In Week 1, I wrote about how the “systems” I have set up to run my household are not working. So, for the past week, I have been working on trying to get it together a little bit more. With being a stay at home mom to two small children (ages 1 and 4) my life is far from predictable. I can’t just do whatever I want when I want to.
Here are the top 10 ideas that I have been working on this week that seem to be making a big difference creating some order around my house.
1. DO IT NOW!
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but for a perfectionist, Type-A personality like myself does NOT come naturally. For example, let’s say the toilet in the bathroom is dirty and needs to be cleaned. Most people would just clean the toilet, right? Me? Not so much. If it is not “bathroom cleaning day” or if I don’t have enough time to clean the entire bathroom from top to bottom, I wouldn’t do it. Silly? Yes. Practical? No. So this week I have been working hard to focus on the things that really need my immediate attention. I am not waiting for the perfect space and time to get these things done. If I have the time, I just do it. And you know what? By cleaning that toilet even if the rest of the bathroom is not getting cleaned – actually, makes a difference. The rest of the room doesn’t look so bad.
2. Keep counters/surfaces cleared
What is it about clutter that attracts more clutter? I am less likely to set something down on a clean counter top if there is nothing else there. If there are already piles and piles of stuff, one more thing doesn’t seem like such a big deal.
3. Put it away the first time
Are you guilty of this one? I will be cleaning/picking up, and instead of actually putting away whatever item needs to be put away, I will just set it in the room it goes in. This just creates more of a mess in all the rooms of my house. I have been consciously trying to put things away completely, instead of just shoving them into a pile to be dealt with later. It usually only takes a few extra seconds and the messes are not piling up like they used to.
4. Nightly pick up time
We used to be really consistent with this, but for some reason had not been doing it lately. The whole family comes together and picks up the house before the kids have their bath at night. There is no actual cleaning involved, just picking up and putting away. It is amazing how much stuff my kids can drag out in one day. It usually does not take us longer than 15 minutes to pick up everything.
5. Do one to two loads of laundry each day (excluding the weekends)
This keeps the laundry under control and is manageable for me. Some people like to do the laundry all in one day, but that just does not work for me right now.
6. Fold laundry and put away right when it is done in the dryer
This goes hand in hand with No. 5. I am really bad about leaving clothes in the washer and/or dryer. Now, I try to get the load out right when it is done (if I can), fold it right away and put it away. No more leaving clean clothes in the dryer to re-fluff two or three times. No more having to run an extra rinse cycle because I forgot the laundry in the washer. (Please tell me I am not alone on this one!)
7. When finished with a project – clean it ALL up
I am bad about this one. I will drag supplies out to work on a project – be it a craft project, activity for the kids, something I am working on outside – and then I am done. I will pick up and put away the majority of the mess but leave out some of my supplies to be put away later. This just creates a huge mess down the road after all these little projects pile up. So now, part of working on any project is to clean up all the supplies right away. Amazing how much less stuff I find lying around. See No. 3 above!
8. Deal with papers immediately
I have a paper clutter issue. I am sort of a paper hoarder, so that does not help. I don’t like to throw stuff out. Now, I am not talking about sale ads, or used envelopes or anything like that – these get recycled. But that electric bill? What if I need it!? I am trying to deal with the mail right when it comes in. Shred junk mail, recycle anything I have no intention of reading or looking at again. The bills go in the bill folder and any other mail that needs to be dealt with goes in the “to do” file. I am s.l.o.w.l.y. going through my files and purging old stuff.
9. Make the bed every day
This seems like it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. If I make my bed in the morning, it sets the tone for my room (and my whole day really). It puts me in an organizing, get it done kind of mindset. Every time I walk into my bedroom for the rest of the day it looks neat and orderly. It is a small thing that makes a big difference.
I have been trying to get the kids and myself on some sort of schedule again. The summer wreaks havoc on this one, but with my son starting preschool we need to get back in gear. This has been the hardest thing for me with managing my time since becoming a stay at home mom. I don’t have anything nailed down yet, but we are tweaking it every day. Once we figure out what really works for us, I will post our morning and evening routines.
Thank you for coming along with me on my journey to becoming a calmer, more organized person. I have found that lately, I have been just going through the motions instead of really enjoying my life. I want to have memories of joy and laughter from when my kids are little, not how much time I spent on cleaning the house and how resentful it made me feel.
Next week I will share my cleaning schedule and daily routine.
What do you do to create and maintain order in your home?
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