Your home should be your sanctuary, right? In a perfect world, it would be a place where you could retreat from the stresses of daily life to relax and rejuvenate. The reality is that sometimes a house can actually cause us to experience unwanted stress, adding to our already pressure-filled lives.
Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to minimize the stress of running a home. Here are some of the most common sources of home stress, along with some tips for how to relieve them:
1. Not Managing Your Home ExpensesManaging a household budget can be daunting for some people, especially for first-time homeowners. Having a budget in place that serves as a road map for anticipating home expenses can actually help you feel more secure and in control.
How to start budgeting
• Track your weekly, monthly and annual expenses, so you can see where your money is going and make accurate predictions for future expenses.
• Your house budget should include, at a minimum:
3. Home insurance
6. Maintenance costs
7. Savings for future repairs
• Set up a separate budget for your house expenses, or incorporate them into a family budget worksheet that incorporates all your family expenses.
• As much as possible, plan your spending on a weekly basis, which will help you stick to your budget.
• Review budget progress regularly. Build in some goals and rewards for staying within your budget parameters.
2. Messy Home, Messy MindDisorganization in the home is a reported universal home stressor, however, getting organized while de-cluttering your space can leave room for more ease and relaxation.
How to be more clean and organized:
• Eliminate clutter. The more stuff you have, the harder it is to clean and stay organized. Get rid of the things that you no longer use or that you no longer enjoy.
• Clean a little at a time. It’s much easier to spend a short amount of time cleaning your home every day than to motivate yourself to spend an entire day on household chores. Set aside some time each day to clean one entire room, or to perform one whole home task, like dusting, vacuuming, or mopping.
• Create a cleaning carryall with all the cleaning products that you use in one place, so you have everything at your fingertips and can easily transport the supplies from room to room.
• Devise a quick cleaning routine or checklist that enables you to whip your home in shape in under an hour.
• Get help. If your household budget allows, get professional cleaning services from time to time.
3. Not Enough Time in the Week to Prepare DinnerBy squeezing in more time for household dinner preparation with quick and easy dinner recipes and food preparation, you could be saving a lot of energy during the week trying to get food on the table in time for dinner.
Start off by making a meal plan:
• Keep a running grocery list. Whether you use a paper list, a computer list, or a phone app, keeping a grocery list in progress will help you remember the things you need when you are shopping, eliminating the stress that comes from running out of staples or when don’t have what you need for a recipe.
• Organize your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. This will enable you to find things quickly and to see when supplies are running low.
• Have several easy, nutritious, and inexpensive recipes that you can prepare quickly on busy nights.
• Cook double batches of recipes and freeze one portion for later use.
• Make cooking a family affair. Assign different family members to be in charge of food preparation one night per week, and encourage them to be creative.
4. Letting Your Laundry Room OverflowTaking care of household chores like laundry is the beginning to freeing up more time on your calendar, so you can begin taking care of the things that really matter.
How to organize your laundry room:
• Organize your laundry room. Get all your laundry supplies in one place, and create spaces for air drying and folding clothes.
• Have separate baskets or hampers for white clothes, colored clothes, linens, and items that should be hand-washed.
• Remove clothes from the dryer right away. They will be less wrinkled and you’ll have less ironing to do.
• Hate to fold clothes? Bring the basket into the living room, and fold things while you watch your favorite television show.
• Pre-treat stains right away to avoid set-in stains and to save yourself time on laundry day.
5. Neglecting Lawn Care and Garden MaintenanceA well-kept lawn adds appeal and value to your home, but keeping up with lawn work can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan.
• Be familiar with your growing zone and with the grass, shrubbery, and tree types that thrive the best in your area. Replace any difficult-to-maintain plantings with choices that don’t require as much attention.
• Plant bedding borders and mulch around trees, flower beds, and shrubbery to help keep weeds to a minimum.
• Test your soil to make sure it has the proper pH-level and other attributes to provide a healthy growing foundation.
• Keep your lawn mower well maintained and the blades sharpened.
• Create a calendar for applying fertilizer and weed control.
• Know how much water your lawn and landscape requires for maximum health and growth.
6. Letting Your appliances breakdown before it's too lateAvoiding appliance breakdowns is one of the most important steps to avoiding difficult home stress. With the ever-widening gap of appliance lifespans, taking cautionary measures like investing in a home warranty might be a valuable home solution.
While you can’t always avoid unexpected home system and appliance malfunctions, you can take some steps to minimize them and to be prepared when they do occur.
• Stay on top of routine home maintenance. Have your air conditioning and heating systems professionally inspected and cleaned annually, and change the filters regularly for energy efficient operation.
• Clean the coils of your refrigerator and freezer frequently.
• Have a network in place of professional contractors who can respond quickly if you have a breakdown or malfunction.
• Consider adding home warranty coverage to help protect your budget.
• If you must replace a home system or appliance, consider purchasing one that is ENERGY STAR certified to help offset some of the replacement costs with potential energy bill savings in the future.
Pinpoint the area of your home that gives you the most stress, and take steps today to eliminate or minimize the source. Welcome peace, harmony, and relaxation into your home, and make stress an unwanted guest.
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