What Works for Me: Three Tips for Smoother Days

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I’ve seen a lot of posts out in bloggie land (not to mention books in the library) that tell us all that if we just do this or that we’ll live in spotless houses, have tons of extra time, and perfect kids.

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Well, we all know that one thing can’t possibly work for everyone in every situation so I thought I’d start a new series called “What Works for Me” to share with you, my dear readers, about just that: what works for ME in MY life.

There are a lot of things that I have discovered over the last seven years since I married my husband and the last five years since becoming a stay at home mother that I think could help others…but I certainly can’t vouch for them being applicable to a mom of one, or a mom of teens, or empty-nesters, etc.  I’m the first person to admit that I have a ton more to learn.  I know as my children grow I will adapt and things will change and the things that work for me now may no longer work.  {whew, I’m feeling long-winded today!}

So without further ado here are three habits that help me stay on top of home and hearth being a stay at home mother of three young children:

Laundry

I’ve seen lots of sites that recommend doing one load of laundry per day.  Guess what, it does NOT work for me.  I have three kids five and under and when you think about what goes into one load of laundry-sorting, loading the washer, switching it to the dryer, folding, putting away-I absolutely cannot keep up with that each and every day.

What works for ME is to do one day of crazy intensive laundry per week and then two maintenance days per week.  So around these parts I do ALL laundry on Mondays.  As soon as we are up in the morning I strip the beds and throw the linens in the washer.  Then the boys and I collect all the dirty laundry in the house and sort it.  I turn on the buzzers on the washer and dryer and I rarely do much out of the house that day.  As soon as the dryer buzzes the loads are switched, the laundry is folded and put away.  I usually do about five loads of laundry on Mondays-bed linens, darks, colors, lights, towels.

I normally do one load on Wednesday of colors and then two loads on Friday-whites and colors so everyone has all clothes clean for the weekend.  I don’t do laundry at all on the weekends when my husband is home unless the kids get crazy dirty or someone has an accident.

The reason I think this works for me is that I have one day-the same day every week-that I know is devoted to laundry.  I still do routine cleaning but nothing else big that day.  Because I am focusing on the laundry and only the laundry I can make sure it all gets done in that one day-which is a lot for a family of five.

Dishes

I can NOT leave dirty dishes just laying around.  I don’t know about other parts of the country but here in the South we collect an impressive number of bugs, especially in the summer and I feel that food sitting out is just inviting those suckers into my home.

What works for me is to make sure I start each day with a clean kitchen and empty dishwasher.  So, each day I load the dishwasher as we use the dishes, immediately rinsing the breakfast, snack, and lunch dishes and putting them into the dishwasher keeps the counters clear and clutter to a minimum.  I don’t have to work around a stack of dishes at dinnertime which is an added bonus.  As difficult as it is, I clean up from dinner immediately as well, loading the dishwasher and this usually fills it just about up.

Then, this is the key: I go ahead and put the detergent in the dishwasher and set it on a 6 hour delay.  This way the dishes get cleaned when we’re sleeping and I don’t have to listen to the washer (not that the one in our new home is that loud-but it is next to the living room so its nice to no have it running in the evenings.) In the morning I am greeted with a clear countertop instead of a sink full of dishes.  I pour myself a cup of coffee and unload the dishwasher first thing.  Seems like an annoyance I know but I’d like to point out two things:

1.  I’ve literally timed it and it takes me less than two minutes to completely unload and put away all of the dishes.
2.  Because I start with an empty washer first thing in the morning, there is no reason to stack any dishes on the counter or in the sink all day and I avoid having a big pile to do later.  Once you’re in the habit of it, it will make life a lot easier.

Meal Planning

Meal planning has been a life-changer for me.  But its like eating my vegetables or exercising, even though I know its the best thing for me I still don’t do it sometimes.  I end up paying for it later with stressful evenings and higher grocery bills so I try my best to stay on top of it.

I am not as meticulous for planning my meals as some but what I generally do is make a list of about 7 or 8 meals and all their ingredients as a guideline before I go to the grocery store.  I don’t assign days to meals because I never know how the day will flow with three littles.  I always get a quickie meal or two for the week as well-bag of salad and pizza or breakfast for dinner-these give me an option for when the baby has an ornery day or the boys are bouncing off the walls. Thats about as detailed as I get, there are tons of printables you can find on the web for ease of planning, I just write mine on a blank piece of paper though (cause I’m a rebel like that.)

So there you have it…three of the biggest ways I make my days flow more smoothly as a stay at home mom and homemaker.

What about you? Do you have a different approach that works better for you? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear what works for you!

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previous post: Homemaking Tip: Two Minutes to a Cleaner Sponge
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Comments

  1. says

    We are too much alike. I do all three of these things (except I need to REALLY stick to a scheduled laundry day each week…I usually let that one lapse until I absolutely have to spend a day doing laundry). Can’t wait to see more in this series. Thanks!

  2. says

    Thanks for the helpful ideas. This is a great post. We are so glad to have you join us for our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday”. See you again next week!! -The Sisters

  3. says

    Oh my goodness, what is it about homemaking and planning that gets me all excited? I love this post! :) I do the load of laundry a day thing around here, sometimes two or three and it works for us since there are only three of us. We make so much laundry though! I don’t know how you keep up with it! Also, I am just all about meal-planning and my crock pot! It makes it so I don’t really spend any time on making dinners at all. I’m thinking about getting a second one for lunches.
    Courtenay recently posted..How to get your (messy, icky) fridge sparkly clean in 3 minutes flat!My Profile

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