5 easy ways to organize and keep your house in order

If you’ve had a messy room growing up and a messy dorm room while in college, there are good chances your house is a constant mess now that you’re all grown up. Tidy habits are formed early on, and their absence can often make our future living spaces quite inhospitable.

Keeping your house in order isn’t too hard, even if you’re single – you just have to recognize what’s causing you to make a mess most often. Here are 5 easy ways to organize yourself.

  1. Away from sight, away from heart: Aim to ‘house’ as many objects as you can in appropriate compartments. Clothes in closets, dishes and utensils in kitchen cupboards, accessories in regular cupboards… While still bad, a mess inside a piece of furniture is much better than a mess all over the house, and is also more manageable.
  2. When you finish using something, put it away: This should probably be the #1 tip. The majority of house messes probably come from us being too lazy to ‘put things back’, leaving them to lie on the floor or furniture instead. Adding to the first point, try and think of everything in your home as having its own storage place, and make a habit of returning it there.
  3. Make use of the basement: If you have a house, it’s more than likely that you have a sizeable basement as well. These things serve more purpose than just spooking you out – they’re a great way to reduce the overall mess in your home. After sanitizing the basement and making sure there’s no mold or pests, make a simple mental note: anything you don’t use for more than 3 weeks(aside from clothes) is probably better off in the basement. A few months of adhering to this principle will make your house a pillar of order.
  4. Clean regularly: The mistake too many home owners make is cleaning only when the going gets tough. A great way to stop your home from getting messy is cleaning it in regular intervals. It can be once a week, twice a month, once a month – all depending on how bad things get. For truly effective cleaning, you’ll need to create a model of what your home should look like when in perfect order, and then strive to achieve it every time you clean. You can also keep a cleaning diary if you’re having trouble getting yourself to hit every room.
  5. Every day is guests day: This simple mental practice might do more than anything else on this list. Simply imagine you’re having some esteemed guests over every single day. We all let our homes go out of order in the absence of visitors, even if we live with someone else. To combat this, you’ll have to treat every day as if your friends and family were coming over soon. This will help you keep things in tip-top shape year-round, and when guests actually do come, you won’t have to feel uncomfortable and apologize for the mess in every room.
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3 practical ways to get exercise every day

People with a hectic schedule often feel puzzled when trying to fit some exercise in there. Working in a sedentary capacity and then coming home tired afterwards is hardly a good environment for those looking to get that beach body.

Still, there are ways to exercise without making sacrifices in other areas of your life. With the right exercises and tools, you’ll be able to get a workout in almost any place and at any time. I asked my doc, Dan Foss at Pura Vida Chiropractic, a chiropractor in San Antonio for some recommendations. His website is http://www.puravidasanantonio.com – Here are 3 practical ways to achieve this.

  1. Grip strengtheners/hand strengtheners: These things might not look like they’ll do much for your physique, but they’re surprisingly effective. Everyone could do with more hand/arm strength, and there are very few more practical ways of getting it than with the help of these devices. Grip strengtheners are inexpensive, compact and easy to store and use in your office or car, at your desk, couch or even in the bathroom. If you’re persistent, they’ll build up your hand strength impressively while also giving you nicely-toned forearms. Some of the more expensive models also have adjustable resistance, which lets you advance in your mini-workouts as time progresses.
  2. Foam roller: Like grip strengtheners, foam rollers don’t look like much. Also like grip strengtheners, you can expect them to surprise you with their ability to provide a workout. These rollers aren’t nearly as compact as the ‘grippers’ mentioned above, though – they usually don’t come in sizes smaller than 40×6 inches or some variation of it. Furthermore, they also require you to lie down on the floor, which can be impractical, but they’re still manageable in most day-to-day environments. So, what can they do for you? The most basic foam roller workout consists of lying on your back with your legs bent and the roller strategically placed beneath your spine. You then proceed to roll up and down, stretching your back in a counter-kyphotic posture. If your job involves a lot of sitting down, these will do wonders to correct your spine. As your muscles start to stretch and develop, you can look for sideways and belly-down exercises that will provide a better workout and give you a nice muscle tone to boot.
  3. Squats: Out of all the bodyweight exercises, the squat has to be the most economical one. Unlike the push-up or the sit-up which require you to stretch yourself out on a surface, the squat can be performed virtually anywhere, even inside a cubicle. For all its simplicity, the plain squat is amazingly effective: it tones your entire lower body and makes it better-equipped for walking, running or climbing up stairs, and also gives you a nice cardiovascular workout. That’s right – you can increase your stamina from the inside of your cubicle! As you progress, you can start setting a time limit on each set to see how many squats you can complete in 1/2/5 minutes, and then aim to break your personal record. For the truly advanced practitioner, one-legged variations are also an option, although you might not want to do these next to any breakable equipment.
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5 great places to vacation on a budget

