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  • 7 Items Every Person Should Get Rid of (But Doesn't)

    By Candace Braun Davison

    Photo: ThinkstockThe Paper Jam in Your Junk Drawer

    When your blender finally pureed its last kale-apple smoothie, you gave it a proper farewell, but what about the owner's manual and now-expired warranty paperwork that came with it? If you're like us, they're what's crammed in that holds-everything-I-might-someday-need drawer in your kitchen. While you clear out those forgotten papers, financial expert David Bach recommends also checking for a few other clutter culprits: outdated wills, credit-card statements from closed tax years and old annual reports from stocks and mutual funds.

    Read More: The 5 Prettiest Bed Ideas to Steal Right Now

    The Furniture That Has Its Own "But..." Clause

    Everybody has a "But..." item. It's that décor item you don't love-or even like-and yet, every time you consider getting rid of it, the "buts" come out. You'll toss the dog-chewed ottoman, but the matching mauve armchair? "But I might need an extra seat the next time company comes

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  • 5 Ways You'll Be Seduced into Buying More This Year

    By Jena Pincott
    Photo: ThinkstockWhat lures you in: The flooring of your favorite store

    How it keeps you spending: Standing on a soft carpet makes objects from a distance, or in dim light, seem cozier and more comfortable than they would seem if you were standing on a hard surface...a perception that may help pave the way to more furniture or home-furnishing sales, found Joan Meyers-Levy, PhD, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. A floor with tiny, uneven tiles causes your cart to rattle noisily, making you think you're moving faster than you really are, so, naturally, you slow down...and buy more stuff. Smooth, friction-free floors may also work on our unconscious, says Dr. Meyers-Levy, by luring us onward (to the food court, for instance) with a sense of ease and efficiency.

    Read More: 6 Things You'll Never Regret Doing

    What lures you in: Lemon, pine and other simple smells

    How it keeps you spending: Any commuter who has ever passed a

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  • David Schickler: The 5 Days I Fell Hardest for My Wife

    By David Schickler

    Photo: Courtesy of David SchicklerThe Day She Stood Out Against the Sky

    My wife Martha and I honeymooned on Kauai. We snorkeled one day at Tunnels Beach and had an isolated cove to ourselves: Adam and Eve in flippers. The coral were purple grandeur, but sharp, and after some almost sliced my stomach, I headed for the beach. Martha kept snorkeling another hour. I'm a worrier, so I stood by our blanket, watching for her. At one point, she stayed under for too long and I panicked and ran to the water, about to dive in and search for her. But then she surged up, way out there, and whooped and waved, and across that blue distance, with sky and surf dwarfing her, I could still see her face telling me, "It's all right, Anxious Man. I'm with you."

    The Day Our Son Wore Crap Gloves

    Our baby had awful colic. He would only stop crying if I did a jig with him in my arms while we played Paul Simon's "The Obvious Child" at blasting volume. At a year old, he started producing toxic waste. One day, I

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  • 8 Habits of Women Who Love Their Age

    By Corrie Pikul

    Photo: ThinkstockThey rock out to vintage Madonna records.

    Note, we said records-not albums, not tracks, not MP3s. In one study at Harvard University, people who were placed in an environment that resembled their youth-with movies, music and memorabilia from the past-experienced marked improvements in their memory, vision, happiness level and overall health.

    They're always looking for the hardest way to do things.

    Here's how this works: Studies show that trying new and challenging activities (like aqua spinning, learning how to make kimchi, editing 15-second videos on your phone) force us to think in a different way, increase our brain volume, protect against cognitive decline-and can help make us a more open-minded person. And those who become more open to new experiences are more likely to be satisfied with their lives, found another recent study about personality.

    Related: Everything You Wanted To Know About The New Fitness Trends

    They swap cola for cherry juice.

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  • How to Finally Kick Unwanted Habits

    By Corrie Pikul
    Photo: ThinkstockTry the Lesser of Two Evils

    What to do: Replace the bad habit with a good one-or at least one that's more benign.

    Why it works: It's much easier to slightly change a mental pattern than to reconstruct it entirely, says Jeremy Dean, PhD, psychologist and the author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits. Since you've already trained your brain to respond a certain way in a certain situation (wake up, drink coffee), you can "trick" it by directing it to respond to the same situation-with a slightly different activity (wake up, drink green tea).

    What habit it helps break: Substitution can probably help you quit Candy Crush-for good, says Jamie Madigan, PhD, a psychologist who writes about the overlap between psychology and video games. There are many reasons why this game is uniquely addictive: mandatory time-outs that make you long to keep playing, one-handed controls that let you play anywhere, notifications that nudge you to sign in and the ability to compete

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  • Can You Get More from Your Checkup If You Share it with Strangers?

