Simple & Frugal

Amazing Attic System

by Ivory Soap Household

A little over a year ago, I was nesting.  I was looking for organization books at Barnes and Noble and the lady helping me gave me the best tip!  I can’t remember what book it was from, but it’s revolutionized our attic. Here’s what you do. Get a bunch of the same size boxes.  We […]

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Frugal Homemade Gift Guide: Knitted Washcloth Edition

by Daisy Household

For when you really want to give a handknit gift but you’re running out of time: Washcloths Or dishcloths, dishrags, call them what you may. They’re quick and easy and still handknit. Here are a few of my favorites from our site: Honeycomb Dishcloth Hugs and Kisses Dishcloth (my favorite!) Good Grief! Dishcloth: My homage […]

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Frugal Homemade Gift Guide: Stick Edition

by Daisy Household

Every year I get more and more averse to buying cheap, imported stuff; stuff that breaks, gets tossed aside the moment the newness wears off and becomes little more than something I can’t wait to discard so I don’t have to keep picking it up so I can vacuum. Here are a few of the […]

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BYOB Daily Planner

by Ivory Soap Household

byob-daily-planner I have a problem with most printable planners.  They don’t reflect my spontaneous, forgetful nature.  They’re usually written for methodical folks who remember to take showers and stuff.  Not me.  I need a planner that says, “Hey, is your phone charged?  And are you feeling kinda yuck?  Any chance your counters and sink are […]

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Meal Planning for Spontaneity

by Ivory Soap Household

If you’ve known me for more than a month, you know I can’t stick to a schedule.  Every month I find a new and different way to plan something that I then end up disobeying.  I love to stitch, but if I make a*goal* to stitch so many times a week, I WILL NOT HAPPEN. […]

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Waste Not, Want Not: A Breakfast Tutorial

by Ivory Soap Household

If you’ve been following me this summer, you know that my kids lived on whop biscuits and nitrate-free hotdogs.  Apart from oatmeal, there wasn’t a whole grain to be found in my pantry.  But now that I’ve recovered from summer and returned to my natural state as homeschool mom and spontaneous short order cook, I […]

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5 Simple Rules to Reduce Child Laundry

by Ivory Soap Household

With six people in one house, I am lately obsessed with reducing laundry.  A few month ago, I reported in THIS POST that I was trying a new laundry experiment.  I reported the results HERE and then my new shoe shelf innovation HERE.  After months of experience, I feel I have arrived at a realistic child laundry philosophy.  (P.S. […]

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Handmade Gifts for First-Timers

by Ivory Soap Household

  If you DIY, August is the planning time for the Fall DIY season.  We need time to cure that soap and crochet those afghans.  And for newbies, it’s the time for perusing the possibilities.  What can I make that doesn’t require months of practice?  Well, good news.  I have put together a list for […]

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4 Ways to Live Seasonally in August

by Ivory Soap Household

‘Tis the Season Back to school?  Yes, but August is about a lot more than that if you DIY.  August is the advent of a whole new season for DIYers.  As we explained in  THIS POST: Winter is Building Season.  The leaves are down and the saps’s not running, so this is the time to build […]

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Shoe Shelf Weekly Clothing Organizer

by Ivory Soap Household

  I officially have TOO much closet space.  I even stuck the kids’ chest of drawers in there to take up some room.  The fun part is, the chest is EMPTY.  It’s ready to be filled with all that nonsense kids collect: gum wrappers, beads, string, little pieces of paper and tape, etc. What you […]

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Organizing Failure: #1 Mistake

by Ivory Soap Household

You’ve cleaned the closets, the pantry, and set out a gorgeous workout schedule and meal plan.  And it all works…for three days.  Then it all falls apart and you’re back to your old habits.  What happened? Some would say that it takes two weeks to start a new habit.  Just gut it out.  As a […]

