I think you know by now that I really believe that implementing helpful habits will make your life less stressful. My goal is to make life easier, so I want to assure you that these are not complicated.
Simple is my mantra.
If a system is not helping me to be more productive and to simplify my life, it is not worth the effort to make it a habit.
So this is not about elaborate systems. This is about taking a simple activity that helps you, and doing it over and over until it becomes second-nature.
To assure you that I am talking about really simple things, here are three habits that I intentionally implemented (not all at the same time!) that have made my homemaking job easier.
These along with some key others, that I will share later, have changed my homemaking life. I know! Even I find it strange that something so simple could change my life, but so it is!
3 Simple Habits that Make Life Easier
1. Putting away shoes, coat, bag, and keys as soon as you walk in the door.
This seems like it should be a given, but it isn’t. At least not for me! I had to work to train myself in this. But I am so glad I did! Doing this consistently has meant that I no longer trip over my shoes, my home is not cluttered with my things, and when I am running out the door, I always know where my things are. No wasted minutes searching for that item!
2. Having a clean kitchen with clear counters before bed.
This is harder than it sounds especially when you cook meals and have small children. I am not an evening person. My energy level completely drops after dinner, so it is very tempting for me to leave things for the morning. But I also hate waking up in the morning to a messy kitchen, and it gets my day off to a bad start when I start with a pile of dishes.
I will share with you sometime how I have limited the number of dishes for after dinner. It deserves its own post. But having the standard that we do not go to bed with dishes in the sink is extremely helpful to the overall kitchen maintenance.
It sometimes means I am standing at the kitchen sink prying my eyes open. The next morning, though, when I am getting my coffee I always smile and thank myself. (Is it weird to thank yourself? I do it all the time!)
3. Having a 5-minute cleaning spree right before dinner.
There is nothing I despise more than to sit down for dinner and see a bunch of toys and other random items lying around. In order to prevent this, our kids have to clean up all their toys, and we put away anything out of place in a quick, clean-up spree.
We sometimes do this at other times in the day such as before we go outside to play, before nap time, etc. Dinner time, though, is a non-negotiable. We only sit down to dinner with a clean house. Period. Because we do this consistently, the house never gets out of control.
There is no need to assign specific jobs to specific people (though you could if that works better for you!). Just set the timer and get moving! We do not set a timer anymore, because we are so accustomed to doing it. Our kids know that if it is dinner, it automatically means clean up time as well! This is a family affair, which means that both Brian and I do this along with the kids.
If your family is reluctant to help, try putting on some peppy music and doing a really short time frame. Eventually they will get used to it, and they too will enjoy the atmosphere it helps create for dinner.
You will sometimes see this idea referred to as a 15-minute clean-up. Fifteen minutes is too long for my 4 and 2 year olds. Also, our apartment is small and since we keep clutter to a minimum and keep it fairly well maintained throughout the day, a 15-minute session was not needed. We found ourselves walking around not knowing what to do. If the house is especially disastrous, we just increase it by a couple of minutes.
If you have a bigger place, or more people in the space, you may need longer. But you will probably find that you will be able to shorten the time frame if you do it consistently.
The point is not how many minutes, but that you do it consistently.
Because these three things have become habits now, I no longer have to work to do them. Well, usually anyway. 😉 Initially it was hard to remind myself, to force myself to be consistent, and to not give in to excuses. Now, I just do them without thinking, which simplifies everything! Yay!
Do you have habits that have become second nature to you that make your life easier? Are you too overwhelmed to try implementing a helpful habit? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear!