Right now I’m in the midst of the laundry renovation and my house is, well, not at its finest. Ha! The laundry room itself is pure chaos, but it seems like the rest of the house is following suit. Whenever I’m mid renovation, it takes my time and energy and that gets reflected in other places – beds are unmade, laundry is overflowing, dishes pile up, and cleaning routines go out the window. And I have two small children living here too so add toys, books, and the random things they pull out of cabinets to the mix. I feel my mood start to dip – when the house feels chaotic, I start to become restless, irritable, and impatient. I need a reset!
A few months ago I read (and loved) the book Life’s Too Short by Abby Jiminez. There was a specific part of the book that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it – the main character Vanessa talks about the simple things in life that can make you unexpectedly happy, like the happiness boost you get from a new sponge. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that yeah, a new sponge does make me happy! Like, it’s just a $2 sponge so what’s the big deal…but also, it brings a feeling of a fresh new start and somehow makes me feel like I’ve got my life together. It’s weird but true!
I have found that there are several other things that, like the sponge, are simple, inexpensive ways to give me a major happiness boost. When my house feels chaotic, they’re life savers for turning things around and helping bring a sense of calm and control back to the home. My house may not be back to normal, but these things help me at least feel a little more put together. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite little hacks that give me big happiness boosts. They’re all $10 or less (a few are free!) and they’re all incredibly easy. I’ll be relying on several of these to make it through this renovation!
Light a Seasonal Candle
There is something about lighting a candle that brings a touch of cozy luxury to a moment. It’s such a simple way to boost my mood! I particularly love to burn a seasonal scent – fresh scents in the spring and summer and savory scents in the fall and winter. I’m not exactly sure why, but a burning candle has a way of elevating a space and making it feel put together; even if the rest of my house is messy, if one room is clean with a candle burning, it feels good. Bonus points if I can light a candle and read a book at the same time!
Organize a Messy Drawer with Acrylic Containers
For just a couple dollars a piece, these clear acrylic containers brought instant organization to the inside of the antique library table I’m using as a vanity. It feels chic and makes my Type-A heart very happy. Opening the drawer and seeing everything in its place is so satisfying!
Make the Beds
I don’t always take the time to make my own bed, let alone my kids beds, but whenever I feel like my house is spiraling out of control, this is such an easy way to help things turn around. LJ’s floor might have books strewn about, but if the bed is made, it feels pretty calm. Making the bed feels like I’m starting the day off with a win and gives me a sense of control over my environment which is especially important when I’m mid-renovation somewhere else in the house!
Decant Hand Soap
While I do love a beautifully designed liquid hand soap label, sometimes soap smells great but comes in a container that leaves something to be desired. For about $10, I bought a simple clear glass dispenser that instantly elevated the look by the sink. I love that this dispenser also helps me reduce plastic usage – I can now buy liquid hand soap in a bulk refill bag and just pour it in! It’s a little thing that brings me an unusual amount of happiness every time I see it.
Print Out a Family Photo
I don’t know about you, but I have thousands of photos on my phone. They’re easy to take, but for some reason the extra step of printing them off so often doesn’t happen. I always feel so accomplished when I print out new photos though! They’re quick to upload to a printing service (I like Walgreens for pickup and Mpix for shipping) and cost like, 38 cents. Filling frames with both professional and candid family photos throughout my home is such a simple way to make this house feel more like us. And every single time I walk by these pictures, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I love my people so much!
It seems like whenever I’m mid-renovation somewhere and things feel messy and cluttered, I get the itch to offset the chaos by getting hyper-organized somewhere else. It’s not always something huge like a whole closet purge or room cleanout; sometimes it’s as simple as picking one drawer or cabinet to comb through and eliminate the excess. This free activity comes with a big payoff and I don’t mean financially, although it’s true that sometimes I’m able to sell something I’ve purged. The payoff is the sense of calm that I feel by looking in the drawer or cabinet that I purged and seeing empty space again (or if not empty, at least it’s organized and less cluttered). It’s a calm in the middle of the storm!
Designate Time to Ignore the House and Play!
Don’t get me wrong, I play with my kids throughout the day everyday. And this isn’t an unexpected happiness hack, because I love my kids and spending time with them definitely makes me happy. But I often find myself distracted while playing – maybe I’m trying to clean up some toys while they play with others or maybe I’m physically building a block tower but mentally making to-do lists for getting my house back in order. It helps me to give myself a time limit to just ignore all house things and work and fully give my attention to my kids. Sometimes it’s as small as 10 or 15 minutes but I always feel so much better afterwards. It’s like a brain break for me and a good reminder to just enjoy this fleeting time with my babies and not worry about all the other things.
None of these things are groundbreaking ideas, but I’ve found that that’s the key. If it’s too big, expensive, or time-consuming, it feels like too much effort for my already stretched-thin self and it won’t happen. Small, simple, intentional things aren’t intimidating to implement and keep me going through the craziness of a renovation (or anytime that my house feels a little chaotic). I will be using these little hacks a lot over the next few weeks!
What simple little hacks give you an unexpected boost of happiness?