10 Mini Moves for a Cleaner, Calmer, and Happier Home in 2018
Never Run Out of Toilet Paper Again
You know that mini moment of panic you have when you realize your family is down to the last roll of toilet paper? Well, it’s easy to make 2018 the year that it never happens—not once. Instead of having to track how much toilet paper (or paper towels, or tissues) your family is using and remembering to add it to your shopping list, use an online big-box delivery service, such as Boxed, to stock up on the essentials. Instead of paying an annual membership fee at a retailer you have to drive to, Boxed lets you shop in bulk from the comfort of your couch, and all orders over $49 ship to your door for free. The site also lets you schedule a delivery up to five days in advance, making it easy to choose a time when you’ll be home. With a three-month supply of toilet paper stocked in your basement, you’ll never have to worry about running out.
Stop Using Dirty Sponges
This year, we learned that microwaving dirty sponges does not disinfect them, as we once previously thought. And considering that the kitchen sponge is one of the germiest spots in our homes, we’re determined to stop using grimy, bacteria-spreading sponges in 2018. The most effective way to achieve this is to replace them more often, and a sponge subscription service is the easiest way to remember to do so. Sign up for Skura Style, a subscription service that will send you four fresh sponges every month or every other month for just $12. These antimicrobial sponges are decorated with color patterns on one side, and when the pattern fades, you know it’s time to break out a new one. With a fresh sponge waiting for you every single week, this will finally be the year you clean up your dish washing routine.
Take Control of Your Tech
From constantly checking email to the endless buzz of a new Facebook notification, our tech devices can easily control our lives. Instead, make 2018 the year where you take control of your tech. For an easy way to start, resolve to stop using your phone as your alarm clock. Studies have found that the blue light emitted from electronics can have a negative effect on sleep, and that keeping your phone next to your bed makes you more likely to check your phone within just five minutes of waking up. Rather than encourage your family’s tech dependence, try setting up a charging station in the living room or kitchen. This attractive bamboo charging dock will keep phones and tablets out of the bedrooms, and in a spot where you can easily find them.
Carve Out a Space for Yourself
If it’s nearly impossible to find a space that’s just for you inside your own home, make this the year you claim a spot. Find an area to devote to your favorite hobby, and you’ll be more inclined to spend time doing what you love. Even if you can’t dedicate an entire room to your yoga practice, claim one corner of your family room for your mat, blocks, and soothing music. If the mat’s hiding in the closet, you’ll forget to take it out, but when it’s there waiting for you when you get home from work, you may just find 15 minutes for yourself. If you want to read more, create your own reading nook out of your most comfortable armchair and a small side table. Want to play guitar more often? Get a wall hook to hang the instrument where you’ll see it every day. You’re more likely to pick it up, even if it’s just for five minutes, when it’s stored out in the open.
Sync Up Your Family’s Schedules
Between piano practice, after-school clubs, and business dinners, coordinating everyone’s schedules can feel like a full-time job. Instead of doing it all yourself, let your family sync their own schedules—both in real life and virtually. In the entryway or kitchen, set up a shared calendar where each family member can add their own events. On the way out the door, it’s easy to spot what time basketball practice is that afternoon. And when your day gets busy and you can’t recall the start time, that’s where Cozi comes in. This free family organizer app lets multiple family members share one master calendar. You can set up reminders, appointments, family dinners, and even shared shopping lists, helping your family stay in sync even on busy days.
Buy More Flowers
Buying a simple $10 bouquet of flowers is the easiest way to make your home look instantly better—and it’s sure to make you smile every time you see it. Commit to buying a cheap grocery store bouquet once per month, then keep the arrangement in a spot where you can admire it often, like on the living room coffee table. You can also divide the blooms among several small bud vases for the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom, so you’ll feel like your entire home is filled with fresh flowers. To guarantee that you’ll keep up with your decision, sign up for a bouquet subscription from The Bouqs Company or BloomsyBox, and set how often you’d like an arrangement to arrive.
Never Have to Borrow a Cup of Sugar (or Flour, or Salt)
As nice as it is to borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor, it’s even better to never run out. To avoid ever having to make a last-minute trip to the store this year, sign up for a grocery subscription service, such as AmazonFresh or Peapod. Amazon’s grocery service lets you shop for thousands of groceries and choose a convenient delivery time, often including same-day options. Not only does home delivery mean you’ll never have to drive to the store, but saved shopping lists let you shop with just a few clicks, rather than browsing the aisles for an hour. Both services are only available in select states, so check to see if they’re available in your area.
Clean Up Your Recycling Act
Sure, you dutifully separate paper from plastic, but how well do you really know your town’s recycling rules? To find out if you should be using clear garbage bags and remind yourself which number plastics are accepted, visit your municipality’s website. Check out iwanttoberecycled.org to learn what happens to items you recycle and confront some common recycling myths. For example, while it’s a common myth that only the tabs of aluminum cans are recyclable, in fact, the entire can is, so it’s a smart idea to leave the tabs intact to ensure they make it through the recycling process. If you have electronics or batteries you’d like to recycle, the zip code search on earth911.com will help you find a drop-off center in your area.
Cut Down on Chemicals
If you’re still using cleaning sprays that are loaded with chemicals, try replacing some of the store-bought sprays with homemade solutions. We’ve developed and tested 10 all-natural recipes that can be used to scrub every single inch of your home—and the ingredients are likely already in your kitchen. For a versatile disinfecting spray that can be used on most surfaces, combine equal parts white vinegar and vodka, add lavender and lemon essential oils, then dilute with water, says Becky Rapinchuk of Clean Mama. Each of these recipes takes less than a minute to mix up, and you’ll never have to worry about breathing in harmful fumes or wiping your countertop with chemicals.
Assemble a Home Emergency Kit
While we all hope we won’t have to pull out an emergency kit this year (or ever), having one prepared can help provide some peace of mind. To build your own kit, start with the 15 basic essentials every emergency kit should have, then customize it for your family. Water and non-perishable food is a must, as are flashlights and batteries. If you have a baby, pets, or live with an elderly family member, you’ll want to add items tailored to your family members’ needs. Stash the items inside a sturdy plastic bin, and make sure everyone knows where the kit is stored.