Winter is coming...
Ahhh, the joys of Fall. Leaves turning colour, pumpkin spice lattes, Thanksgiving...and miserable cold, snow, and the realization your home is in disarray because you spent the whole summer out of town, on a patio, or doing pretty much anything else outside. That being said, regardless of your level of household organization, it’s always nice to get everything tidied up and in shape so you can actually sit back and enjoy those cozy months indoors. So unless your fall and winter prep consists solely of eating everything in sight now that beach season is over, read on for some great tips…
Make a list of everything you need to do.
The average person's to-do list
To-do lists are key, unless you’re the kind of person that does a few of the items on the list and then makes another list of the same things in a different order a few days later so they feel productive (everyone?). Put your list somewhere you’ll see it, like the fridge, and then knock of small things whenever you can. This will get you in the mindset of achieving small things when you have a few spare minutes, and pretty soon you’ll be done everything you need to do. It helps to categorize everything by area (for example, yard work, spare room) so you can knock off a whole area if you’re feeling incredibly motivated. There’s also some great checklists online if you’re feeling lazy. Side note: I read about an interesting productivity strategy called the 5 minute rule the other day - if a task takes less than 5 minutes to actually do, don't let your mind make a conscious decision whether to do it now or not, just get it done. Something to think about.
Have fun with it.
Most people are incredibly reward-oriented, so it helps to associate tedious chores with something more pleasant. For example, maybe cleaning the garage and putting things into storage is not the best way to spend an afternoon, but if you bring along a couple of beers or your favourite snack and some music, suddenly it’s not quite so bad. Or if you really need to organize the spare room, buying something you like for that room whether it’s a chair, shelf, or piece of decor as a reward (or incentive) for doing that task is a good idea. When in doubt, always celebrate your accomplishments in whatever way it is you like to celebrate.
Get things done early.
A lot of things are way more pleasant to do when it’s light out and when it’s not below zero. This is particularly true if you have a yard (or even a balcony). It’s also true for things like getting your winter tires put on - wait too long, and either the first big snow will catch you by surprise or you’ll find the wait for a change is much longer (unless you’re a do-it-yourselfer). Plus, it's always a great feeling when you get something done ahead of schedule.
Don’t overlook the small stuff.
Fun story - a couple of years ago, I decided that covering up or putting my patio furniture into storage for the winter was overrated. Snow and winter air is clean, right? Wrong. An unpleasant afternoon of power washing ensued when spring rolled around. Two lessons from this story: (1) just covering it with a tarp or bringing it inside would have taken 10 minutes and saved a good part of a day; and (2) don’t let snow fool you, it’s not as clean as it looks. In a similar vein to the productivity tip above, just getting quick tasks out of the way on an ongoing basis rather than putting them off could make your life a lot easier at some point in the future.
Get outside help.
This friendly gentleman would love to help you de-clutter your home
There’s a lot of great services for making life easy, even on a budget. Yes, it’s usually more cost effective to do things yourself, but do you really want to clean the gutters, organize and store all your summer gear, or replace filters & check the furnace? Deep down, you know the answer is no. So our advice is to pick your battles and see if there’s a third party solution at a reasonable cost for tasks you don’t like. One of our favourite services is VarsityHire. VarsityHire is a free service that connects your task with a capable, competent college student looking to make some extra money. Students can bid on how much they’ll charge to do your tasks and then you can pick from the pool of applicants. It’s an easy way to get chores done fast and support local students. Of course, if it’s storage for your summer gear you’re looking for, it’d be remiss of us to not throw in a shameless plug for YYC Storage - we’ll do everything except pack your stuff, and we’ll bring it back to you when it’s finally summer again.