The first step
Declutter! Everything needs its own place to live. It is impossible to keep your space neat, comfortable, and peaceful, if everything is everywhere. If you have more stuff than space, then you have too much stuff! Downsize or get creative with storage solutions (lots of help on Pinterest with this). It is a relief not to be ruled by the tyranny of your things!
Now that everything is put away, organize your cleaning, cooking, and maintenance tasks. It is too big a job, especially after the children start coming, to do haphazardly. Organizing helps you get more done in less time.
Put it into practice
Schedule time for your cooking, cleaning, and laundry. I break my cleaning and maintenance tasks into daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks, and keep a calendar filled in with them (a la Sidetracked Home Executives). It is much easier to clean for 15 minutes a day than to face a 3 hour ordeal once a week.
- Keep seasonal menu lists of favorite meals for quick inspiration.
- 30 minutes spent planning your meals and grocery list once a week saves time in the kitchen and money at the store.
- Keep your pantry stocked with staples.
- Use your crockpot! (I love mine!)
- Whenever possible, double your main dish and put half in the freezer. Cook once, eat twice time saver!
- Always wash up dishes after a meal, no matter how tired. It breaks that fast food/ junk food cycle because the kitchen is always clean.
- If you are overly tired, here is a tip my Mother shared with me when I was pregnant with my first. Put your dishes in a sink full of super hot, soapy water, and set the timer for 30 minutes. Take a nap. When the timer goes off, rinse your now clean dishes and stack in the drainer or dishwasher. Cuts so much time and effort!
- Keep a spray bottle of water in your kitchen. Did you know that simple water is the best solvent on the face of the earth? Spray your counters and stove top first, and then go do other chores for 15 minutes. Come back and easily wipe up any stuck on mess. You will use much less toxic cleaners.
- You can do anything for 15 minutes. Set the timer and dive in, knowing it will only be for a short time. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in 15 minute bursts.
- Do your most difficult or most dreaded job of the day first. Get it out of the way and slay that emotional drain!
- Microfiber cleaning cloths are wonderful!
- If you have to let tasks slide for a season, keep your floors clean at least. Clean floors give the illusion of a clean house, even if the house is less than perfect.
- Use a stain stick on stains before the clothes go in the hamper. I love mine!
- If you get behind, hang two clothing items up for every one that comes out of the closet. You will be caught back up in no time.
Perfection is a myth! There will always be tasks left at the end of the day. It’s okay to do your best, and then relax and have fun with your family!