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6 Things to Do Every Day (for a Clean Home)

There are 6 things I do every day to keep my home clean. I don’t know about you but there’s nothing I love more than a clean home. There’s something about a clean and uncluttered living space that makes me feel like I have my life together. Being able to walk into the living room without tripping over toys, preparing food in a kitchen without a sink full of dishes and relaxing in a bedroom without a pile of laundry on the floor are all things that bring me joy. I know, I’m pretty lame. However, as much as a clean home brings me joy, there isn’t anything else that can have the complete opposite effect on my mood than having to clean my house. I don’t want to spend hours a day cleaning and organizing my home. How can I enjoy my clean home if I am always spending my time cleaning it?

Well, I narrowed it down to the top 6 things I have to do every day that really make a huge difference in the cleanliness in my home. I’m not talking about how I use to clean my room as a kid either. You won’t see me stuffing things in closets or tossing items in “catch-all” baskets. These, my friends, are the 6 things that I do every single day that have leveled up my home and kept me from breaking my back cleaning it every day. Let’s get into it.

Make the Bed

Ok, ok, ok! I know this is a very common “tip” that pretty much every one swears by and recommends. Seriously though, they are not wrong. I was never a bed-maker person (if that’s even a thing). My reasoning behind this thinking was that I was going to waste my precious time and ever-fading energy making my bed, only to mess it back up later that evening. It seemed sacrilegious, honestly.

However, after deciding that I needed a morning routine that implemented things I normally did not do, it felt only natural that I should try making my bed every morning. I promise you, this single act alone changed my life. Not only does it make me feel like I am ready to start my day, it instantly makes the room look cleaner. No kidding. I could have crap all over my nightstand or my husband could have his dirty socks on the floor, it will still look cleaner than if the bed was unmade.

Now, about those dirty socks. Making the bed every morning also, strangely enough, makes me want to tidy up the rest of the room. Usually, after admiring how pretty my bed looks once its made, that stinky sock catches my eye. How could I leave my beautifully made bed to exist in a room with dirty socks?! Completely uncalled for and unheard of! Those socks end up in the hamper and my room looks pristine once again.

“Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.”

~ Charles Duhigg

Manage Clutter

Boy, oh boy! I use to be the Queen of clutter. I saved everything and I mean everything. I had beer labels that had been folded into hearts 17 years ago that I refused to toss out. Did you hear what I said? I saved beer bottle labels. In other words, I saved garbage. No joke. When we moved 2 years ago to the house we are in now, I decided I was going to finally free myself of the clutter. I had no idea how much this clutter was weighing me down. I swear, I probably made 12-15 trips to Goodwill to drop off donations before our move. They do say that one (wo-)man’s trash is another (wo-)man’s treasure. The last thing I wanted to do was pack up a bunch of unnecessary junk and physically move it with us to the new house.

Not only did this save time when it came to moving but it drastically cut down the time it took for me to unpack once we were in the new house. Everything had a place. Honestly, even if my stuff was not in it’s place, I didn’t have enough physical stuff anymore to make my living space look cluttered. This instantly makes my home appear cleaner.

It also had an affect on the vibe of my house. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me. Does it make me crazy to say that I even feel like the air in my home is lighter and more crisp? LOL It’s so true. It feels like negative energy has been removed and replaced with positive vibes. Positive vibes only please.

“Clearing the clutter in your physical space will go a long way toward clearing the clutter in your mind and relationships.”

~ Peter Walsh

Sort the Mail

This is a big one. I know earlier I said there is nothing I cared less for than cleaning my home…but I forgot about mail. I use to have stacks of mail all over my house and in my car. I will say though that my intentions were good. I always intended to sort through it later when I had time but you know what? I never did find that free time.

Now, what I do is sort the mail as soon as I get it. Let’s face it, we all kind of skim through our mail when we first get it right? Use that time that you’re skimming to sort the mail. Put all the junk mail in a pile to be thrown out and the rest of the mail in another pile. This is where I take it a step further.

I use a mail organizer that has three slots. I put all the mail that needs my immediate attention into the first slot and everything else in the second slot. The third slot is where I put mail for the other members of my family. They know to look here for their mail. Not only does this method keep me from having piles of mail all over my house but it also lets me organize my mail in a cute way. This is the exact mail organizer I use.

“Discourse is fleeting, but junk mail is forever.”

~ Joe Bob Briggs

Clean as You Cook

Have you ever found a delicious recipe online and decided to make it? However, once your masterpiece was completed, were you left with a huge mess in the kitchen? Flour and sugar sprinkled on the counters, egg shells strewn about along with every seasoning bottle in your kitchen? We’ve all been there and it isn’t pretty. This is why I am an advocate for cleaning as you cook.

