Anybody Seen My Keys?

keys

Do your keys, phone, wallet, other accoutrements constantly hide amongst your other belongings, taunting you and your inability to locate them? Do you leave your keys in strange places which you can’t remember a minute later? I must admit, I can’t totally commiserate with you on this one. This might be one of the very few organizational habits I’m actually good at. In stark comparison, my other half is less than commendable when it comes to keeping track of little important things. Once he walks in the door he leaves an accidental trail of personal belongings, like breadcrumbs for me to follow and pick up later. I’m constantly locating his keys, driver’s license, glasses (which he’s blind without, mind you), etc. which I somehow always know where to find. Don’t see this as bragging on my part, I’m as surprised as anybody that I possess the startling ability to keep tabs on these things.

Since I’ve identified the problem, I’ve sought out some solutions. These are the best answers to the careless key problem thus far:

Training – Leaving keys or other important items lying around willy nilly is a bad habit. Leaving keys on a ring next to the door is a good habit! Install a key holder on the wall next to your front door or put a dish for keys on a table next to the entrance. Train yourself every day to put your keys in the same location. If items have a designated place that they are “supposed” to be, they will be easy to locate once you’ve developed a habit of leaving them there.

Self Awareness – I think one of the reasons we forget where we leave things is because our minds are somewhere else. Try to make a habit of thinking about the objects in your hands and where you are putting them. If you make a mental note, “I’m putting my keys on the kitchen table,” you will be more likely to remember where they are later.

Gadgets – Thanks to technology (the future is now!) there are a slew of gadgets to help you keep up with your keys. If you think this is the best way to prevent key loss, which inevitably happens when you’re already running late for class or work, use this list of reviews to see what will work best for you.

 

 

(photo credit: sew-much-to-do.tumblr.com)

Ring in 2016 With Meaningful Resolutions

goals

Not that any of your resolutions aren’t meaningful. New Year’s Eve fast approaches and I truly think it’s important to keep this year’s resolutions simple and mindful of your personal well-being. The usual trend is to make unrealistic promises to yourself and others, and stretch yourself too thin, resulting in disappointment and the opposite of intention of resolutions. What I mean by this is not necessarily pick out a new workout routine, but do things that are in your best interest. If that happens to mean getting a workout routine, then so be it, but not so much with the intention of getting that beach ready washboard hot body (cue the infomercial!). It’s time to keep the little things in mind that will help you have a more fulfilling, enjoyable new year!

Be Thankful Take a moment each day to remember what’s good in your life. It’s incredibly easy to slip into the, “Nothing is going my way” mode of thinking. It may sound like a total cliche, but make a list each day of what you’re thankful for. It will be a surprising mood booster.

Listen to More Music This doesn’t require looking at a screen! Yay! Put on some music while you do chores or relax instead of going straight to Netflix. You’ll have an enjoyable time.

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself It’s easy when you’re in school or fresh out of college to have super high expectations. Rome wasn’t built in a day, remember? Write down realistic expectations and plans.

Don’t Be Lazy Either! Get some hobbies! If you have hobbies, work on them instead of watching tv so much. Take a walk. Ride a bike! Enjoy what your neighborhood has to offer!

And for a little added bonus – Read This!

 

Have a Happy, Healthy 2016!

 

 

(photo credit: studiodiy.com)

Can You Live [Comfortably] Without a Washing Machine?

laundry

 

Do you live in an apartment without a washer and dryer? If you don’t, would you? Before June I lived in an older apartment building with a shared washer and dryer. There were only 6 units in the building so it was not difficult to split the appliances between us all. Unfortunately the building was sold and I had to relocate. Then I was lucky enough to find a great place in the same neighborhood, with even lower rent. What a deal, right? So far, the only catch has been: there is no washer or dryer. There are no washer or dryer hookups. There IS a laundromat a couple buildings away.

Thus began my journey living without a washer and dryer at my disposal for the first time, ever. My rent is $25 cheaper a month than at the previous apartment (and all the same utilities are included). Logically, I can say that as long as I spend less than $25 on laundry a month, I’m saving money. This may be true, but I have to admit I feel like I’m pouring money down the drain every time I pay $2.50 to wash a small load of clothes in a machine with an agitator (I was spoiled with a front loader before) and then pay $0.25 for every 5 minutes in the dryer. The dryers don’t really seem to work, by the way – I always end up line drying my clothes afterwards or putting them on a little damp. I’ve started doing laundry as infrequently as possible, hoarding huge heaping piles of clothes until I visit my parents for a weekend and can freely use the laundry facilities. I heavily prioritize what gets washed in the abominable laundromat washers – serious necessities only! It’s quite frankly gotten a little ridiculous.

