When I quit working two years ago to be a Stay At Home Mommy, I truly had big expectations. My house would always be clean, I’d have lunch cooked at the same time every day and my laundry would always be done. I did really well for the first week and then I slipped. Next thing I knew, we were all sleeping until noon, there was always a mountain of laundry that needed to be done, dishes piled in the sink and lunch was more like snacks all afternoon and hotdogs when the kids were hungry. My house always looked like a bomb went off and some days, I’d be so overwhelmed that I didn’t even make an effort to clean.
Sometimes I’d scour through Pinterest, looking for inspiration. I’d pin a couple of cleaning schedule posts, but never really followed through. A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to leave for vacation and I didn’t want to come home to a dirty home. The mess was so huge that I didn’t even know where to start. I remembered reading somewhere on one of the many posts I had pinned to set a timer. I decided to set our stove timer for 20 minutes and then walked around and started picking things up. They say multi-tasking is bad, but at this point, I didn’t care. I just kept walking around the house, picking up random things and started putting them away. When the timer went off, I’d take a quick 5-10 minute break and then set it again.
After I had picked up the majority of the mess, I set to get on the laundry and de-cluttering. Sure the house was clean, but because I had stuff cluttered on every surface, it didn’t look clean. I started in one spot, started my timer and just whittled away at the mess. It took me awhile, but I eventually got a few surfaces cleared off to give the house a look of tidiness. I felt really good about the way my home felt, so I decided to give all those pinned posts another read and set out to make a routine. Here are some of the tips I took away from all the reading and some ideas from my husband.
- Make your bed and keep it cleared off.
I’ve read this a ton of times and didn’t give it much thought. Who wants to make a bed that they are just going to crawl into later and mess it up? Plus, I always have stuff laying all over my bed anyway, making it impossible to even attempt to make it. I’d feel bad for my husband because he’d clear off a little spot for himself to sleep while I slept on the couch. I started making my bed and stopped putting everything on the bed. I fold laundry there, but I put it away soon as I’m done folding. Now we’ve both been able to sleep on the bed and it’s always nice to go into my room and see it all made up. I’ve noticed that it sets the tone for the rest of the day to get my other chores done.
- Set a routine.
When my husband leaves for work in the morning, I get up, make coffee, jump in the shower, get dressed and then I put the last night’s clean dishes away. I remember rule number one and make my bed. After that, I wake up my kids and get them ready for the day. Our bedtime routine is bath time, story time, prayers and then lights out. After we have the kids in bed, I finish whatever dishes are in the sink and then de-clutter for about 5 minutes. It really is nice to wake up to a clean sink.
- Laundry every day
We are a family of five so laundry gets piled up pretty fast. Before, I’d only do laundry during the weekend. Boy, if I skipped or we got busy, that mountain sure would get big quick. Every day, I gather up all the previous days laundry and put them in the washer. I remember the start to finish cycle, meaning wash, dry, fold and put away. Don’t stick that basket on your bed and say you’ll do it later. Get it done so you don’t have to come back to it when you are trying to go to bed. This system is working pretty good for me.
- Do dishes as they go in the sink.
Dishes are another thing I let pile up. I hate doing dishes. With. A. Passion! My husband is the one who came up with the idea to do them after we’ve used them. To me, I thought what a waste of water and dish soap, but I finally decided to take his advice. I do dishes after every meal and after snack time. Like I said before, I do whatever may be in the sink before bedtime (which is usually just a couple bottles and sippy cups, maybe some silverware). I love not standing in front of a dirty pile of dishes. It only takes a few minutes every time and then I can move onto the next task.
- Make a list of everything that needs to be done.
I’m still working on this. After I’ve got the kids ready for the day and breakfast dishes done, I sweep the living room and kitchen, mop as needed and then tidy up the couches and clear off my table. When that’s finish, I look at my list of priorities, and set my handy timer to 20 minutes and just go to town until my task is done or the timer goes off. Right now, my goals are to finish de-cluttering my home, organize the kids bedrooms and closets, and go through their gaggle of toys (they still have toys from when they were newborns!) Yesterday, I went through a couple boxes of toys and threw away broken or too old toys and started a donate box. I also thoroughly cleaned my daughter’s room. I set my deadline to have my de-cluttering done by the end of September. Just in time for winter 😉
I’m doing my best to stick to my newly found habits. We went on vacation right when I was trying to adopt them so I was a little nervous that I would scrap them when I got home. Soon as we got home, the first thing I did was put everything away and started laundry. That was the first time I had ever done that and I was so glad to not wake up to a houseful of luggage. My house isn’t it spotless, but it’s getting tidier and tidier as everyday passes and that is a huge accomplishment for me.
I hope these tips work for you. I love hearing new ideas, so hit me up if you have any. I’ll let you know if I keep to this new lifestyle going.