Photo Credit: Quentin Bacon, House Beautiful Magazine
I’m glad to say that after 5+ years of motherhood, I have finally been able to bring my house to some semblance of order….no kidding folks! It really took me this long! When the kids were younger, I had many plans of how to tackle the job. The problem was, there was never enough time to get these plans accomplished. Schedules would inevitably be thrown off, I would be too tired at the beginning, middle or end of the day to do what I originally set out to do, and/or I just needed down time after work and taking care of the kids and housekeeping was the very, very last thing I would think of doing.
Sure, bathrooms and floors got cleaned (eventually!) and especially just before guests arrived…and fully prepared meals were rare but available… if I had someone dedicated to watch over the kids for a few hours!! I definitely did not have it under control on most days!
The thing I’ve realized though is that having cleanliness and order in the house really seems to help unclutter a lot of the clutter that accumulates in our heads on a daily basis. And when you’re already overwhelmed with being a parent, having a messy, unclean house is no help at all and often leaves you feeling more stuck and disgruntled. I’m sure many of you can relate!
We managed those earlier years by giving up other ‘essential’ things (more on this later!) so that we could hire a very lovely lady who helped us out once a week to do the cleaning. And if you can afford to do this when your kids are young…I highly recommend this. I realize for many, this is not an option. And I am very appreciative that we had this opportunity. And for various reasons, now we’re back to managing house and homekeeping on our own.
So what to do if you don’t have the extra help? I’ve spoken with my friends and family and searched the world wide web high and low, and have come to the conclusion that most people do something very similar to me. Melissa’s blog, The Inspired Room has some really great ideas. You can read a sample of her suggestions for keeping a tidy house in under 5 minutes, here:
As for me, I try to keep up with this routine (which I really have only begun in the last few months) and can say that it really does help me keep my family’s sanity in check.
Here’s what I’ve learned works for our family (may be yawn-inspiring but for some quite exciting depending on what stage of life you’re at!):
Me time (shower, qigong/yoga)
Quick clean of bathroom
Put away any remaining clean and folded laundry
Take all laundry down and start wash (without complaining that no one ahem- e.g. the ‘hubby’ has!)
Write, read paper, space out, whatever before everyone is up
Unload dishwasher and drying rack
Clean Kitchen Area -I use Meyer’s Clean Day to finish the job…it makes me happy and the added expense is worth it in my opinion
Fix up bedsheets in each room (as fast as possible…duvet covers are great for this)!
Do a 5-10 minute Tidy Living Room Frenzy with kids just before heading out to Park/Daily Outdoor Time (with perhaps a bit of persistent nagging and without trying to yell louder than I need to on my more desperate days)
Take out garbage and recycling (again without complaining that no one else has done this yet before rushing off to work)
Afternoons (when one kid is in school):
Drop off daughter at school
Meet up with friend/ Break for an hour while little one rests/quiet time (hey we need our breaks!)
2 weekly grocery shops/ prep for dinner
Pick up daughter from school
Play time with kids outdoors
Finish Dinner Prep
Dishes/ Clean kitchen while other parent does bathtime
Put kids to bed
Sweep and wash floors
Prep for any future meals if necessary
Down time/ go to sleep!
In addition, I am now trying to simplify our life even more by reducing the number of clothes we each have to something more manageable. Of course it’s great to have a selection of clothing especially in a four season country like ours, and also to get hand me downs to add to your children’s wardrobe…but how much of it do we really, really need? And how many loads of laundry are we really realistically able to handle? Over the next few days, I will be paring things down drastically..all in an effort to control the daily onslaught of laundry, which somehow piles up miles high before I even realize it. Stay tuned!
What are some of your daily routines at home that help provide sanity in your household?