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A day in the Life

October 22, 2020

Hi there Friend!

Last week I shared some strategies if you’re someone who struggles with mornings.

A morning routine should include determining your one most important daily task.

Decide on what your one most important task is each day. Then, decide on 3 additional things you’d like to get done. If your one most important task gets done, you can move on to the other 3 tasks.

A morning routine should include something that makes you feel good about yourself.

This could be doing a few stretches, getting dress into something that makes you feel pretty, putting on some make up, going for a quick walk and more. Again, this doesn’t have to take much time, but decide on something that makes you feel ready to start your day.

Making a morning routine happen with kids at home.

Get up on time.

Once you’ve created your morning routine, you should be able to determine how long it will take to work through it. I think 20-30 minutes is a great time to shoot for.

Get up right away.

Don’t hit snooze. If you struggle with knowing what time to get up, its all about reverse engineering your morning to figure out what time you need to get up inorder to have a successful morning.

Plan your morning the night before.

Make sure you’ve gotten anything together that you will need for your morning routine the night before. So you can easily find it.

I plan my day in my planner. For this reason I always make sure my planner is by my chair the night before.

If you are a mom with kids at home, you really can still start your day your own way. The same is true if you are a working mom. A morning routine is possible, and it will even become something that you view as a non negotiable once you get one in place. My morning routine is one of the best parts of my day.

Making a morning routine happen as a mom with kids at home just takes a little planning.

In the end, the time you spend making a morning routine will make all the rest of the day day all the better.

October 15, 2020

Hi there friend!

If you struggle with a morning routine, this is for you.

Why does a morning routine matter?

Your day starts out on your own terms.

When your day starts with kids barging into your room (or something like it). You’re going to spend the rest of the day feeling like your chasing after it. And, in many ways you are.

Think about getting into a pool that’s freezing cold. If you jump right in the cool pool it just takes your breath away. But, if you ease into the pool a little at a time, you’ve got time to get used to the water. That way it’s never a shock.

The same is true for your day. It’s much less shocking to ease into your day. And, a morning routine allows you to do that.

You have time to make a plan.

If you don’t have a plan for the day, you’re much more likely to spend your day doing things you don’t really plan to do. And, therefore rarely getting to the things you really want to do.

You know what they say… failing to plan is planning to fail. And I have certainly found this to be true.

A plan for the day allows you to be more intentional, get more done in less time, and waste less time.

A morning routine should include time to plan your day. Then, you’ll spend your day doing more of what you want.

I’ve got 3 things every morning routine should include.

A morning routine should include 3 things that are important to you.

Starting your day spending a few moments doing 3 things you actually want to do gets your day off to a great start. These don’t have to be huge things that require alot of time. Infact, these really should be faily simple things.

For me, my morning routine include things like:

  • Drinking a big glass of water.
  • Reading a chapter in my book.
  • Getting a head start on a simple house hold task- this usually means laundry from the washer to the dryer.

I’ll share the other two next week.

October 8, 2020

The cost of storing things.

Is it really worth it?

Years ago, I heard some one speak about home organization. She mentioned how important it is to ask yourself how much money it is costing you to store something.

I had no idea what she was talking about. At all!

My house was my house and I didn’t pay anything to keep my stuff in it.

I get it now, but I also understand that its a some what ambiguous concept and I understand why it’s harder for someone like me to grasp it.

Here’s the thing. I’m frugal, ridiculously frugal. This frugality leads to me focusing more on how much I’m saving by keeping something I’ll maybe use than on how much I’m definitely spending on space that then can’t be used for other things.

Huh?

Well, those cookie tins…

They are in perfect condition. They are totally re useable. They represent a dream of being the kind of person who makes Christmas cookies/ or candy or whatever and passes them out in tins. Tins you don’t even have to buy.

The only issue is that I’d have to store them for a full year. As I moved them from one shelf to another, I realized I needed to make a decision. It was time to decide if they were going to stay or go.

