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Give Your Front Door a Refresh With These 7 Tips

Have you given your front door a good look recently? Are there cobwebs in the corners (and I don’t mean the fake ones left from Halloween)? Is the doormat looking sad and not quite as welcoming as you’d like? Is the porch light twitching? Your front door is the “face” of your home—it’s the first impression your visitors get as they approach. So if it’s needing some love right now, we’ve got some easy ways to give it a refresh.

1. Clean the door and everything around it.

Even if your front door is under an eave, it will still get dirty. An annual cleaning is a great idea. First, use a broom or your vacuum’s extension kit, and make sure to get all the corners. Then use a damp cloth to wipe the door down, top to bottom, making sure you do the top of the door frame, all the trim’s details, the doorknob, and the kick plate. If you’ve got windows on the door or to its sides, clean those as well, inside and out. Take the doormat and shake it out or use a shop vac to clean it. Give your front porch and door step area a thorough sweep, then hose it down; include the steps if you have any. If you want the full 411 on serious door-cleaning, this guide is for you.

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Tweak Your Morning Routine and Get Out the Door Faster

Are you scrambling every morning as you head out the door? Are you often late to your destination? Do you sometimes forget things at home? Those three questions are so stressful, we know. Mornings are tough for some of us, and feeling like you are running around, frazzled, and forgetting something is not the way anyone wishes to begin their day. Imagine waking up on time, having a calm breakfast, getting dressed without multiple outfit changes, and heading out the door with minutes to spare, with everything you need to take with you. It really can happen! But it does take some work and planning, and even more importantly, commitment. One of the things that causes delays is making decisions—which is why our hacks cut down the number of choices you’ll have to make. Tweak your morning routine with these tips, and get out the door like a BOSS!

No more snoozing.

If the snooze button on your alarm clock or phone is the cause of frequent oversleeping, then it’s time to disable it. Getting out of a warm, cozy bed is one of everyone’s least favorite things (especially now that I have a weighted blanket!), but being up on time is the first thing that needs to happen. If you are a heavy sleeper and don’t realize you are hitting Snooze or sleeping through the alarm, move it farther than the nightstand so you have to actually get up to turn it off.

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How to Pare Down Your Books

Books are seriously one of the hardest things to part with! Even if you’ve only ever read it once, having your books within reach keeps you tied to the thoughts and feelings they evoked, to the far-off, magical adventures they took you on, to the breathtaking or heart-wrenching stories they told. We hold onto books that were passed down from a loved one, or purchased at a tiny bookshop in Cairo, or read during a particularly good or bad time of our lives. We also hold onto books that were gifts, or from your college days, or have been on your “to read” list for a long time. The reality is that books also create clutter, take up a lot of space, are hard to move, and collect an amazing amount of dust. Paring down your books doesn’t mean getting rid of all of them—it just means you’ll keep some of them. Our guide will help you get going!

Where are all your books?
  • Are they all on a couple of bookshelves in the family room?
  • Or do you have books in many places—your nightstand, your home office, the guest room?
  • Do you have books in boxes that are stored in the garage, the basement, or a storage unit?
  • Write down all the places where your books are kept, so you can go down the list and check each area off as you declutter it.
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Holiday Tipping Guide: Who to Tip and How Much

It’s the season for sharing and giving, as well as receiving. So it’s definitely time to think about what to tip to all the folks in your life who provide you their services. It is a considerate gesture to show your appreciation for all they did for you this past year. Many people are often unsure how much to give, so we’ve put together this guide to help you out. And considering how tough the past couple of years have been—especially for those in the service and health industries we all relied on so, so much—”it is really worth thinking about how much you can give,” says Lizzie Post, co-president of the Emily Post Institute, great-great-granddaughter of the firm’s founder, and co-author of Higher Etiquette.

Factors to Consider:
  • Your budget—if this year was tough for you financially, don’t feel obligated to go beyond your limitations.
  • If you are short on cash, consider a homemade gift (everyone loves cookies and fudge!), or a heartfelt note of thanks and appreciation. Post says it’s okay to acknowledge in your note that your finances this year made it impossible to give a tip, and that it is not a reflection on their service.
  • The length of time you’ve received service from this person, and the quality and frequency of the service. You wouldn’t need to give an extra holiday tip to the new hairdresser you’ve only seen a couple of times this year; but if it’s someone you’ve been going to for years, you definitely should.
  • Whatever you tip, whether it’s money or a homemade gift, be sure to add a short note. Kind words will always make an impact.
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‘The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,’ Says ‘Secondhand’ Expert

by Terry Gross
December 4, 2019
on NPR.org

Author Adam Minter remembers two periods of grief after his mother died in 2015: the intense sadness of her death, followed by the challenge of sorting through what he calls “the material legacy of her life.”

Over the course of a year, Minter and his sister worked through their mother’s possessions until only her beloved china was left. Neither one of them wanted to take the china — but neither could bear to throw it out. Instead, they decided to donate it.

Waiting in the donation line at Goodwill, Minter began wondering what would happen to the dishes: “It occurred to me this is a very interesting subject,” he says. “Nobody really knew what happened beyond the donation door at Goodwill.”

