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Build Habits

{Photo Credit: Colin Dunn, via Creative Commons}

I am notoriously bad at remembering to take my vitamins, plus the iron makes me queasy if I take it in the morning, so instead of stashing them in the cupboard, I put a cup and my bottle of vitamins on the bedroom dresser, next to my lamp. Now, before I turn off the light, I swallow the vitamin for the day and go to sleep. I rarely forget. I never get queasy. I don’t know if my vitamin consumption habits have definitively helped improve my sleep quality, but I can say this: I’m sleeping through the night for the first time in a long time. I used to wake up every couple of hours, and now I sleep straight through more often than not! I can’t tell you how exciting that is, but I digress.

My point wasn’t to take your vitamin at night to sleep better. My point is any daily task–like taking a vitamin–can be habitualized. I suspect tying the habit to a daily ritual (getting ready for bed) is what worked for me. Every night, I brush my teeth, I get fresh water in my cup, I take my vitamin, and I turn off the light. Then I go to sleep.

This made me wonder: what other simple, but often forgotten, tasks could I or others make habitual? And would tying them to a specific time, location, daily ritual, or other event help me (or them) continue the habit until it becomes second-nature? My guess is YES.

I’m going to keep a look out for those opportunities to hack my lazy brain into a mean, lean,  house-cleaning machine!

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Guest Post Time! I’m Over at Healthy-N-Balanced

Oops! I missed this by one day. However, I am excited to announce that my guest post, Finding Balance in Home Organizing, was featured yesterday over at Healthy-N-Balanced. I encourage you to check out that post (it’s pretty juicy … I dish about my deep dark secret I kept for years), as well as read up on all her incredible tips for living a healthy, balanced life.

See you there!

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Q: Why is My House Messy?

{Image: Spectacles}

A: Because I just don’t want to deal with it.

Actually, while I do need to pick somethings up and put others away, my house isn’t in terrible shape today, despite my recent focus on writing over cleaning.

However, just as I was about to head out the door to buy more toilet paper and toothpaste (oh, the joys of our daily mundane existence), I looked down at the mail piling up on our makeshift landing strip in the hall and had a moment of unexpected pondering. (Sometimes the brain comes up with some brilliant ideas after downtime.) In this case, I realized my mail was still there because I just didn’t want to deal with it yet. I know. Brilliant, right? I’m a genius AND a psychologist.

The same thing is true of the dishes in my sink, or the muddy paw prints on the tile near the back door, or the pile of books and publisher’s catalogs and writer’s magazines on my dining room table, or the laundry in my room that needs to be folded.

Hmmm. Interesting. And how does that make you feel?

So basically, I have better or more interesting things to do, and those chores that I really don’t like just don’t get done right away and tend to occasionally pile up. (Those  chores, by the way, are washing dishes/putting them in the cupboard, folding clothes/putting them in the dresser, sorting papers and putting them in a file cabinet.) I know I need to get to it, I just don’t want to deal with it … NOW.

Ahhhhh. I see. Tell me more.

Yeah, I know. This isn’t exactly breaking news. It is, however, the first time I realized that on the whole I’m doing much better. It’s really only three or four chores that I have to work on improving. Yay! So, maybe if I come up with a workable system, or have more places to put things, or figure out a filing system that works for me … I’ll have clean counters and tables! Oh, to have horizontal surfaces be tidy 90% of the time. (I mean, let’s face it: occasionally you just need to make a mess. For instance, Christmas cookie baking and decorating time. Or birthdays. I don’t care who you are. You shouldn’t have to clean on your birthday. Just sayin’.)

Upon closer consideration, outside of pure laziness, the reason I probably don’t feel like “dealing with it” more often is because those tasks literally pile up on a daily basis and if they are ignored for a couple of days, it can seem overwhelming to tackle them.

What actionable steps will you take to address this problem?

Well … maybe I just need to find a better system so I don’t become overwhelmed. I know my junk mail pile has been conquered for good, since I automatically tear up flyers and throw them out without a glance. (Sorry, advertisers of the greater Nashville area.) It used to overwhelm me, too, before I had my little tear-and-toss method down pat. Maybe if I have an automatic response like that, but for folding and putting away my shirts and jeans, for instance, I’ll do better in my weak spots as well!

