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Brushing Up Your Routines: How to Stop Chores From Growing Into Huge Projects


Being organized and staying organized might seem unfeasible in a busy household, but if you can distinguish a chore from a non-negotiable routine, you will be surprised with the time-saving results. When we change the way we think about our routines, maintaining our “busy” lives can be more manageable.

Approach home-life organization as you would your personal hygiene.  Do you shower daily?  Do you brush your teeth every morning and at bedtime? I think we can all agree that these are two things we do routinely every day.  It’s not only a healthy practice, it’s a dedicated daily ritual, right?  We find the time to make sure it happens.

Everything else we want to do in a single day spills onto some grandiose list for each of us to do, which sometimes never gets done at all.

I’ve coined the brush your teeth model as the guideline to help my client’s manage their life-organization. Brushing your teeth is not something you schedule, it is something that you just do.  Even moreso, these two times of day punctuate both the start and finish of any given day. So why not use this model as a consistent reminder to check in with yourself? It’s that rare time that you must stop and pause, at the beginning and end of your day. Here’s how to take advantage of this ritual;

1. In the morning, brush your teeth and brush up your productivity.  

Use this time to do one thing that will make your “later” easier.  This should only take you 5-10 minutes. Add this wiggle room into your your designated morning routine every single day. Maybe throw in the laundry, empty the sink, load or unload the dishwasher. Clear a counter. Pre-sort the mail in categories to save you time later.  Set the table for dinner.  Perhaps keep an empty bin handy, and do a quick sweep in the den. Return items back to their designated homes or just corral them in the bin to clear spaces. Deconstructing these annoying chores to a day-to-day practice will prevent them from accumulating into a bigger weekly chore.

The reality is that when neglected daily, these chores can mount into way bigger projects.  Paper piles grow taller, busy hubs become too cluttered, dirty dishes litter sinks, and hampers get overflown with an insurmountable of laundry.

When to-do’s get too big, they are simply not approachable. You’d be surprised how a cluster of just 15 minutes of preparation can ultimately save you exponential time later. Jump starting the task can be very effective.

2. In the evening,  brush your teeth and brush away tomorrow’s potential mistakes.

Before you go to bed, sync your schedule and calendars so they align. So often, we jot down appointments on scribbled notes, put reminders on our phones, but fail to write it down on our paper or virtual calendars.  Too often, important dates fall through the cracks and we miss important events and appointments.  This is great opportunity to organize the next day. Collect your thoughts, write down a doable plan for the day. Maybe a plan for the week is too big.  Keep it simple. Think about what has to get done tomorrow. Trust me, you will sleep more soundly knowing exactly what the next day will look like.

No doubt, maintaining a busy household and lifestyle requires attention.  It cannot and will not run smoothly all by itself.  Sustainable organization can be achieved with just a small change of a dedicated routine. Find the time to tend to your home, schedule, and things, as you would to brush your teeth. It’s as imperative. A healthy life-balance requires it.

Brushing up on these skills every morning and every night will keep things under control.  Consider breaking down some of your weekly chores into daily routines, it will improve your life in countless ways.

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Are You Getting a Sustainable Return on Your Savings?

Nope, I’m not talking about the green stuff in the bank. I’m talking about the other stuff you are saving;  the stuff you are holding onto because you can’t seem to let it go.

If you are thinking about saving things that you might use one day, or holding onto clothing you might wear someday…think again, it’s not happening.

Someone else can certainly benefit from them now, so let them go. Be philanthropic and donate to a charity of your choice.

If you are a parent and you’re thinking about saving stuff for your kids, thinking they might want it…think again. Generally speaking, (and I don’t mean to offend the exception to the rule), chances are great that your adult children don’t want your old stuff, they have their own.

Trust me, I’ve learned from personal experience, and I’m just passing on the harsh reality. I too, had been guilty of  justifying hanging on to random clutter that served no one. So do yourself a favor and evaluate your savings.

Are you enjoying them? Are you reaping any great rewards from them?

If your treasures are sitting in a box on an inaccessible shelf somewhere, or buried in a drawer, or tucked away in a dusty attic, how valuable are they really?

Let’s say you have old cherished items that cannot necessarily be used, but still give you significant pleasure when you look at them. Viewing them daily can bring you great joy, so display them with pride.  If it’s frame-able, frame it.  If not, “think outside the frame.” There are so many creative ways to re-purpose sentimental memorabilia.

Let go of the hobby that never sustained the passion and toss its stuff.  If you still have… an assortment of dried up paint and hardened brushes; rusty tools; or crafts sets lacking key components; old puzzles that may be missing pieces (who’s got the time to count?); time to bid them farewell too.

Or better yet, while weeding through your life’s clutter, perhaps you’ll make a new discovery and be inspired to “re-invest” in that old dream. Maybe you forgot you even had some good usable stuff.  Imagine re-activating the old clutter into a new enjoyable active pastime! Now that would be a great save with a unique twist, don’t you think?

Either way, save the stuff that brings you joy as you live your life TODAY.

Take the time to check out what’s hiding in your closets, attic, basement, or garage and evaluate the “why” of saving it.  Don’t save the old stuff unless the returns are great. Discriminate trash from treasure. The old roller skates are obsolete now, and you know that no one in your family will ever use them or want them.  So take a pic, and let them go.

Love your stuff that matters now. Don’t box it, enjoy it. Go for the sustainable rewards of keeping it.  Now that’s what I call a priceless investment.  But that’s just me.  What about you?

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