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Summer Laundry: The Results Show

by Ivory Soap Household

A few weeks ago, I reported in THIS POST that I was trying a new laundry experiment.  Here are the results. 1. Resolve to do laundry once a week. Kid you not.  This is the best thing ever.  I do three loads a week! 2.  Remove out of season clothing. No more sweaters in the […]

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10 Ways to Simplify Summer Laundry

by Ivory Soap Household

Summer is a great time to simplify your closet since there’s less requirement to wear something different all the time and the temperature isn’t hopping around on you. So, here’s my favorite 10 ways to simplify summer laundry. 1. Resolve to do laundry once a week. This eliminates the need for 17 pairs of undies […]

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5 Ways to Live Seasonally in June

by Ivory Soap Household

Farmer’s Markets are in full swing, mama animals are making tons of milk, and the produce in the garden is coming on faster than you can pick it.  Welcome to summer!  Well, technically, summer doesn’t start till June 20th, but the HEAT is already here in West Tennessee. So what can we do to live […]

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5 Ways to Simplify Your DIY

by Ivory Soap Household

If you’re not paying attention, you can overwhelm yourself with “simple living.”  You can clutter up your life with so much DIY that you can’t see your way out.  DIY only simplifies your life if you keep your DIY simple. Pick double/triple duty products. DIY is empowering and fun.  It’s shouldn’t be overwhelming.  Don’t use DIY […]

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4 Lazy Ways to Simplify Summer Days

by Ivory Soap Household

I have been dreading it for a month already.  SUMMER. It’s not that the kids are home.  They’re home all the time.  It’s that the STRUCTURE of the school year is gone.  Whether you home-school or away-school, the day revolves around school time.  And for a few blessed hours, no one is wandering around making […]

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5 Ways to Live Seasonally In May

by Ivory Soap Household

1.  Find your farmer’s markets Most markets are open now. We have seven in our area. There’s one open every day of the week. Not only are there fresh greens, but the egg season has started (Valentine’s to Halloween), and the mama animals are making lots of milk. It’s time to find out what fresh […]

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Live Seasonally to Live Simply

by Ivory Soap Household

                  To everything, there is a season, unless you live in the burbs and the seasons are totally obscured by shipments from Mexico and California. Reduces Your To Do List Pioneer homesteaders lived seasonally.  There were no tomatoes in the winter, no acorn squash in May.  In […]

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Home Management Notebook 2012

by Ivory Soap Household

  I wrote a series of organization posts last year when I was having a baby, writing twice a month for the paper, gardening, writing a book, and homeschooling.  It was a complicated plan. But this year, life is less complicated.  So the plan is less complicated. First:  Think about your year Do you garden, […]

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4 Ways to Pay to Simplify Your Day

by Ivory Soap Household

photo by epSos.de Being stuck in the bed postpartum with two bouts of double mastitis has forced me to simplify my days even more than I thought possible before.   But note, this post is not titled “5 FRUGAL Ways to Simplify Your Days,” so you might have to cancel the cable to pull this off, […]

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6 Reasons Why to DIY

by Ivory Soap Household

1. Save Time – For real. Making your own (jelly, bread, cheese) takes just a few minutes actual work time. Most of the ‘time’ involved in household DIY is wait time, or time you can be throwing Frisbees and playing with the dog instead of driving to the store, staring at shelves trying to find […]

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Home Management Notebook: 2011

by Ivory Soap Household

Most home management notebooks start with the minutae and work up, I do the reverse.  Here’s a quick list for building the book from yearly to daily.  Of course, once you look at it, you might not think it’s so quick, but we’re organizing your WHOLE LIFE here, right?: Builder Section (Yearly Plans): Do you […]

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How to Clean an Attic

by Ivory Soap Household

Apart from my Finished Room Over the Garage (FROG), my attic covers my entire house.  It’s a little house, but that’s still a lot of attic!  Yesterday it was stuffed to the gills with CRAPOLA.  Now, look at it! (Pictured above.) Look again from the other direction! Oooo, it’s so pretty!  And the box springs […]