Seeing the same old houses, buildings and shops day in and day out can get quite tiresome. Everyone needs some type of vacation here and there to break the routine, and most of us prefer to spend it on places that attack our senses with new shapes, colors, smells and sounds.

Managing your costs is probably the hardest part of having a nice vacation that involves a trip. Plenty of places are known as tourist traps and sustain themselves from ripping visitors off. With a bit of savvy and a little knowledge, though, you can have a great vacation in a far-away place with minimal expenses. Here are 5 great vacation spots to visit if you’re on a budget.

  1. Thailand: Thailand’s tourism seems to have exploded in recent times, and with good reason: the place is equal parts culture-rich and affordable. Scratch that – the prices in Thailand could be called dirt-cheap, especially if you’re visiting from the U.S. For a relatively small amount of money, you’ll get introduced to a new and exciting culture, taste a bunch of great food, see some amazing architecture and have quite a few stories to tell when you get back home.
  2. China: Another far-away destination for Westerners, China isn’t quite as cheap to visit as Thailand but is still very affordable from the moment you leave the plane. Don’t get stuck on Beijing, either – thanks to its budding economy and tremendous size, China is chock-full of amazing provinces, cities and villages to visit, each giving you a unique experience on a budget.
  3. Eastern Europe: Anyone who’s watched the movie Hostel might have qualms about visiting Eastern Europe, but it’s actually full of amazing and tourist-friendly places. From Hungary and Czechoslovakia to any of the countries in the Balkans, you’ll be treated to some stunning centuries-old architecture and history-rich sights, as well as the locals’ unique way of life that many find charming. Those unwilling to travel all the way to Asia should definitely consider picking an Eastern European country for an affordable vacation.
  4. The Caribbean: Visits to the Caribbean can sometimes be mistaken with trips to Hawaii as the privilege of the wealthy. In truth, the opposite is often the case – for a manageable amount of money, you can get a memorable Caribbean cruise and enjoy some pristine beaches and exotic nature. Those wanting to do some serious swimming or diving during their vacation but find Thailand’s coasts too far out might find a Caribbean cruise with lodging to be the perfect option.
  5. Dublin, Ireland: While all of Ireland is undoubtedly nice, Dublin is where the party’s The people there are known for their festive spirit and friendliness, so you’ll have an easy time fitting in and making new friends(it helps that everyone speaks English, too). Dublin is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination with each passing year, and it’s hard not to see why. A trip to Dublin won’t drill a hole in your pocket and won’t put you at risk of getting lost in translation, but will still give you everything you’d want from a vacation in a foreign country with a famously unique culture.
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Tips On Planning A Wedding

While some look forward to weddings without worrying for a moment, others are quite concerned with the logistics of the whole thing. Few events in our lives get as big as weddings, and they can seem especially scary considering we’re at the center of it all.

Planning every step of the wedding is extremely important to ensure everything goes smoothly – if it wasn’t, ‘wedding planner‘ wouldn’t be a choice of profession for many. You won’t need to pay big bucks for a pro planner, however – here are some tips to plan out your wedding perfectly.

