laundry

laundry (Photo credit: bies)

I think this is going to be a three part series, just like a good sermon, right? But my main points aren’t all going to start with the same letter. You’ll just have to find another way to remember them. ūüėČ

This month I had a revelation.

Some of you are really smart and have already known this thing for years. It was such an unspoken assumption that you never thought to mention it to me. But it really was a new thought in my head.

Wanna hear it?

My revelation is simple.

It dawned on me as I was emptying the dishwasher that I will have to do this EVERY DAY.

Whaaaat??!

Yes. It is no longer a once every couple days type of thing. It is an every day activity.

The same goes for laundry (well, almost every day).

The same goes for dinner.

These things must happen every single day.

When my family consisted only of me and my husband, we could go days before the dishwasher would be full enough to justify running it. Laundry was only as needed, maybe once or twice a week. We could whip up meals easily and in a pinch we could scrounge a series of snacks and call it good.

Not so once you have a bigger family.

These people want to eat all the time.

And they must be forced to wear clean clothes or, if you’re not watching, they’ll wear the same thing four days in a row and two of those days there was mud adventures and coloring time with sidewalk chalk and markers.

Plus they can’t do much of the heavy lifting chores themselves. That will change but for now, it mainly fall to the person who stays at home with this wild crew.

And that’s me.

Everyday Flexible Routines

Part of my problem is that I don’t love routines.

Traditionally they’ve made me feel confined and limited, bossed around, if you will.

Dishwasher, open and loaded with dishes

Dishwasher, open and loaded with dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But as I’ve tried to wrap my head around the¬†necessity of routines, I’ve realized they also free me up to be able to keep one step ahead of the other people in my house.

If I keep up on the laundry, then nobody is bugging me for clean socks two minutes before the bus arrives.

If I make sure the dishwasher is emptied (by me or the child who is assigned that duty) then everyone else can more easily put their dirty dishes INTO said dishwasher.

If I maintain a rough routine, it allows me space to schedule all kinds of other things because I know the bare bones have been taken care of.

Here is an example of the everyday tasks I’ve admitted need to be done every day:

  1. Run a load of laundry, including folding and putting away (some days it doesn’t get put away but at least it is folded and clean).
  2. Unload dishwasher. If there are any dishes left in sink that didn’t make it in before I washed it, load ’em up.
  3. Make the stupid bed.
  4. Wipe down bathroom sink and make sure clothes and other items aren’t left in there.

See? That’s not so bad. Some of these routines only take a minute but they contribute to a sense of order and cleanliness. (Dorky word choice¬†but dontcha just feel better knowing that you’re not going to get a glob of toothpaste on your hand when you turn on the faucet in the bathroom? That’s the power of cleanliness)

Tackle What Bugs You

My list probably won’t look the same as yours.

For example, it makes me crazy to leave our bed unmade. In my head, it makes my entire room look like a disaster, and maybe it is, but the unmade bed just accentuates that fact.

But that’s my thing, and it may not be yours.

Other people need to vacuum every day, or change the sheets daily. This seems like overkill to me, but if that’s what helps you keep your ship afloat, you should do it.

Some¬†people are highly sensitive to crumbs and must sweep all floors in order to be assured the five second rule (you know the one where you’re eating something¬†and it fall s on the floor? You’ve got five seconds to pick it up before it is officially dirty) can be safely¬†and confidently implemented.

Whatever your thing, be it mail, garbage, a pristine refrigerator crisper drawer, go ahead and make it part of your routine, but I would encourage you to only include the things that really create a hitch in your day if left undone. Most people can get by without washing their windows every day, but it is harder to ignore the food demands of a family. See the difference?

You’re the Boss of Your Routine

If you start to teeter into being unable to leave something undone, or if you’re habitually late because you can’t leave your house until you lock and relock the doors five times each, then you may need to step back and re-evaluate the role of routine. Is it helping you or is it controlling you? Remember,

You’re the boss of your routine, and it exists to serve your purposes, not vice versa.

The goal of organizing¬†the home is to develop an atmosphere of hospitality, peace and security. A messy jumble of a house might be fun for a while, but it soon it starts to¬†feel cluttered, stressful and unwelcoming.¬†There’s a balance to be found — organized but not rigid, tidy but not sterile. Take a little time, look around your home, and figure out what things might need a little more daily attention and they’ll be so much more manageable for you. You can do it, and then put your feet up and reward yourself with a good book, knowing that you’re creating a home you’d want to live in!

You offered¬†some helpful insights after the last post, and I would love to hear¬†some other things that work for you to stay on top of the business of running your home. Let’s help one another.

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