of cash budgeting where you create categories of spending and label each envelope with its category, like “Groceries” or “Entertainment” and the amount budgeted. Then you pull out your money for the month or week or whatever and place it in the corresponding envelope. When the money’s gone, you are done spending in that category. But it can be kind of clunky and not 21st-century debit card friendly. Enter Mvelopes and the virtual envelope budget system.
If you are looking for a one-stop-shop for managing your money, check out Mint. It’s a budget tracker, planner, spending tracker all in one. It even monitors your credit rating. With Mint, you can see all your money in one place. It connects with banks and credit cards and even investments. If it’s your money, you can track it with Mint.
Average Your Bills
If you don’t want to use an app to track your spending, but you still want to budget in the simplest and most streamlined way possible. Try this method of staying on budget.
Take each recurring bill and add up how much you spent total each month for 12 months. Then average that out for the year by dividing by the number of paychecks you receive each year. When you have done that with every bill, add those numbers together. This is the amount you need to set aside each pay period to pay your regular bills.
You can include savings and investing in these calculations. It’s much simpler if you open a separate bank account just to pay bills from. Each pay period, put your “bill paying money” in this separate account and pay bills only from this account. However much is left in the other account from your paycheck is how much you have to spend on discretionary spending.
Meditation is like an anywhere you need it antidote to almost any problem. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and improves sleep, among numerous other benefits. There are several meditation apps you can download, but my favorite is Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh, author, and a Buddhist monk.
YouTube Workout Videos
I’m sure you already know that there are a million free workout videos on YouTube. But did you know that there are video channels aimed directly at staying fit and healthy through midlife and beyond? I love Pahla B Fitness with her workouts and nutrition tips aimed at women 50+.
We all know the benefits of taking a walk, but sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to get out there and do it. If only you could take along an exciting new book to read, with Audible you can! Audible is a great way to take books and podcasts on the go, all you need is your device and a set of earbuds. There are even Audible exclusives that you can’t find anywhere else!
Essential oils are not only lovely to smell and enjoy, several have been scientifically studied with proven health and wellness benefits. Essential oils book. If you would like to try quality essential oils at a great price, shop with my favorite essential oils distributor, Jade Bloom.
Romancing Your Honey
The Dating Divas
Now that the house is empty and the kids are living their own best lives without daily parental oversight, it’s time to focus on your primary relationship, your marriage. The Dating Divas are a one-stop shop for everything to improve and celebrate your marriage. From done for you dates to sexy text message templates. If it will make your marriage sizzle, you can find it here!
Vacations for Two
What better way to celebrate your relationship than with traveling for two? Check out Empty Nest Vacations, a travel agent who specializes in those bucket list vacation destinations you’ve waited your kid’s whole life to visit.
How about spending some quality time together cooking dinner? Open a bottle of wine, put on some great music, and get cooking. You may even get to eat dinner at some point. 😉
Get Naked Together
With the kids out of the house, there’s more time for getting intimate, and less chance someone will walk in on you. But as we age, sex starts to look a little different, and navigating those changes can sometimes be tricky and frustrating. If this is you, have you heard of Joan Price, ageless sexuality advocate? Her tips and advice can help steam up your sex life at any age.
I have recently discovered the ease and fun of using Seint makeup. It’s easy to put on and looks so great, plus the colors are gorgeous and have such great staying power. Seint has a lot of makeup tutorials and makeup artists who are willing to answer your questions.
I have never really been a fan of going to the salon or paying for a haircut. If you are looking to streamline and simplify, cutting your own hair, or having someone help you is perfect for saving time and money. CreaClips are a special type of haircutting guide you can use to give yourself great-looking haircuts at home. I think I may own one of the original CreaClips. You won’t have a haircut that looks like it cost $200 dollars, but I’ve never been disappointed in my results.
Sometimes knowing what to wear is the biggest time and energy suck of our day. What if you had cute, stylish pieces that you could mix and match in cute and stylish ways without all the buyer’s remorse of those articles of clothing you bought because you needed it so much but got it home, saw it didn’t go with anything, and shoved it back into the closet never to be seen again, often still with tags?! Frump Fighters aims to change all that for you. With clothing options and links to find the piece of clothing you want without breaking the bank!
Mind-Body Fitness by Margaret
This one can go in the healthy living category too. Margaret uses T-Tapp with her clients. T-Tapp is a method of movement that helps you build muscles, lose inches, and move your lymph all without extra equipment or high impact movement.
T-Tapp was created by Teresa Tapp who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. But her legacy lives on in her personally certified T-Tapp Trainers. Margaret is one such trainer. I have been following her social media and taking her online classes for a couple of years. With T-Tapp you may not be able to turn back the clock, but you may start to look as if you can.
Final Thoughts on Simplifying and Streamlining You and Your Household as an Empty Nester
Whew, that was a lot of information.
I hope you found some new ideas to help you streamline and simplify you and your household as an empty nester. These are years to enjoy and not waste time on the more humdrum or unhelpful things of life. I hope you are planning for a fun and exciting retirement and I want to make sure you get there with your health, sanity, and budget intact. So leave the time-wasters behind and get out there and enjoy your empty nest!
Read More About Simplifying and Streamlining Your Life as an Empty Nester
- 21 Things You’ll Love About the Empty Nest
- How to thrive with an empty nest: 30 things to do after the kids leave home
- A STEP-BY-STEP PLAN FOR FINDING YOUR PURPOSE IN THE EMPTY NEST
- 9 Ways to Breathe New Life into Your Empty Nest
What is your favorite way to simplify your life? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post on how to simplify your life, pin, and comment please =)