Tag Archives: cleaning

Cleaning Chart in the Cloud

One (of the many) major lifestyle changes that came with purchasing our new home was the immense amount of household chores that were added to my weekly “To Do” list.  Whether it is taking care of the yard, or cleaning the guest bathroom—the work certainly multiplied from our tiny one-bedroom Silicon Valley apartment.

With a schedule filled with traveling, social commitments and long days in the office/commuting, I have not been able to find a good day to just set aside as my “cleaning day.”

Because I love the feeling of a freshly cleaned house (and loathe the feeling of having a dust bunnies in my hallway), I have had to adapt my cleaning practices to ensure things are getting done on a regular basis.

The first (and most essential) best practice that I am using is my Electronic Cleaning Chart.  Yes, I know it sounds dorky, but boy does it keep me on track!  For you techies out there, I keep my household chores on Google Drive (but any other cloud-based spreadsheet program will work).  For me, having online access allows me to check out my chart from whichever electronic device I happen to be nearest to.

The concept of my chart is quite simple.  You list out your what cleaning items you want to track (“Tasks”), how often this should be done (“Interval”), the date you last completed this (“Last Completed”) and a formula, which automatically updates and lists the target date for the next cleaning (“Next Due”).

Cloud Cleaning Chart 1

I have found a number of benefits of this Cleaning Chart.  First, the chart can be customized. You can add/delete different chores as they come up in your own household.  This has been particularly helpful for me as a new homeowner, because it has taken quite a bit of time for me to realize all the little chores (both inside and out) that we need to do.  As you will see on my chart, I still have quite a bit of work to build out the “Outside Chores.”

Cloud Cleaning Chart 2Secondly, it allows you to compartmentalize your cleaning, by providing an instant “To Do” list from which you can complete what you have time for. With my busy schedule, one weekend I will have only 30 minutes to do some quick cleaning, and on others, I will have the entire morning.  The chart allows me to check off what I have time to do, but keeps me on track so I do not lose the “big picture.”

Cloud Cleaning Chart 3Third, if you have a significant other in your life, this is a great way for you both to synchronize up on household chores.  Maybe you add color-coding to mark chores designated for each party.  Alternatively, maybe you both just chip away at the list, as your schedules allow.  Either way, it keeps your household running, even when the inhabitants are going many directions.

Cloud Cleaning Chart 4Like most habitual tasks in this world, the key is finding what works for you and your own schedule.  Often times this involves testing different methods to see what helps you get in your own rhythm.  The great thing is that the world of social media, including Pinterest and personal blogs, have created a library or resources for you sift through.

While not an exhaustive list, here are a few links to other Cleaning Charts that I found interesting (for those looking for a different method).

Do you have a fabulous cleaning method or process that works for you? If so, we’d love to hear what keeps you on track.

Brown Bag Donation Challenge: A Tale of Too Many Shoes!

In this day and age, we are constantly accumulating new things—clothing and shoes, the next best thing in technology, and that ‘had-to-have’ decorative household item. So to avoid having a household full of items that I no longer use, I’m always on the look out for items that I can donate, recycle or throw away.

This week’s focus has been on the first of the three—donations and specifically, the shoe category. While I’m generally good about earmarking clothing for donating, I realized (after sifting through the three shoe baskets we have in our home and my closet) that I rarely find the time to go through my shoes.

Shoe Bin 1

I decided to challenge myself to try to narrow down my collection. Would it be possible to fill a brown grocery bag with one purge?

Brown Bag 1

After a relatively short bit of time, I realized that this challenge was going to be a lot easier than I had expected (and no that’s not because I filled my bag with boots!).

The Shoe That Never Really Fit: Chances are you have this type of shoe in your closet. It’s the one that caught your eye in the store, but in all honesty it never really quite fit. You got it home, and wore it around the house and for a few outdoor outings in the hopes that you’ll “wear it down” to comfort. Unfortunately, this rarely ends up happening, and so after a trial period, it’s likely time to pass it on.

Shoe Bin 2

For me, this was this adorable gold and white summer loafer. I purchased it last summer and sadly, it just never quite fit. I held onto it hoping that somehow it would morph into a new (and more comfortable, I may add) shoe…but alas not.

The Shoe/Flip Flop That You Have Too Many Of: If you live in California, you could likely fill a dedicated container with flip flops. A fun Haviana is a completely different look from your sturdy Rainbow. Flip flops come in all kinds of colors and materials, but it’s likely that most California shoe racks could shed a few flips.

Shoe Bin 3

I was able to locate two pairs (from the multitude that I have) that I haven’t worn in ages. They were still in great shape and fit for the donation bag.

