Remember dorm life? The newfound freedom, the exciting nightlife, the friendships, the ramen noodles. Remember the sticky floors and hallways that smelled like bad cabbage and B.O. and beer soup? Yeah. Dorm life is gross. The post-high school years meant figuring out how to live on your own. I did some pretty messy and domestically shameful things when I moved out of my parent's home, including (but not limited to):
Becoming an adult isn’t something that happens overnight. It starts when you head off to your dorm with the inheritance of blackened pots and rag-tag containers your parents were going to pitch. Slowly, adulthood sets in. You eventually replace all the bad habits and old kitchen junk with skills and stuff that helps you be productive and organized.
Important parts of my adult life have made the transition from sloppy or juvenile to organized and efficient—I’ve come a long way from “frat” to “fab.”
Like my friendships…
Or my beverages of choice…
Most importantly, how I spend my free time…
Baby Photo Image Credit: Merryfields Photography
In short, I’m upgrading all of the areas of my life since I graduated university.
The final frontier of my transition into honest-to-goodness adulthood was my container cupboard. In fact, my container cupboard was more of a container pile.
It was, frankly, scary to confront: mismatched lids and warped bases that had long ago lost their mojo. I have been using zippered bags way too often because I couldn’t bear to face the container pile.
I pride myself on being an organized, efficient, and tidy adult—but my own container pile was embarrassing and so very “frat.” I needed to get my act in gear and finally confront and organize my container cupboard like an adult.
Getting your cupboards organized is simple if you follow these three steps:
Organizing your kitchen cupboard is like any other area of your house. The first step is to purge where possible. If you don’t have the space, then something has to give. A pile of containers shouldn’t rain down on your face when you open the cupboard.
I love watching people unload their dishwasher, or make a coffee at home because you really get to see whether they have thought through the “high traffic” areas in their kitchen. Put your mugs near the coffee maker, your frequently used items within easy reach, and your containers near the fridge (for simple food storage).
When I tried some of Rubbermaid’s container systems I felt extreme excitement along with serious shame. I tried the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids system in the original system, as well as the Rubbermaid Glass, Rubbermaid Premier, and Rubbermaid Lock-its versions.
~catcall whistling sound here~
So very shiny.
The Easy Find Lids system allows me to maximize space in my cupboards because the same sized lids snap on to one another. Each container base easily snaps to the lids, so I don’t have to rummage around for something that fits—a big time saver. The smaller sized containers neatly nest inside larger sizes, forming one neat stack—a big space saver. Please tell me why I didn’t do this sooner?
All of the containers are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe—another big time saver. So far I’ve saved myself space, time, and embarrassment. Sounds pretty adult-like to me.
Plus, the math speaks for itself: I took some time to legitimately match up the lids to my old containers, and my cupboard space only barely held my 20 lid-matched containers (and several lidless bottoms, and bottomless lids). The containers pictured here in my cupboard is a total of 30 full containers, with room to spare.
I wish I could go back to the dorm room and tell my younger self that getting kitchen cupboards to stop looking like a rummage sale, and more like House and Home Magazine isn’t at all a challenge.
Then, I’d cut myself one more slice of ice cream cake for breakfast.
Are your plastic containers ready to topple over? Converting your cupboards from frat to fab like Dawn did is a snap thanks to Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids.
No more digging through a pile of fallen containers or hunting for a lid when you want to pack a healthy lunch. Available at local Loblaws, Zehrs, or Superstores, this smart storage system means the right lid is always at your fingertips.
Visit our "No Sweat Guide to #GetFitIn2015" page for more tips on how to get fit, get organized, and stay healthy this year and beyond!
WARNING: ACTUAL PHOTOS OF MY PLACENTA IMMEDIATELY POST-BIRTH APPEAR AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST
Q: Will this be a picture of a fake placenta? A drawing, perhaps?
A: No. This will actually be a real picture of my real placenta taken five minutes following my second daughter’s birth.
Q: Is there any way I can read this post and not see your placenta?
A: No. This is about my why you need to search graphic images and videos as part of birth prep. There are two close-up photos of my placenta.
Q: What if I am easily grossed out?
A: All the more reason you need to read on. If you’re pregnant, squeamish, and scared, this post is for you.
You’ve been warned…
“Replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity” -Unknown
Pregnancy can be filled with fear: fear of responsibility, fear of change, and fear of the worst outcomes. Even fear of the best outcomes, like a normal childbirth, is part of the torrent of tender emotions that saturate your thoughts for the nine months of your first pregnancy.
I wanted a healthy, normal, drug-free labour and birth. But, like any normal person on planet Earth, ever, I was pretty troubled by having to push a melon-headed, pointy elbowed, wriggling live human out of my vagina. Let's just call a spade a spade here: birth is a terrifying concept the first time around, and one you wouldn’t believe the laws of physics would allow if it hadn’t been the way EVERY PERSON EVER CAME INTO EXISTENCE!
So, say it with me: “Birth is inevitable.” *deep breath* Right off the bat, you’ve got inevitability working for you. You have to birth this baby. That is a fact. There is no way around that. Since your amazingly stretchy and physics-defying body is in charge of this process, you have but one weapon, albeit the most powerful one: your mind.
When I started to feel the pre-birth fear creeping up on me, I did what any fear-warrior would do: fight fears with curiosity by Googling every scary and potentially revolting thing that does, or could, or might arise during labour and birth.
When it comes to real birth-prep (and not the white-washed textbook junk you learn in your hospital class) the Internet is your brother/sister in arms. Video is your friend. Images are your friend. Here are some excellent search terms to get you started on winning the battle of YOU versus FEAR:
I know that medical professionals and anti-alarmists tell you to never Google health-related things. In my totally un-medical opinion, they are wrong. Do it. Look it up. Be familiar with the way a head looks as it squeezes past the public bone and the fuzzy hairs of the not-quite-newborn are peeking through your legs. See ALL of the things.
