4 Ways Cleaning Is Good for You

When Better Homes and Gardens asked its readers to rank their least favorite household chores, cleaning did not come out well. A whopping seven out of the top 10 were a cleaning activity, whether it be vacuuming, dusting, or cleaning the toilet. Most of us don’t enjoy cleaning and see it as something we have to do. Maybe if we understood how cleaning benefits our physical and mental health, we’d be less hard on it.

It Reduces Allergens

You’ll notice that dusting and vacuuming made it to that list, but do you understand why you put so much effort into getting rid of dust? It’s not just because it looks a bit gross (although it does). Household dust is harmful to our bodies in a variety of ways, and it can often contain allergens that make your home a nightmare for anyone sensitive to them.

And it’s not just dust. Cleaning your bathroom and kitchen regularly is one of the best ways to prevent mold, which is another dangerous contaminant. It is essential to know how to spot a mold problem and to know what products can get rid of it.

It Gets Rid of Toxins in the Home

To some extent, dust and mold are natural occurrences and are easy to spot and get rid of. However, you also need to watch out for the airborne chemicals and toxins that can contaminate your air and which are much harder to notice. VOCs (volatile organic compounds), pesticides, and phthalates are all common in American homes, and the best way to fight all of them is to keep your home clean and well-ventilated.

It’s Good Exercise

While it’s not likely to become an Olympic sport anytime soon, cleaning chores burn a surprising number of calories. A half-hour cleaning windows can burn about 167 calories, while a mere 15 minutes on the tub can burn a respectable 90 calories. It’s not enough for a complete body transformation, but a few hours of cleaning once a week can help you stay in shape without leaving the house — and in your comfiest clothes.

If you want to boost your exercise levels during your cleaning, there are a few simple ways to do that. From doing lunges while you vacuum to blasting loud music to keep you in rhythm, treating your chores as a workout can help make the whole process a lot more fun.

It Helps Us Relax

It may be hard to believe for someone who’s just spent their Sunday morning scrubbing a bathtub, but cleaning is a great stress reliever. Some people find the process itself relaxing — if this is the case for you, congrats! A study has found that you are likely to be 25 percent happier than those who hate it.

However, don’t worry if that’s not you. You can still benefit hugely from a clean home, even if you don’t enjoy it while you are doing it. A messy house is inherently stressful since it is a permanent visual reminder of all the things you still have to do. Once your home is tidy, you are likely to be in a much better mental state. Think about it — don’t you always feel great after a thorough spring clean?

Conclusion

It may be time to stop giving cleaning such a hard time. Sure, it’s not always the most fun way to spend a weekend, but it keeps us and our homes healthy. What’s more, there is a wonderful paradox to it: the more regularly you do it, the easier it will be to maintain everything and the less grueling and time-consuming it will become. In other words, the more you clean, the less you have to clean.

3 Home Hacks That Help Put You In A Positive Mindset

Self-care should start in the home. If you have a home that makes you feel positive, then every day will begin and end on a positive note. A lot of people struggle with self-care because their home is a manifestation of negative energy. Then, the negative energy keeps piling more and more negativity on their shoulders every day. We want to stop this, so here are a few very simple home hacks you can try that will put you in an extremely positive mindset.

Get More Sunlight In Your Home

Sunlight is incredibly beneficial, and it works in more than one way. We know that we can get some Vitamin D from the sun, but unfortunately, it’s not possible to absorb this through windows. However, the main benefit I’m concerned with is how the sunlight makes us feel. It instantly puts us in a good mood when sunshine/daylight is entering our home. This isn’t some crazy scientific discovery, it’s common sense! You will feel far more positive when you let sunlight into your house compared to if you have all the curtains closed and live in darkness.

So, I have two tips for you. Firstly, open the curtains or blinds in every room as soon as you wake up. Secondly, think about maybe getting some replacement windows so you can upgrade them to bigger and wider versions. This will help your home bring in more light, putting you in a much better mood. You could even consider those windows on the ceiling that really bring loads of natural light into your home. Trust me, this little trick will definitely help you get into a more positive mindset while you’re at home.

3 HOME HACKS FOR A POSITIVE MINDSET

Use A Diffuser To Create Relaxing Scents

The smells in and around your home will play a significant role in how positive you feel. This is something that you perhaps don’t think about until you actually make efforts to create nice smells. My idea is to help bring relaxing scents into the home, so you smell them and feel a lot calmer and more chilled out. Get a diffuser of some sort – it could be an electronic one or a classic reed diffuser – and pick your favorite smells. Place the diffusers throughout your home to really bring it to life and make it smell a lot nicer and more relaxing. Slowly but surely, your house becomes somewhere you actually like being in, and you become more positive.

There are other ways of bringing nice smells into your home – such as candles and incense. However, I prefer diffusers as it means you don’t have to burn anything and let smoke into the air. Plus, the oils you use with diffusers are often used in aromatherapy practices and when people are meditating. You don’t need to have one in every room, but I think the bedroom and living room are great places to create these relaxing and soothing smells.

3 HOME HACKS FOR A POSITIVE MINDSET

Bring More Space To Your Home By Decluttering

I think too many of us create negative energy in our homes by letting them become overcrowded and cluttered. It’s hard to feel positive and upbeat when your house is a bit of a mess and you feel very claustrophobic. Every morning will begin with you wanting to get out as soon as possible, being stressed that you can’t find the things you need, and creating more clutter in the process. In your head, every day will be the thought that you have to clean your home at some point, and this lingers all the time adding more stress. So, why don’t you tackle the problem head-on and have a massive decluttering session?

Yes, it can take a few days, but the benefits outweigh all the effort that goes into doing it. I’d genuinely suggest taking a day or two off work so you can declutter your home thoroughly. You will get rid of any junk and mess that you don’t need, freeing your house up and creating loads more space. The result is quite staggering; it will feel like you’ve moved into a new home. With more space, more room to breathe, and increased organization, your house becomes a much more positive place to live.

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I’ll end how I started by saying that self-care starts in the home. If you can get yourself in a positive mindset at home, then this will generally help you live a more positive and happy life. You need to have a base where you can relax and feel satisfied, not somewhere that adds to your negative feelings. With these three ideas, you will turn your house into an ultra-positive place!

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here



Improve Your Kitchen, Improve Your State of Mind

Could your kitchen be causing you to feel frustrated? A chaotic kitchen can cause a chaotic state of mind. Whether you need an entire kitchen to remodel or you simply need to get your kitchen into a more organized state, achieving this will help you to feel much more at peace in your home. Let’s take a look at some of the signs that your kitchen needs to be improved so that you can unlock a greater sense of happiness and satisfaction in your home.