Ok, I do realize there are many people who have never had a washing machine at their disposal and have always done things the laundromat way. I know there are pros to it, too: the laundromat is a great place to read, sometimes a place to meet people. But is it worth the trek out of the apartment, arms full of clothes which usually end up spilling all over the sidewalk? Is it worth the quarter collecting all month long?

With all this being said, I think I can still confidently say that I would rather pay the $25 extra a month to have a washer and dryer I can use whenever I want, even if it’s technically more than what I spend on the laundromat currently. What I’ve learned from this is that some conveniences are worth the premium and for me I’ll gladly pay for the freedom to launder.

 

(photo credit: http://www.vintag.es/)

 

Last Minute DIY Gift Wrap Extravaganza!

It’s that time – we’re down to the wire here before Christmas comes knocking this Friday with silver bells and sleigh bells and bells a-ringing. If you’re a generous enough person to be a gift giver (I won’t hate on those of you who aren’t because I’ve gone that route too) then you’ve got some serious gift wrapping to undertake. And you’re on holiday break now, so there’s plenty of time for this kind of thing. For the best and most festive gift wrapping results, recruit your friends to join in, get some sugary snacks, throw on a good Christmas movie, and get going! Here are some fun and funky ways to package up all your gifts this year.

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  1. You crafty people with an affinity for the southwestern style, try this Cactus pom-pom DIY gift wrap from Proper Blog, here!

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  1. Couldn’t resist the Emoji gift wrap, because Emoji everything. Our language will eventually dwindle down to a bunch of ridiculous cartoon faces symbolizing all the complexities of life. Get the tutorial here!

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  1. For a more sophisticated, shimmery approach, try these 4 pretty gift topper ideas!

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  1. If you like the natural kraft paper look (I feel like I was doing this before it was cool!…ok don’t judge for that comment), jazz it up like this.

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  1. For the minimalist: pair this star garland with some kraft or black paper, as pictured. Makes for an adorable, stylish gift wrap!

You’re Not Going Home for the Holidays and That’s Totally OK

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Nearly everything in life has its pros and cons, and possibly silver linings. Going home for the holidays can be a gratifying, wonderful experience. It can also be highly stressful due to travel, chaotic scheduling, and too many people (with conflicting opinions and habits) cramped up in one space. So if you choose to stay where you are, with your cat, instead of braving holiday travel, there are plenty of ways to have a perfectly enjoyable holiday to yourself without all the hassle.

Get Nostalgic – If you love the comforts and fun activities of the holidays without all the stresses involved, make a list of your favorite holiday things to do. For many of us, it’s the sights and smells that trigger the happy nostalgia we associate with the winter holidays: lights, cinnamon and cloves, fresh baked cookies, garland, Christmas music. For example, I spent one evening making gingerbread cookies by myself. It was wonderfully fun and afterwards I had enough to pass out to a number of people as small gifts.

Get Together with Friends – You may not be the only one staying put for the holidays this year. Coordinate with friends to see who will still be in town and organize a holiday get-together. It can be as low key as a board game night, or maybe a white elephant gift party. Craft nights are also great fun for friends who have a creative side. Making Christmas tree ornaments is a rewarding way to spend an evening.

Christmas Movie Marathon – Make a list of your holiday favorites and binge watch with some popcorn! There’s no shame in watching movies by yourself (especially since you don’t have to confer with anyone else on your guilty pleasure favorites). Not all of us are tired of watching It’s a Wonderful Life. More appropriately, maybe an entire night of Home Alone movies is called for.

Don’t Let the Holidays Get You Down – If you have to work and that’s why you’re stuck at home, don’t despair. Set up a Skype or FaceTime call to your loved ones in lieu of attendance. Embrace your staycation, relax, and recharge for the new year ahead!

 

(photo credit: gatigats.tumblr.com)

Your Pre-Holiday Apartment Checklist

buildings

Ready to bolt out of town and head home for the holidays?! Before you get to dashing through the snow and guzzling down hot chocolate with your family, make sure you have your apartment readied to be unoccupied while you’re away. Simple steps taken in advance can ensure your apartment and neighbors stay safe while you’re out of town.

A multitude of things can happen when nobody is keeping watch over the apartment. Pests, accidents, leaks, among others can wreak havoc if precautionary steps aren’t taken. It’s best to give your apartment a decent general cleaning, making sure there are no crumbs or food messes to attract critters. You can also tape up food boxes in your cabinets so nothing can easily get into them. So not only do you want your apartment to stay clean while you’re gone, but you also should make sure all appliances are unplugged to prevent any electrical problems. Notifying a neighbor of your impending absence and leaving your contact information with them is another way to stay informed and possibly prevent problems.

