Creating a Warm Apartment

a warm apartment

We started talking about how to prepare yourself for a successful workweek last Sunday.  In my life, it’s so easy for things to spiral out of control during the week as you grow steadily more exhausted each day until you can collapse on Friday evening with a glass of wine or a mug of cocoa.  And when things start to spiral, my preparations can maintain my dressing and eating habits for a few days, but my apartment starts to show wear almost immediately.

It’s harder than it sounds to maintain a welcoming home.   And it’s hard to welcome anyone into your home while the shame and embarrassment you feel that someone can SEE your apartment like THIS echoes through your brain.  To stay happy and reduce stress, I know I need to keep my apartment a little straighter than I consistently do, and I need to spend some time on the weekends to make sure it is ready for the onslaught that the work week will bring.   The problem with this post is that while I know I need to do better in this area, and I really want to do better in this area, I haven’t really mastered this yet.  So, I’ll mention a few things that work for me thus far, but on this issue in particular I really covet your own success stories.

Over the weekend, I know that I need to focus on:

  • Actually putting my laundry away.  I am TERRIBLE at putting laundry away.  I don’t always take the time to put clean laundry in the proper drawers.  My biggest problem, however, is multiple wear items.  When I come home from work and take off my dry-clean-only pants, they should go into the closet to be worn again.  But I just can’t seem to do it.  Even now, as I am writing this post and as guests have just departed our apartment, my dresser is covered with half-clean, partially rumpled clothes that should be put away.  On the weekends I put it all away so I can start with a clean slate.
  • Putting books, mail, movies, laptop chargers, and all of those odds and ends that pile up out of sight.  I just use a basket but really, anything that will keep those things from cluttering up counters and sofas will be great. When my flat surfaces are clear, I feel calm.  When they are cluttered, I want to hide under the covers and never talk to anyone.
  • Vacuuming, sweeping the kitchen, windexing the bathroom mirrors, all that kind of stuff.  Dust accumulates even in rooms you don’t use.

The big kicker for me to make my apartment nice is doing a little something every day.  I’m lucky that H and I can tag team these tasks, with one of us making dinner and another doing the dishes or taking out the trash.  Each day, it is best if either H or I do the following:

  • Take 20 minutes each evening to do the dishes and wipe the kitchen counters.  It’s amazing how easy everything else is if you do only this.
  • Keep the dirty socks out of the living room.  We all do it, I think — take our socks off at weird times and just throw them down wherever.  I hate the way socks end up everywhere.  I try to find them and toss them into the hamper as often as I can.
  • Scoop the kitty litter.
  • De-clutter the coffee table and entryway table.

So, that’s where I am.  Still struggling to keep messiness at bay as my weeks get busier and days fly by.  Do you have any tips for maintaining a calm home in the midst of a busy life?  If so, please include them in the comments.

 

Tips for a Successful Week: Introduction

Successful Week One

When I announced my decision to join NaBloPoMo this month, I mentioned that using Sunday afternoons to prep a few advance posts for the week makes a huge difference in my ability to post daily.  The first week of November, I did this well and had a pretty great week, on the blog and otherwise.  Last week, I didn’t make my time count over the weekend and spent the entire week paying the price.  It is only half-way through the month and already I am frustrated with having to blog each day; the timing of my postings is getting a little later each night of the week.  So today, while the rain and wind and thunder and hail bounce against our windows, I’m putting in the time it takes to get things back on track.

While planning for the blog is a big part of what I do on the weekend to prepare for the workweek, it isn’t the only thing I need to prioritize if I want to be successful.  When I’m being responsible, I take a few minutes on the weekend to make some decisions in advance so that I can head to work each morning with minimal stress and spend my weekday evenings doing things I enjoy instead of constantly playing catch-up.

I know that doing these small tasks on the weekend makes me happier and more successful, but I don’t always do them.  I sometimes struggle to follow through on things I want to do, especially if they are good for me.  As we enter the busy holiday season, I must remind myself how important these small things are for my own satisfaction and save time on the busy weekends to take care of myself.  H and I have two special guests arriving mid-week and staying with us until we all leave for Thanksgiving in Tennessee, so I need to fit in all of my usual tasks along with the extra baking, cleaning, cooking, and shopping I want to do so we all have a wonderful, stress-free weekend and holiday with our families.

Since it’s timely and a needed reminder for myself, I’ll be posting a bit this week about how planning ahead helps me stay on-track in the following areas:

  1. Arriving at Work Professionally Dressed
  2. Healthy and Budget-Friendly Meal Planning
  3. Keeping your Apartment Comfortable and Welcoming

As we go through the week, please be sure to share your own weekly and/or nightly rituals that keep you on top of your game.

 

 

Eating for Jesus

It must be something about being a Christian in the South, but we love our holiday eats. And I’m not sure if Christians just love pork or are somehow unconsciously sticking it to the Jews, but our most religious days tend to involve ham.

This year I honestly forgot we were approaching Easter until Cadbury eggs started popping up everywhere. We have not been in church on a regular basis because apparently getting an MBA requires that you attend meetings at school from 11 to 3 most Sundays. (This scheduling snafu has also made weekend road trips out of the question. Sigh.)

But, once the date was firmly established in my mind, the grocery shopping began. I’m much more of a martha [stewart] than a mary,* and I spent the entire day cooking up a storm for H and a few friends we are having over to eat with us after church.

Let me tell you, this is going to be one hell of an Easter lunch.  Are you even allowed to say that?

1. Ham. Obviously, and my ham is awesome. According to H, it is 10% of what made him marry me. According to me, I’m pretty sure I had that in the bag way before I made him his first vintage ham, but I’ll take the compliments where I get them.

2. Deviled eggs. Just the regular kind.

3. Banana pudding. It was my first time making it and it looks delicious! Can’t wait to taste it.

4. Peanut butter pretzel toffee.

5. Sweet tea. This is actually the first pitcher we’ve made since getting married, I think.  H had to use the broomstick to get the pitcher from “storage” (a.k.a. the area on top of the cabinet hanging above the refrigerator).

Tomorrow we’ll add green beans and sweet potatoes. My friend Katherine is bringing rolls and M&S (our camping friends) are bringing salad. I’m really excited to have an afternoon with some really fantastic people, and to actually get to church and have H’s attention for an entire Sunday.

*This is a religious joke, so if you don’t get it just google “Mary and Martha” and I’m sure wikipedia or biblegateway.com or something can fill you right in.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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