The Dated Design Is Dragging Down the Value

Is the dated design of your kitchen dragging both you down and the value of your property? If you are planning on selling your property any time in the near future, this could hold you back. Not only will it drive down the value of your house, but also it could put a lot of buyers off because they do not want to fund a kitchen model themselves. Instead, you would be much better off upgrading your kitchen yourself and reaping the rewards when your property does go on the market.

Improve Your Kitchen, Improve Your State of Mind

Your Electricity Bill Is High

If your electricity bill is too high, your kitchen could be the culprit. If you have old appliances in your kitchen, they will be consuming huge sums of energy, and you will be paying for this every month when your utility bills come in. Investing in energy efficiency appliances now can save you a lot of money in the long run. After all, we all know that there is nothing like money worries to cause concern. Eliminate this worry with new appliances.

Cleaning Your Kitchen Is the Definition Of Hell

Another sign that you need to invest in the services of a kitchen remodeler is if cleaning your kitchen is nothing short of a nightmare. Some of the main culprits are mottled linoleum floor tiles that never quite look clean and deep grout lines.

Improve Your Kitchen, Improve Your State of Mind

The Layout Is Awkward

An awkward layout is something that plagues many kitchens, and many thoughts, and it is a reason to consider a new kitchen. Not only is this important in terms of making your life more convenient and more peaceful, but some of the layouts that were popular 30 or 40 years are dangerous! Sit down with a contractor and find out what you can do to make the layout of your kitchen more functional!

You Have No Storage Space or Counter Space

Last but not least, do you feel like your kitchen is always chaotic because you simply do not have any room left for your appliances and kitchen items? As mentioned, a chaotic kitchen makes you feel like you have a chaotic life, so changes need to be made. A remodel can help you to maximize space and get more from your kitchen.

So, there you have it: some of the most common signs that your kitchen needs some TLC and requires a bit of renovation. If you have noticed any of the indicators that have been mentioned above, you need to give your kitchen the upgrade it deserves. Not only will this make your life easier and cooking more enjoyable, but it will bring you inner peace and boost the value of your property by a considerable degree in the process too.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

Improve Your Kitchen, Improve Your State of Mind

Tips for Creating a Functional Space for Kids

The models of kids’ rooms we see in most glossies or furniture stores are all well and good, but often they prioritize aesthetics over functionality. If you have children, we don’t need to tell you that in the battle between appearances and utility, the latter always wins out! However, you don’t have to totally let go of the interior décor of your dreams – it’s just a case of maneuvering to create a space that works for kids and their parents alike. Here are some easy organizational tips you can follow to strike that perfect balance.

This post was written by Johanna Cider, scroll to the bottom to learn more.

Repurpose A Room

Let’s start with the first and biggest hurdle: finding space in the first place! Chances are that in the average bustling family home, there won’t be much spare room lying around – but the good news is that there are plenty of solutions to a lack of space.

The first is to repurpose an existing room. You might, for instance, find that younger children might prefer to have a playroom rather than separate bedrooms, in which case you can move the kids together in one room and repurpose the free space. Another great option is garage conversion (you’d be surprised how much space there is to play with once your mancave or she shed is decluttered). Lastly, consider building a new structure altogether as another room in the house or a separate area in the backyard. Shipping container structures are a low-cost way to create a whole new house extension.

Make ‘Space’ Your Mantra

The three-word organizational mantra for kids is ‘storage, storage, storage.’ To create effective storage, you need to make intelligent use of your space. This means ensuring that seats and ottomans double as chests for toy storage, as well as utilizing vertical space (think bunk-beds and tall shelving units).

Tips for Creating a Functional Space for Kids

Divide The Room Into ‘Stations’

Kids have various interests, and their dedicated space should reflect that. Setting up stations in each corner of the room for different activities or purposes (such as Play, Homework, Arts and Crafts, and Reading) is a clever way to cater to your child’s – or children’s – diverse set of hobbies. Creating stations is also an organizational winner, as you can ensure that each station has its own defined ‘zone’ from which items cannot stray.

Utilise The Walls

Covering the walls in chalkboard paint or fun wallpaper (with a world map on, for instance) both facilitates play and pleases the eye. Plus, you can then write clean-up checklists on the blackboard to ensure that the kids take care of their functional space!

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Simplicity Is Key

We parents can sometimes be tricked into thinking kids need an expertly-decorated, gadget-filled space for them to have any fun. But modernity hasn’t changed the experience of childhood that much. Kids still find the best fun in their imaginations – which means that if your functional space is airy, spacious, and most importantly, reserved exclusively for the kids – you’ve already done an ace job as an organizer.

Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who loves discussing travel, home and lifestyle topics. Home design and organization are two of her greatest passions, and she spends many of her weekends working on new DIY projects. Find more of her work here.



Get Stress-Free Living at Home With These Tips

You may not realize it, but the environment that you live in plays an awfully big part of your wellbeing too. If your home is an unpleasant, messy place to be in, then your mind is going to pan out that way too, and that’s the last thing you want. So make sure that you put some energy into ensuring your home is what it needs to be. If you’re not quite sure how to de-stress your home, here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Oh, stress… We all experience waves of stress in our lives, yet, it can cause us so much harm. Often people don’t realize the severe impact stress can have on our bodies. Stress can really take its toll. What may start out as a generally bad day, can quite easily turn into a bad week, a bad month, and then all of a sudden you find yourself with some serious health conditions and mental health struggles.

Depression is no joke. It’s a very slippery slope to go down with no easy way out. This is why it’s so important that you take care of yourself and make sure that you seek help when you need it before you end up too exhausted and low to even get out of bed in the mornings.

Repair the Damage

If you’re aware that something isn’t working as it should, this is bound to make you feel worse. This is because you will get the impression that nothing seems to function properly. But rather than allowing yourself to drown in those negative and harmful thoughts – find a practical solution. It can be as simple as calling in a plumber to fix the constant overflowing shower, or vacuuming. While it seems like such a nightmare for you to do simple things like taking a shower – it’s a very easy job for the professionals, so never refrain from giving them a call when you need an extra set of trained hands. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help.

5+ Ways to Promote Relaxation At Home couch living room

Declutter the Chaos

Mess is never a good thing to have around you. Little by little it will build up until you come home one day and realize that you can barely see the worksurfaces anymore because there is so much junk filling up any blank space that you originally had. This can make you feel trapped or claustrophobic in your own house. That is not how its supposed to be, so don’t let your home get to this stage. Have a big sort out and get rid of anything that you no longer use or look at. Make separate piles to help you organize your things. The first pile should be things you’re keeping, the second is things to throw out, and last are things to be sold or donated. As difficult as it may be, sometimes you just need to let it go.

