1. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables. Aside from the fact that, according to studies I don’t understand, frozen fruits and veggies are often healthier, it’s just a way more convenient way to consume them. You don’t have to worry about them spoiling, you can heat them in a variety of ways, and you can use just as much as you need each time. (Not to mention the most convenient smoothies in the world!)
2. Making extra food. Okay, yes, this implies that you have to cook in the first place. But if you make two servings and package it up nicely, you’ll have one left over in the fridge ready to be re-heated, and can turn to it when your mouse is hovering over the Seamless button because you’re too lazy to make a whole new dish.
3. Setting up your coffee the night before. Far too often, in my rush out the door, I abandon making my coffee and putting it in a travel mug because it’s just so much easier to grab one on the way to work. But this is a painful waste of money. Set the coffee up the night before so that all you have to do is turn it on while rushing around in the morning.
4. Stretching. The best part about stretching — and this goes double for people who sit at a desk all day — is when you get up and your body is like “Woah, what the hell, I have muscles?? That function??”
5. Putting your alarm far away from you. Force yourself to get up, stand in front of the wall with your eyes closed for a few seconds if necessary, and start your day with the first ring of your alarm.
6. Organizing your shoes. I don’t know how my shoes always end up in some horrific pile after 48 hours of not organizing them, but part of it probably stems from the fact that “line them up sort of on the floor of my closet” is my only system of organization. When you get a couple boxes or hooks or cubbies, there is suddenly a purpose to your shoe life.
7. Using nice hangers! I put an exclamation point on this one because it’s so important. First of all, cheap wire hangers make your clothes all sad and give them the shoulder points. But also, wooden hangers (and you can get them for cheap at thrift stores) make your whole closet experience just that much greater. Look at this satisfyingly wooden-hangered closet:
8. Taking stock of your refrigerator. Doing this daily might seem excessive, but it’s truly not, considering how quickly we can just let everything in our fridge turn to something we don’t even want to touch on the way to the trash can. Making sure to use things while they’re fresh, and getting rid of things before they start small civilizations, will make your whole life feel better.
9. Lighting candles. Every time someone comes over to my house, they’re like, “Are you holding a seance later?” and maybe I am, but that’s not the point. The point is, I love lighting candles. It makes for good mood lighting for entertaining, and it makes any boring night at home feel like a sexy, luxuriant moment of self-indulgence. Even doing the dishes by candlelight feels like a privilege.
10. Opening your curtains immediately. Don’t linger around in the dark, sad, filtered-through-near-blackout-curtain light. It will turn even the most happy person into a death-obsessed, aristocratic Victorian poet (which does sound elegant, but is terrible in practice when you have things to do). Let some light in right away and immediately feel invigorated.
11. Getting flowers, and changing their water daily. Make those bad boys last! Put them in good sunlight! Feel the joy of getting to smell and look at fresh-cut flowers on a daily basis! (I’m not even going to talk about step one, which is obviously getting flowers for your home, because we should all know this already.)
12. Writing down or cutting out things that are important to you. Make that scrapbook. Keep the moleskin of poignant lines from books you read. Have an inspiration board, such as this adorable one from my coworker:
13. Cleaning a little bit as you go. I used to be the queen of “let’s save up all of the deep cleaning for some traumatic four-hour period before people come over,” and now I’m more like “let’s clean a little bit every day so that I am not paralyzed at the idea of having unexpected guests see my living space.”
14. Drinking tea. Coffee is still good, and necessary, and wonderful. But drinking a few solid cups of tea a day — both caffeinated and herbal — feels, overall, much better for the body and soul.
15. Looking out the window. It sounds silly, and maybe even looks silly, but it’s so worth it. When the sun is setting, or when it’s pouring in in the morning, or even just in the middle of the day when people are going about their business outside, look. Look at the buildings, count the cars, think about where you live and the space you occupy.
16. Changing your route. Going just a block out of your way to see a different perspective on your daily commute is life-changing. I saw a street that I had literally not seen since moving into my apartment six months ago, and it is two blocks over from me. And it was gorgeous. And it made my whole day wonderful.
17. Reading a little bit about the places you want to go. Everyone has a few places in the world they would love to see, and the best way to keep yourself motivated to see them one day is to learn more about them and keep them at the front of your mind. Spend 10 minutes on Duolingo practicing the language. Look through Flickrs and Instagrams of people who live there. Read about its history on Wikipedia. Stay connected to this place, and you will feel halfway there already.