Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ways to (hopefully) make life a little easier

I don't know about you, but if my house is a wreck, I feel like I'm a wreck!  I feel stressed and overwhelmed if there are dishes in the sink or things out of place.  Since having Robby, I realized how important it is to have a daily routine for getting everything done.  There are still lots of things that I need to do better on (meal planning is a big one I need to be better with!).  Here are just a few things I do each day.  I'm hoping to help out someone else to make their days go smoother and in return, I want to know what you do to make your days easier.  So, please, leave me comments!  Things are going to get crazier around here very soon, so I would love your tips!

First, I make the bed every day, no matter what, within the first 15 minutes or so of getting up.

My mom was very strict about us always making our bed each morning, and I'm grateful she was that way.  It really does make the room instantly look picked up!

Second, I never go to bed with a dirty kitchen.
This is a big one for me.  I hate, hate, hate dishes in the sink.  Thankfully, we have always had a dishwasher.  So as soon as a dish is used, it goes immediately in the dishwasher.  If I'm cooking or doing something that requires multiple dishes or utensils, as I work, things go in the dishwasher.  I run the dishwasher every night.  I used to think this was wasteful, but if the dishwasher is not run the night before, it's being run the next morning because there isn't enough space for our morning dishes!  If dinner has been a bit crazy and there is a mess afterwards, I will clean the kitchen and load the dishwasher while Tim is bathing Robby so my cleaning isn't taking time away from either of them (bath time is their special time of the day together!).  By doing this every night, I don't wake up stressed knowing there is a big mess waiting for me.  Plus, when Tim is leaving in the morning, he is leaving a clean, put together house.  And for some crazy reason that's important to me! :-)  I empty the dishwasher while Robby is eating his breakfast (that way I don't have a helper trying to climb in the dishwasher!).

Third, I pick up all of Robby's toys at night before we go to bed.

Truth be told, I pick them up several times a day because I can't stand children's toys all over the house.  Plus I have this fear that someone is going to drop by the house, walk in, and think my home is a wreck because of all the toys!  Normally, there are not as many toys in the living room as there are in this picture, but Robby was already asleep by the time I picked them up so I couldn't drop them off in his room.

Fourth, I fold and put away laundry as soon as it's done.  If I didn't do this, we would be pulling wrinkly clothes out of the dryer throughout the week and then it would just be time to start washing them again!  I also do this with our cloth diapers.  As soon as they're done in the dryer, I pull them out, stuff, fold, and put them in the diaper hanger.  For the same reason!  I can't be scrambling for a diaper and insert in the dryer while in the middle of a diaper change!

Those are just the big ("big" in my mind, at least) things I do but there are also some little things.  I generally get Robby's milk cup ready the night before and keep it in the fridge.  That way as soon as he wakes up, I'm ready to go.  If Robby and I have somewhere to be the next morning, I will set out both of our clothes to make getting ready quicker and easier.  Something I was pretty good at doing when Robby was first born (and I need to get back in the habit) was showering at night so that no matter what, I knew I had my shower done for the next day!  I would say 95% of the time I get a shower every day, but there are still those days that it just doesn't happen.  Or it happens in the middle of the afternoon!  Also, something simple, is paying all of our bills online on the same day each month, as well as running all of our "bulk" errands on the same day each month.  I'm not sure how that will change once Charlie gets here.  How likely is it that we will be able to go to Walmart, Target, and Costco all in the same day??

I really want to be better about meal planning and grocery shopping.  I would love to not need to go to the grocery store each time I want to make something because I didn't plan ahead at the beginning of the week.  Do you have any tips for how to get started (and keep up with) meal planning?  I've seen a lot of calendar type things on Pinterest to help with meal planning.  Do any of you use something like that?  My sister-in-law posted about e-mealz yesterday.  I think I might look into something like that.  Also, I want to be better about having specific chores that I do on certain days of the week.  Generally, I just do things as they need to be done and will do it all in one day.  I think if I continue doing it that way, I'm going to get overwhelmed rather quickly after Charlie is born.  Do you do all of you cleaning in one day or have specific days each week that you do certain things?  Something I've thought of doing is doing one major cleaning task on the same day each month, like cleaning all the blinds on the 5th, the baseboards on the 10th, the microwave on the 15th, the cobwebs in the corner on the 20th, etc.  Do any of you do something like that?  I'm wondering if it is a realistic thing to try to start doing.

So, spill the beans.  Is there a certain way you put away your groceries that makes finding things quicker and easier?  Do you have a stock of meals in your freezer for those crazy days when making dinner just isn't possible?  I want to know!!  How can my life be easier with a toddler and a newborn?


Whitney MacDonald said...

We must be a lot alike. :) I also make the bed first thing, always clean the kitchen before bed, pick up all toys at naptime and bedtime, and run the dishwasher every night. These things DO make life easier! A few things that work well for me....
1. you mentioned this...but designate a certain weekday to cleaning. As your boys get older, you'll find that they need to get out. Caden would ask to go somewhere (to the park, or even the backyard) and I would find myself saying, "Sure! After I finish cleaning." I mean...every day this would happen and we never ended up going anywhere because I was always doing house work. I never want him to look back at childhood memories and think all I did was clean instead of play! Now I do all cleaning on Mondays, and a load of laundry each day. Yes, there are weeks where that changes, but for the most part, it's great.
2. Go to the grocery store at night or sometime when Tim can watch the boys. At first, I always went to the store during the day with the boys because "I am a stay at home mom. This is my job!" I also didn't want to take away my alone time with Aaron by going at night. But, you gotta do what you gotta do! Taking 2 to the store just gets hectic at times. I also have a clear head when I'm at the store alone and rarely forget things, which eliminates multiple trips to the store during the week :)
3. I don't know if y'all are big on breakfast foods....some people are not. We have breakfast night once a week..on Wednesdays. Doing this makes one less night you have to really plan a meal for, and Caden loves it! It's just a fun little tradition we have started. Find simple little things like this to lighten your load and also make fun memories!
4. Aaron and the boys go to donuts every Saturday morning. They love it. This is my time to sleep in and get the house and myself ready for the day.

Love reading your blog!

Catie said...

Wow- that is impressive and is going to keep you busy all day!! I do try to make our bed every day. I feel better when I walk in our room and it is made. I do usually have my meals planned. I try to sit down on Sunday and plan for the week. I ask Josh if he has any special things he wants. I sometimes look at what is on sale to help too. I then make a list of what I will need and go to the store on Monday morning. I don't usually plan for the weekend because go out to eat sometimes. I do still forget things and have to go back to the store. But this makes things easier for me. And I think it saves money too. You have always been good about keeping your house clean- you are a good example!!

Sarah said...

You seem to have a good system so far! Like others said, maybe sit down on a certain day and write out your grocery list and meals you would like to make. I sometimes open our fridge & pantry to see what's missing or what we need & that goes on the list. About the cleaning, maybe get one of those erasable calenders to put on your fridge and write down when you would like to have something cleaned by? Like put you want the bathrooms cleaned at the beginning of the month by the 8th or whatever date you want? That way you have a goal in mind but it's not set in stone so you won't be so hard on yourself. It's hard when the majority of the cleaning falls on you. Just take it day by day at the beginning once Charlie is born & eventually your routine will fall back into place. :)


Kasie said...

Well, it's good to know that, if ever needed, our families could co-habitate :) EVERYTHING that you do, is EXACTLY what we do. Having in spelled out like that helps me to understand why I am so exhausted at the end of the day! :)