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This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here



Promote Relaxation At Home With These 5 Tips

Does your home make you feel relaxed? Is it a haven you long to retreat to at the end of a frantic day? For many of us, our home is the place we feel happiest, but it doesn’t always provide relaxation. If you’re on a mission to promote relaxation and calm at home, keep reading!

Decluttering

Clutter can affect the aesthetic of your home, but it can also interfere with the vibe and ambiance. If you walk through the door to be confronted with stuff everywhere, you’re not going to feel relaxed. Clutter makes your home look small and cramped, and it can contribute to stress. The best course of action is to have a clearout.

Let Go Of What You Don’t Use

Most of us are guilty of hanging onto things we don’t really need or even want. Over the course of time, molehills can become mountains. If you’ve got piles of boxes, or shelves and racks stuffed full of clothes or shoes you haven’t worn for months, now is the time to pull your sleeves up and get organized.

Go through each room one by one, and create separate piles. Make one mound of items you want to keep. Then, make one pile of the things you could donate or sell. And finally, make one pile for the trash. Box up anything you plan to sell or give away and then find a home for everything you want to keep. Fold clothes and keep them in a wardrobe, chest or closet and store your shoes on racks or in boxes.

Next, move to another room and repeat the process until your home is free from anything you no longer want. Gather everything you want to dispose of and take a trip to the dumpster.

Storage

If you’re short on storage once you’ve tidied up, it’s worth considering your options. You could put up some shelves for books, DVDs, games, frames or ornaments or you could buy a new chest of drawers or wardrobe to store clothes. If you don’t want to buy new, you could save money by upcycling a second-hand piece of furniture. You might even try storing items meant for a different season in a garage or storage space out of sight. Decluttering isn’t a fun job that most of us look forward to, but you’ll feel a lot better once you’ve ticked this task off your list.

5+ Ways to Promote Relaxation At Home couch living room

Setting Up Relaxing Spaces

There are certain parts of a home that are geared towards activity and engagement, but sometimes, you need peace and quiet or time to reflect, chill out, and spend a bit of time alone. Your home should cater to your every mood. You may want a kitchen that is a thriving hub of the house or a relaxed and peaceful office space. Just as you want your living areas to deliver when you’re cooking or socializing, you also want other rooms to satisfy your needs. Where do you go when you want to read a book, listen to music, draw, paint, or knit? If you haven’t got any places where you can just kick back and unwind, you need to. It’s a good idea to think about how and where you could set up relaxing spaces in your home.

Using Space

There are various options you could consider. If you’ve got a spare room you never use, why not convert it into a reading room, a creative studio, a tranquil office space or a music room? If you haven’t got a ready-made space, you could section off an area of an existing room. Consider a guest room, for example. If you rarely have visitors staying over, you could create a dual-purpose room. This room could cater to guests, but also give you the space you need to relax or pursue your hobbies. If you enjoy writing, for example, you could place a desk and chair in the bedroom or swap the bed for a sofa bed. Likewise, if you love reading, trade the desk for a bag chair and fill your shelves full of your favorite books.

Space & Value

Alternatively, if you’re looking for ways to add space and value, it may be possible to convert the loft or the basement. If this is an option that you’d like to pursue, get some quotes, talk to real estate agents, and create a budget. If the numbers add up, you can then turn your attention to interior design and start styling your relaxing new space.

5+ Ways to Promote Relaxation At Home bedroom

Getting Your Bedroom Right

The bedroom is the most important room in the house for relaxation. If your bedroom isn’t a comfortable space, you may find it difficult to switch off which could affect your sleep patterns. For a serene, soothing boudoir, stick to light, neutral shades or pastels. These shades are proven to have a calming effect. Add textures to create a cozy vibe, and avoid bright lights. If you like to have a lot of light, for example, for applying makeup, fit a dimmer switch so that you can soften the mood when you’re ready to get into bed.

When you walk into your room, you should feel your shoulders relax, and tension leave your body. If your bedroom isn’t delivering at the moment, consider a mini makeover. You don’t have to spend a fortune or hours painting and decorating. Altering the colors, adjusting the lighting and adding throws, blankets, rugs, and cushions could make all the difference.

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Lighting

Lighting has a real impact on the feel of the room, as well as the way it looks. When you’re shopping, think about the kind of mood you want to create. Do you want bright lights that will illuminate a large space and perk you up? Or maybe do you want soft lighting that adds a romantic vibe?

Lighting by Room

In rooms like the kitchen and study, you probably want a lot of light, but in the bedroom, reading room or snug, it’s best to go for softer options. Dimmer switches are a great idea for multi-purpose rooms like the living room. You can adjust the lighting to suit your mood at the touch of a button. For the ultimate in relaxation, switch off lamps and wall lights and light some candles. Scented candles are particularly beneficial, especially if you’re running a bath or you’re getting to ready to curl up and chill out with your bedtime playlist or a book. If you have children or pets, and you’re worried about safety, use LED candles.

Choosing The Right Colors

Let’s pretend you were presented with a series of colored flashcards. Then, somebody asks you to choose a word that represented how you feel when you see that color. You’d probably find that you have different words for every shade. Color has an impact on our mood, and it can also affect our energy levels. Bright shades of yellow, for example, make us feel energetic and happy. More subtle tones like pale blue and gray can make us feel calm. When you’re decorating or planning a room-revamp, think about how you use color. Additionally, think about which shades you use in each room. If you’ve got garish colors and prints in your bedroom, for example, you may find that swapping them for more understated tones will help with relaxation.

5+ Ways to Promote Relaxation At Home house plants houseplants

De-stress with Plants

If you’re a fan of interior design, you may be aware that the natural look is popular at the moment (I am obsessed with it). This is great news for plant lovers, not just because potted plants look fabulous, but also because they have calming properties. Studies show that plants can help to make you feel less stressed. They also purify the air.

You can use plants of all shapes and sizes to decorate rooms. Don’t be afraid to bring the outdoors in, and add a fresh, clean feel to your home. There are hundreds of different types of houseplants, but popular options that are proven to de-stress include aloe, English ivy, rubber trees, peace lilies, bamboo and spider plants.

If you have pets, take care when choosing plants and flowers to display indoors, as some plants are poisonous to cats and dogs. Ask your vet for advice. Many people assume that it’s hard work to keep plants alive, but most houseplants are very low maintenance. All you need to do is find a sunny spot and water your plants on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Most of us dream of a home that makes us feel safe, secure, happy, and relaxed. If your house doesn’t quite feel like a homely haven yet, there are lots of ways you can set the tone and create spaces that enable you to unwind and chill out. Before you turn your attention to a revamp, declutter and clear some space. You can then think about changing colors, furniture, and adjusting lights. Use the space you have available to indulge your interests and enable you to enjoy some time out.