    • A great wedding is one that both you and your significant other enjoy. Two people will usually have distinctly different visions of how their perfect wedding should look like, no matter how much they love each other. The trick is to find a perfect middle ground by combining the best of both worlds. Finding that perfect combination will also help showcase the strength of your bond and will set a great precedent for the future.
    • Weddings are just as expensive as they are big. If you’re not going for a four-person in-office non-ceremony, chances are you’ll have quite a few expenses to deal with. It’s true that marrying the person you love is no occasion to get stingy, but there’s another point of view to consider: going into debt over a wedding might make marital life uncomfortable. Remember that there’s a whole lifetime to spend together after the big day – saving a little money might make things much easier later on.
    • If you’re like most people, you probably want everyone you’ve ever known in attendance, witnessing the glorious moment when you and your spouse join hands in marriage. But why? In reality, you don’t need anyone other than the people closest to you. That includes families of both you and your spouse, mutual friends and a select few closest friends of each. Anyone else should have to contend with merely hearing how great the wedding was. Not to mention, a smaller attendance will reduce the costs accordingly.

  • While you should plan each step of the wedding, this doesn’t mean you should freak out if things don’t go exactly as planned. Like everything in life, a wedding is best if you leave some room for unpredictability, and welcome unplanned situations by handling them with grace. There’s no easier way to ruin a wedding than by trying to strictly adhere to a fantasy vision. You and your spouse getting married is what’s important – let everything else unravel as it has to.
  • Don’t forget that honeymoon! For some reason, the honeymoon often gets left out of the wedding plans. As you’re planning a wedding budget, make sure to also include what will probably be an expensive trip afterwards. While the wedding is the big day, the honeymoon will be just as epic, and you’ll have an easier time making it such if you saved a little money on your ceremony. In fact, if you’re working on a budget, it’s probably a great idea to prioritize resources for the honeymoon rather than the ceremony itself – as the years go by, you and your spouse will actually end up reminiscing the former more than the latter.
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4 Ways To Sleep Better At Night

One could say that it’s never been as hard to get a good night’s sleep as it is today. Most people’s careers need them to wake up at a specific time in the morning, be it for school, internship or work. This has been around for a while, but what hasn’t is the amount of distractions available right now.

Whereas before you could watch a bit of TV and doze off late-evening, the advent of the internet has given people the incentive to stay up long into the wee hours so they can check their Facebook/Twitter feeds, watch viral videos, search for pictures of funny cats and so on. The amount of people running on 3-4 hours of sleep a day is staggering, especially considering they have no organization in the form of sleep cycles.

To help you get a good rest every night and better prepare you for the day ahead, here are 4 ways you can sleep better at night.

  1. Managing your sleep with sleep cycle apps: Up until recently, it was commonly accepted that we need 8 hours of sleep every night unless we want to feel groggy in the morning. Now, however, people understand that there’s such a thing as sleep cycles: 90-minute ’bouts’ of sleep that need to be completed in order to feel rested. You can feel good in the morning with just 3 hours of sleep, as long as you make sure each individual cycle was completed. Using a sleep cycle app can help you a great deal here, and will act as a type of advanced alarm clock – one that actually works, that is.
  2. Understanding your internal clock: Our internal clocks can get messed up whenever we pull an all-nighter. Those working the night shift beat are almost sure to have their sleep messed up. If you used to hit the sack at 5 AM, you’ll have a much harder time sleeping(and resting) if you start going to bed at 9 PM. Understand this, and aim to make gradual shifts to your routine as opposed to sudden ones.
  3. Working on your sleeping environment: Take note of any background noises in your sleeping environment, like running appliances or computer equipment. Some people can’t fall asleep with any background noise present – if you’re one of them, either remove the noise-makers or invest in some quality ear plugs. The latter won’t just help you with noise in your home – it will also protect you if the neighbor’s dog decides to go on a barking spree in the middle of the night. Likewise, artificial light coming from TVs or computers might seem soothing as you’re falling asleep, but can actually impede your ability to get proper rest later on.
  4. Keeping a lid on distractions: You’ll need discipline more than anything here. When it’s time to sleep, turn off your cellphone and laptop. Don’t check your mailbox or Facebook wall that one last time – they’ll both be there for you in the morning. If you’d like something to help you fall asleep, a good book can go a long way – they might seem old-fashioned, but at least they won’t pave the path towards unplanned all-nighters.
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Letting the Lizard Loose!

Watch out! The lizard is about to start dishing out some scaly thoughts on random things. Finally got the new blog and getting ready …

Scott

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