When I am cooking, I put every ingredient I use back to it’s rightful home immediately after I use it. I will even take it a step further. Once I am done with a pot, pan, cutting board or spatula I will wash it, dry it and put it back. By doing this, I am left with a clean kitchen even after I just prepared dinner for a family of five. This is probably one of the most effective cleaning tips I use that keep my kitchen clean.

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“This is a self-cleaning kitchen. Clean up after yourself!”

~ Unknown

Wipe Up Spills While They’re Fresh

This is something I wish every member in my home would adopt, but they haven’t. This is probably why I insist on doing most of the cooking. Cleaning up dried food splatters, burnt casserole dishes and sauce pans that have been sitting over night take some serious elbow grease. Elbow grease, which is something that I do not want to muster up to be honest. Yet, here I am, wanting a clean home.

I always keep a microfiber cloth next to the sink that I use to wipe up spills as soon as they happen. These are the cloths that I use and let me tell you, they have changed the game. I prefer to use these instead of paper towels. Not only are they more cost effective but they are better for the environment. That’s a double win, my friend. The really come in handy for any spills or splatters that might happen. The best part is when they get dirty, I just throw them in the wash and they are as good as new.

“Never cry over spilled milk, because it may have been poisoned.”

~ W.C. Fields

Sweep the Kitchen Floor

I do this every night before I got to bed. It only takes a couple minutes and I don’t have to worry about all the crumbs and dirt plotting against me throughout the night while I slumber. It is especially quick and easy with my dustpan. I did not think one appliance could have such an impact on my life. I’m obsessed with my EyeVac and it was the best money I ever spent.

Not only does this prevent debris build up on the kitchen floor but it also prevents pests. There is nothing worse than seeing a marching line of sugar ants coming into the kitchen because of a chocolate chip morsel from yesterdays cookie bake-off that fell onto the floor unnoticed. Is it weird that I find it fulfilling? There is something about sweeping up the “dirt” from the day and throwing it away that brings me inner peace and keeps my home clean.

“Do you want to be great? Pick up a broom and sweep the floor.”

~ Mother Teresa

There you have it! Try implementing all or some of these tips into your daily routine and see if it makes a positive impact in your life. I certainly feel like these six tips have changed my life and my home. What are some daily routines that you do to keep your home clean?

Another area of my life that I like to keep “clean and organized” is finance. I use different budgeting sheets to keep me organized. All the sheets I use I have uploaded to the ‘Free Stuff‘ tab above for you to download for free. Also, if you’re interested in starting a budget or maybe you just want to simplify your budget, here are a few tips on how to do just that!

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Virtual Birthday Parties While in Quarantine

Hosting a virtual birthday party while in quarantine is a real thing. In today’s day and age, social distancing is causing a lot of uncertainty in pretty much every aspect of our lives. Never in my life did I think I would ever blog about this topic, you know? However, it was recently my nephews birthday and it got me thinking about how we would be able to celebrate together…but apart. Consider this it’s your birthday, so naturally you planned on spending the day with friends and family celebrating the day you came into this world, right? Only now, you are suppose to stay in your home and avoid large gatherings of people. How do we get around this? Social distancing has caused a lot of us to rethink where we spend our time and who we spend our time with.

Although this is in the forefront of most peoples’ minds, it does not need to hinder our ability to still enjoy birthday parties and celebrating with friends and family. It will just take a bit of thinking outside the box (as if a virtual birthday party while in quarantine is not cool enough!) Surprisingly, there are actually numerous ways you can do this and still keep it fun and exciting for everyone.

The Quarantine Plan

Just as you would with an in-person birthday party, there are certain factors you need for virtual birthday parties while in quarantine. One of those factors is a a guest list. However, you need to consider each guests technological strengths and weaknesses. Your great-aunt Millie may have difficulty navigating the web to join your party without help. You could arrange to have a member currently in her home to help or maybe you could walk her through it over the phone. This is just something to keep in mind when making your guest list.

After you have your guest list, it’s time to send out the invites. This can be accomplished with a group email or group text. Another way you can do this is through the social gathering app you select to use. Most of these apps have a feature that will allow you to send invites to the people you want to allow access to your group. Now, it’s time to pick a platform for your party.

Pick a Birthday Platform

It’s important to pick a platform that is easy to use and readily accessible to all of your guests on your list (and not to mention free). There are numerous group-calling apps available. Simply doing a Google search will bring up a ton for you to explore. Here are a few that are pretty user friendly and, in most cases, are free to use.

