5 Easy Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage

 

5 Easy Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage | Happy relationship tips | Happy marriage | Connect more with your husband |

Austin and I got married after being together for four months. Seven years later, he’s still my favorite person.

We’ve grown and changed so much through our marriage. And of course it hasn’t all been happy moments. There are some rough memories that still take my breath away to think about.

We’ve struggled through job loss, multiple moves, going back to college, and hardest of all, our own mental health problems. Seven years later, he’s still my favorite person.

Besides having very compatible personalities, I attribute our healthy marriage to a few simple things that we do in our everyday lives.

Difficult times will come no matter what. If we can take advantage of the good times, by creating good relationship habits and storing up happy memories, it helps us through the tougher times. 

Full disclosure: I’m a little nervous to give any kind of marriage “advice”. Relationships are all unique and work or don’t work for all kinds of reasons. These are just the things that have helped us.

5 Easy Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage

1. Work at Cultivating Shared Hobbies

Friendship is a big part of our marriage. We’ve always enjoyed hanging out together and we share some hobbies, like playing games, watching movies, and going out to eat.

We’ve made an effort to share more hobbies though, since it gives us more opportunities to connect.

I love going for walks and Austin goes for a walk with me each night after dinner. I think he has really started to enjoy going for walks over the years. It’s not that he was ever against going for walks. It’s just not his thing and he wouldn’t do it if I didn’t ask him to.

One of Austin’s main hobbies is playing video games. He plays plenty of video games that I have no interest in, but I do make an effort to try some of them. There are actually a few video games that I really like now and Austin makes an effort to find new games that he thinks I’ll like.

We still have separate hobbies and we don’t always join in on each other’s hobbies, but learning to enjoy what the other person likes to do has helped give us more chances to do things together.

Plus, we can have better conversations about our hobbies because I actually understand what he’s talking about when he tells we what’s new in the video game world.

5 Easy Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage | Happy relationship tips | Happy marriage | Connect more with your husband |

2. Speak Up

I figured this out pretty early in our relationship and I’m glad I did. My spouse is not a mind reader. He doesn’t always know if something is bothering me, or how much it’s bothering me.

If something that he did or said hurt or frustrated me, I try to speak up as soon as possible. I don’t want there to be lingering resentments under the surface of our marriage.

This also means that I have to encourage him to speak up if something is bothering him, and then truly listen.

5 Easy Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage | Happy relationship tips | Happy marriage | Connect more with your husband |

3. Improve It Before It’s Bad

A lot of people dismiss marriage books or the idea of marriage counseling because they think those things are for marriages that are in trouble.

I try to take more of a “maintenance” view. It’s much easier to work on and improve a healthy marriage than to rescue one that’s on the rocks, if you know what I mean.

While we haven’t done any marriage counseling, we have read through some marriage books together over the years. In fact, we have one that we’re reading through right now when we have the time.

These resources have been helpful in improving our communication, bringing up important topics, and helping us see things from the other’s point of view.

I will say that Austin has never been a big fan of the idea of reading marriage books and I’m sure he wouldn’t read them without my encouragement. I try to explain that it’s important to me that we find small ways to keep our relationship strong like reading books on the subject.

What has worked for us is to read them together, either by taking turns reading out loud or listening to the audio version.

I think The 5 Love Languages is super helpful. We started The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work a few months ago. We really like it so far. Life got a little crazy, so we’ll get back to finishing it eventually.

5 Easy Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage | Happy relationship tips | Happy marriage | Connect more with your husband |

4. Be Sweet

Kindness goes a long way. When people get comfortable with each other, they stop doing the little things that make people feel loved. Little things like compliments, expressing appreciation, sending cutesy text messages, holding hands… It’s easy to get used to your spouse and stop doing those things.

Here are some little ways to be sweet to your spouse:

  • Say a proper goodbye to them in the morning – look them in the eye, wish them a good day, and kiss.
  • Send a text message saying “thanks for working so hard!”
  • Hold hands
  • Sit next to each other on the couch and cuddle while you watch TV – somehow we always end up on opposite sides of the couch
  • Tell him he looks snazzy today
  • Ask about their day, look them in the eye, and listen

5 Easy Ways to Maintain a Healthy Marriage | Happy relationship tips | Happy marriage | Connect more with your husband |

5. Stay on the Same Team

Through most of the difficult circumstances we’ve encountered since we’ve been married, we’ve stayed on the same team. We’re not at war with each other, we’re at war against something else, if that makes sense.

If you and your spouse disagree about something, this might feel impossible. But usually, even in a fight, we’re trying to accomplish the same thing and just disagree on how to go about it.

