Home Hacks: How to get stuff done around the house

In January I participated in The January Cure through Apartment Therapy. I admit I did not do every single one of the challenges they sent, but I did a few of them, and one of my favourites that I will definitely start using more often is to set a timer for 30 minutes and do as much as you can in those 30 minutes, whether that’s cleaning, purging, organizing. Whatever! Knowing you only have to do it for 30 minutes makes it much easier to get started and you would be seriously surprised how much you can get done in 30 minutes.

I was recently sent an article for “Home Hacks” and thought I’d share a few here. Some of them I already try to use in my own home organization and some I will be adopting going forward.

Have A System

If you ever want to get a good grip on your home and the jobs that come with it, requires working on organizational habits. It can help to come up with some kind of cleaning schedule or cleaning chart. When you have a system in place it can be easier to manage all the “to do’s”. This is NOT something I do right now, but I would like to try it! I guess I kind of do it in some ways, for example I only ever grocery shop, meal prep and do laundry on the weekends and I usually do the dishes on weekday evenings. 

Declutter

In recent years I’ve really noticed how much I hate clutter and “stuff”. I am really trying to have less stuff. A chaotic environment can lead to a chaotic mind and that is certainly the case for me. I am starting to feel a really strong urge to declutter and purge but it feels overwhelming!! I think I need to apply the 30 minute strategy and do it in 30 minutes at a time… And to hold myself accountable, I will start this weekend and report back next week 🙂

Sell your Stuff!

Now-a-days between Facebook Buy & Sell groups, Kijiji, Craigslist and consignment stores it’s pretty easy to sell your unwanted stuff and make a bit of money. Before we left Kamloops I sold the majority of our furniture and made almost $1,000, which I then put towards our new furniture from Ikea once we moved!

Shop Smart

When you do have to buy ‘stuff’ then you’ll want to shop smart. My grandma has led me to become obsessed with coupon clipping for groceries!! When you do, you can use them to buy some of the items you’ve had your eye on and save a lot of money – sometimes up to 70%. And, you can even find that some websites like to run incentives like Invite a friend and receive a discount, which will give you an even better deal.

Outsource

So recently, and for the first time ever, Eric and I have hired someone to clean our house. She comes every 2nd week for 2 hours and scrubs the floors & the bathrooms, changes our bedding, just generally cleans our house. It has made my life so much better and less stressful during this busy time – both of us work a lot more hours than we ever have before and we also both have a 20 – 25 minute commute one way to work, so spend almost an hour a day commuting. Man, that eats up a lot of time! So if it’s possibly in your budget I recommend working out what chores or cleaning you do that you can cut out or outsource! I have one friend who just gets a deep clean of her house done every 6 weeks, so that would be an option too! 

Other favourite ‘home hacks’ I learned from the January Cure: Organize a drawer – if you’re feeling overwhelmed by cleaning/organizing just pick ONE thing, it can even just be one drawer! A drawer will take you 10 minutes to clean out or organize and help build momentum. Buy flowers – they really spruce up the house! I love to buy them every second week right after the cleaner comes, a spotless house and fresh flowers? Perfection.

What are your favourite home cleaning & organization hacks?? 

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What is your morning routine?

Oct 17 sunrise

An old sunrise picture! 

So I’ve noticed over the past few months I’ve really been lacking on morning workouts. I used to workout 4 – 5 mornings per week and right now I’m only getting up on Wednesday and Friday mornings for our 1-hour trail run from 6-7am. Other than that I have been doing all my workouts either at lunch or after work. I was getting into a bad habit a few weeks ago where I would sleep until 7:15 or 7:20am. I need to start getting ready by 7:30 – 7:40 at the latest to be at work around 8:30 so it wasn’t really the nicest way to spend a morning, waking up and feeling tired and also rushed.

Recently, I’ve been trying really hard to get up by about 6 – 6:15 so I can spend some time reading in the morning and also take Chloe for a 20 – 30 minute walk. I usually also fit in 15 – 20 minutes of puttering around the house in there, putting in a load of laundry, doing the dishes, sweeping the floor etc. If I do this I go into my work day feeling so much more productive and ready to tackle the day.