Letting them go would mean:

  • Washing them perfectly (because they had food in them).
  • Drying them perfectly (because I don’t want them to rust while waiting for next Christmas).
  • Finding a cabinet where they could stay for the next year.
  • De cluttering that cabinet to make room for them.
  • Placing them gently in the cabinet so don’t get scratched, in a position where they wont fall or get dented.
  • Remembering to buy the ingredients.
  • Remembering that I have these tins in addition to the ones I’d need to buy.
  • Remembering where I stored the tins.
  • Re washing them because they sat in storage for a year.
  • Giving up that cabinet space that I might need for things we definitely use.

Letting them go would mean:

  • Wiping them all out well.
  • Sticking them in a donate box.

There’s cost in storage. Actual monetary cost that comes in the form of a monthly mortgage payment for a space where our family can live and work and relax.

I put them in the donate box. I might have to spring for some containers next December, but, I’m ok with that.

For one thing, I might not need to. Most years I don’t.

But even if I do, I’d have to buy a few more anyway.

If you look up the cost, you would find that it’s cheaper to buy new than to store them. Especially if you opt for the single use ones.

Not stressing over all the things on the letting them stay list is worth 15$ to me (cost of buying new)

How do you talk to yourself about these types of things? Read this post The financial cost of “someday stock piling.

October 1, 2020

Hi there Friend!

Productivity!

It’s something I’m asked about all the time. How can I make the most of the time I have (which never seems to be like enough).

So I put together the best tips on productivity I could come up with, and here they are.

1 Devote time to planning every single day.

Ideally you will make the time to plan your day the night before so you can hit the ground running, but spending some time planning your day is one of the best tips in productivity.

2 Make a list of larger projects that you then break down into manageable lists.

I prefer to have a master list that I use to break projects down into monthly lists, from there I break them down into weekly lists and finally daily lists.

3 Identify the problems in your day early.

In having a planning session and making lists, you will easily be able to identify where snafus are going to happen. These are things like those times when you have to be in three places at once. Look for the problems in your schedule and begin brainstorming solutions right away.

4 Use time blocks.

Time blocks are really nothing more than scheduling a start time and an end time for something to be done in your day. This could also just be an overall time for a project. For instance, you might decide to spend 30 minutes on cleaning your closet. In using a time block like this, you have planned how much time to devote on one activity. This is a great help in being productive.

5 Be realistic.

Realize that you can’t get it all done right from the start. Approaching your tasks from a realistic vantage point will increase your productivity chances.

This is by far not an extensive list, but is a great place to start if you struggle with productivity.

September 24, 2020

Hi there friend!

As someone who loves to do lists, I love sharing the tips I’ve learned about them.

Before you make your nest to do list, here are some things to keep in mind first.

Not every thing is urgent.

Like me, you might find that at first everything you need to do feels urgent, but that doesn’t mean that everything actually s urgent. In fact, it is rarely the case. Keeping in mind that not everything is urgent is a great place to start. Another helpful tip is to take some time before putting something on your to do list. Even just waiting 20 minutes will allow you to get some perspective about the urgency of the tasks you’ve got to complete.

Delegate tasks from your to do list to others.

It’s common to feel like you’ve go to do it all. In reality, there are others who can complete some of the tasks that are on your list. My goal is to delegate at least one thing on my list to someone else every day. Most days, I can make this happen. I suggest you do the same.

Watch out for procrastination.

If something is on your to do list for more than three days, you’re procrastinating. Its time to figure out why so that you can avoid procrastination and actually get the task done.

Keep a master task list to use when you make your daily to do list.

Keep a list of all the tasks you can think of that need to be done now and in the future. This serves as a great first step in creating your to do list first.

Secret to an effective daily to do list.

A shorter to do list beats a longer to do list every single time.

Hopefully that helps!

September 17, 2020

Hi There friend!

one thing I get asked about all the time is what to do about laundry stains. Here’s the process I use – and the most important piece is at the end!

Removing laundry stains takes time.

