Tag Archives: new habits

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Home, Life, Organizing, Ponderings, Uncategorized

A Happy Home, One Habit Adjustment at a Time

happy home

{Image: Krystian Olszanski, Flickr}

I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but I go to bed and just at that point where I think I might drift off to sleep, an idea hits me and I have to mull it over before I can fall asleep. Thirty minutes … an hour … TWO hours later … I finally collapse from exhaustion. It’s a problem; I know!

But some nights those ideas are really worth it. Last night was one of those nights. I was so excited about posting the book giveaway, but I recognized I needed to allow my mind to rest a bit, so about thirty minutes before I went to bed, I put down the laptop (hard to do when both you and your husband work at home and depend on your laptops to pay the bills), and I did something as my evening ritual that is still relatively new to me: I tidied up the main living areas, fluffed the throw pillows on the couch, wiped down the countertops, swept the floor, and did some dishes. I let myself unplug and wind down and got a few things done in the process. I hoped this would help me calm my mind so I could fall asleep sooner.

It would have worked, if I hadn’t realized that I had accidentally hit on something that I’ve begun doing. I had found at least one cleaning-type activity in most rooms of my house that I either already liked doing or wouldn’t mind attempting to do on a regular basis. What’s more, that one thing made a huge difference in the appearance of the room, and that one thing inspired me to do more in the room!

So, what ongoing habits have I either already established or am working on establishing that have made the difference for me? Here they are:

  • Bathroom – pick the towels and clothing up off the floor.
  • Kitchen – wipe down the countertops regularly with my homemade all-purpose cleaner, so I know they are clean and ready to use.
  • Living Room – banish paperwork from multiplying on surfaces. The coffee table isn’t always paper-free, but only the most essential pieces area allowed to stay, like bills that must be paid.
  • Dining Room – whisk items out. Once it becomes seen as a dumping ground, items multiply and we can’t use the dining room table for its intended purpose.
  • Bedroom – make the bed in the morning. I will admit … this one is very new to me. I’ve never been much of a bed-maker, to my deep abiding shame. But oh, what a difference it makes! And really, now that I work from home, I can’t use the “I go to work earlier than Daniel gets up” excuse.
  • Entry Hallway – create a make-shift “landing strip” with a basket for keys and a wire pot-lid holder for outgoing mail sorting. Now I know exactly where to look for that bill that needs to be mailed or that new insurance card I need to put in my car!
  • Office – only allow actual office stuff! This one is harder to enforce, since I currently photograph my vintage home decor for Creative Salvage there, but I try not to let the photo shoot take over for Daniel’s sake.
  • Coat Closet – hang up our winter coats at the end of the day. This sounds so small, but it’s really huge, since we prefer to use one of our living room side chairs as our “closet” and it is a daily battle to get those suckers back on hangers after each use!

I’m far from perfect. It is hard for me to focus on cleaning more than my other pursuits sometimes. Even though I work from home, the hours still fly by and the dishes go untouched while I work on editing item images, packing orders to ship, designing a brochure or writing copy for Daniel’s and my primary business, or drafting a blog post.

But these seemingly small habits I’m forming have begun to help our home be a happier home, one little adjustment at a time. And that’s really my goal for this whole process: I want our house to be a sanctuary where we can rejuvenate and relax and friends and family can stop by and feel welcome.

What habits are you forming?

Psst! Have you entered my giveaway drawing to win the book Organize Now! and a dayplanner yet? The deadline is Thursday, January 19th.

6 Comments

Filed under Balance, Cleaning, Home, Organizing