A Mixed Bag – A bit of everything under the sun

Archive for September 2008

Who likes a messy bed? Or things lying all around? Most of them don’t, but won’t make any effort to clean it up either. It may just be too much work to do. Well, the truth is an organized surrounding reflects an organized mind. And even causes it. But if you are wondering how you will find the time to do all the cleaning, or how you are going to push yourself to do it, here is how.

The best way to live life is to develop simple processes for every task. It’s a matter of trial and error until you find what suits you. I tried vigorous cleaning programs and came up with different schedules for all the things, but none of them worked. What works for me now is a simple Clean-as-you-go procedure. It just requires a few simple steps:

1. Don’t fix a time to clean – I tried scheduling around 20 minutes everyday to clean up the house, but the truth is it is too much a chunk of time to set apart. It is easy to postpone it or it can get used up doing something else. So don’t fix any time to clean. Then what are you going to do?

2. Join the cleaning tasks to other regular activities you already do – We all get up from the bed. We all use the toilet. The trick is to do the cleaning immediately before or after any activity you do. That way all it takes is two minutes more and you won’t even notice you have spent time in a day cleaning.

3. Divide the chores into areas and attach activities to them – My daily cleaning chores can be divided into these : Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Living Room and Study.

4. Bedroom

  • Make the bed soon after brushing your teeth. All it takes is a max of 5 minutes
  • Keep a cloth/dryer sheet accessible and wipe the furniture – 1 mins
  • Throw any stray clothes lying around into the laundry basket – 30 seconds

The bedroom is now clean.

5. Bathroom

  • Clean the toilet right after using it. It just takes an extra 1 minute
  • Before or after a shower, scrub the bathtub. Use a mild cleanser if required. That way, the soap scum never accumulates – 2 minutes
  • Just before leaving the bathroom, wipe down the sink with a cloth – 30 seconds extra

6. Kitchen

  • Keep 2 towels handy. One for wiping the dishes and the other for cleaning the counter top.
  • As you cook, keep the ingredients back in their places. It makes the cooking process more enjoyable with lesser things around
  • Whenever there is a dish to wash, put it directly in the dishwasher. That keeps the sink from having a lot of dishes in it.
  • After cooking, spray some water on the stove and wipe it with the towel. It takes less than a minute.
  • Wipe the sink and the countertop too – 1 minute
  • Wipe the dining table right after eating – 2 minutes

Voila! You have a very neat kitchen without even setting aside time for cleaning.

7. Living room

Just before you sit down to relax, or while you are watching TV, pick up the pieces in the living room and wipe the furniture. It doesn’t take more than 2 minutes. And people will love to see a neat living room right when they enter. Their compliments will keep you motivated to follow it

8. Study
Just before you sit down at the computer or do some work, tidy up the table and wipe it. As simple as that. You will get your work done faster too.

So that is my simple plan to do the cleaning everyday. It takes the same 20 minutes I used to schedule before. But since I’ve split it and adjoined it to other works I already do, I hardly notice the time taken to clean. Do it for a few days and it will become second nature to you. You will then start wondering how on earth did you tolerate an unclean house before!!

Tip: Keep cleaning items handy and accessible in each room. Having to go elsewhere just to bring a towel or napkin is an instant put-off to cleaning.

You might also be interested in:

Organize with a master grocery list

Simple rules for the house


I have decided to watch 50 movies as a part of my 101 list. There is no use if i just watch and forget. So let me write a short review about each one of them.

Ratings Overview:
1 – Poor
2 – Average
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Excellent

1. What happens in Vegas
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Actors: Ashton Kutcher, Cameron Diaz

Two people dumped by life escape individually to Vegas. Totally losing themselves in the surroundings, they are married even before they know it! Realizing their foolishness, just when they decide to part ways, trouble starts. They hit a jackpot of 3 million dollars and when each wants it for themselves, their marriage comes in between. To top it, the judge doesn’t grant them a divorce and they are forced to stay with each other for 6 months and actually work on their marriage! The movie goes on about how each tries to outdo the other and take the money away. Though the ending is predictable, it’s 1 hour 40 minutes of good silly fun. Can watch it with girlfriends on a lazy afternoon

Rating: 2.5 / 5

2. Little Manhattan
Genre: Romance, Family
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Charlie Ray

If there is one word to describe this movie, it is this. Very cute. Well, that was actually two. Movies cash in one various interpretations of ‘Love is blind’. We know it doesn’t care for race, money, country etc. Here the aspect is age. Love doesn’t really have to wait for the hormones to kick in. Here is 10 year old Gabe who like other boys thinks something bad is going to happen if a girl touches him. When he joins a karate class, he meets Rosemary and is completely floored by her. The same Rosemary who was his kindergarten playmate and grew up studying in the same class all along but was hardly ever on his mind. Suddenly his whole life is filled with her. His attempts to impress her, the fights and the heartbreaks in the little kid are endearing to watch. A must see if you want to witness love in its most innocent form.

Rating: 3 / 5

3. 13 going on 30
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo

Silly and improbable. But among those movies which love to send across a message this is a good one. A 13 year old doesn’t like the way she is and pines for being cool like her friends. In doing that she doesn’t care for the ones who love her. She hates herself and all she wants is to be thirty, flirty and thriving. Lo! Her wish comes true. But she realizes that this is not the person she wants to grow up as. A light and fast going movie which tells us we are best how we are and there is life in laughter and a bit of silliness. And don’t neglect the ones around you for none of us will get to turn around time like she does.

