Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fight Clutter by Putting your House to Bed

We recently did a kitchen appliance update, leaving me with a very strong desire to keep the kitchen clean at all times. Admittedly, this is difficult as we tend toward messy and no matter how many dinners I cook, the kids still need more food. 

When we got the new appliances, the dishwasher arrived with a broken part. Thankfully, Kitchenaid is awesome and set us up with a service guy to fix it, unfortunately we had to wait almost 2 weeks for the new part. That meant two weeks of hand washing every single dish. It caused me to be a bit slack in my bedtime routine. Normally we're diligent and make sure everything is put away before we head to bed. But with hand washing we had a constant pile of dishes out on the counter. Interestingly enough, that pile caused more piles. Seeing disorder in one part of the house made me feel like allowing disorder in other parts of the house was okay. It's not. And I noticed that it created a higher level of stress for me than when the house is tidy at the end of the day.

The dishwasher is fixed now, and so we've gotten back on track with our household bedtime routine.

Here’s how we simply maintain and fight clutter, every day:

General House:
Sometime between dinner and before the kids go up to get themselves ready for bed we spend a few moments putting things away. Shoes, backpacks, homework, books, and whatever else came out during the day all gets put in their proper places.

The kids take turns doing the dinner dishes so most nights the kitchen is pretty tidy by the time they go to bed. While they’re getting pj’s on and brushing teeth I usually take about five minutes to put the kitchen to bed. Here’s a quick run down of what I do:
  • Load up any dirty dishes and start the dishwasher. 
  • Rinse the sink and wipe it down with vinegar solution, then dry it until it shines.
  • Spray the counters and wipe down.
  • Prep any breakfast things that need prepping.
  • Sweep if needed. (It usually does, I usually decide it’s clean enough to skip it.)
  • Wipe down and oil the kitchen table. We have a butcher block top for our table, so it usually needs a rub down with mineral oil. This typically takes all of one minute and leaves me with a clean surface for breakfast.
I do all of this while I make a cup of tea. By the time the tea is ready, the kitchen is in order.

Living Room:
  • Put all books/magazines/papers away, to their home or the recycle bin.
  • Straighten the couches. The joy of wood floors is that we can easily move things wherever we want. The bummer is that things often move without our wanting them too.
  • Fluff the toss pillows. I don’t know why, but when the pillows are straight and fluffy I feel like the whole room is clean.
  • Turn down lights.
Along the way I ask myself if I want to look at this mess the next day. My answer is usually no, and that motivates me to take a few minutes to deal with the clutter that builds up.

Your routine might look different, but we can all benefit from the fresh start that comes when we put everything in order the night before. A bedtime routine for your home will bring peace and order in the mornings, which are usually the most frantic times of the day.

Do you have a bedtime routine for your house? Share in the comments.

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