February 2019: Happiness Project Recap

As I mentioned in last night’s post, it feels like February was over just as quickly as it began! It has been a whirlwind of a month, but I’m proud to share that my happiness project is still going strong.

In January, I focused on boosting physical wellnessand a lot of those habits carried over into February. Although no longer on Whole30, I’ve been eating more mindfully and  continuing to see a difference in how I feel (along with how my clothes fit!). The concept of tackling the nagging tasks was a huge part of my February as well. By facing those annoying little to-dos head on, just a few at a time, I have alleviated a lot of anxiety and now feel way more capable of #adulting.

My theme for the month of February was creating outer order by decluttering both my home and (on a much grander scale) my life. To do that, I incorporated the following daily goals:

  • Follow the one-minute rule. (If it can be done in less than one minute, do it right away.)
  • Spend 10 minutes tidying up before bed.
  • Beware of freebies.
  • Spend time each day de-cluttering problem areas of the house.
  • Tackle the nagging tasks.

Of course, I brought back my handy resolution chart and broke out the stickers.

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How did I do this month? Well, my friends, I think I did great! 🙂 Following the one-minute rule made me much more productive and allowed me not to let the little things fall to the wayside. In addition, spending just 10 minutes to tidy up before bed took a huge strain off of me in the mornings. Nearly every night, I set a timer for 10 minutes, and used that time to wash any pots and pans in the sink, put things away, and tidy up anything I’d left out in the kitchen or living room. My apartment is still not where I want it to be, but at any given time, it is significantly tidier than it was a month ago.

A strong focus of mine was on de-cluttering the problem areas of my apartment. At the end of 2018, I dreaded returning from the holidays because of all of the clutter. Over the years, I’ve accumulated so much junk, bought clothes in nearly every size through weight fluctuations, inherited unwanted items from former roommates, and more. I had two closets completely filled to the brim, drawers that wouldn’t close, and no rhyme or reason to where my stuff was placed.

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I hadn’t realized until then that my clutter was truly a source of unhappiness for me, so I knew that would have to be a major focus for 2019. Although I still have a ways to go, I’m pleased to share that I have organized both closets, my guest bathroom, my dresser, nightstands, and a few other areas of the apartment. I now have logical places for things to go, and am confident that soon I will even have a few empty drawers and shelves. Hallelujah! 🙂 In my line of work, I come across a lot of freebies at events, so avoiding freebies was another way to keep the clutter levels down.

For the month of March, my theme is Practicing Mindfulness by implementing the following goals:

  • Write down the happiest moment of my day.
  • Meditate and use positive affirmations.
  • Turn complaints into happiness.
  • Create my list of personal commandments (and follow them).
  • Practice 4-7-8 breathing techniques.

What goals are you working toward? Are you doing a happiness project? Sound off in the comments below!

The Friday Five: Tips For Spring Cleaning

With the weather now warm and the flowers in bloom (along with every allergen imaginable!), we can officially say this: spring is here. And the spring brings its own set of opportunities along with it: the opportunity to uphold our New Year’s Resolutions, the opportunity to plan for the summer, the opportunity to begin anew. Of course, one thing that spring always gives us the chance to do is to de-clutter our lives. In other words, it is time to participate in some hardcore spring cleaning!

A lot of people shudder at the thought of unearthing piles of forgotten belongings and having to sift through everything at once. In fact, I am currently dreading packing up for the move from my on-campus apartment (where I’ve built my home since August 2009) to my new Bachelor pad in four months, mostly because of the hassle of storing and then moving so many items I haven’t even looked at since freshman year. Anyone in my family who is reading this is probably even laughing right now, knowing how much I hated cleaning before I started college. However, a part of me looks forward to the detox that this year’s spring cleaning will bring. In honor of change, here are five tips for organizing your things more effectively.Tweet this!

The Friday Five: Tips For Spring Cleaning

1. Turn on some music.
A great way to stay energized throughout the process as a whole is to satisfy your sense of sound with some upbeat music. Unlike television, it won’t give you the excuse to look up from what you’re doing and become distracted, but it will make things infinitely less boring. All you have to do is resist the urge to dance. Make a playlist following some of these rules before you start, and choose music that won’t make you fall asleep (for me, anything by Nirvana or Coldplay). Some songs I’ve been enjoying lately that might help you get started: here, here and here.

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2. Break things up.
Trying to tackle everything at once will only leave you frustrated. You’ll grow weary very quickly, because there won’t seem to be an end in sight, and you’ll give up prematurely. To escape this fate, before you begin your spring cleaning, make a list of everything you need to sort through. Then, when you decide to start cleaning, focus on only one or two of those things at a time. For example, in my room, I need to reorganize my desk, dresser, bookshelf and closet, so I will focus my attention solely on one of those sections in a day so that I don’t get completely burned out. If cleaning is really not your thing and you have some time to spare, then consider breaking things up even further and focusing on one drawer or shelf a day.

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3. Don’t be afraid to throw things away.
Nostalgia alone shouldn’t dictate what stays and what goes. If you find something that you haven’t looked at in more than a year, chances are you don’t need it now. You will always be able to justify keeping it with some “memory” you have, but you will have to prioritize if you are going to get anywhere. If I haven’t used it, looked at it or thought about it in months, I usually toss it in a black garbage bag, and after my pilgrimage to the dumpster, a part of me often feels liberated. Clearing yourself of the junk that has been piling up all year will take a huge burden off of you.

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4. Find a method to your madness.
Before you start putting back the things you decide to keep, figure out how you are going to organize them this time around. Is there a more efficient way to store your belongings? Evaluate. For example, I like to keep my books in alphabetical order by author, and the clothes in my closet are coordinated by color. You may want to store certain belongings in labeled boxes in order to find things easier. However you choose to do it, make sure you figure something out so that you will have a more clearly defined place to put new things as you purchase them.

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5. Embrace the challenge.
You aren’t just clearing out a space in your room or your house — you’re making room for change. Let this exercise inspire you not only in all things material, but in all areas of your life. Figure out where you need to rethink things and what you can do differently to keep life fresh and pursue new experiences. 🙂

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What are some of your tips for spring cleaning?