Rating: 3 / 5

4. Pelican Brief

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Cast: Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts

After a series of light comedies, I went in for a serious one. And it didn’t disappoint me. Based on John Grisham’s novel of the same title, it starts with two senior judges assassinated. A clerk for one of the judges, also a law professor has a student who is also his girlfriend(Julia Roberts). She comes up with a theory about who could be the assassin. The theory is so far fetched but if true will put the president and his important people in jeopardy.  The theory leads to a string of murders including her boyfriend. Not knowing who else to turn to, she contacts a private investigator(Denzel Washington) and how they tackle the case forms the rest of the story. Fantastic performances thrown in by the leads.

Rating: 4 / 5

Edit: I made a new list and a new blog to track this. You can find it here:

A hundred things to do and more

I love making lists and this one made me feel real happy because it gives a clear definition of how you want to spend your life and make the most out of it.

For those who are new to this concept, here is the gist:
The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple goals such as New Year’s resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Some common goal setting tips:
1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.

2. Stay Focussed. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.

3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.

4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.

5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.

Here goes my list:

My future should have these:
1. Finish graduation
2. Get a job
3. Publish a paper
4. Get a driver’s license
5. Buy a house

I like to be a globe trotter:
6. Travel to New York

7. Go to Vermont
8. Visit Washington
9. Chicago
10. Las Vegas
11. Miami
12. Disneyland
13. Itlay/Europe
14. Niagara
15. San Fransisco
16. California
17. Portland

Life is about having new experiences:
18. Ride in a hot air balloon
19. Go sky diving
20. Go Snorkelling
21. Go to a Cirque Du Soleil show
22. Watch a movie in a drive-in theater
23. Go biking
24. Go hiking
25. Go horseriding
26. Go white water rafting
27. Watch 50 movies [4/50]
28. Read 25 books [0/25 ]
29. Join a bookclub
30. See the fall colors
31. Make a snowman
32. Decorate home for Christmas
33. Start a singing class for children
34. Organize an event
35. Keep a journal of all interesting experiences

Knowing is fun:
36. Learn Spanish
37. Learn to swim
38. Learn to dance in a disco
39. Learn to play decent golf
40. Learn to play decent tennis
41. Play the guitar, at least some basic songs
42. Solve a Rubik’s cube
43. Learn a 100 phrases/words which would improve your vocabulary [ 0/100 ]
44. Make a short animated cartoon
45. Build a radio
46. Sketch a landscape/portrait
47. Do an oil painting
48. Be good at Scrabble
49. Be good at Chess
50. Learn 10 super dishes to cook [10/10]
51. Know a 100 songs to sing [0/100]
52. Learn to tie a tie

Little things to show you care:
53. Volunteer 100 hours [8/100]
54. Donate 30,000 grains of rice on Freerice [3,000/30,000]
55. Have 10 best friends [4/10]
56. Take my parents to Niagara falls
58. Collect thoughtful gifts for 50 people [0/50 ]
59. Know 10 stories to tell kids [0/10]
60. Do 100 little things to help people around you [0/100]
61. Water your little plants everyday
62. Contact one friend everyday

For you, my love:

63. Kiss him in the rain
64. Make him finish his exams
65. Do 100 romantic things that take him by surprise [0/100]
66. Make love 200 times [5/200]
67. Make a list of how to pamper him 20 ways

Be fit and you’ll be a hit:
68. Lose 5 pounds [5/5]
69. Lose 10 pounds [10/10]
70. Lose 15 pounds [13/15]
71. Lose 20 pounds [0/20]
72. Lose 25 pounds [0/25]
73. Walk 10,000 steps a day for 100 days [0/100]
74. Get your hand alright
75. Follow a healthy balanced diet for 15 days [0/15]

Look good and feel good:
76. Get 7 awesome uncommon outfits [4/7]
77. Try 5 different hairstyles [1/5]
78. Wear a bikini and a sarong and look good in it
79. Have great looking feet
80. Brush twice a day continuously for a month [0/30]
81. Use body lotion everyday continuously for a month [0/30]

An organized you is a better you:
82. Make a daily morning routine
83. Follow it for the next three months [0/100]
84. Make a daily 10 minute cleaning schedule
85. Do the laundry every Tuesday and Friday for the next 3 months [0/28]
86. Have a home for each item in the house

Money matters:
87. Save 3 months of salary in the bank [0%]
88. Have a zero balance on the credit card

89. Open an online savings account
90. Get a rewards credit card

Faith moves mountains:

91. Write 20,000 Sai Naamas [1080/20,000]
92. Spend 5 minutes praying wholeheartedly everyday
93. Include people you know in your prayers
94. Learn to thank god for all joys great and small

Don’t forget to have fun along the way:
95. Get our names on Eight Letter Word
96. Play 10 pranks on people [0/10]

List of 100:
97. 100 things you stand for [0/100]
98. 100 things that make you happy [0/100]
99. 100 things you like about yourself [0/100]

100. Reward yourself with a $10 in the savings for each thing you complete on this list [0/1010]
101. Edit the list as you find necessary

blue = in progress
green = complete

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