Monday, July 21, 2008
I have really been enjoying "keeping house" this past month. I have found a rhythm with it all that feels right and satisfying. Everything is about 15 minutes away from being clean at any time. The chores are getting done as needed. And the ritual of routine is keeping the laundry and dishes flowing as they should.
Here are a few ideas that I have on why things tend to be running more smoothly for me:
Summer De-cluttering. I have been going through every closet and purging clothes, toys, trash and random clutter (fast food toys, birthday party favors, dollar stores items) and taking them swiftly to a local charity (except the junk :) Mike and I have also tackled 3 small storage closets that we have and rid ourselves of most of it....when it sits behind closed doors almost indefinitely, do I really need it?? This was mainly baby paraphernalia, office stuff, and toys. When there is less stuff, then you can keep things picked up and put away easier.
Furniture/Room Rearranging. We have been switching things around with our living room, office, and playroom. It's amazing when you do a new arrangement that really pleases you that you really want to keep it looking nice. When our home starts feeling stale, then I don't take as much pleasure in keeping it. Our "new" surroundings have given me a renewed sense of order and loveliness.
Fresh flowers. I planted some zinnias in galvanized pails on our front porch and some butter daisies along one of our fence lines in our back entry...it's amazing how that little bit of beauty motivates me to keep the porches swept and clean and looking fresh. Before the flowers came, it all looked dusty and sad. It seems that adding beauty is a great motivation to then bringing in even more order and beauty. Instead of allowing all the dirt and dust to spur me on, the beauty beckoned me to work towards more order. I like that.
Morning Routine. Flylady really taught me the value of routine. Every morning I drink my coffee, reflect, pray. Then I hit the laundry room with my first load of the day, and then proceed to empty the dishwasher. I cook breakfast, do the breakfast dishes, and then switch the wet laundry to the dryer. We all get dressed, make our beds, and begin taking a look at what chores need to be done. We all know that when we finish, the reward is a clean home, a trip to the library or pool or park, and then we arrive back here to rest and peace. When I fall out of my morning routine, the whole day gets off kilter and it's hard for me to get back on track. Routine brings peace because there is always a knowing that things will get done and now it truly is autopilot for me.
Afternoon Pick-Ups. Right after lunch and then right before dinner, pick up the main living areas...living room, dining room, and kitchen. Then everything is ready for you and your family to relax for afternoon quiet times or later when dinner and dishes are through. Have the children go do a 5-minute room pick-up of books and toys. Having these two pick-up times in the day keep our home comfortable and relaxing...with six of us, we must do this. It teaches us to love and respect each other (our need for space and relaxing spots) and also allows us to invite others in at a moment's notice.
Intuitive Cleaning. There was a great blog post that I read a while back that I have searched for and can't seem to find. A woman was musing at why we obsess with cleaning schedules of what to clean which day of the week. She said that our grandmothers didn't use day timers or elaborate scheduling for their housework. They just cleaned as things got dirty. Why clean the blinds on Tuesday if they aren't dusty? Why mop the floors every Saturday if this week they may need it twice? Her premise was that we should stop complicating our housekeeping and just clean as the need arises. Wake up, see what needs to be done, and do it. Is that simple living or what? I began cleaning intuitively and boy, I began to really enjoy myself. I saw that the master bathroom needing some sprucing, so I did it. I saw that the front of my kitchen cabinets needing wiping, so I did it. I saw that just the little boys' room needed vacuuming, so I did it. I didn't go hunting for jobs, I just saw needs as I went about my day and took a moment to meet them. It has been very freeing and enjoyable. And actually the house seems cleaner than ever! I just am doing "here a little, there a little"...doing the next thing as it shows itself. Even as I sit here I am noticing the computer is dusty, so when I am done here, I will grab a cloth and give it a little care.
Simple Tools. I use microfiber cloths for cleaning everything...windows, dusting, floors, bathrooms. It sure does simplify my life and does a great job. Tools that work well are always worth investing in. A good sturdy broom. Vinegar/water. Thick dishcloths. A watering can. These are just a few simple things that I use well and often.
Finally, a few great resources. Because you know I love great resources. This book is always very inspiring and I can't wait to give it a re-read. I finally bought it about a year or so ago and am so glad that I did. A once-a-year reading seems about right. Also I bought a monthly $5 subscription to Homemaker's Mentor to learn some great "vintage" skills that seem to be lost with my generation. You can also just purchase individual lessons according to your interests.
Clean simply and intuitively...switch things up a little bit....purge the unneeded...add some beauty along the way. Sounds like good living to me.