Sandy's
A Little Bit of Everything Message
on Homemaking

Hi :)

Keeping something simple can be so difficult sometimes, can it not?

I had finally reached a comfortable set of standards in my housekeeping and personal daily routines and now they all need to be revamped! :) Babies break all the rules, don't they? :) I have shared things before working for me and those not so successful and I find myself evaluating a lot here lately.

What is working?
Where are the areas in need of change/improvement?
What routines are worth keeping and which ones don't fit in my life?

I confess to being a bibliophile for I love to read and books are new gifts with each opening and turning of the pages. I am learning that I must be and "infophile" too:) if there is such a thing bec/ I can spend hours reading and researching whatever topic I am on at any given time.

One topic that seems to remain an active one in my life is on life management. Not for a business executive, career field, or the general public but life management for me...as a woman. Maybe it is this constant organizing that is always awake in my head (did I journal enough of a prayer during quiet time? was I a caring enough wife to Blake? did I show enough love to my kids? how is the state of my home? are we doing enough in home schooling? am I on an adequate writing schedule?) but managing all of the areas with some type of order is important to me. Isn't this true for most of us? Aren't we all quite aware that we have 24 precious hours each day to savor or waste... and is there any one of us who would choose waste? No. We all want to streamline and walk an efficient path so that each area is not neglected.

I have tried following just one system and though some find this more simple and focused... I prefer taking what I can use from as many places as I find them.

I don't follow flylady's entire routines and some of what I have seen with her (and Pam and Peggy's/Sidetracked.H.E.) were things I had read similar info on in previously read books of that kind. Maybe one day I will follow it more precisely but for now I am implementing from it what I can handle and blend into my life. I think she has the "simply organized" thing down and that simplicity and order are very "doable" for just about anyone. I won't go into her exact plan but I will touch up on some areas that I apply in my own life:

* Perfection is not always a positive and can keep us from accomplishing what we could be doing. Doing something is better than nothing... even if it isn't perfect.

* Get any routines you want to use down on paper. I don't know why this step would be as helpful as it is but there is something about having it in front of you that makes it more applicable in a daily life of things to do. Flylday recommends a "control journal" where everything is organized in a notebook. I have one of these but I don't use it as is suggested and find myself rarely if ever opening it. I love notebooks and adore organizing things in them with dividers, tabs, and more. I just don't use it for home upkeep and either need to get better with this or make another way. I may keep the one I have filled with routines for daily tasks, weekly jobs, and monthly chores along with some other lists for referral and just keep it handy in a cabinet. I have one laminated chore sheet up in the kitchen for the kids:

Kitchen Duties

Dinner Help:

Monday - Michael (oldest to youngest)
Tuesday - Brandon
Wednesday - Matthew
Thursday - Lauren
Fridays - mom & dad together

After Dinner Clean Up:

1. Dishes and sink
2. Table and counters (to include putting up all the food)
3. Sweep and mop floor.
4. Take out the trash and work on "list of chores" --- This list is just a basic one of any kitchen jobs that don't usually get done on a routine basis. Examples: Wiping down the cabinets, cleaning the trashcan, cleaning the oven, polishing the table and chairs, and so on.

<Kitchen Sink>
I have always been almost fanatic about my kitchen sink area and still am. I have shined sinks wherever I lived but I reached a point in the past couple of years where so many were active here and visiting that the sink would fill up with cups, spoons, and various other dishes waiting to be washed. I am trying to keep our dishwasher emptied so that training to put everything in it will be more successful. Until then... I am using the idea I found here by placing a plastic container (I use a rectangle storage container that fits perfectly) under my sink so they don't look messy in the sink area!

* Baby steps. Taking things one step at a time. Learning that everything won't work perfectly together all at once and that things take time... habits can be established by starting with one and building on to it as each is mastered.

*Adding routines onto other routines. Each morning I use the restroom. I'm already going in there so I can brush my teeth, take a shower (unless I had my nightly bubble bath:) and so on while in there. While I'm at it... in a minute or two I can wipe down the bathroom faucet and sink, swish the toilet with a toilet brush and squirt of cleaner, wipe down the toilet seat, and take out dirty clothes when I leave. If the trash bag is full... I'll tie it up, reline the trash can, and carry the old out with the laundry.

*Calendar. Checking day and night. I learned this when building a business and learning how to balance home/work with proper time management. Blake and I bought Franklin Covey planners and learned how to use them. This is what I am using now and it keeps me feeling at least some things are in control.