By the time I was 35 weeks pregnant I had seen every normal and nasty thing the Internet had to offer when it comes to preparing for a drug-free labour and birth. I was so ready it hurt (almost as much as my sciatic nerve and shiny-to-bursting belly). I know this is where you want me to say that when the contractions finally hit me I wasn’t scared.* I can’t say that. I was still scared.
But, I can say that I wasn’t afraid of the things I had been curious about, or had prepared for with my incessant Googling.
*good news is that by the time I had my second daughter two years later, I really wasn’t scared at all. I was taking selfies with the nurses right until my water exploded, and I had my baby out in two pushes. Experience counts for everything when it comes to birth.
Being an ostrich about your own labour and birth is a recipe for some really crappy emotions. So use some of that meditative birth breathing, and search ye some graphic images to desensitize, educate, and stimulate your curiosity about THE most amazing thing you will ever do with your body.
Q: I read the post, and I’m still not sure if I want to see your placenta. Can I just stop reading now…
A: Too late. You saw it. That is my amazing placenta; its huge, bloody, raw, and the incredible life-sustaining organ that a mother’s body grows while simultaneously building a human.
Now, you’re curious. Am I right? So. What else do you want to see?…
Holidays, illness, visitors, acts of nature, bouts of malaise, Netflix binges: there are endless ways to let your life, goals, and housekeeping get off track. After the recent holiday with two sick kids, my own list of to-dos got a little loco. Everywhere I looked there were boxes, blocks, barf pails, and baskets of laundry to do battle with. Just surveying the post-holiday carnage was exhausting, and enough to make me want to throw in the (dish) towel.
So I did what any well-organized, A-Type would do: I let it get even worse. "What's the point in even trying?" I thought. It was a one step forward, two steps back situation. I put away one load of laundry, and my toddler opens a bag of pumpkin seeds all over the living room while simultaneously wiping her nose on every square inch of fabric two feet from the ground.
I realized the correlation between things to do and motivation to do them looks a lot like this:
So, how do we pick up the pieces and get on with it? How do we get back on track when the situation at home has gotten way out of control?
It sounds simple. That's because it is simple.
By just taking a moment to transfer the chaos around you onto a manageable sheet of paper you'll have started to regain control of your crumbling surroundings. Scientists like Daniel J. Levitin, author of "The Organized Mind" talk about the important cognitive space created when we write our tasks down. In fact, Levitin even advocates for breaking your list up into these four categories:
The book suggests that one method for further breaking your to-do lists into easily actionable categories is:
1. Do it
2. Delegate it
3. Defer it
4. Drop it
If you're working with your partner, I suggest using the Four Square to-do list, which looks like this:
Triaging is the second way to handle a mess that has gone too far. I like to look at my list and tackle the first item in one of two ways: by urgency or by simplicity. Urgent items on your list might include doing the dishes (because you can't keep eating all your meals off the "Happy Birthday" paper plates) or cleaning the red wine off the rug before it sets in. Tackling the simple items first is a great way to get started because you'll feel an immediate sense of accomplishment. When facing a serious mess sometimes you need a little positive reinforcement to get you motivated.
Misery loves non-judgemental company, right? Call in the help of a friend or relative to help take the burden of a huge cleanup off your solo shoulders. Dangling the promise of wine and a soundtrack of their choosing is a helpful hook.
This is my secret weapon cleaning soundtrack. Nothing melancholy should be played when you're handling a mess that has gone too far.
Use this mess to get over your hangups on getting help. You don't have time for perfect. This is the time to hire some help, like a cleaning service or even a Professional Organizer. These people know how to handle a mess like it's their job because....you get me. To find a professional organizer near you, hit the Googler.
You lookin' at me, unfolded laundry?! I said...Are you. Lookin'. At. Me?
Rage cleaning is actually about using your pissed-off'edness about something to fuel your desire to scrub the sh*t out of stuff. Jennifer Ball from The Huffington Post puts it like this:
"THE RAGE CLEAN. Cleaning when angry. I'm not a huge fan of housework in general, and most days I just do enough to keep things presentable. But there's something about being mad that gets me all hot and bothered. As my temper flares, messes that need conquering almost glow with a heavenly aura in front of me. The dishwasher gets emptied with loud purposefulness. Dust is sprayed and wiped with forceful intent. Shoes are deposited by the front door with angry aplomb. Baseboards are scrubbed, the Swiffer gets abused and the toilets? Those mother effers GLEAM when I'm done with them."
There is an awesome American Hustle scene featured in Ball's post where Jennifer Lawrence lets out the rage with some gloved-scrubbing.
There are loads of health-related reasons to give yourself a workout, so here's a reason that will kick-start your cleanup: exercise actually makes you more productive. With blood pumping to your brain, and endorphins flowing, you'll have the focus and energy you need to get your house back in order. Sounds like a pretty excellent way to start a cleanup. In fact, this five-minute workout is a great way to get your heart pumping, and your head ready to do battle with The Mess.
We have all shopped in order to avoid something, even if it's just browsing. The things I bought during exam time were absolutely insane; they left me broke, full of guilt, and no further ahead on my to-do list. By buying yourself something to be used in the cleanup you can sidestep those feelings of guilt, and get yourself pumped about the task at hand. Things like great storage containers, Dollar Store stock-ups, cleaning cloths, or your very own Crap Basket will help get the cleanup done with a spoonful of shopping sugar.
Do not even think about mopping - instead, do this. And, bring your clean to the extreme with this all-natural solution.
Image Source: FreeImages.com