Handle small emergencies fast: When a small emergency does pop up being prepared with a home medicine kit will come in handy. Make sure to have one in your car and one in the home and look through them twice a year to make sure they are up to date and have been restocked. Use this same twice-yearly update to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and to put fresh batteries in all of your flash lights. Have a special box where you store a few extra batteries, a new flashlight, some storm candles and some lamp oil for an oil lamp in case of a severe storm or power outage. Just putting these emergency kits together will give you peace of mind and when you need them you won’t have to rush around hunting for supplies you will know right where to find everything you need.Ways to cut down on interruptions from little ones when working at home: Just when you are in the middle of writing an article or have your thoughts flowing for the piece your designing, your little friend comes up and tugs on your sleeve telling you they are thirsty. When working at home with small children around you can cut down on these interruptions and still take care of their needs. Tell your children that you will be working on a project for the next two hours and set up drinks and snacks that they can get for them selves. Put a few different drinks in small single serving bottles in the door of the fridge and have them help you make a snack ahead of time that can be stored in a baggie or Tupperware. Asking your children to respect your two hour work break will help them learn to be self sufficient and they will find creative ways to entertain themselves. Then you can spend some time together and have another work break later in the day.Start with low maintenance in mind when you design: A great way to reduce home maintenance chores is to plan ahead with low maintenance fixtures, flooring, paint colors, and windows when you are building or remodeling. If you already own a home, when things wear out replace them with low maintenance replacements and cut your work time in half. Make sure to use a light color for exterior paint trim. This will reduce peeling and cracking from the sun and will wear longer. Shades and shutters just need to be vacuumed once in a while instead of taken down and laundered. Rugs with darker colors and small patterns will distract the eye from small stains. Using combination storm and screen windows will save you from changing the storm panels twice a year and using cedar trim will make the boards last longer and you won’t have to paint them.Keep your expectations in balance: Our lives become overwhelmed and cluttered from expecting too much from the outcome of something others or we are doing. Focus on the process of what you are doing. It is not what you do but how well you do it. Make the process enjoyable and an important part of what you are doing this will make you much more accepting of the outcome.Take a moment to recognize the simple joys: Our schedules have become so full and hectic we often forget what we are working for or running towards. You can remedy this by being more present. Think of the simple things that you enjoy and STOP and enjoy them and then go back to what you were doing. If you are driving along and you see a beautiful vista, pull off the road and enjoy the view for a few minutes. Do you love walking in your yard and looking at the flowers and listening to the birds, then start 10 minutes earlier so you can wonder around the yard before you start your busy schedule. Make a list of 5 simple things you enjoy and STOP to enjoy at least one a day.Be efficient at the grocery store: Plan ahead, think of 5 or 6 meals that you would like to make and make sure to get the ingredients for each to have in the freezer or pantry. Then you can still leave room for impromptu meals like that craving for take out or your neighbor bringing you some fresh fish but you will have everything you need for several meals without having to keep going to the grocery store.Don’t rush through dinner: Have everyone pitch in when it comes to making dinner and sitting down to enjoy it. The meals don’t have to be fancy, just a time to be with your family and get a bite to eat. Take turns with the cooking, setting the table, and washing the dishes. Especially in the summer when schedules seem to be tight with all the activity around the house, keep meals light and focus on catching up with what everyone is doing.Have a cleaning team: Figure out a list for the top 10 cleaning chores that need to be done each week. Give everyone a few chores to do and write them down on the calendar or post it on the refrigerator. When you each pull together and focus on the few tasks you need to do the house will get cleaned and everyone can feel like they have contributed without one person having to manage everything.Ban those useful looking gadgets from the house: The marketing of the next cleaning monster, or tool whiz is terrific, you see the ad think how great it would be to have that latest gizmo and before you know it your are stumbling over all sorts of gizmos that were supposed to simplify your life and they have just given you more stuff to clean around. Ask yourself the hard question before you get that next gizmo; is there a tool I already own that could do the same thing? You can use this same question for small handy dandy kitchen appliances. Your closets, workroom, and pantry will be cleared of clutter in no time. Take the money you would have paid for the item, make sure to include the price for shipping and handling and put it in a large savings jar at the end of the year you can use the money you saved for a fun family outing.Make sure important notes and schedules don’t get lost in the clutter of the coffee table: Designate a special area in your house where important messages and schedules can be posted. Keep this area clear except for these items and you will always know where to look.
15 Sep 2012