  • Facebook Group Video Chat – start a Facebook group video chat and invite up to six guests. This is done through Messenger. Then you can “go live” with your guests and as long as you’ve accepted the setting to allow group members to “go live” as well, you can all see and talk to each other. Now this doesn’t mean you can only have six guests. You can invite up to 50 people who can join to listen, via voice or be on camera however you will only be able to see the first six guests.
  • Zoom – With Zoom you can host a virtual meeting. There are numerous price plans to choose from. However, there is a free plan. The free plan allows you to host up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes at a time absolutely free.
  • Skype Group Video Calling – Skype video chat app allows for group calls up to 50 people for free on just about any mobile device, tablet or computer. Just download the app and get started for free.

Time to Leave the House – Virtual Trips

Now, it’s up to you how you want to spend your birthday. It’s your party after all. With video chat you can still enjoy the moment when your guests sing happy birthday to you and watch you blow out your candles. You can merely group video chat with your guests and celebrate that way, or you can all leave your houses virtually. There are a number of free and pretty cool places you can all travel to together. Here are some ideas:

It’s Your Birthday Party

Don’t let social distancing be a cause for lack of celebration on your big day. Using alternative methods and technology to bring people together can still create long, lasting memories and make you feel special on your birthday. Honestly, having a virtual birthday party while in quarantine will probably be one of the most unique events you remember most. Take advantage of the time you have and the technology available to have a fun and exciting birthday.

Interested in learning what essentials you need while quarantined? Better yet, want to learn DIY hacks you can use to drastically cut your cost for these essential items? Check out my list of quarantine essentials here and start saving some big bucks!

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Don’t Achieve Your Goals…Hack Them!

What Exactly is a Goal?

Goals are nothing new. Goals are short-term or long-term objectives that we set in order to obtain a specific result. It’s safe to say that everyone has had a specific goal they wanted to achieve at one point in their life. Goals can be major confidence boosters when achieved. Think about New Year’s resolutions (and why they suck). This is a very common form of goal setting. However, what about when we don’t achieve our goals? Boy-o-boy it can really take a dump on our confidence levels. This is why I choose to hack my goals.

So, how do we ensure we have the highest probability of achieving our goals? How do we set ourselves up for success? Well, my eager, goal-setting friends…we don’t, we hack them! That’s right. Around here, we don’t achieve our goals, we hack them! I am going to explain exactly how we do it. Don’t worry, it’s not all the current mumbo jumbo that’s on the web now. You won’t find any “write your goal down every day” or “expect to fail and prepare for it” nonsense. Ok, maybe nonsense is too harsh a word. Ummmm, maybe it isn’t.

Why Rational Thinking Sucks

Hear me out. Personally, I have set a bazillion goals in my life thus far. Everything from losing weight to obtaining my dream job have been among my repertoire of life goals. Generally, I would type my goal into Google and search for “secret-tips” on how to achieve it. I tried writing my goal down in a journal every night before bed. I tried visualizing myself achieving my goals every morning. I even tried establishing reasonable goals that I knew I could achieve. I literally LOL-ed when I typed that. This was actually one of those “secret-tips” I had found online when I was trying to get my dream job. Really?! If you set a reasonable goal that you already know you can achieve, then is it really a goal?

Once I decided that this hamster wheel of set-goal-fail-goal was not working for me, I decided to break the rules. After all, my fourth grade Principal will attest that I mastered this ability at a very young age. Here are my “secret-tips” on how I hack every single goal I set for myself.

Put Your Finger on It

First, you need to know exactly what your goal is. Be as specific as you can. For example, instead of “I want to save money”, you could elaborate more and say “I want to save $10,000 by the end of this year to buy a new car.” See this difference? You are turning your goal from being very general into something extremely specific and personal. It is no longer an everyday Joe Blow goal, it’s yours. Own it.

This wraps up a huge chunk of goal setting steps into one.

  • Know your goal and what you want to achieve. I want to save money, done.
  • Set a measurable goal. I want to save $10,000, done.
  • Specify the amount of time needed to achieve your goal. I want to save $10,000 by the end of this year, done.
  • Find the main reason you want to attain this goal. I want a new car, duh.

Congrats! Just by putting your finger on your goal and specifically figuring out your what’s and why’s, you have bypassed more than half the chapters in most of the goal setting instruction books out there today. Hack your goals! Can you believe there are actually courses you can take online that teach you this stuff? Some of these courses cost hundreds (and even thousands) of dollars. Yet, here I am. Giving away the goods for free. LOL So, now what?

Write It Everywhere

I am not exaggerating when I say everywhere. Write your goal down on post-it notes and place them all over your house. Use a sharpie marker and write it on your bathroom mirror (don’t worry, it wipes right off with rubbing alcohol). Write it on an index card and put it in your wallet. Better yet, right it on a piece of masking tape and place it on the front of your debit card as a quick reminder before you swipe. #evilgenius This truly helps you hack your goals.

