The places we live in have a lot of power, and I'm not just talking about the power to shelter us from rain and snow, I'm talking about the power to actually alter our moods. Likewise, we have power over our houses. Studies suggest that making tiny adjustments in your habits around the house can actually make a huge impact on one's emotional well-being. No need to wait for the weekend or an end-of-the-year salary bonus. Just a few tweaks to your daily routine is all it takes to cultivate a positive attitude!
Here are five tiny tasks you can do to truly change your mood. Each one takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Give it a go and see if it makes a difference for you!
Make Your Bed
I used to argue that making my bed was a waste of time. I'm just going to get right back into it anyway, right? Turns out, making your bed is a catalyst for other healthy habits. Think about it: Making your bed will inspire you to want to clean the sheets, which will inspire you to want to do the rest of your laundry, which will inspire you to want to put away your clothes, which will inspire you to want to tidy up the other rooms. Before you know it, you're coming home from work to a clean, organized home. Oh happy day!
Just Do It!
At some point in my adult life, I realized that putting off cleaning the dishes didn't end with the dishes cleaning themselves. I might as well just do it, preferably with a smile and some good tunes.
Start a Journal
I'm constantly asking my kids what the best part of their day was (and "nothing" doesn't count as an answer), but no one is making me reflect on my day and all the good that came out of it. I keep a small notepad on my nightstand and jot down something that made me happy everyday. It's a wonderful reminder that, even on a bad day, there's always something good that happened, too.
Tame the Paper Dragon
The majority of the mail I get is junk mail, and yet it somehow ends up sitting unopened on my front door table for weeks (even months). Before I know it, the "paper dragon" has swallowed up some seriously important and timely envelopes - like a bill that needs to get paid or a check that needs to be cashed - and I'm in a much bigger mess than the pile of envelopes spilling over onto the floor. I've started keeping a small garbage can by my front door so I can go through the mail AT ONCE and throw away anything I don't need... again, AT ONCE. What's left gets taken care of or filed away. The same thing applies to my email Inbox.
Keep Everything in its Place
It's a simple fact: Clutter causes stress. Take the extra five minutes to return everything to it's correct place before leaving a room. Instill this lesson in your kids early on and maybe, just maybe, the remote will be ready for you on the coffee table when it's time to relax on the couch, or your keys will be waiting for you by the door when it's time to head off to work.
In Monday?s post, I discussed how breaking down the big job of housekeeping into small, manageable tasks makes the job look a lot smaller. In fact, it makes it look almost easy!
I've been living by the mantra of "a few tasks a day keeps the chaos away" for quite some time now. In my twenties, it was easy to look the other way when my laundry basket was overflowing with clothes and the dishes in the sink were still sitting there from last night's meal. Ok, sometimes it was last week's meal -- don't judge!
This all changed when I had kids. Now, I have quadruple the amount of laundry to do, dishes to clean and fingerprints to wipe away. I can't even fathom leaving for work in the morning without putting the dishes in the dishwasher or going to sleep at night before folding the laundry. I truly feel happier and more in control of my life when my house is clean and orderly, and I think almost everyone with a family can relate to this. I also know there are a lot of times when it feels easier to just ignore the mess all together because even after it's clean, it will surely becomes a mess in a matter of days, sometimes seconds if you're the parent of very little ones. I used to be one of those people.
With laundry and dusting and scrubbing and mopping and putting away? the list goes on and on. The need for housekeeping seems to be non-stop. And you know what? It is! Facing this fact has helped me manage my household chores. It only takes a couple of days before the dishwasher needs to be emptied, and the mail needs to be sorted and the sheets need to be changed, so I might as well try to keep it at bay before it piles up into a heaping ball of stress. For this reason, I use a chores list to keep my home (and my sanity) intact.
For those of you who are interested, here?s how I break it down. I have a few daily chores, and the rest I designate to a certain day (or a certain family member) for that week. Use my schedule or create one of your own!
- Make bed
- Wipe down bathroom counters
- Empty dishwasher
I try to do a few chores a day. Of course, some days I simply can't get to everything. I'm not a total clean freak and I allow life to get in the way of cleaning every now and again. I'll just get to it the next week!
- Wash bathmats, towels and washcloths
- Mop the floors
- Scrub the tub and sink
Garbage pick-up is Wednesday morning, so I make sure everything I want to throw away is on the curb before bed!
- Go through refrigerator and throw away anything that?s expired
- Collect trash from all the trash cans; wipe down inside and outside of trash cans
- Throw away magazines and junk mail that?s been piling up around the house
It's Friday! Friday! Friday! My only chore today is to take a load off.
- Change pillow cases and sheets
- Fluff pillows and sofa cushions
The sun is shining, school's almost out and the clutter and cobwebs you've ignored all year long are still nagging to be addressed. Summer is right around the corner and that spring cleaning you promised your home at the first sight of sunshine has yet to happen. If you're feeling frantic about letting spring slip away without thoroughly cleaning everything in sight, don't fret. Put down the mop and wipe that defeated look off your face. I have some reasons why you shouldn't partake in the annual tradition known as spring cleaning.
- Spring cleaning originated when homes were heated with wood or coal furnaces. Over the winter, soot and ash would build up on the walls. Spring marked the end of heating season, when the entire house required a deep cleaning and airing out. Today, central air furnaces prevent build-up of soot, making the notion of "spring cleaning" virtually obsolete.
- Today's modern working mom manages to juggle just about everything, including work, family, kids, errands, scheduling, cooking and cleaning. She can't afford to let things slip to the wayside because, frankly, there's simply no time to play catch up! Unless you can afford to dedicate an entire week to spring cleaning, it's all about maintaining your home throughout the year, rather than becoming overwhelmed with a the gigantic task at the beginning of every spring.
- Windows, floors, carpets and counter tops, if washed on a regular basis, won't develop the scale build-up which requires special treatment and much more elbow grease to get back to good-as-new condition.
If you were born with supernatural cleaning abilities and cleaned your entire house from top to bottom the second spring rolled in, more power to you! There is nothing wrong with a good spring cleaning. But if you're using the once-a-year event as a way to escape the daily upkeep of your home, then you might want to reconsider your approach to housekeeping. If you're like me, and you tend to let things build up until they become too overwhelming to finish (procrastination in a nutshell), then writing down a chores list will help keep that beginning-of-spring cleaning chaos at bay. Break down your home cleaning into small, manageable tasks and keep your home stocked with all of the necessary cleaning supplies (FamilyCouponNetwork is stock-full of household coupons at this very moment!
) so you will be able to welcome the season of sunshine without the need for a huge cleaning overhaul.