Focus on creating the right atmosphere in your bedroom. Think about how different colors affect your mood and don’t be afraid to try and hone your green-thumb skills and introduce some greenery and foliage.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here



 

Spring Cleaning | A Guide to All the Little Places to Remember

It’s the season for cleaning! Around this time of year, everyone is cleaning out their homes, putting away winter clothes, planting their gardens. Spring cleaning can be a daunting task, and it is easy to forget to clean various little places. Read on for tips when you complete your spring cleaning. This post may contain affiliate links

Kitchen & Dining Room Cleaning

It’s relatively common to wipe down the dining room table and the kitchen counters, clean the moldy leftovers out of your fridge and call it good. However, there are a ton of other little places in these rooms that need to be attended to. Cleaning out appliances like the blender, microwave, toaster, and oven are essential more than once a year, but spring is the perfect excuse to do a deep clean of them. Wipe down all the food residue, empty the crumb trays, refresh batteries, clean out fans, etc.

In addition to the appliances in the kitchen, I highly recommend cleaning under the table, inside the cupboards, and under the countertops. These are places that don’t get much attention and like to collect spider webs.

Mental Health, Physical Health, and Your Home

Living & Family Room Cleaning

The living or family room of any home is generally the most used room in the house. Because of this more dust and debris is likely to collect here. Every spring move your furniture to clean the carpet or floor underneath. You might also try cleaning beneath and between the couch and chair cushions. Fluff the carpet under any tables or chairs. Additionally, I highly recommend doing a thorough carpet or rug vacuum and clean at least once a year—perfect for spring cleaning season! Getting your furniture professionally clean might also be a good idea. It would also go without saying that dusting all surfaces in the living room is essential regularly.

Bedroom Cleaning

You spend nearly every night in your bedroom, but it can often be the most neglected room in the house. Springtime is the perfect time to take care of your bedroom. Go through your clothes and donate all the clothes you have not worn in a long time, organize your closet and dresser drawers, donate or sell old jewelry. If you keep appliances such a dehumidifier, humidifier, or diffuser in your bedroom, you might also thoroughly clean them out.

The last spring cleaning item I recommend that might often be forgotten is to clean sheets. It’s good practice to toss old worn sheets and invest in a clean new set of sheets on a yearly basis. Not only should you change and wash sheets regularly, old sheets should be tossed once a year or so to keep your room clean and health intact.

Bathroom Cleaning

It is easy for dust to collect in the bathroom because cleaning supplies and other stored supplies don’t get touched regularly. I recommend going through all the supplies in your bathroom, throwing out expired products and dusting all the other ones off. Clean your mirrors, drawers, countertops. Scrub your shower curtain, all grout in your tiles and tubs, and toilet. Keep your bathroom clean this spring!

Other General Spring Cleaning

In addition to regular spring cleaning and the tips mentioned above, there are several other places that should be cleaned this spring. These other items include vents, windows, and storage closets. Getting a professional to clean your vents is the most ideal, however, if you are unable to do so, do your best to clean out the dust and debris that collect here. Removing the vent top is essential for a thorough clean.

Windows also need attending to. The corners and crevices or small hidden areas in windows collect dirt and grime and will need a deep scrubbing each spring.

Similar to the bathroom and bedroom closet cleaning mentioned above, all other storage and closets need to be dusted, organized and cleaned. Throw out anything expired, broken, or unused. Look in all storage boxes for signs of animals, bugs, dust, or mold and clean them out if need be.

Keeping your house clean has a huge influence on allergies and general health. Doing and deep and thoroughly clean each year can have a huge positive impact. Follow this guide when you are cleaning this spring to keep your home in tip-top shape.

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How to Make Your Home Zen

Your home should be a peaceful sanctuary. It should be a place where you can relax and de-stress. If this is not the case, it is time to make some critical changes. But, where should you begin? Read on to discover some mindful ways you can make your home more Zen.

Eliminate Clutter

There is only one place to begin, and this is by getting rid of clutter. Clutter makes it impossible to unwind. Start with one room at a time, and get rid of as many items as possible. Only keep the essentials. Everything should have its own space – and this space shouldn’t be a random corner of the room or the coffee table. To stay on top of this Zen-like clutter-free space, operate the one in, one out rule. Whenever you buy something new, something else has to go.

How to Make Your Home Completely Zen

Add Some Plants

Indoor green plants are a must. Not only does their soothing green color look amazing, but also plants provide oxygen. They improve the indoor air quality, which ensures a more comfortable living environment. However, choose your plants carefully. Don’t go for plants that emanate disturbing scents or those that need special maintenance. Good options are hanging terrariums and bonsai trees.

Keep Decorations & Ornaments To A Minimum

Simplicity is key when it comes to wall decorations. Avoid overly congested collections of photos and paintings and don’ fill your shelves with decorative statues.

Focus on All Senses

To create a state of Zen, you need to focus on all senses. It’s not just about what you see. It is also about what you smell and what you feel. Layer a room with different textures. Also, make sure your house has a relaxing, sweet yet subtle smell. Vanilla and lavender are good choices.

Mental Health, Physical Health, and Your Home

Keep Furniture Natural & Simple

Clear and simple lines characterize Zen style furniture. Avoid excess ornamentation and complicated detail. Also, avoid a plethora of patterns and styles, keep it plain and simple.

Let in the Light

Natural light is a feature of any Zen home. You cannot expect to relax if you are merely relying on one harsh overhead in a room. Changing your window or investing in a skylight may be a significant investment, but it is well worth it. You can read this home renovation e-book for more advice. Regarding artificial lighting, make sure you have numerous sources per room, rather than lighting a space with just one overhead bulb.

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Go for Earthy Colours

Last but not least, natural colors that are in soft tones are a must. Suitable examples include beige, dusty pink, white, and grey. Choose harmonious colors that have the power to induce a sense of calmness and relaxation. Everything needs to tie together naturally. Each room should have a good flow to it.

As you can see, there are many different ways you can make your home completely Zen. From buying some indoor plants to eliminating clutter, it does not cost a lot to make your property more relaxing.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here 

5 Ways to Ensure a Harmonious Home

We each have a unique idea of what our perfect home environment looks like and the aesthetics get a lot of attention – but what about how home feels from an emotional perspective?  Our home affects our mental and physical health a lot more than we realize; it’s an imperative aspect of our lives and a large component of the first base of Maslow’s triangle regarding human need psychology.

