Dear Annie: I moved four months ago, and there are still boxes and bags waiting to be unpacked. I hate looking at the piles. I want to clean up, I really do, but when I get home from work during the week, I am too exhausted to tackle the mess. And on the weekends, I savor my time to do nothing, and I want to avoid sullying that time with un-fun cleaning up. I seem to only find motivation to organize way late at night, when I should be getting into bed. How can I motivate myself to tidy up when I have time to do it? When I look at the mess, I feel so overwhelmed! – Cleaning Up the Constant Clutter
Dear Cleaning Up the Constant Clutter: Try looking at unpacking not as something you have to do but as something you get to do. It’s an exciting opportunity to make your new place your home. As Marie Kondo writes in “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (a great read for decluttering motivation), the task of organizing your house “should be done quickly” because “it allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.” The sooner you unpack the sooner you can start living. So make this an urgent priority. If you have any vacation days available, take a day off work to dedicate solely to unpacking. If not, pick a weekend. It’s just one weekend out of your life, and your future weekends will be so much more enjoyable when you get to “do nothing” in a settled space.
Dear Annie: I have a big heart and hate to see anyone having to spend Christmas Day alone, so each year, I end up inviting these “singles” to join my family for a large turkey feast for lunch. I give them plenty of notice. Most of them reply with, “Thanks. I’ll let you know.” Then they fail to follow up at all (if they decide they’re not coming) or I find out on Christmas morning that they are coming (if they have decided, apparently, that they aren’t going to get a better offer). Annie, I start prepping a week in advance by shopping for the supplies I’ll need to produce this multifaceted banquet. When people don’t respond in a timely fashion, I have no clue about how much food to buy. In the past, I’ve had huge amounts of leftovers when guests have been no-shows, and I’ve run out of food when guests have shown up unannounced. This past Christmas, I had six invited guests who refused to answer when I said, “Are you joining us? I need to know how much to cook.” If they all had come, I’d have run out of food. How hard is it to RSVP? What happened to manners? – Not Inviting Singles Ever Again
Dear Not Inviting Singles: The best test of good manners is patience with the bad ones. There’s no need to invite these repeat offenders next time. Consider it a lesson learned in their flakiness, and let go of the (understandable) resentment.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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