Simple Homemaking Habits

Friday, September 14, 2018

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There's a lot of different facets of getting back on track on my to do list.  One of the main aspects of that is our home.  When I straighten up and maintain the house, it always makes it feel like the rest of my life is together too.  Of course, since I’m so minimalist, it’s actually incredibly easy to get back on track with homemaking, and to stay there.  Just one of the many benefits of not having crap around - super easy to clean and organize even if every single item is out of place at the same time.  Even without being as extremely anti-stuff as I am, though, you can still adopt these super simple homemaking habits to keep your home in order too.

Get Dressed

It seems like a weird tip to be related to homemaking, but it's true.  There are definitely days that are made for lounging in your pjs until noon... or all day... but that should not be an every day occurrence.  If I don't get dressed, even on days where I'm not going into the office, I'm far less productive and on top of things.  My brain just reads it as an excuse to be lazy.  Once I get dressed (still in comfortable clothes, of course), I feel more ready to clean, organize, grocery shop, and handle unexpected visitors.  If you feel like you don't get anything done in the evenings or on the weekends, try getting out of pajamas.

Meal Plan

Life does not always go according to our meal plan, but if there's no plan in place at all, we will always order pizza.  That's a terrible habit.  Meal planning can be pretty basic, there's no need for elaborate meals every night.  I try to come up with ideas for every night John is not at the firehouse, with the exception of one, because he's going to order pizza once a week no matter what I do.  Early in the week I'll make the things with the fresh ingredients so they don't go to waste, and then save anything that we could freeze for later in the week.  That way, if things get crazy, we can just use the food next week.  As far as breakfast and lunch, I generally don't eat those and John has the same things each day so that keeps it as simple as possible.

Make a Routine and a List

Working off of a routine will be so much less stressful for you.  Like meal planning, life does not go according to routine but if you know what it is, it's easy to get back to at any moment.  Routines make you more productive because you're not wasting time wondering where you should be and what you should be doing.  Once you establish a general routine (coffee, makeup, vitamins, clean the kitchen, wash the floors on Wednesday, etc.), you don't need to go through that mental process every single day and you won't forgot to do essential tasks.  I also love running to do lists that I can transfer from one day to the next. I like the Erin Condren hardbound notebooks and I like having one dedicated for daily to do lists.  I also keep lists in there of my general cleaning schedule, so I can see what I should probably get done this week.  When something comes up that throws me from this routine or from my to do list, I'm much less affected by it because I know that I was on top of things before it happened and I know just where to pick up to get back on track.

Clean as You Go

If you find that you're always cleaning up certain areas, try never leaving that room empty handed.  Ours is the basement entertainment area, where there's always something that doesn't belong.  I make sure I never leave that area empty handed - when I go upstairs, I always grab a cup, a plate, any trash, whatever doesn't belong on that table.  Sometimes it's a mess and takes more than one dedicated trip, but at least by cleaning as I go along, it makes it less of an overwhelming tidying project.  It also helps in the bedroom or living room - if I remember to take my water cup with me when I leave, I don't have to come back and do it later.  Saves time and sanity.  This also applies to putting things in the right spot the first time, otherwise known as the 'one touch rule.'  I take off my shoes by the door and leave them on the mat and I hang my coat in the closet instead of draping things over the dining chairs.  Then I don't need to come back and pick it up later to move it again to the right spot.  Same with dishes.  I try to make sure the dishwasher is unloaded as fast as possible so it's always ready to be reloaded and no dishes need to sit in the sink.  One touch only.

Nightly Pick Up

Don't go to bed until you've done just a 5 minute walk through of the house and pick up anything out of place.  It's not about deep cleaning, but more about not leaving the tea mug on the living room table.  Take it to the kitchen.  Put the dishes from the sink into the dishwasher.  Put laundry in the laundry room and the kid (or dog!) toys into the toy box and better yet, get the whole family to help you with this.  (P.S. I have taught Hawkeye to do this so 'my kids are messy and can't put toys away' is not an excuse.  If my dog can do it, your toddler can too.)  Waking up to a clean home is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Prep the Night Before

In addition to the 5 minute pickup, try getting your morning ready the evening before.  If you're rushed in the morning, it's sets a chaotic tone for the entire day that's almost impossible to rebound from.  Think about what stresses you out or takes you the longest in the morning and try to fix that problem the night before.  This could mean picking out clothes for yourself and the kids, packing lunches to sit in the fridge overnight, making sure keys and other essentials are by the door, programming the coffee maker, etc.  All of those things are part of making sure your home runs smoothly, but it'll also give you time in the mornings for those morning-specific tasks, like getting the cereal bowls into the dishwasher.

What are your essential homemaking habits?  How do you keep your house looking neat and your day running smoothly?