I know I’ve mentioned it before, but when Mr. Simple and I first got married I was 19 years old and without a clue about being a homemaker. It wasn’t long before the babies started coming and I floundered with trying to keep up with the housework. My own mother kept a very neat/uncluttered home, and while I loved organized spaces I did not know how to make those organized spaces happen. I also found trying to keep house during pregnancy or with newborns made me a lot more relaxed with my homemaking. I let a lot go.
Eventually, I got to a point where I had enough. I had to figure out systems and ways to make my house not only clean, but at least tidy, too. Since we downsized, I’ve been on a mission to make our little base house feel like home. Even though I got pregnant shortly after moving in, I’ve taken my time with decluttering projects and decorating. Even at 38 weeks pregnant, I have found that my home is now more organized and generally cleaner than ever before.
So, what’s the one step that has totally transformed my life as a homemaker?
It’s actually a really simple concept.
I finish what I start.
I know you’re probably saying, “What the heck? How does that transform your homemaking, Joanie? That’s not revolutionary!”
No, it’s not, but I have struggled with completing tasks, especially since having kids. I mean toddlers can be pretty demanding.
For example, say I cook breakfast for everyone. Sometimes I dread actually cooking breakfast. If I make bacon I have to deal with the grease, I have to fix everyone plates, and then there’s the aftermath of actually cooking breakfast that needs to be cleaned up.
If I am going to cook breakfast, I am going to take the time after we eat to just suck it up and get that mess cleaned up and put away.
If my toddler is unhappy, he is just going to have to wait in his high chair until I am finished. I can’t let a one-year-old run around unsupervised.
My biggest struggle by far is the laundry. Okay, I’ve written about how I gave up a laundry routine. I still have. My goal is to do 1-2 loads per day from start to finish. I will admit, I usually don’t get to fold the clothes straight out of the dryer. Maybe I will be able to one day, but I do try to get at least 1 load folded, and then I have the kids help me put the clothes away.
Since we are a homeschooling family, we are at home a lot during the day, and my kids do have to pitch in and help. We teach them to get the job done. It’s not always perfect. My daughter’s clothes are still sitting on her dresser right now waiting to be put away, but she will put them away.
So, what are some other ways you can finish what you start and keep your home cleaner?
Find a place for everything – This one may take some time. I have slowly added bins and baskets to our home because I definitely couldn’t afford to buy them all at once, but they really do help with organizing. And when you get out an item to use it, you know exactly where to put it back when you are finished.
Here are some examples:
I used old food storage containers to separate medicines by category. I then labeled each container. This helps keep the medicine cabinet fairly neat and I know where to find certain items when I need them.
The kids toys will probably always be a work in progress, but I try to keep them separated by category and teach the kids to put their toys back in those specific bins.
I use caddies in my bathroom cabinets to keep bathroom cleaning supplies rounded up and in one spot.
Mr. Simple and I totally re-organized our laundry closet a few weeks ago. It is so refreshing to have that space labeled now.
My whole house is not organized, at least not yet. I’ve taken on projects a little at a time. I have found that once I get a good organization system in place, it usually stays that way. Except the kids’ toys, yeah, those end up mixed up all the time!
Use Routines – Routines are vital for keeping your home running. I have a simplified cleaning routine printable available here on the blog. It’s nice to know what to do each day, but even I know sometimes that can be difficult! Establish a few routines for cleaning your home, and you can have a tidy house.
Here’s a sample routine:
In the morning – Prepare breakfast and then clean up your breakfast dishes after you eat. Have everyone complete morning chores. For us this looks like, getting dressed, making beds, and taking care of pets. I also start a load of laundry.
Mid-afternoon – Clean up after lunch. This is the time I do a quick declutter after school, and I also tend to wipe down our bathrooms and switch out laundry. I will also fold clothes and attempt to get them put away.
Evening – Declutter. Sweep floors, clean up the kitchen after dinner, vacuum if necessary, get ready for bed.
And some days that’s all there is time to do. Just doing these basic things will keep your home clean and tidy. Of course, you’re going to have to work in deep clean days, but keeping up with the basics will go a long way in making you feel better about your home!
So, on those days when you feel like you are totally drowning in housework and you don’t know where to start, pick a task and finish it! Put things back where they belong and follow a general routine. Doing those things will go a long way in making you feel good about your home!