Here’s hoping.

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Oh, Hello Friend Shop Swap, Part 1

Back in January, one of my favorite design bloggers–Danni from Oh, Hello Friend–suggested a lovely idea. She invited her readers who had shops to sign up to be matched with another shop and to then exchange a “swap” of products.

I was so excited and I just barely made the 100 shop cut, so when I got an email from her letting me know I had been paired with the lovely Megan from megan E sass, I was thrilled. I didn’t know Megan then and wasn’t familiar with her shop, but like I blogged about a week or so ago, I quickly was charmed by her knitted items.

I have to admit I Etsy-stalked Megan’s favorite items to see what among my stock she might like best. I discovered along the way that Danni had been spot-on with her matching, because, man, if I didn’t want to “favorite” nearly everything I saw on Megan’s list! That gave me courage to select my items to send to her. Megan and I had discussed some favorite colors and things ahead of time and decided that we both wanted to be surprised. No pressure!

My surprise package arrived at Megan’s doorstep yesterday, and I was thrilled to get her excited email last night, letting me know that she loved her surprise. I can’t tell you how hard it has been to keep this a secret until now, but I wanted to show you my little labor of love. Here it is … Megan’s vintage surprise care package (yes, those are patterns, used as filler!):

Ooohh … what have we here? Let’s peak inside, shall we?

Lots and lots of vintage goodies to inspire! I selected some of my favorite vintage photographs, buttons, ephemera, a crocheted lace doily, bias tape (so cute in red with white polka-dots!), multiplication cards, ribbon, a letterpress stamp, wine corks, and a wooden spool.

Here are some close-ups:

Isn’t that couple darling? They are on a boat on the lake, wind in their hair, living life to the fullest, and grinning from ear to ear. I can see she’s wearing lipstick, even on the speed boat. How chic of her! I’ll bet it is bright red and she looked even more fabulous for having windswept hair.

I had so much fun compiling this little package. So much so, I wondered if I shouldn’t start putting together some more for the shop. I wonder if others would enjoy getting little packages of vintage inspiration in the mail?  Any thoughts?

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Happy Valentine’s Day

{Image: Viktor Hertz}

 

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Room Inspiration: Sweethearts


I Love You, Sweetheart


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In Other News, Spammers Think This Blog is Magnificent

If you blog, you get spam comments. You may evade them for a few months, but eventually you’ll happen upon posting something with enough key words that spammers find you and BAM! suddenly you have some pests to deal with. Fortunately, WordPress.com uses Aksimet, so 99.9% of my spam comments get caught by a filter.

Well, apparently “Dog Food Bucket” is a draw for spammers. Because this morning, I woke up and had about 14 spam comments on last Friday’s post.

Now, usually I delete spam so my readers are not blasted with the eyesore. But today … today I couldn’t resist sharing them with you. Today’s batch somehow managed to massage my ego AND make me laugh. So, I took out the spammy email addresses and websites they were trying to trick you and me to click on and visit, and I’m posting a couple of quick images. Sorry for the small print!

Peter, I’m glad you feel my posts are Masterwork. If you had added “ful” instead of “work” it might have made more sense. ;)

Hey Gabriel, umm, just pointing out the obvious here, but IE is Internet Explorer, so I’m not really all that worried. Nice try.

Luis … stop it … you’re making me blush … I’m gonna be a famous blogger, if I’m not already? Awww, shucks!

And if they weren’t complimentary enough …

Oh, Margarett, no worries, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’ll definitely “write extra on this topic” in the future.

Brain .. not Brian, BRAIN … where to begin? You’re starting a brand new scheme in your community? Buddy, announcing it publicly is not exactly the best way to dupe your neighbors. Good luck with your “volunteers” and your plan for community domination!

And last, but most certainly not least …

WHOAH. Scott thinks this blog is magnificent.

Sir, you just made my day.

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