The saying “tidy house tidy mind” describes this well, but the concept shouldn’t be limited to cleanliness or home organization.  Like the engine room of a ship, some things need to be taken care of to ensure a consistent feeling of harmony within your home – as niggling concerns which are left unattended can quickly snowball.

This article looks at how to ensure a consistent feeling of “home” by taking care of some of the less glamorous ‘behind the scenes’ tasks that are necessary to create a harmonious home environment that allows you to nurture your mental, physical and emotional health.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

1. Budgeting & Bills

Keeping up with household bills can be stressful if money is tight, but you want your home to feel like your castle – a sanctuary from financial stress – not a situation where each time you go past the mailbox you dread receiving another bill.  The best advice is to set up an affordable payment plan with each of your creditors to lessen the financial stress or even better, look into no interest credit cards that you can transfer existing debt onto and pay off each month within the interest-free period.

2. Gardening

If you come home each day to an overgrown garden, paint peeling off the fences, and rubble in the yard – it can create a feeling of chaos.  Though you don’t need a white picket fence with begonias growing in the garden, however, a garden that feels “well kept” will help you feel calm; like your life is in order.

Self-Love Ideas

3. Organization

Do you ever find yourself searching for car keys or having to empty out your closet to find the outfit you’re looking for?  If you live in physical clutter and chaos, it affects your mental state and creates an inner sense of clutter and chaos too.  Keep things organized within your home so that you can feel more at peace and calm within yourself.

4. Clean & Tidy

Keeping your home clean and tidy sounds simple enough, but often, this can snowball out of control when left for a few days, becoming such a chaotic mess, that you don’t know where to begin.  The trick here is to either employ a cleaner that undertakes a moderately deep clean, each week, or for you to do it yourself, little and often.

5. Neighbors

No matter how hard you try, not everyone is getting to get on with you, and some people are just plain difficult.  However, if you can get on with your neighbors you can build a sense of warmth and community between you. This warmth will pay dividends on facilitating the feeling of “home” you crave.

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In summary, your home is there to provide you with a place of harmony that supports you throughout the storms of your life, yet it’s important to maintain your home to receive the harmony you deserve from your home.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

5 Ways to Ensure a Harmonious Home

How to Organize When You Are Overwhelmed

The New Year is that time of year when everyone begins setting goals.  Some of the most common goals for the New Year include losing weight and getting organized.

As someone who loves to organize this puts a big smile on my face, however, many people don’t feel the same way I do about organizing.  In fact, they find it dreadful.

A common problem people have when it comes to organizing is they are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.  When you feel like this, you have no motivation even to get started. Then, just like that one of your goals has gone down the drain.

You can stick to your goals for the New Year, and you can get organized!  Here’s how you can start:

Start with Highest Traffic Area in your House

The entryway is typically the highest traffic area and is usually the best place to start.  Analyze what you use every single day.  For example, I need my handbag and jacket every day.  Our kids need their jackets every day right now as well since it’s winter.  We have created a hook system on the wall where it’s easy to hang up our daily items.  The kids’ hooks are lower so they can learn to hang up their own jackets.  Wall hooks are a great organizing tool to use because they are very easy to use and don’t take up too much space.

Where to Organize When You Are Overwhelmed

Create a Command Center

After your entryway has been updated, work on creating a command center that fits you and/or your family needs.  Create a central place where you can manage your mail and calendar.  Use a chalkboard or dry erase board for a calendar.  Having a visual calendar will help keep your life organized.  Even if you only use a digital calendar, establish a visual calendar for your household so that it’s always in front of you. Our household uses the following:

  • Calendar Dry Erase Board- We write out our calendar on a dry erase board so we can see every day what is going on for the month.  It’s easy to update when needed and color code it so it’s organized and easy to read.
  • Tack Board-  This is where we keep photos, kids’ art pieces, important coupons that we want to use.
  • Magazine Holder– This is used to store magazines that come in the mail.
  • Hook Holder With Tray-  The tray keeps the dry erase markers stored there, so it’s easy to update the calendar.  The hooks are used for the kids to hang their jackets there.  These hooks are great for key holders as well.  Our kids are too young right now to store them there; we’d never find our keys 😉
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Create a Household Binder

Paper still exists in our lives. Creating a binder will serve as a resourceful resource.  The binder will become your go-to guide.  It will be your Home Bible.  It will keep you organized and allow you to become more productive because all of your important resources will be in one place.  Time will no longer be wasted searching for documents or wondering what the password is to an account. You’ll want to place it where it can be easily accessed every day, like the inside of a kitchen cabinet or on an office desk.  Keep it in the same spot, so you always know where it’s located.

Where to Organize When You Are Overwhelmed

Declutter Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the most commonly used and gathered area of the home.  Having an organized kitchen makes things more enjoyable and perfect when an unexpected guest stops by.  Depending on the size of your kitchen, break it up into sections: Drawers, Cabinets, and Pantry.  

 Start each section by decluttering it first.  If it hasn’t been used in the past year or it’s broken, get rid of it.  Once you have finished decluttering each section, then you’ll want to analyze that space and figure out organizing products to use for that space.  If you are organizing your drawers, make sure to use drawer organizers to help keep items in their appropriate space. 

Acrylic clear drawer organizers work the best because they give you the best-organized look and feel.  They also match well with many different drawers. For the cabinets and pantry use baskets where necessary and label them.  Use the same bins for a consistent look and feel.  Wicker baskets or white bins work very well.  Also, get rid of any type of dishware that doesn’t match your current set-up.

Declutter Your Closet

We wear clothes every day.  You should love every single piece of clothing you own; it should make you feel good.  When you feel good, you put your best foot forward whether that’s in your work or other areas of your life.  Here are some tips to help you with your closet:

  • Get rid of something if you have not worn it in the past year.
  • If it doesn’t make you feel good, get rid of it.
  • If it’s too small or big, get rid of it.
  • Anything that needs repair (button needing to be sewn, etc.) and it’s been longer than six months, get rid of it.
  • Color coordinate hanging items starting with the red and move through the rainbow.
  • Use felt or wood hangers that are all the same to give you a consistent look and feel.

Now you might be overwhelmed by this list and where to start.  Start with the first point and then move to the next one.  Give yourself a week for each point, and in a month, you will have made a good dent in getting your household organized in the New Year! For more organizing resources, you can visit Organized Marie.

Organized Marie

Meet the Author

Marie is an innate organizer and planner. She is a working mom to two with a third on the way and a veteran of Corporate America for ten plus years. Marie is a Fargo native and sports lover.

The Organized Planner was designed for the working mom to help manage and organize personal and work life.

Organized Marie is a place for working moms to create simple, everyday organizing solutions for their home. Every working mom can have an organized, stress-free home.

