If your household is anything like mine, you know that one minute it is under your control, and the next it is . . . not. I have a bustling house - busy with three kids (two middle schoolers, mind you), a needy 9 pound dog, and a husband who works very hard to provide for us. Between grocery shopping, endless laundry, school functions, homework, keeping house, and more laundry, I often wonder how the modern-day household can manage with two working parents, and a slew of incoming demands on our time and emotions.
I have grown to love the well-oiled machine known as our family, albeit blended and often scattered at times. Our children are back and forth, our weekends are upside down, and our calendars are crammed. I do, however, know there are 7 key items that we continually work on to help our family thrive.
Never stop doing it. Do it every day. Always be aware of how much detergent and dryer sheets you have. Enlist the help of your children, if applicable. Even very young children love the challenge of folding, stacking, smoothing. They may not do the best job, but cut your losses. You will thank me when they are teenagers who know how to FOLD. Expect to do laundry most days of the week, and pick your best time of day. Morning, afternoon, evening - whatever is favorable. And if you are planning on home construction, or are moving in the near future, highly consider having a washer and dryer on the second floor - it has been a life saver for me!
2. Make your bed. Every damn day.
It has been scientifically proven that a tidy bed can increase momentum, motivation, and focus during your day. Have your little ones make their beds on a daily basis. It will encourage self-tidying, awareness of their living space, and increase productivity for all in your home (even if they make the bed terribly!).
3. Empty a trash can that is full.
Overflowing trash cans are more common than you would think - it can drain your energy very quickly, seeing your garbage literally stuffed into tiny waste bins and baskets. What a depressing sight! Again, this is another task that little ones LOVE to do. (Are you picking up on my theme, here? Everyone helps:)
4. Get more sleep, set your alarm, and NO snooze button.
I will forever hear my mother's voice letting me know that a). I have NOT gotten enough sleep, b). I NEED to go to bed earlier, or c). She is SO happy that I finally slept! We all know that when we have better quality sleep, we are better people. Compensating by sleeping in late an extra 20 minutes will not cover going to bed at 1:00 am, and will only backlash as you are now running 20 minutes late this morning. And hitting snooze 4 times after staying up all night will certainly not help you achieve that "well-rested" look you are going for. 2016 tip of the year: limit screen time at night! Switch to a book, or a puzzle. Something with no backlight to stimulate your brain for hours on end. That does NOT promote sleep, and you and I both know it :)
5. Tidy. All of the time.
I come from a family of "tidiers" - while it may not look like much, tidying your counters, cupboards, and living space throughout your day makes way for a tidy home. No, it is not an OCD thing. If you have a place for an item, why throw it on the counter? Why not put it back. You can (gently) nudge your family members to do the same, and do the same, and do the same until . . . voila' - your family is a tidy family, and your home is a tidy home :) Most nights I dedicate 20-30 minutes of family tidying, resetting, realigning, and refocusing. It works wonders! (Backpacks packed (by each child) for the morning, all loaded and ready to go. Have kids place devices on chargers each night, so they are ready to go by morning. Plan outfits the night before, and have ready to put on in the morning).
6. No stockpiling, no hoarding.
My children are, by nature, junk collectors. Hoarders. Constantly squirreling away trinkets, found treasures, and yes even acorns and rocks - like rodents. Usually once a month, I wander into the kids' rooms when they are at school, or at a friend's house. I have a large trash bag, and YES - I sort through the (literally) junk they shove into desk and dresser drawers. I continue on from kids rooms to my own bedroom drawers, kitchen drawers, office drawers, etc. Never let junk fester - because when it sits too long, it COLLECTS. No collecting. No.
7. Teach your children well.
I am always trying to show my kids how to do things, vs. doing it for them. Never underestimate the ability of your kids - they are brilliant. Those hands and minds are SO ready to take on even the most daunting of tasks, because it gives them pride in doing so. The work comes when they don't do it exactly the way we like. But push through, and LET them continue to help around the house. Send me a message if you'd like a copy of my "Chore List" flow chart :)
Jane Steele created Oh So Clean as a way to help others simplify their lives by sorting through clutter. As a registered nurse and mother of three, she found that observing an organized lifestyle made for a happier and healthier family. Jane has been organizing for family and friends for many years - it comes as a natural habit to want to extend her passion beyond her own realm.
Oh So Clean simply allows one the ability to find more personal time, family time, and structure within an otherwise hectic world. Oh So Clean is dedicated to finding simple living solutions for your busy lifestyle.