*Before Bed Routine. This is something I read similar notes on in other publications and it will help the next day go much smoother. Just laying clothes, purses, diaper bags, book bags, and so on out the night before is a tremendous boost if that was done alone. Picking up the house... taking a relaxing bath... checking the calendar/planner, and so on.

*5-minute room rescue. Great idea. Just take one of your worst areas/rooms and devote only 5 minutes each day to working in it and you might be amazed what can be accomplished!

* Home Blessing. This is a weekly hour of cleaning consisting of 7 jobs: Change sheets, vacuum, dust, cull magazines, mop, empty all trash, polish mirrors and doors. I love this one but must admit that I don't think I've ever accomplished all of them in one blessing:) Monday is a good day for this as the family is usually recovering from the weekend. For me... this is a great idea and I have made it my own. On either Friday or sometime early on Monday... I plan out the week ahead. I usually plan any that involve house work on a different day than the home blessing.

* Hot Spot. These are those areas that you clean off just to find them fill immediately back up on no time. Flylady suggests working on these during other routines and devoting 5-10 minutes tackling them throughout the day. This is a good idea and works wonders for those with perfectionist tendencies! Mine are: my dryer (this is where I fold clothes that others put away and place anything that goes back to someone else,) desk, dressers, and one of the kitchen counters.

*Morning routine. Just what it says and mine is as follows: (have considered adding to this and perhaps changing the order but will allow time to

tell:): --- some of this is just a repeat from above statement---

* Make bed.

* Go to bathroom. Brush teeth, wash face, shower if I didn't have a good bubble bath night before, quickly fix hair, apply some very basic make up (I don't use make up every day... some days I just love the freshly cleaned, toned, and moisturized feel of my skin too much to "cover" it up!). . . Before I leave the bathroom, I wipe the sink, faucets, and toilet with a baby wipe and swish the toilet with a spray of Simple Green cleaner and a toilet bowl brush. I glance around to see if any supplies need restocked (soap out, toilet paper, and so on) and take out the dirty clothes with me. *Start coffee. *Get laundry moving by folding the clothes in the dryer, moving the washed to be dry, and beginning another load. I put up the folded load. *Empty/reload dishwasher. *Fix cup of coffee and settle down for my morning quiet time with the Lord where I read/study the Word, write reflections, questions, and so on into my journal, record prayers and thoughts, and jot a verse down to memorize during the day. Some verses take me longer to learn than others so those get repeated until memorized instead of writing down new ones to know. I am not very disciplined in this area and I long to get better at it! *Look over my planner. This is a part that I love doing for some reason? It just makes me feel more ready for the day, I guess. I just look over the month at a glance to check off today's date and see what I have down for that day and the week I'm on. I then go to the two page fold for the day and write down my to do list and anything I think of. Throughout the day... I'll open this up to record anything I need to do, buy, plan, calls to make, and so on. *Gather home school materials needed for the day, my teacher's plan book, and a notepad. I am in great need of spending more time on this as the past few weeks have been lacking greatly in this area. It shows in our home school day bec/ I find myself searching for papers, grades, and so on that would have been ready otherwise. I also use this time to check off the attendance forms we are required to keep and send in monthly for our state. *Breakfast. This area used to be such a habit that I could throw a nice one together for any of us here at home in minutes. I have not done this in weeks! So much has been going on that I just got thrown way off track. The kids have been going to school with nothing or what they throw together:( and we have been grabbing toast or a leftover something for ours here. This should not be and I want to get back on track with this important time of our day!

I don't want to go in to each and every detail of this system as I only plan to highlight some things that have helped me in my homemaking and not give exhaustive reviews and explanations. These are just some things I found helpful. I must share a bit more thing "tip" that has made the biggest difference and it is one shared in other writings as well: the beauty in de-cluttering! We have far too many things and we wonder why we have a hard time taking care of our homes! Our lives are overflowing with junk...even if we can claim it to be "good junk" and not trash... it is still junk unless it is serving more a purpose than causing for care of it! I never seem to de-clutter the flylady recommended 27 items a time (usually there is way MORE!) but I do make a goal of de-cluttering for at least 15 minutes somewhere in my home every single day. The difference is astounding and I feel more free than I can tell you with every clearing out! There are many things that I could not justify throwing in a trash bag (just as many that I can!) so I box those things up and give them away to happy loved ones!

Marla Cilley --- Flylady and author of: "Sink Reflections" (the book is a print out of the free emails sent out) also shares testimonials from people who have tried her system and found success. These are great even if this system isn't our only one to use!

---Sandy
©2003 Sandy Willoughby
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