Want to read more from Marie? Check out these links: The Organized Planner, Organized Marie.



How to Organize When You Are Overwhelmed

Is Your Home Office Bad for Your Health?

There are loads of benefits of working from home. When you work out of your home office you no longer having to commute to work and you are more able to spend quality time with your nearest and dearest. But is it really always this great? Do you want to make sure that your home office isn’t bad for your health? Then you need to use these great tips.

If you ask anyone who works from home what the negatives are of working in a home office are, then I’m sure that they might mention their health and fitness. Now that they work from home, they rarely need to leave the house so their fitness can quickly decline. But there are some other health issues that can rise up as well. Keep reading to learn some ways to combat these health concerns.

Have an Ergonomic Workstation

One of the main health complaints by those who work from home is back and neck pain. This is from sitting in front of their computer all day. If they slouch over the screen, then this pain will be even worse. One way around this is to create an ergonomic workstation. You can easily do this by buying an ergonomic desk and chair. These pieces of furniture are designed in such a way that they don’t encourage you to put excess stress on your back or neck while you are sitting working.

Read here about more ways to upgrade your home office.

Is Your Home Office Bad for Your Health?

Keep It Clean

If you use your home office every day, then you should keep it as clean as possible. Germs could build up on surfaces that you regularly touch, such as your keyboard and office phone. You can buy sanitizing wipes to clean this and remove any germs and bacteria. It’s also worth buying a lightweight vacuum so that you can quickly clean up any spills. If you end up treading any crumbs or spilled liquids into your carpet, they could become breeding grounds for germs!

Sometimes clutter can also attract germs and dust. Try decluttering your desk or home office.

Take Regular Breaks

Did you know that sitting for long periods of most days can lead to some pretty serious health conditions? It is thought those who have very sedate jobs are more likely to suffer from diseases such as diabetes later in their life compared to those who have active jobs. So, it is really worth planning for a ten-minute break every hour. Even if you just get up and walk around your house, you will be doing your health some good!

Is Your Home Office Bad for Your Health?

Ventilate It Well

Bad air in your office can cause breathing problems for those who have a weak immune system or have suffered from respiratory problems in the past. Even if you don’t have these kinds of health concerns, it is still necessary to keep your home office well-ventilated. Otherwise, the air will get quite stuffy and stale. You just need to open your window for an hour or so each day to give the room a quick refresh. Obviously, if it is cold outside then you don’t have to keep it open for too long.

As long as you stick to the tips mentioned above, you shouldn’t have to worry about your home office draining on your health. Try implementing one at a time, adding one new tip each week until you are doing them all regularly!

This post was written in collaboration. This means that while I have added to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to write a post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here.



Is Your Home Office Bad for Your Health?

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Whether it’s a whole room in your house or apartment, a carefully proportioned square in an office building, or something in between, odds are you’re spending a substantial portion of the day in your office. Because of that, your office space – like you – has a lot of work to do. It has to be a productive space, but also one that inspires, keeps you healthy, and is generally as pleasant to be in as possible.

There’s no reason to spend 8 hours a day in an unpleasant space. So, if you feel like your workspace isn’t all it should be, read on to find out a few areas you can look to for improvements.

Hang It Up

First things first: No matter how big or small your office is, one thing you’re always in absolute control of is what’s on your desk. And if that’s a bunch of clutter, it could actually be hurting your productivity. Learn more about decluttering your desk here.

One way to fix that is adding storage, of course. But if you’ve got limited space, and no room for shelving? Try hanging things up – keys, headphones, and similar items can go straight onto hooks. Get a hangable container for your pens and other writing utensils. Anything that helps you get the random items off your desk immediately improves your workstation. 

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Write It Down

In some ways, this is a lifestyle change. I won’t spend a lot of time convincing you; I remember a time in my life when I laughed at people for being so organized to carry a planner. Now? My planner never leaves my side. Let me at least say this: Writing things down gives your important tasks a physical space and keeps them from zooming around in your mind all day.

This is another simple upgrade because it’s hard to start writing things down if you don’t have the materials. And those materials come in many forms: a planner, a calendar, sticky notes – it’s all a matter of what works for you.

Feel like you’re wasting paper? Try a whiteboard for your lists. There’s nothing more satisfying than erasing items one at a time until everything’s cleared.

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Add Some Life to Your Office Space

This isn’t an organization technique – it’s a way to improve your mental state. You could take this literally, and grab yourself a potted plant. If your office lacks much light, a shady plant is great – alternately, it’s hard to kill a cactus.

Of course, pictures take a lot less effort. You could hang up scenic photos, an image of your favorite painting, or even a movie poster of one of your favorites.

Adding life could mean adding bits of your own life, too. Try dedicating a space in your office to some personal effects. Photos of hobbies, a statuette of a musical instrument you play. For me? It’s a small shelf just above my desk with a handful of my favorite novels that I’ve read dozens of times.

Get creative with your space, and it’ll be a much nicer place to be.

Take A Stand – Or A Better Seat

On a more sobering note, the research is in – and sitting is truly terrible for you. To that end, I can’t stress enough the wisdom of investing in a standing desk – or, for flexibility, an adjustable one.

Still don’t like the idea of standing? You can at least make sitting healthier and more comfortable. If your back is hurting while you work at your desk, it could mean you’re not sitting correctly. Sitting properly depends on a number of factors, and it can at least be partially addressed by getting a better chair. So, make yourself comfortable in your office – it’s good for you.

Is your office space hurting your productivity? Pick at least one of these simple upgrades to implement into your own office!

Meet the Author

This post was written by Issac, a Director at 3 White Hats, a New Zealand based online marketing agency.



4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

A Millennial’s Guide To A Clean Home

Cleaning your home is the easiest way to keep it nice and organized. Have you ever had a big clear out where you’ve cleaned your home from top to bottom and been amazed at how neater it looks? Well, you can get that amazing feeling more often if you clean your home regularly. Of course, I know why most of us don’t get into a strict cleaning regime. We’re part of a generation that lives a very busy life. We balance a work life with a social life, it’s rare we have time at home on our own during the week. When we do, we want to rest, not clean!

So, I’ve come up with a cleaning guide that’s directed at millennials like myself. In it, you’ll find solutions to keep your home tidy without exerting too much time and effort.

Declutter

It’s not uncommon for those of us who live a busy life to leave things lying around the house all the time. Not only does this make it messier and less organized, but it also makes it harder to clean as you spend extra time picking the stuff up. Mainly, I do this when I’m getting changed, and I just dump my clothes on the floor or bed. Likewise, I’ll come home and throw my coat anywhere. It’s the same with my mail too, I won’t open it right away, I’ll let it stockpile up on my kitchen table and rarely sort it.