Before You Leave Checklist!

▢ Sweep

▢ Clean up kitchen and all food messes

▢ Remove all old or nearly expired food from refrigerator

▢ Take out trash

▢ Unplug all appliances

▢ Make sure all windows are locked

▢ Adjust thermostat to use less energy while away

▢ Make sure all water taps are off

▢ Tell a neighbor you’re leaving

▢ Pay all unpaid bills

▢ Put mail on hold

▢ Pack your device chargers

▢ Have a safe trip and a happy holidays!

 

(photo credit: wanderlusteurope.tumblr.com)

Abbra Cadabbra! Magically Fit a Guest Room in Your Apartment

guest room

Apartment dwellers who have the luxury of a completely separate guest bedroom are few and far between. Most of us have what we need for everyday use with little extra space beyond that. So when it comes to guests, the arrangement can be tricky when you don’t have a real room to house them in. That shouldn’t stop you from having guests if you want to! I recently have had a steady stream of guests staying for the weekend and have perfected a makeshift guest room in the common space of my apartment. Here are some tips on making everyone comfortable in a shared space.

The secret to making this work is the ability to temporarily divide off your guest’s personal space. I use a decorative wooden folding screen for my guests, but you could also use a curtain over a door frame, or even a makeshift drape made from a nicely patterned sheet (you say thrifty, I say Boho chic). This creates the illusion of a separate room and gives your guest a sense of privacy.

The next thing is somewhere for your guest to sleep. I keep a good quality air mattress in the closet for guests. This way the extra bed is deflated and compact until you need it. Other options for guest beds are day beds, pull out couches, and modular couches.

The last thing for your guests are the small comforts: clean sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, etc. I use a side table as a makeshift nightstand for guests, complete with a small lamp and space for their personal affects. I also keep a comfortable chair in the room and a small tv tray type table next to it so there is a nice place for my guests to sit and relax during down time.

Next time you are a guest in someone’s home, take note of what you liked and didn’t like and use that to prepare for your future guests!

 

 

(photo credit: apartmenttherapy.com)

Pick a Side and Star Wars-ify Your Apartment

Whether you’re a long time die hard Star Wars fan or just getting into it, the new installment of the ever popular Star Wars saga is upon us this holiday season. So why not go full on nerd and deck your apartment out with some spiffy Star Wars accoutrements? Bonus: this list doubles as an awesome gift guide!

 

R2D2 Measuring Cup Set

$20, thinkgeek.com

measuring cups

Chewbacca Pillow

$30, etsy.com

pillow

Light Side / Dark Side Bath Towel

$30, thinkgeek.com

towel

Star Wars Letterpress Coasters

$14, etsy.com

coasters

 

Quick Stress Busters for Finals Week

dogs

It’s everybody’s favorite time of year – finals time! Wait, it’s not everybody’s favorite time of year?…Ok, so it’s more like the time of year in which you realize you put that final project off for way too long and it’s due in a week’s time. Coming from someone who’s been there, done that, I can say you will survive. So remember there’s no need to push yourself beyond the point of exhaustion. When you find yourself panicking and worrying, try one of these little methods of relaxation.

Play with a dog! It’s amazing what animals can do to improve your mood and well-being. This is why many hospitals have groups with service animals visit those who are suffering from long-term illness. If you have a dog, set aside breaks for yourself during studying and working to take your pup outside for 10-15 minutes at a time. Not only does the dog help you relax and lower stress levels, but the sunshine and fresh air will help too. If you don’t have a dog, go find someone who does!

Schedule an hour for coffee with a friend. Set aside an hour of your valuable time to do something that is truly equally as valuable as studying. The hour long break will give you a reprieve from the constant wracking of your brain. Relax, enjoy a tasty drink (I don’t recommend alcohol because that can be a slippery slope – before you know it you’ll be next on the Karaoke list), and forget about finals for an hour. When the hour is up, you should feel ready to get your nose back to the grindstone.

Do something that makes you laugh! Laughter truly is incredible medicine and is proven to lower stress levels. Watch an episode of your favorite comedy, catch up on a web comic you love, or my personal favorite – watch ridiculous cat videos on youtube.

Pay attention to school sponsored events around exam time. Many colleges will have programs which help students to de-stress during this time of the year. Take advantage of those!

Good luck on your exams!

 

(photo credit: whysoright.tumblr.com)