5 Suggestions for a Calmer Home

1. Everything should have a place.

If everything in you own has a designated ‘home’ within your home, it’s a lot easier to keep things tidy.

What’s important is that all items each have an uncluttered place you put them after use. This should be as close as possible to where you use the item. In other words, you shouldn’t need to walk to the other end of the house to put something away.

2. Turn the TV and radio off when not using them.

Eliminate excess noise as much as possible. The sound of silence is incredibly calming. You can’t always control the noise level at your home e.g., neighbors mowing their lawns. However, when you have complete silence at home, take a mindful moment to enjoy it.

3. Fix broken stuff.

Broken items give a home bad energy and are annoying. For example, if a door has become sticky. Get yourself a good handyperson who can take care of little jobs for you. Have them come in as soon as two or more things need doing. I use a guy my Mum found. He’s amazing and can fix virtually anything. And, he only charges $25 an hour! Keep a running list somewhere of what you’ve noticed needs fixing. Throw out items that no longer work and all their attachments e.g., old chargers. Take to electronics recycling.

Things that might need doing include
– leaking faucets
– a lawnmower that’s become difficult to start
– repainting where paint has cracked from the sun
– chairs or tables that have developed wobbles
– remotes that have dead batteries
– door handles that have become loose

4. Assign a weekly time for taking care of little issues around your home.

Some issues that occur around your home, you’ll be able to fix yourself. For example, lightbulbs or batteries that need changing. Assign a weekly time when you can either fix issues yourself or arrange for your handyperson to come.

Identify items that you can order online and create “wishlists” for these items so you can easily reorder them as necessary. Ordering online means you can just order the items when sitting at your desk at work or whenever the needs crop up. You won’t need to remember to get the item from the store. The simplest solution is to join Amazon Prime. That way you don’t have to deal with minimum order requirements and can get free 2 day shipping.

5. Develop systems and procedures.

For anything you do regularly, you should have an efficient system and set of procedures. For example, where you hang your keys when you walk in the door or how you pack lunches for your family. Help your children and husband to develop systems. For example, your child might have a system for how they get their school bag ready, or a system for what they do when they get home from school, like where they put their bag and changing their clothes.

For younger children, you can make a series of photos of each stage of a system and put them in a flip book. This means they can have visual reminders of what comes next in a process. For example, they might have a flip book containing the photos of everything they need if they’re doing to do painting e.g., put on their apron, put an old sheet on the floor so they don’t make a mess of the carpet etc.

photo credit: Take Back Your Health Conference, Los Angeles 2015 under Creative Commons license.

How to Prepare for a Road Trip

Here are 10 tips for how to prepare for a stress free road trip.

1. Top up the fluids in your car

e.g., water for your window wipers.

2. Make sure your tires are at the correct pressure.

This helps with fuel efficiency.

3. Familiarize yourself with the Google Maps app for turn by turn navigation with voice prompts. Sometimes the voice prompts can require a bit of fiddling to get working. I think my issue was that I normally use headphones with my phone. The phone defaults to not playing sound if headphones have been recently pulled out while something is playing and I think this was causing the voice prompts not to work at first. Make sure you have the latest version of the app i.e., check there aren’t any updates of the app (click the app store icon on your phone to check).

4. Get a stand to mount your phone to your dashboard.

Using your phone for navigation is cheaper, and typically just as good, as dropping $100 on a dedicated GPS. If you think you will be going places that don’t help cell reception then you might look at an app that where you download the maps in advance for offline use. There are some free ones.

5. Get a car charger for your phone.

If your car doesn’t have a USB port, get a charge that plugs into your cigarette lighter. You can get these with double slots so you can charge both your iphone and ipad.

6. Familiarize yourself with the routes your going to take.

I like to do this on my laptop and then check to make sure those same routes are showing up on the phone. Sometimes Google maps for desktop shows different route options vs. Google maps for phones. Usually the desktop version gives you the most logical routings. The phone excels at adjusting your route based on live traffic data.

7. Practice driving using the Maps app.

It can take a few runs to get accustomed to using the Google maps app if normally you don’t use a GPS or navigation app when driving in your home town or city.

Use the maps app for a week or so at home, before your trip. You might be surprised and discover some more efficient routes around your own neighborhood.

8. Gas Buddy

Get the Gas Buddy app if you are doing a road trip in the US. This will show you the cheapest gas prices in your current vicinity. It is brilliant and has saved me a lot of money.

9. Parking

Check out parking options if you think you’ll be driving anywhere where parking will be difficult or expensive. The http://www.parkme.com/ site can be quite useful, although it doesn’t typically show the free street parking options or store/mall parking lots you can park in for free.

Try and find a supermarket or mall near where you going for parking purposes.

10. Plan to keep hydrated.

Make sure you have a water bottle and/or coffee cup that will sit nicely in your cup holder. You might also want to pack a small cooler (one that will fit inside the car rather than the trunk) so that you can keep drinks and snacks cold.