Just this month, I have had to remove a super stubborn stain in a shirt covered in motor oil. After a fall in an oil patch on the road.

With that particular stain, it was a six day process, but in the end, the white shirt looked brand new.

It starts with a stain removal product.

Before doing anything else, I attack the stain with a combination of some stain removers… or maybe a combination of them.

Next comes the soaking.

Having a simple wash basin is a must. Then that basin should be filled with a family strong solution of something like oxi clean. Some times I start with one product, then after a couple of days will add a scoop of the other cleaners. Generally I start with oxi.

Be patient.

If you’ve been following thses steps, you very well could have 3 days or more into this process already. Just check on it a couple times a day to see how the progress is coming.

Add more stain remover.

If it has been 4 days and I can still see the stain, I will repeat the first step woth the stain remover again. I just add more of the stain removers mentioned in step one.

Lastly, it’s the secret weapon.

Here’s the secret weapon you’ve come for. Are you ready for it?

It’s the sun!

Truly the sun!

The women of the 1800’s didn’t have any choice but to hang their laundry outside to dry. But they were on to something when it came to getting stains out.

If your stains is partially gone but still visible set aside the clothing outside in the sun. Don’t rinse it or anything. Just put it oout there straight from the soaking solution. Put it out there early morning on a bright sunny day and watch the magic happen after it’s been out there for several hours.

This works like a charm every time in my experience.

I live in Wisconsin, and can go for weeks with out having any sunshine during the winter. But when the sun does come out, I just put all my stained laundry in front of the windows so the sun can work its magic even if it’s during the dead of winter.

September 10, 2020

Be ready for back to school!

It’s understandable that sending your kids back to school during these times is nerve wracking. Make sure to have a conversation with your kids so that they understand how best to stop the spread of the virus and when they are at school, when they come home. Utilize these tips and those provided by your school and teachers to help protect your kids and your family against the virus this school year.

Encourage healthy habits.

Healthy habits start at home and the most important habit for them to develop is washing their hands. First teach your kids HOW to wash their hands properly. This includes scrubbing for 20 seconds between the fingers, around the thumbs, on the back of the hand and around the wrist. Next teach them WHEN to wash their hands. Make sure your kids know these key moments for washing their hands.

  • Before and after eating food.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After touching an animal.
  • After touching the garbage.
  • Before and after playing with toys.
  • Before and after using shared school supplies.
  • After coming inside.

Practice school safety at home.

New school policies may mean your kids have to wear a mask throughout the school day. Start practicing mask wearing at home so that they get used to wearing it while inside. Start with a couple hours a day and work your way up to a full school day so that they’re ready once they’re in the classroom.

Create a sanitation station.

Don’t let germs come inside when your kids come home from school. Create a designated space at the door where your kids can leave their masks, bags, shoes, and coats. If possible, keep this area stocked with disinfectant sprays and hand sanitizers. Make sure your kids go straight to the sink to wash their hands thoroughly when they walk through the door.

Not sharing is caring.

Frequently touched items like school supplies and toys are hot spots for germs. Unfortunately, many of our classrooms do not have enough supplies for all of the students so be sure to ask the teacher what suppplies your kids will need so that you can equip them with their own set. Make sure not to share their supplies with their class mates to help stop the spread of germs.

September 3, 2020

Hi There Friend!

If your someone who struggles with prioritizing, I’ve got a few tips that might help.

Write out your goals.

It starts with knowing whats truly important to you. And, it’s ok if a goal is a totally selfish one.

For example, one of my goals os to get my table and chairs repainted.

While this might sound like a selfish goal for a mom, is it really? When I get time to do any painting I tend to have more energy to keep up with what my family needs. I feel less stress, I’ve got more patients, plus my brain has a chance to reset.

When you look at it that way, getting to paint really isn’t a selfish goal at all. I’m guessing the same thing could be true for you. Your family and others in your life benefit when you actually prioritize what’s important to you.

Write out your daily plan.

