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Hampstead Small Garden

January 11, 2017

10 Things You Should Take Off Your To-Do List Now

Free yourself from these undue burdens

I write lots of to-do lists, but sometimes we all just want a break! And with the holidays coming up, this seems like the ideal time to find ways to do less, not more. If you feel the same, here are 10 things to take off your to-do list ASAP.


Related: The Simple Pleasure of a Long Winter’s Nap


NonePeter Reader Landscapes/original photo on Houzz

1. Mowing annoying little patches of lawn 

People in areas with cold winters may be off the hook (for now), but in many regions, the joys of lawn care never cease. Have those little bits of grass — for instance, between stepping stones or in the driveway — replaced with artificial turf, and you can stop worrying about keeping them trimmed and watered. Artificial turf options are so real-looking now, your neighbors may not be able to tell the difference.

2. Using a top sheet 

Do as many Europeans do, and skip the top sheet — pulling on a duvet (with a duvet cover that you can launder) means you can make the bed super fast each morning.

NoneStephanie Schetter/Original photo on Houzz

3. Picking up the cat fluff 

If it bothers you, consider investing in an automatic vacuum cleaner, and turn it on each time you leave the house.

4. Making photo albums 

Stick your printed photos to a magnetic wall (or bulletin board) instead, and you can enjoy your snapshots without slaving over making an album — because let’s face it, even those photo books you order online take time to put together. When you’re ready to shift to a new set of photos, simply place the ones from the photo wall in an acid-free photo box labeled with the date.

NoneThe Secret Drawer/Original photo on Houzz

5. Decanting pantry goods into pretty containers 

A set of matching glass containers looks attractive in the pantry … until you give up on refilling them. Skip the whole process and just go with the original packaging. As long as it’s all behind closed pantry doors, who will know the difference?

6. Drying the dishes by hand 

Unless you need to use them again right away, simply leaving your dishes and pans on a rack to dry is a more efficient use of time. Go do something else, and come back to put the dishes away once they’re dry.

NoneStephanie Schetter/Original photo on Houzz

7. Putting away all the toys 

Sure, the toys that are loud or otherwise bother you in some way ought to be put away. But relaxing the rules a bit to allow certain toys to “live” out in the open can help ease the burden of constantly tidying up.

8. Ironing 

Pulling clothes from the dryer and hanging or folding them promptly can work in lieu of ironing for many garments. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the dry cleaner.

NoneFarrow & Ball/Original photo on Houzz

9. Making all your holiday gifts 

Giving everyone lovingly homemade holiday gifts sounds delightful … until you realize you have about a week left to finish a dozen presents, and you’d have to give up eating and sleeping to get them all done in time. Let yourself off the hook and shop locally or online for gifts — and if it’s a handmade touch you’re after, concentrate your energy on making one big batch of holiday treats, or a special embellishment for the packages instead.

10. Trying to complete tasks “perfectly” 

If it all seems like too much, consider whether you are holding yourself to unrealistically high expectations. A quick tidying up before entertaining is plenty — in fact, your friends will probably feel more comfortable in your home if it’s imperfect.


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