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6 Sanity Hacks For the Home and Those Who Live There

Life gets busier and busier, especially this time of the year. I've been steadily doing things to make my life a little saner, a little easier, a little more peaceful, and I'm sharing my top six with you today.

1. Unplug

I've renewed my dedication to unplugging from the Internet on weekends. I had tried this once before, but I backslid. This time, I was shocked how nearly impossible it was. So much communication, even among family and my closest friends, takes place online now. But limiting my online activities for the weekend gave me more time to be present in the day to day moments of real life. And that's important. When I came back on Monday morning, my head was clearer and my to-do list, much smaller. (Not everyone can do this on weekends. But picking one or two days a week to stay offline is mentally healthy and good for your mind.)

2. Move More

Physical things have a major impact on our mental health. If you work at a desk all day, this one's for you. Set a timer, or buy one of those new Vivo devices to tell you when it's time to get up and move. As a writer, I can't do the recommended “every fifteen minutes” because that's how long it takes me to fall into the story. Interruptions at that point would be deadly to my creativity. But at least once every hour you should get up, and do some significant moving around. I mean, significant, like fifteen minutes on the elliptical, running up and down the stairs a dozen times, doing 25 sit-ups or pushups or the like.

3. Neatness Counts

Routine upkeep around the home can become a major task if it's not done every day by everyone who lives there. Messes build up and pretty soon you've got a disaster area on your hands. Adopting simple habits like making your bed as soon as you get out of it, and loading the dishwasher after every meal take almost zero time, and make your surroundings much more pleasant. If you need inspiration, read Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley, aka “The Fly Lady.” She's amazing. Again, these should not be done by one person, but by everyone who lives in the home. Try to instill habits in the family that will help. Tops here: insist they use closets and coat hangers instead of the floor and furniture to hold their shoes and coats (and hats and backpacks and tools and gloves and sports equipment, etc.) It'll require frequent, loving reminders they will refer to as “nagging” at first, but it's worth the effort. Then have a thorough cleaning once a week where everyone takes part. Changing daily habits can really make your home a neater, more pleasant place.

4. So Let it Be Written, So Let it Be Done!

I can't tell you how many times I'll be doing something, and will think to myself, “This would so much easier if I only had a ____.” Then I just go on with what I was doing and forget about it. Whether the item I was wishing for was a tiny stepladder so I can reach things in the kitchen, or a new knob for the cabinet in the bathroom, a wastepaper bag for the car, or a few more leftover containers, if it would make life easier it's worth a few extra seconds. When this happens to me now, I stop what I'm doing and jot it down, and then I make a point to purchase the item on my very next shopping trip. (Or run straight to the computer to order it online immediately.) It's usually simple, inexpensive things. A new drain strainer, or a saucepan to replace the one with the missing handle, a lamp for a dark corner. Simple, cheap items. I have lists posted in my bathroom, bedroom and kitchen, with pens kept nearby so I can easily stop what I'm doing and write things down as they occur to me. Then I gather up all the lists when I'm heading out and try to fill them.

5. De-Clutter Your House, De-Clutter Your Mind

Every week pick one closet, drawer, or corner where you pile your crap, and hoe it out. Be ruthless about getting rid of your stuff. If you haven't used it in a year, you never will. If an outfit hasn't fit you in a year, you're due for a new one anyway. Yes, you might very well be that size again. When you are, you'll have earned a new outfit. For motivation, read Miss Minimalist by Francine Jay. (This is a free read if you're an Amazon Prime member.) Take clothes to the nearest donation bin. Recycle the plastic and glass and old magazines and newspapers you know perfectly well you're not going to ever read again. Make use of your local Freecycle group. Have a lawn sale. Or just put it out front with a FREE sign attached.

Getting rid of clutter opens up the flow of energy into and around your home. You cannot bring good energy in if the place is overflowing with old, useless, musty energy. And everything is energy. So make way for the new by clearing out the old.

6. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

Some jobs only need to be done once a month or less. For those, we mark them out ahead of time on the calendar and that way they don't get forgotten or neglected. Adding salt to the water filter system, giving the dogs their monthly heartworm prevention med, etc. If we schedule these regular things in and write them down down, they always get done.

7. BONUS HACK: Take some Me-Time

It's important to keep yourself on your own list of priorities, and right up near the top, too! On an airplane, they instruct you, in case of emergency, to put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping your seat mate into hers. This is because if you pass out while trying to help her, you're both doomed. This works the same way in every part of life. A stressed out, tense, short tempered, overworked person is no help to anyone. In fact, everyone around such a person would absorb some of that stress energy she is giving off. Better to be a calm, happy, well adjusted, content person, because everyone around you will feel that energy too. To be that person, you have to take care of yourself first. Fifteen minutes of sitting in silence, just breathing, to start each day, or end each day, or both, is such a small gift to give yourself. You can even combine it with a long soak in a hot scented bath or a daily walk. Give this to yourself, and enter the upcoming holiday season in tip top zen mode. You'll enjoy your life a lot more if you do!

Feedback Time!

Okay, so which of my Sanity Hacks do you agree with? Disagree with? Use regularly? Plan to try? And what are your own tips for making life easier? Readers want to know!

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