In order to prioritize what matters, you have to make what matters a part of your life, nealy every day. You actually make time for what matters to you in your daily plan.

Start with a shorter amount of time than you’d actually like.

Start small. Adjusting to accommodate your priorities should be gradual. Other wise, your likely to allow something or someone else into guilting you out of doing what matters to you.

Starting small will help you keep the guilt at bay, and it will put the odds in your favor of following through with the goals you created in the above step.

That’s it! Try these things out if you struggle with never having enough time.

August 30, 2020

Fight back against mold and mildew

Humidity is the worst. It messes up our hair, keeps us sweaty, and causes mold and mildew to grow in our homes. Mold and mildew is the worst in summer so make your life easier by incorporating these tips to help you eliminate it during your cleaning routine.

What cases it?

Warm temperatures and damp environments are hot spots for mold and mildew. But what exactly are they? Both mold and mildew are a type of fungus and appear in a range of colors. They thrive on moisture and reproduce by releasing tiny , light weight spores that travel through the air. Just like germs, you are exposed to mold and mildew every day.

Where does it grow?

Mold and mildew can grow practically any where if the conditions are right, putting you and your family at risk for allergic reactions. Often times you’ll smell the mold and mildew (like a musty earthy smell) before you see it, so here are common areas that you might find mold through out your home.

Bathroom

It’s the perfect environment for mold and mildew. You’ll most likely find it growing on shower curtains, in the caulk seams of your bathtub, air vents, or on the ceiling and walls.

Laundry room.

Be sure to check the lining of your washer, behind your machines, laundry baskets, and hanging racks for signs of growth.

Kitchen

Mold loves to be where food is. Keep an eye out on your refridgerater and freezer lining as well as stove vents and sink cabinets.

How to remove it.

If you find mold and mildew, its important to get rid of it as quick as possible. Not only will they eat away at what they are growing on, but it’s also unsightly and can smell unpleasant. There are plenty of products on the market to help tackle. Plus DIY recipies as well. This includes baking soda, vinegar or peroxide.

Ways to prevent it.

Once you have got rid of your mold and mildew, make sure you follow these steps to stop it from coming back again.

Keep the air moving.

Airing out your bathroom is one of the best ways to battle mold and mildew. Make sure you always run your ventilation fan during and after showers, and keep the door open when it’s not being used to allow fresh air to circulate.

Replace your shower curtains regularly

If you have vinyl shower curtains, you should toss them in the wash regularly, providing they’re not machine washable. If they are not, disinfect them frequent;y with a product designed to tackle mold and mildew.

Hang towels and mats right after use.

Mold and mildew will develop quickly in damp towels and floor mats. Get in the habit of laundering twoels and replacing them with fresh ones every 3-5 uses. (this is not the same as every 3-5 days.

Reduce moisture

Try using a dehumidifier in addition to your air conditioners, especially during the summer to reduce moisture in the air.

August 20, 2020

Do you struggle with mornings?

If you want to get up earlier and you just can’t seem to, here are some tips to get your started.

Have some time to relax and unwind before bed.

“But I’m so busy during the day” You might say. Finding time to relax and unwind at the end of the night might sound like a dream, but if you want to get up early it needs to be your reality.

When you have the tine you need ti relax and catch your breath at night, you’ll fall asleep faster and you’ll sleep better. And, this makes getting up earlier in the morning easier.

Go to bed early , so you can get up early.

I know it can be tempting to try to burn the midnight oil. And, I”m not really even saying you can’t. But if you struggle with getting up in the morning you need to start getting to bed earlier than you have been.

I”m not really a morning person by nature, but I’m not really a night person either. I’m kind of inbetween. This means that I still try to push myself too far at night, and I always pay for it in the morning.

I’m also kind of a morning person meaning I don’t hate mornings, but if I’m up too late the night before, it really doesn’t matter.

When you don’t get to bed early enough you set yourself up for a much harder time in the morning.

Have an alarm that actually wakes you up.