I don’t know how I got out of the habit of getting up early but I really want to work on it! I do consider myself a morning person and never sleep past 8:00am unless I’ve had a really late night. I think part of the problem is that it’s light out so much later in the summer. Lately it’s starting to get dark at 9:00pm again so I think it will be easier to start getting back to an earlier bedtime. When I stay up until 11pm (which I do way too often) it’s pretty hard to get up at 6am.

Anyways, this is a short post today because really I would love to hear what your morning routine is. Do you workout every morning? Or 3 mornings a week? Do you get up and read or take your dog for a walk? Do you get up early to work? Do you sleep until the very last minute until you have to go to work?

Any tips for making the most out of a morning routine?

Happy Hump Day!

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How a yoga workshop led to some deep thoughts about the comparison game

So on Sunday I attended a really amazing two hour yoga workshop at my yoga studio called “Journey through the 7 Chakra’s”. Two of my favourite yoga teachers led the workshop and the two hours absolutely flew by and I felt so zen and relaxed on Sunday night, it really was amazing.

Anyone who has done a few yoga classes at a studio have probably heard instructors referencing the “Chakras”, which refer to the seven energy centres of the body. Basically we did some asana (postures) related to each chakra and also did different meditations with mantra’s we repeated in our head for each chakra. The chanting is a little bit out of my comfort zone as it’s not something that I do regularly at yoga but it was really amazing and moving and I ended up really loving that part. Check out this great infographic to learn more about the chakra’s.

Chakras

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At one point we had to do a partner exercise where we sat facing our partner, put our hand on their chest/heart and took turns repeating things like “Just like me, this person has felt loss and sorrow” “Just like me, this person is doing the best they can” “Just like me, this person wants to feel loved” etc. I can’t remember all the statements we said.

Anyways, it was quite emotional and it caused a few people in the workshop to tear up. It definitely felt very powerful to me as well and it really got me thinking about the way we do two things regularly in life; compare and judge.

Something that I thought a lot about after seeing it go around the internet recently was the whole ‘reality’ post thing. Basically the idea was sharing more of our struggles and realities online and not just pretty pictures of delicious food we made in our spotless kitchens and sappy posts about how much we love our partners.

Shortly after I started seeing that movement happen this post started popping up in my Facebook feed (please don’t judge it by the title and actually read it!): No you’re not more of a real mom because your house is messy.

And finally, something that has been going through my mind a lot ever since listening to her audiobook is Amy Poehlers very smart mantra:

Good for you. Not for me. 

So where am I going with all of this? We spend so much of our time either judging other people or comparing ourselves to other people’s lives. Don’t deny it, we all do it. You see a great photo on instagram of someones delicious healthy bowl of salad and think “well if I didn’t have to do this I would have time to eat like that too” on the other hand you see someone’s picture of fast food or a cupcake and think “what bad eaters they are”. You see someone posting about their 20-mile run and either feel envious and shameful that you aren’t running 20-miles or think ‘well running that far isn’t good for them anyways’.

Comparison Is the Thief of Joy SPins

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I’m not saying we’ve all had those identical thoughts, but I think you get where I’m going with this.

Anyways, I think that what we need to think when we see these things is one of two things. One is “good for you, not for me.’ Anytime you feel comparison or judgment welling up inside you think “Good for you, not for me” and let it go. Move on.

OR

Think this “this person has suffered loss and sorrow, just like me, this person wants to love and be loved, just like me and this person is doing the best they can, just like me

It’s one thing to logically know that we should play the comparison or judgment games, it’s a completely different thing to actually be really mindful when those thoughts enter your head and put into practice what you already know in your core. Just because you know the comparison game isn’t logical doesn’t mean it won’t pop into your head sometimes. This is when you can put the above two phrases/concepts into practice. I know I’m going to be focusing on these two mindfulness exercises during the rest of 2015.

I think it’s fitting to end this post with one of my favourite quotes from this very famous Dear Sugar letter.

“Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.”

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