I have been so overwhelmed lately at how much there is to manage in our household. At times, it seems almost impossible. I don't like the mommy & wife I am when I am so stressed and can't seem to get everything done. Since I can't make there be more hours in a day, I have really tried hard to implement some new ideas as far as cleaning, organizing, living at our house. This is by no means an "I've arrived and here is how you should do things" post. These are simply the things that are working wonderfully for me right now & have freed up time for me to do the things that really matter which are spending quality time with the kids playing, spending time with the hubby, me working out, and having "me" time (working out and "me" time are not one in the same, but that is an entire different post). Without further ado, here is what I am working on:
1. Cleaning little by little.
I straighten the vanity while I brush my teeth, I put my clothes in the hamper as they come off, I try to always take something to put away whenever I leave a room and head to another end of the house. Saving steps saves time and saving time lets me get more finished. I am trying to teach the rest of my family this concept too.
2. Is it really dirty?
If an item can be worn again before being washed, I save TONS of time (less washing, drying, folding, IRONING...ugh, and putting away). This is especially helpful for button down shirts or nice slacks that the hubs changes out of as soon as he gets home anyhow (he wears a t-shirt, so I promise it's not gross...not in my book anyways). I started doing it for his work clothes, but I have been doing it a little in my closet too and I really can tell a difference on how much laundry must be done. This works for pajamas and towels (we hang them up once or twice before washing) too!
I have even done this with snack bowls for the kids. I was washing several a day, but now we stick to fewer of them. Cracker snacks aren't even sticky, so they get to go right back into the kiddos snack drawer. They are big snackers, so this might not be as much of a helpful tip for everyone. It doesn't work for sticky snacks like grapes or strawberries, but still is a time-saver.
3. 10 Minute Chores
I have figured out that squeezing one or two chores into my morning makes things run much more smoothly in the evenings. I am not an early bird by any means, but 3 days a week, Shawn drops off the kids before work, and I have the wonderful opportunity to get ready ALONE. I usually can wipe down the counters, finish the dishes, or do a load or two of laundry those mornings. I can also do it twice as fast without the "help" of the kiddos which means more time for playing cars, pirates, and babies when I get home with the kids.
4. Clear out the Clutter
This certainly seems like a no-brainer, but it is an on-going battle. Luckily, Shawn has been really on board with this idea. With less stuff, we have less to contend with and enjoy/value what we do have even more. Anyhow, there is a garage sale in our near future. This has also made me more conscientious about my purchases which was a plus since it also saves money.
5. Changing my way of thinking.
I have to remind myself that it is ok to take a break & do something enjoyable and leisurely even if every chore is not completed. I seriously doubt that my children will look back on their childhood and talk about what a wonderful mother I was because I was always doing housework.
I am aiming to have realistic expectations that result in a manageable household & time for meaningful memories.
UPDATE: Since starting this post I have had the opportunity to have someone come in once a week to do the deep cleaning. With baby #3 on the way, it could not have come at a better time! I know that is not feasible for every budget, and may not even always be an option for us but I am sure enjoying it at this stage in life when every moment is precious.