Some alarms are just too quiet and calming. Wile it might be nice to wake up to ocean waves lapping on a beach, if it doesn’t wake you up to the point where you can get out of bed it’s not the right alarm.

I suggest that you find a song that makes you want to get up and move. This works wonders when it comes to helping you wake up early.

Do something you like right away.

If you have something you like doing scheduled for first thing, you’re much more likely to get out of bed at the right time.

In order for this to really be effective, the things you do first thing need to be things you can only do if get up on time.

Ahhhh

Now, that changes things just a bit doesn’t it.

When doing something you enjoy is conditional, you will typically do anything in your power to make that happen.

Get up st the right time when you want to get up early.

This starts with knowing what time is the right time to get up.

There is no one right time for everyone to get up. Not all people need to get up at the same time in order to get up early.

You need to know what getting up early means for you.

August 13, 2020

Hi There Friend!

If you struggle with making exercise happen, here are some things that might help.

1 Establish a consistent day and time for exercise.

This doesn’t mean down to the minute and it doesn’t have to be everyday, but establishing a consistent exercise day and time is getting your plan off to a great start.

2 write your exercise time down like an appointment.

Put this planned day and time on your calendar, daily list, or where ever you keep track of the things you do. Writing your intentions down is the first step toward achieving them. Putting things in writing is a form of accountability that will serve you well when it comes to implementing an exercise routine in your life.

3 Share your exercise day/time with others.

Tell those who may be affected by your exercising of your intentions.

For instance, if you will be home from work latter after stopping at the gym, your husband would need to know this if you are married. If you will be putting on a dvd for your kids while you squeeze in a 30 minute work out in a different room of the house, they need to know ahead of time.

4 Make your exercise schedule/routine simple and easy to follow.

In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you are starting from square one, implementing an hour of exercise into your life seven days a week would be a rather lofty undertaking. In order to take on anything new, making it easily attainable from the begining is important.

5 Find something to motivate yourself when you make time to exercise.

What will make you abide by the exercise routine you’ve put in place? Would nice work out clothes help? What about finding someone to do it with you? I often find new music to be a great motivator, when I’m feeling unmotivated to get my work out in.

August 7, 2020

I’ve heard from alot of you who have tackled paper clutter during these weird stuck at home days of 2020.

For the record, I’m no expert on paper clutter. there are actual experts out there, but I’m not one of them. It’s a forever frustration for me too.

But over the years, I’ve significantly reduced the amount of paper clutter we deal with in our home. Its annoying, but no longer overwhelming.

Here are my tips. https://uncommomspaces.com/how-to-reduce-paper-clutter/

August 4, 2020

Here’s a question I get: What do you do when the place where you need to put something away is its own de cluttering project?

Basically, it comes down to the fact that people like me don’t have ONE cluttered area. We have many cluttered areas.

So putting something in its home (where you’d look for it first) Often /usually.pretty much every time means you open a cabinet or drawer or walk into a room that also needs to be de cluttered.

Here’s my answer: https://uncommomspaces.com/how-to-not-get-distracted-from-a-decluttering-project/

August 1, 2020

Hi there friend!

If your feeling the strain of over whelm these days, know your not alone. Maybe like me, the demands on your time are quite high.

Here are some things you can do to over come the over whelm.

Down grade your to do list.

All those things that you think you have to do and all the things you think you need to do because someone else is doing them… it’s time to just throw some of them out. All those unrealistic expectations you put on your self, it’s time to throw them out to.

It’s time to take some of them to do’s and make them to don’ts!

Say yes to less.

You heard it right here. You can’t be all do all the time. There fore, do your best to say yes to less when you are feeling over whelmed.

Say no with less.

When you are saying yess to less, give a short, simple, and gracious no. Avoid feeling like you need to give a long winded explanation as to why you are saying no.

Most likely, that person doesn’t want to hear your long winded any more than you want to stress about coming up with it. Just a short and sweet “I’m sorry, I just don’t have any way to make it work right now”.

Take some short cuts when needed.