When we’ve dealt with job loss, we’ve been on the same team trying to figure out what to do next.

When we’ve struggled with mental health issues, we’ve tried to stay on the same team and help each other instead of feel like the other person is the enemy (not always perfectly accomplished).

Staying on the same team means that the problem isn’t inside our marriage, it’s something we’re dealing with together outside of our marriage. It has made a huge difference in how we view difficult circumstances.

Even a healthy, happy marriage can benefit from putting some effort into it. By sharing hobbies, being sweet and supportive, educating ourselves about bettering our marriage, and staying on the same team, we’ve made it through some tough situations.

Like I said before: Difficult times will come no matter what. If we can take advantage of the good times, by creating good relationship habits and storing up happy memories, it helps us through the tougher times. 

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⇒ What are some ways you maintained healthy relationship or strengthened it?

The 3 Best Places to Find Cheap Organization Products

Where to find cheap organization products | Get organized for free | Dollar store organization | Inexpensive ways to be more organized. I’ve got to say it again: You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get organized!

Over the years, I have spent very little money to organize our stuff. Most of the time, I repurpose items we already have instead of buying something new.

There are three places that I keep my eye on for cheap (or completely free) organization products.

The 3 Best Places to Find Cheap Organization Products

1. Thrift Stores 

What to look for:

  • Baskets
  • Shelving

Most of my baskets have come from thrift stores. For a while, I would buy any good quality basket I found even if I didn’t have a place in mind for it. Baskets always look nice and are a pretty way to store things that are out in the open.

Thrift stores can also be a place to look for furniture with storage, like bookshelves or side tables with drawers. It might need a coat of paint and some sanitizing but I’ve found some good quality pieces.

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How Many Clothes Should I Have? The Real Answer. 

Free & Crazy-Cheap Home Organization Ideas

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2. Your Recycle Bin

What to look for:

  • Glass Jars
  • Boxes
  • Plastic Food Containers

To organize the insides of drawers or cupboards, my favorite place to turn is my own recycle bin. It’s free!

I don’t think that my craft storage needs to be expensive and attractive since I’m the only one who will even see it. I store rubber bands in a spaghetti sauce jar that I washed and took the label off of.

In the kitchen, my packets of taco seasoning are in a plastic ice cream container.

I often cut the flaps off of boxes and use them inside drawers to keep items categorized.

Where to find cheap organization products | Get organized for free | Dollar store organization | Inexpensive ways to be more organized.

Where to find cheap organization products | Get organized for free | Dollar store organization | Inexpensive ways to be more organized.

3. Dollar Stores

What to look for:

  • Plastic trays
  • Desk organizers
  • Food storage containers
  • Plastic crates

My favorite dollar store (Dollar Tree) has great organization supplies.

I love their plastic trays that I used to organize my giant kitchen utensils drawer.

They have desk organizers that are 2 or 3 for a dollar that can be used anywhere in the house, like in bathroom drawers or nightstands. I got my plastic mini crates from the dollar store years ago and still use them to organize cold medicine and beauty products.

Where to find cheap organization products | Get organized for free | Dollar store organization | Inexpensive ways to be more organized.

Where to find cheap organization products | Get organized for free | Dollar store organization | Inexpensive ways to be more organized.

I’m quite sure that my home will never be featured in a magazine for it’s glamorous organization but everything has a place and I can find whatever I need. That’s the whole point of organization, right?

There’s nothing wrong with beautifully organized spaces. Just don’t let the price of fancy organizers hold you back from being more organized. For a few dollars, you can find a way to organize most of the areas in your home.

⇒ What are your favorite cheap organization products?

How Many Clothes Should I Have?

How many clothes should I have? | How much stuff do I need? | Minimalist Wardrobe | Declutter Clothing | Closet Clutter

It’s a super common question:

How many “xyz” should I have?

  • Underwear
  • Jeans
  • Pajamas
  • Dresses
  • Tops

I see this question all time when the seasons change and people are trying to figure out if they have enough summer clothes. Or when a child grows and parents are trying to figure out how many outfits they should buy in the new size.

And since I’m don’t think there is a “one size fits all” answer to this question, I’m going to try to help you figure out the right answer for you

It’s basically a formula for figuring out what you need.

Having less means spending less money on clothing. Plus, I’ve found that it’s much easier to get dressed when I have fewer choices, so it makes sense to try to get by with as little as you can. O, and less clothing means smaller laundry mountains 🙂

Sidenote: I think you might like this recent post about 7 ways to look fabulous in a black t-shirt.

How Many Clothes Do I Need?

How Often Do You Do Laundry?

