As I mentioned before, now that my annual whole-house purge is done, I've moved onto the "make everything more efficient and functional" phase. You might call it nesting, I just call it being Valerie ;) I've noted a few things we do that make our lives just a littttttle bit easier and thought I'd share them with you all here! Because after all, every little bit helps, right? If you have others, I'd love to hear! Pop some ideas into the comments so we can all get in on the making-life-easier action :) XO!

1. Write giftcard balances directly on the giftcard. If I think I'll use the card more than once to use up the remainder (for example, a $20 balance on a Chipotle card will likely get me two meals), I write the balance on a piece of washi tape stuck to the back of the card. I just replace the washi tape with a new piece and write the new balance every time I use the card. If I think I'll use up the card on my next visit (i.e., an $8 balance on a Chipotle card), I just write the balance in sharpie right on the back! I keep all the giftcards in a little cloth pouch in my purse so they're always together and less likely to get lost.

2. Keep a box of notecards (blank, thank you, whatever you prefer) pre-stamped and with your return address already written on them. Keep another box without stamps or address, for slipping into gifts. I also keep a package of thank-you notes, a package of blank notes and a sheet of stamps in my car, for writing and sending quick notes while on the go.

3. Collect hair ties with book rings to keep them from disappearing. I got a package of book rings at the grocery store (office supply aisle) for $2. I think they'll last my entire lifetime - there were like 100 in the package. I hang the hairtie ring on a tiny command hook stuck to the inside of my bathroom medicine cabinet so they're easily accessible.

4. Keep a notepad stuck to the fridge for groceries, and store a pen in the utensil drawer so there's always one handy. Whenever you run out of something or think of something you need to pick up, you can easily jot it down! There are probably apps out there that do this, but I'm a hardcore pen-and-paper gal :)

5. Label your bed pillows. We use all white cases, but certain pillows go beneath the comforter (the ones we actually sleep on) and certain ones go above the comforter, and we were always getting them confused, along with which ones belonged to me and my husband. I used a sharpie and labeled them with "M - T" for "Matt, top" or "V - B" for "Val, bottom." Now when we wash the sheets and replace the cases, it's easy to know which pillow goes where!

6. Make a "loan list" on the notes app on your phone. Jot down anytime you loan someone an item with the date, item, and who borrowed it. Nothing is worse than going to grab something, vaguely remembering you loaned it out, but having no idea who has it or when you gave it away.

7. Keep track of books you want to read in sectioned Amazon lists. I got this idea from Val Woerner I think, and it's worked great for me. I personally dislike the user interface of GoodReads, and never really utilized it because I don't find the site to be very user-friendly. Instead, I made several categorized lists on my Amazon account and keep track of the books I want to read that way. The lists are all private so no one can see them but me, but every year around my birthday and Christmas, I'll add a few I want to own to my public wishlist. I have the Amazon app on my phone, so I can easily browse my list when visiting the library, and I can also easily add titles I see while scrolling Instagram or blogs on my phone. Keeping the lists separated by category helps me if I know I'm in the mood to read non-fiction, or a parenting book, or a marriage book. To keep track of books I read each year, I use a simple Google Doc. I can access it on my phone and easily add the title as soon as I finish!

8. Delete all the social media accounts you don't actually like or use. For me, that meant everything except Facebook (which I use solely for accountability groups and sharing photos of Xavier with my family - I only have family as friends) and Instagram. Oh, and Pinterest, but for some reason I never count that. I deleted Twitter, LinkedIn, GoodReads, SnapChat, all of them. I can view any Twitter feed I ever care about without an account (mostly news accounts if there are major events going on) and I realized that during this season of my life, having a LinkedIn account was completely pointless. If I ever need one, I can start over. Not getting emails - even occasionally - from all the different social media channels has been SO great.