Tasks - When to do What
Life is full of "oops" moments. Oops, that bill fell behind the desk slash it's still on the desk but I forgot slash I didn't feel like paying it. Oops, I guess fairies don't fly through my apartment at night and swap out the dust bunnies for glitter. Oops, I guess I'll just throw out all the moldy tupperware containers in the fridge and buy a new pack at Target. Oops, what's a credit score and do I have one?
Don't be embarrassed. Your life just needs a system. Google Calendar or iCal and a few handy lists are your new best friends.
Bills, Bills, Bills
Sending money out isn't fun. But rather than put your focus on the decline it causes in your bank account, think of each bill as one less "account payable" for the month. I love those moments when I think, "wow, I only have 2 things left to pay and one of them is the measly water bill!" or even better, "all the bills are paid for the month! I DID IT!" (because let's face it, my twenties were hard and that didn't always happen. Don't be like me in those days, kids.)
When you account for rent/mortgage, various utilities, phone bill, health insurance, life insurance, credit card payments, Glossybox, Club W, and plenty others, it's a lot to keep track of every single month. Paying on time and monitoring your accounts can be taxing on your time and hard to keep up with consistently.
First of all, set up whatever you can to be paid automatically. Then, use your calendar system. I use gmail, so my gmail calendar is stocked with reminders about every single payment. It alerts me via an email that a payment is about to post automatically or is about to be due. If it's about to be withdrawn, I can note the usual amount and be sure that my bank account has the funds to cover it. If it's due, I go ahead and take care of it right then, and file the email away. And my accounts? I take just a moment at the start of each day to check my account balances and jot them down in my planner.
Keeping the house clean and tidy is where the "I don't feel like its" often get in the way. I mean, who ever feels like vacuuming? We all remember the epic fight between Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn in "The Break Up." Her: I want you to want to do the dishes!" Him: "Why would I want to do the dishes?"
Cleaning. Ugh. I really love picking up around the house - putting all the things back where they belong, organizing, hanging up, etc. I call that cleaning. But it isn't cleaning.
Pick one day a week to do some general cleaning tasks. Things that always need done around my house are that the oven, counter, and sinks seems to always need wiped down and the floors need swiffered and rugs vacuumed. Lately I've been doing this on Friday nights while the world is out and about and I'm chillin'. Introvert alert.
Pick one day out of the season to do things that need done only from time to time. Heavy duty dusting like baseboards and the tops of frames on the walls, wash pillows, windex mirrors. The stuff you don't really notice but isn't any less important. I have a list I use for these occasions. Put on your sweats, some rubber gloves, and some really loud 90's music and go room to room as you check off boxes.
And the rest? Do it when it needs done. Right when it needs done. The dishwasher is clean? Unload it at your absolute earliest chance, so that as soon as there's a freshly dirty dish it can go straight into the dishwasher and not pile up in the sink. The trash is about full? Add to it what's going bad in the fridge and take it out. Then put the new bag in the trash can immediately. The shower curtain is starting to get spotted with scum or mildew? Throw it in the next load of laundry. (Seriously, did you know they are machine washable?! I buy the white fabric liner at Target for $10 and wash it to keep it clean.)
These tasks each take minutes at most, and yet we have a tendency to put them off and let them pile up. Put a stop to that right now. Not only will your home be a place where you feel peaceful (coming home to no dirty dishes or overflowing trash!) but you'll also do away with hours of tasks and the stress that causes.
Constantly running to the store for a few things because I'm out is a time stealer. And it's not like you can put off getting toilet paper once the last square has been used.
Things run out at different times, especially when it comes to food items.
I keep extra stock of things in the house that don't spoil. I always have an extra roll of paper towels under the sink, and when the extra gets opened then paper towels get added to my list. When my laundry tabs bag gets down to just 5 of so, it goes on the list. This way I know that I don't have to pick anything up immediately, but when I do go to the store I'll be coming home with everything I'll need for quite a while. If you know you will use it, having two or three of something in the house isn't wasteful. My usual household list includes things like shampoo/conditioner, dishwashing gel or tabs, paper towels, toilet paper, laundry tabs, toothpaste, coffee/tea, quinoa, swifter cloths, and Ibuprofen. Then I only have to hit the local grocery store or farmer's market for produce between big Target trips.
It's also nice to have duplicate things like toothpaste and toothbrush, makeup remover wipes, and dry shampoo for things like your gym bag or your suitcase. We'll talk travel tomorrow!