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Gifting Experiences Instead of Stuff

One thing most of us have realized during the pandemic: we could all do with (and did with) less STUFF. What is “stuff,” exactly? Stuff is, “matter, material, articles, or activities of a specified or indeterminate kind that are being referred to, indicated, or implied.” For the purposes of this article we are referring to all the stuff that fills your home and your life that you don’t really use, need, want, or even remember—but you have, simply because you do. Gifts you feel bad getting rid of, items of some sentimental value, things you used to use, items you’ve put away and forgotten. Which is why we’ve got a list of gift ideas which are experiences, instead of more stuff. Gifts that won’t take up room on a shelf, on a counter, in a desk, or in the garage. Happy shopping!

Escape RoomsConundrum in Redmond has real life and virtual reality escape rooms, as well as axe-throwing and an outdoor adventure game. Bellevue’s Reality Break Escapes has escape rooms, parties, and portable escapes. Puzzle Break offers a big selection of virtual escape rooms available online for up to 6 players; 7+ players can do their virtual team-building experience with no limit to the number of players.

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How to get organized at home when you have ADHD or mental health issues

by Amanda Long
from The Washington Post
October 31, 2021

The premise that one’s space reflects one’s mental health can be particularly defeating if you’re already in a bad place mentally or physically

After giving birth to her second child in February 2020, KC Davis keenly felt the relationship between the state of her home and the state of her mental health. At home with two kids under 2, battling postpartum depression and ADD, she found herself sitting on the floor surrounded by onesies, toddler clothes and pajama pants, unable to get the laundry finished, ever. “I was living out of a basket of clean laundry — just unable to fold it or put it away — so I decided not to,” said Davis, a licensed therapist in Houston.

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10 Simple Things to be Grateful For

It’s been a life-changing couple of years for all of us, hasn’t it? We can’t think of a single person who was not affected by the pandemic in some way or another. It seems we’ve all had to make changes, reprioritize, adjust, pivot, and sometimes, just deal with it. One of the things that has truly helped us through this challenging time is gratitude. Merriam-Webster states that gratitude means, “a feeling of appreciation or thanks : the state of being grateful : thankfulness.” Being grateful is grounding and mindful. It can uplift and energize. It can even be spiritual or religious. There really isn’t a single negative thing about feeling gratitude, is there?

Here are 10 simple things to be grateful for.

1.  Health

Even if your health isn’t perfect—your awful allergies, your achy back—there are probably more things working properly that you can feel thankful for.

2.  Family and friends

Whether you have a circle of three or thirty, each of these people make our lives better. They give us love and they let us love them.

3.  A roof over your head

Having a place to call home is a wonderful thing. An apartment, a cabin, a mansion, an RV—if it gives you sanctuary and a warm, safe place to sleep, it’s home.

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Decision Fatigue: What It Is and How to Avoid It

from WSU Online MBA

It’s 4 p.m. You have an end-of-the-day deadline, five new items on your to-do list, and urgent emails to attend to; you can’t seem to make yourself focus. Gosh, you think, I need a quick energy fix. You were planning on an afternoon workout session, but that means getting into gym clothes and deciding what kind of exercise to do, and wouldn’t it just be easier to get a coffee and a brownie from Starbucks instead?

You’ve just experienced decision fatigue. If this example hits home, then you know why decision fatigue has become a hot topic in the business world, impacting everything from hiring to project management to bad food choices.

Read on for how you can recognize decision fatigue and improve your decision-making skills.

What Is Decision Fatigue?

So, what is decision fatigue, and what impact does it have in and out of the workplace? In essence, decision fatigue is mental exhaustion resulting from the sheer number of decisions a person must make daily, leading to difficulty making—or making good—decisions. That may make sense if your decisions center on company strategy (what’s the best marketing plan for the new product?) or life-changing opportunities (should I take that new job?). The human brain, however, can get caught up in the same decision-making process around what to eat for lunch or wear to work.

 

Read the entire article WSU Online MBA.

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Decluttering is bad for the planet. Here’s how to do it sustainably.

by Susan Shain
from Mic Media
August 19, 2021

Picture your neighborhood garbage truck. Got it in your mind? Now picture 29,000 of them, lined up end to end, stretching from Sacramento to San Jose, California. Then, finally, picture all those trucks, brimming with trash and dumping it all in a landfill, every single day.

In the United States, that’s not hyperbole; it’s reality. Every year, we send nearly 150 million tons of waste to the landfill — an amount equal to roughly 2.5 pounds of trash per person, per day. In 2018, that included 9 million tons of clothing and shoes, 9.6 million tons of furniture, and 1.6 million tons of small appliances. That’s bad news for the planet, considering landfills account for 12% of global emissions of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas responsible for at least a quarter of today’s global warming.

If you’re thinking, “I don’t contribute to landfills! I donate my unwanted things!”, you should know that indiscriminate donating is sometimes the opposite of helpful. Thrift stores run by the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, for example, are only able to sell or give away about half of what they receive, says CEO Dave Barringer. While the remainder is sold to secondary vendors, like online booksellers and overseas clothing markets (which, side note, can be problematic), roughly 5% of St. Vinnies’s donations still end up in landfills.

Though 5% might not sound like much, consider the fact that the four largest U.S. thrift chains — St. Vinnies, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and Deseret Industries — receive approximately 4 billion pounds of clothing each year, according to Barringer. Clearly, being more thoughtful about what we donate — not to mention what we consume and recycle — could have a positive impact on the environment.

Read the rest on Mic Media.

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