What we need to do is put things away as soon as possible. Pick up your clothes from the floor and put them in the washing basket or cupboard. Organize your mail right away and stop letting stuff clutter your home. As a result, you’ll have less mess, making your house easier to clean. Check out this closet organization post to learn more about organizing your bedroom closet or this post on file organization to help you out!

Millennial's Guide to a Clean Home

Using Robots

Vacuuming your home is one of the longest tasks when cleaning. However, if you put it off, it makes the task so much harder and time-consuming. Thankfully, there is a genius solution to your woes; get a robotic vacuum. Yes, it’s nearly 2018 and robots are now your best friend in the home. A quick peek on The Smart Future website will show you a whole host of robotic vacuums with different features. Mainly, their task is to vacuum your floor and keep it clean. You can buy one, turn it on, and let it do the work while you put your feet up or do something else. If you really want to make life easier, you can get one with a mopping function too!

Millennial's Guide to a Clean Home

There’s an App for That

There’s an app for just about anything. and, surprise surprise, there’s an app to help you with your home cleaning too. In fact, if you have a look on Housekeep you’ll see there are multiple apps at your disposal. Each one is designed to help you structure and schedule your cleaning routine, prioritizing tasks and setting alerts to get you to clean. This can help you use your time better and clean a little per day, rather than having to dedicate one or two hours on a single day per week.

Follow this guide, and you can have a clean and organized home! Let me know what your cleaning hacks are in the comments!

This post was written in collaboration. This means that while I have added to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation.

A Millennial’s Guide To A Clean Home

Six Steps to an Organized Filing System

Keeping your documents organized and easy to find is super important! I mean, some of these are legal documents. That’s not something you want to lose or misplace! If you don’t have a filing system, let’s get you one! Keep reading for the perfect filing system! This article includes affiliate links.

Step One | Find A Filing Container That Works for You

Do you have a lot of filing or just a few papers? Does your filing need to follow you around? Do you want to customize your cabinet? These are some of the questions that you need to be asking when you’re picking a filing system. Here are some of the most common filing system containers, their pros and cons, and some examples as inspiration.

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Filing Cabinet

Filing cabinets are the bulkiest option; however, they hold the most. If you have a lot of documents, then you probably need a filing cabinet. You can find standard-sized cabinets with three or four drawers at any office supply store. Similarly, you can find smaller one and two drawer cabinets. Size and appearance are up to you.

The good thing about Filing Cabinets (next to them being larger in size) is customizability! You can buy these in various colors and styles or you can paint them, and add detailing! Check out these 15 Fabulous Filing Cabinet Makeovers compiled by The Melrose Family!

Filing Box

The next option is the filing box. The filing box is nice because it is more mobile. I feel like I am moving at least once a year, so I have gone for the filing box. I have one that keeps my documents, and a second that stores my spare office supplies.

The filing box option is a little less customizable than the filing cabinet. To make up for customizability, the box comes in a dozen different styles and sizes. Check out some of the adorable and practical options I have found below! I prefer the lidded option, but a desktop option is great if you do not have a lot of filing.

Expanding Filing

The expanding filing sounds kind of silly but is practical for small amounts of paperwork. This option isn’t as sturdy as the other options. But it is perfect for easy-to-grab, often-used documents.

The expanding file can be both mobile and fixed since there are a variety of styles. Some have handles and others snap shut for mobility. Still, others are meant to sit on a desk or shelf. Check out some of the accordion filing systems I have found.

Desk Drawer Filing

This option only works for someone with a desk drawer that would fit some hanging files. The desk drawer is also not mobile and the size depends on your desk. Here are some desks that have filing drawers.

You can also make desks using filing cabinets. Check out this tutorial done by HomeTalk.

Step Two | Organize Your Documents

Organizing your files is the most important part of this whole process and it is the backbone of your entire system. But don’t let that scare you, organizing your files can be made simple with my FREE File Planning Workbook.

The first step here is to make a list of your main categories. These are broader categories that may or may not have subcategories (we’ll get to subcategories in a minute). Once you have made this list, keep a few notes that describe what exactly goes in this main category.

For example, in my main category, Finances, I keep anything related to my money, banking, and loans. Basically, if it involves my money, it’s in Finances.

Once you have your main categories designated then it’s time to figure out your sub-categories. Sub-categories are more specific categories that fall under your main categories. Sometimes you are able to figure out your subcategories by your description (like my Finances example). That isn’t always the case though.

Sometimes it is easiest to figure out your subcategories by looking at all the documents that you plan to put in your main categories. If you see a trend, then it is probably subcategory worthy!

There are cases where a subcategory isn’t necessary. For example, my Taxes file doesn’t need any subcategories because it is already so specific and archive-ready (archiving is Step Four, stay tuned!). Not having subcategories is perfectly okay!

Now that we have all our categories sorted we need to file it! That leads us to step three

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Step Three | Decide How You’d Like to Keep Your Files Organized

You may be thinking, what do you mean decide how to keep my files organized, we already decided our categories didn’t we? Deciding how to keep them organized is another layer and there are a few ways to do this. The first way is to use different colors.

Color Organization

When you use different colors for each main category, it is much easier to navigate your filing at a glance. At-a-glance navigation is so much quicker than staring at your files trying to find something.

Color Coordinated Labels

One way to organize by color is to label your categories in certain colors. This is nice if you already have colored pens or markers to use. If you don’t happen to have colored pens lying around but would like to color coordinate your labels, check out my favorite labeling pens!

Colored File Folders

Another way to organize by color is will colored file folders or hanging files. You are able to assign each of your categories a color based on colored hanging files. Doing this allows for extremely easy to scan files.

A Combination of the Two

You are also able to place only very sensitive file categories in a color such as red, and files that do not get archived (keep reading to learn about archiving files) in another color such as purple or blue. You can then leave the rest of your files in generic hanging files and use color coding on all your labels. This method allows for easy archiving.

Sorting

Deciding the order in which you file your categories really depends on what is most functional for you and your files. Here are three ways to sort your files.

Sort by Topic or Category

Sorting by topic or category is the easiest way to sort your files because you have already organized your files into categories. All the work here is done, just plop your files on in by the categories you’ve already picked alphabetically.

Sort by Relevance*

This is the sorting method I use, I find it most handy when reaching for my documents. When you sort by relevance there are three sorting categories to keep in mind. First, you want to keep your most frequently used categories at the front. This means you refer to them more often than your other categories.

Second, your almost-never-used files go at the back. If you don’t need them very often, you don’t need them blocking the files you do use a lot. These categories might include Memory Items, Misc., and Instruct. Manuals.