How often you can wash your clothes is one of the biggest factors in deciding what you need. If you can only get to the laundromat once a month, you’re going to need enough underwear to make it that long, right?

I have a laundry day once a week. This means that at a minimum, Austin and I each need enough clothing to last seven days. Since we experience extreme temperatures in both the summer and the winter, we need at least a week’s worth of hot weather and cold weather clothing.

How Often Do You Wear It?

The next big factor is how often you wear something.

Austin needs work clothes for five days a week. He can usually wear pants for more than one day before they need to be washed. He has about 4 pairs of nice work pants, 6 button up long sleeve shirts, plus 4 short sleeve dress shirts for extra hot days.

I need pajamas for every night. I wear my pajama pants for 2 nights before I throw them in the wash but I only wear t-shirts once. I have 9 t-shirts and 4 pairs of pajama pants and it’s just enough.

It might seem like I have an excessive number of fleeces. However, in the winter I wear one every day and wash almost all of them every week. For me, I have the right amount.

If you have young children that are messy, they may go through an average of two full outfits per day. If you do laundry once a week, you probably need to have about 14 outfits for them.

If you think about how often you need to wear a certain item of clothing (plus factor in if it can be worn more than once before being washed) you should be able to figure out an ideal number.

Decluttering: what will make the biggest difference in your day?

Do You Have Room for It?

Obviously, it’s nice to have variety and there are many things that don’t get worn often but are still nice to have. Once you have your basics covered based on how often you do laundry and how often you wear something, you can add some variety if you have the room for it.

We don’t go to fancy places very often but I still keep a nice dress in my closet for when I need it.

I have more than 7 summer tops because I like to have more options. Some are a bit nicer and some are for when it’s extra hot out. I could have less but since I have the space (and like and wear them all), I’m happy to have some extras.

Now, I’m not saying that if you have a walk-in closet you should fill it up. It’s still good to be extra picky about what you keep. But if you have the space and you like and wear everything in there, why not?

Tips:

To have less, it helps if everything matches. Most of Austin’s work clothes can be mixed and matched which makes it easier for him to have less. That one top that only goes with that one pair of jeans probably won’t see much action.

Basics are a wonderful thing. I love solid colors becasue they can be mixed and matched and accessorized in so many ways. Basics can seem boring, but they often get worn the most and are super versatile, which is wonderful if you don’t have a lot. I’ve got some other tips for simplifying your wardrobe here. 

How many clothes you have depends on a few deciding factors.

By limiting your numbers as much as possible, you save money, time, and space in your home but, of course, it’s important to have enough.

By thinking about how often we wear our clothes, how often we like to do laundry, and what we have space for, we’ve figured out what works best for us. I hope these questions help you decide what works best for you.

⇒ Do you have the right amount of clothing? Or is there something you’re constantly having to wash becasue you don’t have enough?

Related Posts:

5 Tips for Shopping at Thrift Stores Like a Pro

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The 1 Thing You’re Forgetting to Do When You Declutter 

Free and Crazy-Cheap Home Organization Ideas

These are some great home organization ideas: free ways to organize and dollar store home organization! Organize your whole house! A huge myth in the world of organization is that you have to spend lots of money on baskets, trays, crates, and other organizational paraphernalia. Not true!

I can absolutely appreciate photos of gorgeously organized and decorated spaces but for me, organization is more about function than beauty. No one is ever going to take glamour shots of my bathroom cabinet! As long as I can find what I need, when I need it, I consider the organizing a success. 

I have spent very little on organization products over the years. Most of what I use has been free, thrifted, or bought at the dollar store!

While the following pictures will never be in a magazine, I hope they give you some inspiration of how to get organized even if you don’t have much (or any) money to spend.

Free and Crazy-Cheap Home Organization Ideas

Organize for Free

You can organize with things you already have around the house, including things that usually end up in the trash.

Here’s what I use often:

  • Glass jars: Washed out pickle and sauce jars
  • Spare coffee mugs, tea cups, or bowls
  • Boxes: I use box lids or small boxes with the flaps cut off

Dollar Store Organizers

The dollar store has a bunch or organization products. Dollar Tree is my favorite dollar store because everything is actually a dollar, unlike other fake dollar stores.

Here’s what I pick up at the dollar store:

  • Mini crates
  • Trays of all sizes

Kitchen

I just organized this giant kitchen drawer this week with $3 worth or dollar store trays. I had my eye on a different kind of organizer but it was super expensive. Now that I went with the cheaper alternative, I think it turned out even better than the expensive option would have.

I have some even smaller trays in other kitchen drawers to corral measuring spoons, clothespins, and food coloring.

These are some great home organization ideas: free ways to organize and dollar store organization! Organize your whole house!