The Shoe You’re Saving for a Rainy Day: Ever have that conversation with yourself of: “Well maybe I’d wear it if I was….” Maybe it’s a shoe that has lost its luster or is starting to show signs of wear. However, you love it so much that you aren’t willing to part with it, but rather would prefer to retire it gradually.

Shoe Bin 4

For me, this most often comes in the form of my athletic shoes. When a shoe starts wearing down, I keep it on the shelf in my office or in the trunk of my car…just in case I need to pull them out. While it’s good to keep a pair (or maybe two) as a back-up for a mud run, that’s about all you need.

The Shoe That Was a One Hit Wonder: This shoe is the one that was purchased for a singular purpose. Maybe it was a wedding that you were in where the bride wanted all the bridesmaids to have matching kicks or maybe you were involved in an activity that requires certain footwear.

Shoe Bin 5

For me, this was my beloved indoor cycling shoes. Last year, I got really involved in a spin/indoor cycling studio and ended up purchasing special Shimano shoes. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a new local studio and have thus moved on to other fitness activities, but I’m hoping they will get some good use with someone else.

Bottom line – challenge accepted and prevailed! After a little self-talk, I was able to narrow my show racks down a bit, and came away with a full bag of kicks that I hope will find better use with someone else.

Shoe Bin 6

Do you have a certain “shoe strategy” that helps you narrow down your closet? If so, we’d love to hear!

Healthy Tips for Your Work Day

I was reminiscing the other day about middle school. We had it pretty good during our teenage years. We arrived at school around 8:30 a.m.  By mid-morning we had a 10-minute break. Around noon, we had a nice long lunch with plenty of time to move around, prior to the “long stretch” of three torturous hours of sitting still until freedom at 3:00 p.m.

As adults in the working world, our days often begin earlier and end later, and the middle portion is full of sedentary time. As a result, there’s a growing emphasis on understanding how we can mix healthy habits into our 8+ hours of office time.

Below is a short list of a few easy-to-incorporate tips that can put the “healthy” in your work day.

  • Drinking, Drinking and More Drinking – And no, I’m not referring to the good stuff, but just plain H20. Staying hydrated is such an important step to good health, and I find that having it conveniently placed on my desk keeps me drinking, even if I get stuck for an hour or two in my office. To maximize my water intake, I like to keep several vessels for drinking water on my desk.
    • The first is my CamelBak Eddy 1L water bottle ($16). This water bottle is spill-proof, so it’s a versatile item that can go from a my desk to a designer purse to a hiking backpack.
    • The second is an inexpensive Ikea Water Carafe ($2.50). I get a few glasses worth of water, which minimizes the number of trips to our coffee station, and I can conveniently pour it right into my desk mug.

Healthy Tips 1

  1. Calendar a Break Time – I also like to add a break reminder to my ever-busy Work calendar. Whether you use an electronic or paper organizing system, don’t forget to schedule a quick break in between your meetings and calls. As an electronic organizer, I like to schedule “Stretch Time” on my Outlook calendar. The electronic pinging sound and the pop-up reminder jogs my memory to take a break. Depending on my day, a break can just be a quick stroll outside for some fresh air or even just a reminder to stand up and stretch.

Healthy Tips 2

  1. Stand Up Conference Calls – Another tip is to take conference calls on speaker phone and stand up. I have terrible posture, and I find that by standing it helps me to get my shoulders back a bit more. Several long-winded conference calls haven taken place in the past few months, so this is now a common practice that I’ve come to appreciate. On a similar note, consider bringing a bolster or other amenities for your chair to help your posture when you’re seated.
  2. Disinfect Your Workspace – I am not personally a huge germ-a-phobe, but I am a proponent of good cleaning. I like to wipe down my keyboard, mouse, phone (including mobiles) and general workspace on a consistent basis. Our supply room has a multitude of these convenient antibacterial towelettes which make a quick clean quite handy, but you can also easily pick up a Lysol container at your next grocery trip and store it in your drawer.

Healthy Tips 3

  1. Snack Healthy – Are you an in-between-meal snacker? Consider stocking your desk drawer with healthy snacks. For those with office space, consider bringing in a more stylish home décor piece like a fruit basket and stock it on Monday with healthy, grabbable snacks. This will help you avoid running to the kitchen when someone emails that they brought in doughnuts.

The bottom line is that we spend more and more time in our workspace, and thus have to have a stronger awareness of how we can adapt our lifestyles to ensure we’re staying healthy.

Do you have any work-related healthy tips that you utilize? If so, we’d love to have you share.