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I’m the Purchasing Agent, Not the Maid

by Ivory Soap Household

When I started homeschooling (or gardening, or writing, or keeping livestock), it felt like something “unnecessary” that took away from my “real job” of laundry, cleaning, and cooking.  All those “extras” were fine, but if Mr. Ivory had to run a load of clothes to get underpants for tomorrow and make a sandwich for dinner…I […]

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Save Money with a Supply Journal

by Ivory Soap Household

I’m so jealous when I watch Jane Austen-ish movies and Father furrows his brow and says something like, “We won’t have enough to buy coal through the winter.  We’ll be out by December.”  Huh? How does he know that?  And the general store managers on pioneer shows that know exactly how many bootlaces Mr. Smith […]

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Green Resolutions That Pay for Themselves

by Ivory Soap Household

Going Green is great, but I wonder how fast the savings in energy costs overtakes the purchase and installation costs?  So, I sat down with my calculator and my favorite website and worked it out how long it would take for changes made today, NEW YEARS 2010, to start paying for themselves.  (Computed for a […]

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Getting the Best Deal on Poultry

by Ivory Soap Household

I found myself staring at leg quarters and whole chickens and split breasts and whole turkeys today.  All on sale.  No idea what was a good buy.  How much meat is on a split breast versus a leg quarter?  How does a whole bird compare to boneless/skinless breasts?  It’s a mystery. After a great deal […]

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6 Lazy Ways to Reduce Housework

by Ivory Soap Household

TL and I spend very little time doing housework.  So, how do we get away with that? 1.  We have LITTLE HOUSES–less house means less to clean.  I can whip around this sucker in half and hour and have it sparkle. 2.  We don’t buy stuff–less stuff means less stuff to clean.  The vast majority […]

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7 Green-ish Ways to Lower Household Costs

by Ivory Soap Household

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tracy_olson/ / CC BY-SA 2.0 We’ve already covered the grocery store, but what about the rest of the household expenses?  Yes, being weird suburban homesteaders reduces those costs too. 1.  Have a little house. Small houses require less stuff to keep them going.  Less utilities, less heat, less air, less carpet, less roof, less lighting, […]

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5 Lazy Ways to Simplify Your Days

by Ivory Soap Household

WOW, that calendar is blue, huh?  Trick of the camera, but the more important thing is that it’s also really EMPTY. And this is a really busy week for me! 1.  We shop only once a week and refuse to go back. If we’re out of milk, that’s just how it goes, drink water.  If […]

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8 Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill

by Ivory Soap Household

Most of what TL and I do, we just do cause we’re strange.  But in tough economic times, our eccentricities may be of interest to others. Why? Because our weird Little House lifestyle is naturally low cost!  So, here are eight ways that being eccentric like us could help you lower your grocery bill. 1.  […]

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Co-ops and Dinner Swaps

by Ivory Soap Household

People are made to depend on other people. Yes, you *can* do it all on your own, but that’s not really feasible or preferable in most cases. Isolation is not the goal. A community of people all doing things the old fashioned way broadens our ability to live simply. So for today’s post, I’d like […]

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Free Printable: Handmade Gift Planner 2009

by Daisy Household

I need a place to keep all of my handmade gifting plans for the year, and I thought you might too. When I have some spare time, I like to know where I’m headed on my projects so I don’t run late on somebody’s afghan, or (like this Xmas) start my batch of soap too […]

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Great Gift Ideas

by Daisy Household

As I mentioned here, we are living in a time when old-fashioned, frugal, and eco have all come together in a strange conflagration of coolness. These days, anything ‘handcrafted’, ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or ‘recycled’ stands head and shoulders above the brand-spanking-new, overly packaged, mass produced, emitting heaven-knows-what products, that traveled 3000 miles to your discount store […]

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