Bathroom

I use cleaned out glass pickle jars in our bathroom to hold q-tips and hair clips. Yay, for free organization!

These are some great home organization ideas: free ways to organize and dollar store organization! Organize your whole house!

I have a bunch on mini crates from the dollar store that I mostly use for bathroom stuff. The two in the picture below are for first aid supplies and cold medicine.

You can see that I’ve got a cleaned out glass jar and sour cream container inside the crates to hold small cream tubes and other little things.

The black plastic container to the right holds our essential oils. It’s just a washed out food container that would have ended up in the recycling.

These are some great home organization ideas: free ways to organize and dollar store organization! Organize your whole house!

Office/Craft Supplies

The two picture below show our office and craft supplies. Most of them are stored in boxes or box lids. It doesn’t get much better than free!

I’ve got a glass sauce jar holding rubber bands and a mini dollar store tray for tiny supplies.

These are some great home organization ideas: free ways to organize and dollar store organization! Organize your whole house!

These are some great home organization ideas: free ways to organize and dollar store organization! Organize your whole house!

Spare mugs, tea cups, and bowls are helpful too. If you don’t have any extras, you can always pick up pieces at a thrift store.

I use a mug to hold pens and pencils on my desk.

These are some great home organization ideas: free ways to organize and dollar store organization! Organize your whole house!

Bedroom

Below is a pic of my nightstand drawer. I use a teacup to hold hair ties and chapstick. Another little dollar store tray holds my vitamins and inhaler.

These are some great home organization ideas: free ways to organize and dollar store organization! Organize your whole house!

I hope I have you convinced that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have an organized home. By utilizing what you have and possibly making a trip to the dollar store, you can organize some of the biggest problem areas in your home. 

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7 Home Organization Solutions

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Decluttering: How to Get Your Spouse On Board

⇒ What cheap or free organizers do you use?

How to Make Decluttering Painless by Reducing Multiples

How to make decluttering easy and painless by reducing multiples | This really works and is so simple! Getting rid of things can be a frustrating and painful process.

In fact, a study was done that found that the area of your brain that lights up when you get a papercut is the same area that lights up when you get rid of something. This basically means that your brain links the loss of an item with physical pain. Crazy! (source)

Obviously, it makes sense to try to make decluttering as easy and painless as possible.

A super simple (yet very effective) method of decluttering is “reducing multiples”.

The logic is, if you only have one of something, that item will be hard to part with. If you have 20 of something, it’s a little easier to cut back.

Example: Let’s say I only have one pair of silver earring. Even though I don’t often wear them, I still don’t want to get rid of them because they’re my only ones. However, I have five pairs of gold earrings. It would be easier to declutter a pair of gold earrings because I have multiples. (Don’t worry gold earrings, you’re safe. I love and wear you all.)

How to Make Decluttering Painless: Reducing Multiples

We have so many multiples in our homes! If you’re looking for a place to start paring down multiples, here are some possibilities:

  • Coffee Mugs: The #1 offender! How often do you have 30 people over for coffee all at once?
  • Bedding: Two sets of sheets and blankets per bed is probably plenty.
  • Beauty Products
  • Towels
  • Jeans
  • Office Supplies: Never in my life will I go through 100 pens!
  • Jewelry
  • Candles 
  • Tools
  • Undergarments
  • T-shirts
  • Photos: I try to get rid of printed duplicates and delete digital pics that aren’t winners.
  • Craft Supplies
  • Swimsuits
  • A Certain Kind of Toy: Maybe your kids have multiple Barbies, stuffed animals, block sets… (The Toy Detox is an awesome ecourse to help you with toy clutter 🙂 )
  • Shoes/Boots/Sandals
  • Sweatshirts
  • Decks of Cards
  • Seasonal Decorations: If I can’t put out all of my summer decor at the same time, I figure it’s too much.

I don’t think I’ll ever completely get rid of any of these things (especially the undergarments, amiright? 🙂 ) but it’s not hard to reduce some multiples in each category.

I find I enjoy our home and our stuff much more when I’m left with my favorites.

How to make decluttering easy and painless by reducing multiples | This really works and is so simple!

Let’s face it, even if there are 30 coffee mugs in the cupboard, I still look for my favorite one every morning. All those others are just getting in the way.

If you’re wanting to declutter but are really struggling with it (or have a resistant family member), reducing multiples can be a painless way to start. You’ll still have those things, just not as many.

Related Posts:

How to Create a Year-Round Decluttering Routine

5 Steps to Conquer Your Counter Clutter

Decluttering: How to Get Your Spouse On Board

⇒ What multiples are you stashing? Have you reduced any multiples recently?