    By Emma Haak

    Illustration: Maria Bruni

    At 8 a.m. on a crisp fall morning, Allison*, a woman in her late 40s, is bending at the waist in an attempt to touch her toes. Allison suffers from back problems and numbness in her leg, and the doctor wants to see how low she can go before the pain hits; she gets to about midshin and stops. Most days, she says, her discomfort registers an eight out of ten.

    Allison has a roomful of observers who feel her pain-almost literally. Around her, in a loose semicircle, are three other patients with back problems awaiting their own turns with the doctor, Terence Doorly, MD. They're all first-time patients of his and have signed up to see him in a group session. They watch as Doorly, an energetic neurosurgeon, tests Allison's reflexes, then pulls up her latest MRI scans and points to the large herniated disk near the base of her spine. They learn, along with Allison, that this is the root of her pain, and that she'll likely need surgery.

    Read More: 6 Ways to Become a

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  • 3 Ideas to Transform Your Home (for Almost Nothing)

    Photo: Peter Rosa

    By Emma Haak

    The Living Room

    Try painting a piece of furniture in a bright color, suggests Atlanta-based interior designer Suzanne Kasler, author of Suzanne Kasler: Timeless Style. (She once lacquered a desk orange.) If you've got a mirror, hang it opposite a window. "Mirrors reflect light and make a space feel larger," Kasler says. "So when you place one across from a source of natural light, it adds even more impact-and sparkle." Finally, if you want to make the room look blessed with high ceilings, just reposition your curtain rods. "Hang them flush with the ceiling," Kasler says. "You'll cover that blank wall space above the window and create a tall, beautiful vertical line."

    Related: 5 Unexpectedly Awesome Things To Do With Digital Photos

    The Kitchen

    Your countertop has probably become a catchall for mail, rubber bands, and that rice cooker you use twice a year; start by clearing it off, save for the appliances you need every day. Now you have space to create a

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  • What's the Deal with Face Oil?

    A Trend That's Here to Stay

    Like many successful movements, this one started slow. A few people were excited about it, but there were skeptics, even dissenters. Recently, though, rubbing oil on your face has become accepted beauty practice. Once produced only by small brands, face oils are now on drugstore shelves and department store counters. So how do you use them? Let us count the ways: Massaged in every morning as a skin-smoothing base for makeup (or just sunscreen). Mixed with your favorite foundation (about one drop of oil to three pumps of makeup) when you want sheer coverage. Smoothed over a retinoid cream at night to prevent irritation and flaking. Patted over the flyaways around your hairline. (Hey, why not?) If you're convinced this is a beauty crusade worth joining, try one of our four favorite ways to get involved:

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  • 5 Seemingly Innocent Things that Lead to Weight Gain

    Photo: ThinkstockBy Jena Pincott

    You Doubled Down on the Quantified Life

    Your mistake: You believe wholeheartedly in the "If you can measure it, you can manage it" theorem. That's right, we're recommending that you ditch your digital scale with the two decimal places. When dieters at the University of Utah received a "health index score" that was pleasingly vague-a weight range rather than an actual number-they lost up to four pounds in just three weeks. In contrast, when participants received their score in the form of an exact number, they gained up to a pound on average. The fuzzier the feedback, the more room there was to interpret it optimistically, the study concluded. ("Almost there!") As a result, the goal seems more achievable-and we become more motivated. On the flip side, a precise number makes us aware of when we're not doing well-which all too often drives our discouraged self to lapse or quit.

    The lesson: If you weigh yourself daily, even normal fluctuations could throw you

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  • 10 Questions Your Partner Still Needs to Answer

    By Amy Shearn

    Illustration: Pascal Campion/Getty Images 1. Why did you take so long to ask me on a second date?

    In the beginning of a relationship, you don't want to seem needy or nosy. Certain topics are simply not your business (not yet, anyway). So when Ed waited a few months to call you after the two of you met at a friend's party, you assumed he had been seeing someone else. But you didn't ask about it. You just went to dinner with him. Over time, you got to know one another. You grew closer. Your businesses mingled, and soon you were " RachelAndEd." As in, your friends say, "Who else should we invite? What about RachelAndEd?" Which is when it is finally the time to fill in the blanks, and ask what happened in that months-long gap between the first enchanting conversation by the guacamole bowl and when he actually called to see if you wanted to get dinner. Ed's answer-he wanted to make sure your mutual friend was okay with his asking you out-could surprise you. And make you love him even more. As if that were

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