A few days ago, I posted about gaining a new perspective on housekeeping. After writing that, I started thinking that there should be a follow up. A Part 2. Because the opposite can happen as well.
Let me explain. How much time do you spend online everyday? How many hours a day is your TV on? If your choices for “How Active are You?” are extremely active, moderately active, not very active, and couch potato, what is your answer? How much did you exercise this week? How many sweets did you eat this week? Most of us lie to ourselves about these things every day. We think we are better than we are. Maybe it is because we don’t want to know the truth, or maybe it is because we wish the truth was different.
So what does this have to do with housekeeping? A lot of the time, I find that we stab ourselves in the back by having the wrong perspective about how much time things really take. Have you ever gone to bed thinking “I’ll do the dishes in the morning”? We’re not here to discuss how depressing it is to get up to a messy house in the morning. But if you’ve ever done this, then you know how much harder it is to rinse those dishes with everything caked on from sitting overnight. You could do it tonight in 20 minutes, or you’ll spend an hour on it tomorrow.
What about the laundry? Would you rather take 10 minutes today to fold it and put it away, or 2 hours on Saturday when you have a million other things to do?
How about starting dinner? You could take 5 minutes in the morning and pull something out of the freezer, pop something in the CrockPot, or start chopping…or you could wait until 5 pm when your children are starving and you really don’t feel like making a darn thing for those ungrateful…
Do you see what I’m saying? I think half the reason keeping up a house and raising a family and taking care of everyone’s needs can be so overwhelming is that we do it to ourselves. We put off until later what can be done now. Put first things first, begin with the end in mind, be proactive…these are the habits of highly effective people, and highly effective homes.
Instead of looking at how much has to get done, or how long everything is going to take, tell yourself you’re just going to take a couple minutes to get these few things taken care of in the morning before you hop on FB or head out for playgroup. They don’t take long, but will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
- Get dressed and do your hair and makeup
- Clean up breakfast and rinse dishes
- Sweep the floor
- Start a load of dishes
- Get something started for dinner, if applicable. If you don’t know what is for dinner yet, plan it.
- Pop a load of laundry in the washer/dryer
- Sort a load of laundry from the dryer into bins for kids to fold and put away after school
- Fold your laundry and put it away
- Go through each main room and spend 1 minute picking up the toys, trash, stuff, and junk that has landed there.
- Now get on with your day.
I know that list looks long. But like the post from a couple days ago said, you’d be surprised how little time that actually takes. What is likely to take the longest is getting dressed and ready for the day. Do this first thing and you’ll never find yourself embarrassed opening the door to a stranger while still in your pajamas without a bra on.
Besides the getting dressed and ready part, let’s estimate how much time it REALLY takes to do the rest of the list.
Clean up breakfast and rinse dishes–10 minutes, tops–this includes putting everything away, rinsing, loading, and cleaning off the table/countertops
Sweep the floor–3 minutes–we’re not talking a deep sweep, but a clean up what got dropped during breakfast or what mess you made while making it.
Start a load of dishes–3 minutes tops if you weren’t loading earlier
Get something started for dinner, if applicable. If you don’t know what is for dinner yet, plan it.–5-10 minutes
Pop a load of laundry in the washer/dryer–2 minutes. Really, it does not take much time to put laundry in or move laundry to the dryer.
Sort a load of laundry from the dryer into bins for kids to fold and put away after school–5 minutes tops, since it is just one load.
Fold YOUR laundry and put it away–8 minutes
Go through each main room and spend 1 minute picking up the toys, trash, stuff, and junk that has landed there.–Depends on how many rooms you have, but lets say 10 minutes tops.
So, in less than an hour, you have: cleaned up the kitchen, started dinner, started, switched, sorted, folded, and put away laundry, and tidied up the house. Plus you look good to boot.
OR, you can let breakfast sit on the table until lunch or even dinner, and then spend a lot more time trying to get the oatmeal which has permanently adhered itself off the table, the chair, and the floor, not to mention the bowls and spoons which will each take not just scrubbing, but soaking. And you can let the laundry pile up and up and up until you wonder if they’ll ever find your body beneath it all. And you can feed your kids cereal for dinner yet again because you didn’t plan anything. And you can get frustrated at your kids and yourself for living in a pigsty. And to top it all off, you can look like the mom you swore you’d never look like while you’re at it because you never got dressed this week until 4 pm.
Don’t you love it when people paint the bleak picture of what could be if you don’t follow their advice? So forget all that and just remember that there is no greater blessing than to be a parent, a mother, a spouse, to have a home to take care of. It isn’t supposed to be easy, but it sure is worth it. Perhaps with a new perspective, you can even find there is so much joy to be had, even in the housekeeping. Even in the laundry. Even in the cooking.
So start tomorrow with a new determination to take less than one hour first thing in the morning (I do it right after I drop my kids off at school…except I always get dressed before leaving my room in the morning) and start your day off on the right foot. You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll realize, it really doesn’t take that long.