Now, I have used all of the ideas I just listed above. However, the one I currently use is a goal tracking sheet. I write my goals down on 4 tracker sheets and put each sheet in a cute dollar store frame. Then, I strategically place these frames throughout my home. One frame goes on the bathroom counter, one on my office desk, one in the kitchen and one on the coffee table in the living room. Not only am I reminded of my goals all day long (regardless of what room I am in) but it also looks super cute with my decor. Dontcha think?

You don’t need to use my goal tracking sheet, but if you want to you can download and print a free copy here. Just scroll down until you see this image and click ‘download’.

Right and Wrong

Next, grab a piece of paper and fold it in half length-wise so that when it is unfolded it forms two columns. Column one will be labeled “Right” or “Do’s” and column two will be labeled “Wrong” or “Don’ts”. Now, in the “Right/Do’s” column list out everything you can do on a day-to-day basis that will help you achieve your goal. Using our example goal above, our list might look like this:

Right/Do’s:

  • Keep track of all my spending – log everything you spend. Doing this helps to identify areas of weakness (it’s Starbucks for me) and helps you put into perspective what a “need” purchase is versus a “want” purchase.
  • Start the Dime Savings challenge – implementing simple savings challenges can help jump-start your goal. You don’t have to use this one. Simply Google “savings challenges” and you will quickly be overwhelmed with the thousands that are in existence.
  • Use only cash for purchases – I currently do this. I am less likely to go shopping if I know I have to change out of my pajamas and go to the bank first to withdraw money. Removing the modern day convenience of using a debit card is in fact a huge inconvenience. But, it helps me save money.
  • Start a budget and stick to it – You have to know what is coming in and what is going out when it comes to your finances. You can start a budget with just a sheet of paper or you can download budgeting apps. Again, just Google “start a budget” and you will get tons of ideas. You can also use the budgeting method I use. I found a super simple approach that works for me and I share it with you here.

Wrong/Don’ts:

  • No more impulse shopping – this means not spending money on things you want at first sight. It’s always a good idea to take time to think about whether or not you really need something before buying it.
  • Stop buying fast food this month – this isn’t really hard for me. My biggest vice is Starbucks. However, I solved this dilemma for myself and now I get my Starbucks for free. If you’re interested in doing the same, learn how I do it here.
  • Do not use my debit card – no need for an explanation, right?
  • No online shopping for 30 days – Hands off my money Jeff Bezos!

Be Your Own Hype Man

Now that you know what your goal is, you’ve written it everywhere and you know what your Do’s and Don’ts are, it’s time to tell the World about it. Feel free to share your goal on your social media platforms to keep yourself accountable or write it down in the comments below. The point is to make it known to everyone. You are more inclined to stick to a goal if you know that your peers will be aware of your success or failure, because Science. Hack your goals, my friends.

Personally, I like to work my goal into every day conversations. For example, I’m making dinner at home and my kids ask me, “Why are we having spaghetti for dinner again?” I can then, very confidently reply, “Because it’s cheap and it’s helping me save $10,000 by the end of this year to buy a new car.” #winning. Another example would be in the checkout line at the supermarket. After handing my stacks of coupons to the cashier, he annoyingly says, “you sure have a lot of coupons.” This provides me with the opportunity to say “Shut up and scan!” just kidding. I would say “Yeah, I know. All the money I save with these coupons is helping me save $10,000 by the end of this year to buy a new car.” Hack your goals. There is something about hearing myself verbalize my goals aloud that help me achieve them. Again, Science.

Fake It Till You Make It

Finally, walk the walk. What I mean by this is to go about your daily life as if you have already achieved your goal. Act like you already have that $10 grand in your bank account and browse online at the car you will purchase. Altering your mannerisms and your routines to reflect the behavior your future self will have after achieving your goal rewires your brain. This causes your brain to be on the same frequency as it would be when you achieve your goal. Check out this super interesting article from NCBI about The Neuroscience of Goals and Behavior Change. I know, I know. I like nerdy things and I cannot lie but this stuff really interests me.

Now Go Out & Smash Your Goals

I don’t mean to make everyone a believer of how I hack my goals. Nor am I saying this is the end-all-be-all of goal setting. This is what works for me and since I have implemented these hacks, I have slayed every goal I set out to achieve. However, don’t take my word for it. I challenge you to try these hacks out on your next goal and see if it works for you. Then, let me know how it worked out! I love connecting with others and building this community. Now get out there and kick some goal-booty!