And last is everything else gets placed in the middle.

Sort Chronologically

Chronological means that the categories are sorted by most recent at the front and least recent at the back in the order in which they occurred. Timelines are a great example of something chronological. Chronologically is most handy in archived files because these files are kept by year. If your filing categories allow for chronological sorting, then go for it!

Step Four | The Rules of Labeling

One of the most important ways of organizing your files is with labels. There are different labeling products to choose from, here are some of my favorite labels.

When you are writing or typing up your labels, be very specific. The label is only so big and you want your labels to be readable, and being specific makes it easier.

Write one or two-word labels for maximum benefit. Using one or two words allows the label to be kept on one line. This also allows the label to be bigger and more readable. You want your labels to be seen without getting close or squinting, so the bigger you can write them, the better.

Like I mentioned, keep your label on one line. Doing this allows for greater readability. Sticking to the 1-to-2 word rule makes keeping your label on one line really easy.

Sometimes the words being used on your label are too long and you need to use two lines. FALSE. If the word is too long, shorten it. For example, Instruction Manuals is pretty long even though it’s only two words. You can keep this label on one line easily by shortening it to Instruct. Manual. This shortens it just enough to fit on one line!

You might also shorten your label by taking out small words like the, of, etc. or replace small words with symbols (i.e. and becomes ‘&’, inquiries become ‘?’—get creative).

Label in all capital letters. This, again, just makes the label easier to read at a glance because the letters are all the same height.

My last labeling rule is to use good handwriting or type it. The reality of it is, that if you don’t have good handwriting, then your labels won’t be easy to read at a glance. So, if your penmanship isn’t great, try typing out your labels instead to keep them readable. To make typed labels easier, try these label sheets. They fit into your printer like a normal piece of paper and come with a website that provides the Microsoft Word template.

However, if you have good handwriting, then there is no reason you can’t write your labels out.

Step Five | Archives

The archives are everything in your main categories for the previous years. You don’t want all your finances from 2012 mixed in with your finances for 2017, that will just cause chaos. With archived files, you can be assured that each year’s information is all in the same place, allowing you to go back a year or two if needed, but also allowing you to find this year’s information more easily.

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How to Archive

Archiving is super easy. At the end of each year create a subcategory for that year (under the main category: Archives). For example, this subcategory might be 2016. Then you create second level subcategories using the previously determined categories. Are you following me? Perhaps the graphic in my FREE File Planning Workbook can help you to follow along, I’m a visual learner too.

You can choose to keep your subcategories by allowing them to become third level subcategories, or you can choose to remove them all together. This is up to you. I keep my original subcategories, as is depicted on page 10 of the Workbook.

Categories That Don’t Need to Be Archived

I keep a file labeled Information. This file is comprised of mostly handouts and printouts with information that I found helpful or wanted to keep handy. These documents do not need to be archived because they are relevant every year and if they become irrelevant, I probably need to go and find an updated version to replace it.

Another category that might not need to be archived is Instruction Manuals. These are manuals that come with all your appliances, toys, and electronics. These are nice to keep around (assuming you still have that product) in case you need to figure out a setting or learn how the product works. But these, again, are not relevant to only one year. The Manuals are only relevant as long as you have the product, and if you don’t have the product, then trash the manual.

Step Six | The ‘To-Be Filed’ Bin

A To-Be-Filed Bin is a place or container that you keep on your desk or on your filing system. The purpose of the bin is to keep handy documents that you are still using, but that need to be filed when you are done without damaging or losing them. Keeping this bin within reach of your desk or filing system is important to prevent damaged or lost documents. Check out These paper trays.

Read more about desk organization here.

The Filing Essentials Shopping List

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Self-Love Challenge | 30 Days of Loving Yourself

Are you up for a challenge!? Awesome! I challenge you to 30 days of self-love! For the next 30 days, pamper yourself! Self-love is so important, I cannot stress it enough! This challenge calls you to spend 30 days pampering and taking care of yourself, working on loving yourself. Self-love is more than just loving your life. It is loving who you are and taking care of yourself. So many people spend their time taking care of others (their spouse, children, clients, friends, etc.). This is great, but we forget to take care of ourselves! Take part in the 30-days of self-love challenge!

So what is self-love? Well, according to Deborah Khoshaba over at Psychology Today, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”

This challenge incorporates a ton of ways you can implement daily self-love in a small not-so-time-consuming way.

Without further ado…

A Lesson on Self-Love | The Importance of Loving Yourself

More On Self-Love & Loving Yourself

Self-love could be re-phrased as self-acceptance. When you accept yourself as you are right now, and love yourself just for being you (despite your flaws, despite your failures, and despite your past poor decisions) your life truly begins to open up. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a mid-life crisis or traumatic divorce to break us down. A bit like Humpty Dumpty, to allow us to build ourselves back together, we need glue (aka self-love).

Excerpt from A Lesson on Self-Love | The Importance of Loving Yourself

30 Days of Self-Love Challenge

This self-love challenge includes some of my favorite relaxation and self-care activities. But, please, by all means, love yourself the way that is best for you. If you don’t like puzzles but you like story-writing, then write a story on the days I challenge you to complete a puzzle. It’s completely customizable! Let’s get started!

  1. List 5 reasons why you are grateful for today
  2. Lit a candle when you get home
  3. Read 10 minutes before bed
  4. Do a puzzle or creative activity
  5. Stretch for 5 minutes
  6. Spend 15 minutes electronic-free
  7. Drink 60 ounces of water
  8. Get 7 hours of consecutive sleep
  9. Drink a cup of tea
  10. Clean or organize something
  11. List 5 things you are good at
  12. Take a 20-minute bath
  13. List 5 reasons why you are grateful for today
  14. Drink 60 ounces of water
  15. Spend 20 minutes electronic-free
  16. Meditate for 5 minutes
  17. Drink a cup of tea
  18. Stretch for 5 minutes
  19. Clean or organize something
  20. Avoid sugary foods
  21. Do a puzzle or creative activity
  22. Light a candle when you get home
  23. Get 7 hours of consecutive sleep
  24. Journal about your day
  25. Take a 20-minute bath
  26. Read for 10 minutes before bed
  27. List 5 reasons why you are grateful for today
  28. Meditate for 5 minutes
  29. Clean or organize something
  30. Journal about something that you love and why you love it

For this challenge, you will need…

  • An open mind
  • Willingness to love yourself
  • 30 days of commitment
  • A candle or multiple candles
  • A journal or notebook
  • Water
  • Tea, any kind will work
  • Bathtub
  • A leisure book of your choice

And if you don’t have all of this, don’t worry because you can change the challenge to fit you!

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30 Days of Self-Love Challenge