During the last half of 2015 I fell in love with podcasts. I’m sure many others share my love for them. They make mundane tasks like washing dishes, folding laundry or a solo drive back home so much more enjoyable. I phase through different podcasts, but currently my two favorite are the Balanced Bites Podcast and Happier with Gretchen Ruben. Happier focuses on tips for creating healthy habits and learning more about your own personal tendencies to make habit changes simpler and easier to maintain.
I am not big on new year’s resolutions, because for me if I want to make a change, there is no better time than to start it now. I don’t want to wait for a specific day to begin making a change that I’m ready to implement. One area that I wish I was naturally better at is homemaking. Meal planning, cooking and budget keeping, I’m great with. Cleaning, organizing and general house balance… I always need help. However, I can say with certainty that because of the tips from Happier, I’ve created new habits that have helped me to work on my personal goal of being a better home maker, while being even happier too.
Here are my five simple habits that bring me more happiness. Be sure to check out the Happier podcast, it is nothing but great!
Habit 1: make the bed daily
It may seem so simple and little, but it actual brings me a lot of joy to have the bed made. It brings order to our room and is such a simple task to turn into a habit because it only takes about 30 seconds to do. I find on the rare day when I haven’t made the bed, I miss it. I told Jacob about my new habit and how making the bed actually brings me happiness and because he is so sweet and thoughtful, he’s started making the bed too if I get up before him. Now that brings me even more joy because I know he’s doing it for me! Love.
Habit 2: the one minute rule
If there’s a task that takes one minute or less, then I’ll just do it immediately. I use this all the time and I feel it helps keep the clutter a little more in control. Actually just last night I was picking up Zoe’s hair brush from the ground in the living room and where I would normally just put on the kitchen counter because it’s quick and easy, I took the extra 10 steps to put it away in the bathroom drawer where it belongs. It took 5 extra seconds, maybe, but had I put it on the counter with all the other items that find their way there, the task of cleaning up the counter would be a bigger project.
Habit 3: leave a clean kitchen over night
There is nothing more annoying than waking up already behind on dishes. As someone who cooks pretty much all of our meals, dishes are always stacking up. If I start the morning behind with dishes from the previous day, I’m just setting myself up for failure. But if I can start fresh, and even better with an empty dishwasher, I’m making my life even easier. When all I have to do is rinse the dishes, add them to the dishwasher and hand wash a few pans, cutting boards and knives after a meal is done, I’m way more likely to actually accomplish it and feel less overwhelmed about it.
Habit 4: put coats and shoes away right when coming inside
This habit is yet another simple quick one that I actually have my kid’s implementing too. I know it could easily snow ball into a bigger annoyance of clutter around the house if I let it go. It takes just a couple minutes to get all the coats and shoes put away when we come inside, and it instantly makes me feel good to not have the clutter of things laying around on the floor or hanging on chairs. I really like that most of the time I don’t even have to tell Hunter to put his shoes away, he automatically starts to take them off and put them in the closet right when we come inside.
Habit 5: have a specific spot for everything
This is one I’m still working on throughout the house, but the general idea is that if items have a specific place to go, it becomes way easier to put them away in their place. It also makes the job of finding something easier. Jacob and I used to joke all the time at our last house that when something went missing, it got sucked into the house’s vortex. Sometimes things were never found, and I think that’s because instead of setting up organization for everything, items would get shoved into closets, drawers and boxes with no real reason as to why it was put there, except to not be seen. Thankfully our new house is much larger, which makes it easier to set up places for specific items. The kid’s toys are a good example – there are boxes or baskets specific for most toy category. Pictured above we have a separate basket for the tea set, pig popper, small block books and bigger books/puzzles. It makes it easy to clean up and to also know where things are. I’m slowing working that habit through other areas of the house, but it’s definitely a big task!
The biggest and most helpful switch for my own personal habit change was in my brain. I really had to think about making these habit changes as something that brings me more joy and happiness, because they really do. I just hadn’t pinned that thought down before.
One saying I absolutely love and agree with is this: Outer order brings inner peace.
So true for me. When things are messy and unorganized it creates this sense of chaos, but when things are organized and where they should be, I feel calmer and more relaxed. Believe me when I say this, my house is still no where near perfect. At all. Pretty much daily things are left on the counter, clothes find their way to the floor and my desk I’m typing at right now is a mess of sewing projects and paperwork, but for now, it’s about the baby steps going in the right direction. Taking these little steps to bring some control to the chaos, even if it isn’t perfect right away. It’s all about the journey and enjoying the process, and I sure am.
Have you implemented new habits lately? Are you a new year’s resolution setter? What podcasts have you been loving lately?