Maybe you need to buy a product or subscription service that will take something off our list. Maybe you need to work on a project, but not nearly as thoroughly as you have been planning to. Taking short cuts isn’t a cop out. It’s a way to get things done during busy seasons.

Get enough rest.

This is where I have been focusing this week because I have been doing a really crappy job with it, quite frankly. I have been burning the candle at both ends for the last month.

The results haven’t been pretty. I have been irritable, and I’m convinced that my lack of sleep was the culprit for me having been to cranky with my family.

When you feel overwhelmed than normal, it’s also very likely you’re not getting enough sleep.

I love what Valerie Bertineli has to say about this concept: Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in your life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.

July 23, 2020

Help keep your home and family safe!

With stores and doors opening nation wide, it’s important to remember that covid-19 has not gone away. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep up healthy habits and cleaning routines. If you are starting to interact more with people inside your home, make sure you clean and disinfect before and after your guest come over.

Keep up with your kitchen

Now a days, the kitchen has become a spot for virtual conference calls, frequent snack breaks, and even school lessons. With so much traffic, it’s important to make sure you (and your family) are frequently disinfecting surfaces and handles throughout the day. Get in the habit of cleaning and disinfecting by wiping down and rinsing counters, or tables when they’re done using them, especially when guests are around.

Throw in the towels, literally!

One of the biggest hot spots you may be over looking are your towels. Even when used just a few days in a row, bathroom and kitchen towels can become breeding grounds for bacteria. The rule of thumb is to switch towels every two to three days. Try setting a towel washing day once a week to make sure you have fresh towels for the family and when guests are using clean towels and sheets every time.

Cover your couches.

Soft surfaces that can’t be thrown into a washing machine need extra help against germs. Try protecting furniture like chairs and couches with a cover that can be easily removed and washed.

Wash your hands!

There’s not need for a clever saying here. Disinfecting your surfaces is moot if you and your family are not practicing healthy habits like washing your hands, especially when you start having guest over. Remember, it just takes a minimum of 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water to kill harmful germs on your hands. When it comes to toys that are being passed around, make sure to clean and disinfect them before and after they’re used.

July 16, 2020

Cleaning VS sanitiation VS disinfecting

Many of you have wondered what the difference is between these commonly used house hold cleaning terms. Its actually quite simple so I’m going to break it down to give you the knowledge you need to help keep your family protected and your home clean.

Clean the messes.

Cleaning is the act of getting rid of dirt and mess where germs can grow. This includes wiping up food that has spilled or sweeping up dirt from outside. Even though cleaning can involve using soap and water, it’s still a surface level clean. That means that cleaning can help lower the risk of spreading infection, but it doesn’t generally kill germs, including bacteria and viruses.

Sanitize the bacteria

Sanitization is the act of killing bacteria, but it doesn’t kill viruses. You’ll want to sanitize surfaces that come into contact with food. Sanitizing doesn’t always require chemicals. It can be done with steam or extreme heat of at least 170 degrees, making it easier to sanitize fabric, carpet amd upholstery.

Disinfect the germs

Disinfecting is the act of destroying germs, including viruses and bacteria. Disinfecting takes cleaning to the next level to help ensure harmful germs don’t spread. Always remember that just because something looks clean, doesn’t mean it’s disinfected. Knock out germs with a good one-two punch by getting in the habit of cleaning and disinfecting regularly.

Always wash your hands

Just as important as the things in your home, your hands deserve equal if not more attention as they are one of the main reasons for germs to travel. Make sure you’re thoroughly washing them for 20 seconds with soap and water.

Learn the difference between clean and disinfecting here https://uncommomspaces.com/getting-the-skinny-on-germs-and-the-difference-between-cleaning-and-disinfecting-your-home/

July 9, 2020

As you continue to do your part to stay home, we know that every couch, corner and room is being used more than ever before. This includes your bathroom. While everyone needs it, no one ever likes to clean it, so here are some simple tips to help you tackle your bathroom.

Stock up on a full range of bathroom cleaners.