Spending time in the middle of your day reading that book you’ve been meaning to get to.
Taking a quiet stroll through your neighborhood.
Being able to focus on a craft that you’d like to learn or simply spending more quality time with the family.
What if I told you this is all POSSIBLE.
Your day doesn’t have to be consumed with never-ending chores.
You can begin today establishing systems that maintain your home around the perimeters of your day.
Here’s how I’ve established this system in my home.
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I wake up in the morning around 6:00 am. The very first things that need to happen for me is prayer and getting the coffee going.
There are three things on my list that absolutely need to get done every single day in order for me to feel accomplished. I call them my Top Three. Here’s a look at what they are:
1. Put in a load of laundry. All I need to do is go into my kids’ room and pick up their bag of sorted dirty laundry, for there is no needed for trying to pan through a bunch of dirty clothes when I can barely see through the sleep in my eyes.
A huge part of this system is to teach the kiddos to help out by sorting their own clothes. Children as young as two years old can learn to sort by color.
I use these really cool laundry sorters in all of our closets to make it super simple to sort. There is one bag for whites, light colors, dark colors, and linens.
I simply take a full bag down to the machine and pop them into the wash.
Chore #1 has begun.
If I don’t get another load done for the rest of the day, I’ve always gotten at least a single load of clothes done and feel pretty proud of myself.
2. Unload the dishwasher. This, of course, depends on whether or not you remembered to turn it on the night before. However, keeping a schedule where you are loading the washer throughout the day and then simply turning it on at night, is crucial to keeping a tidy kitchen.
Once the dishwasher is unloaded, I put a pellet in and turn my cute little magnet that reads “clean” on one end and “dirty” on the other, to indicate that the dishwasher is open for business.
Little people can learn responsibility for cleaning up after themselves by raking, rinsing, and stacking their dishes and utensils in the dishwasher themselves.
At night simply start your dishwasher.
I usually do this right after I come down from putting the children to bed. the sound of the washer going helps them get to sleep faster.
Parenting Tip: White noise works wonders for infants too! I learned early on to never put a baby down in a completely quiet house. The first hint of noise will have you darting to the baby’s bedside every time.
In addition, vacuuming is perfect right before bedtime. I’ll get to that a little later.
3. Making Beds. I know you have heard this before, but it’s one of those things that you hear so much because it’s true. Please, please, please make the bed!
I make my bed every morning. I feel better about my day, life just seems brighter, I feel accomplished, AND my room looks nicer when I need to give myself a time-out.
These three tasks usually take less than 30 minutes.
A few more items in my morning routine include:
4. Water the houseplants and outdoor container garden. This only takes a few minutes and I have beautiful greenery to enjoy throughout the day.
5. Put the clothes in the dryer. I usually run a 30-minute cycle for our laundry, unless something is really in need of a heavy cycle. So after my top three are done, I can move my load of clothes into the dryer.
If it’s a weekday, I can proceed with getting the children out to school, my husband off to work, and the fur-baby situated for her routine.
Now the coffee is brewed and I’m ready to have some me time and it’s not even 7:00 am yet.
6. Bible Study and Writing. I have my cup of Joe and I’m ready to sit down for the next few hours to focus on scripture and meditation and writing.
If it happens to be one of those days where nothing else gets done, then I still feel really good about the appearance of operation of my home. This is the goal of the perimeter routine.
In the evening after dinner is the heavier cleaning. Just keep in mind that this system works due to MAINTENANCE throughout the day. For instance, after lunch, the table needs to be washed down and dishes loaded into the dishwasher. When people are hanging out in the family room, they need to put the pillows back in place when they leave the space. You get the picture.
So on to the evening routine.
1. Wipe down the dining table and surfaces. This includes giving the dining table a thorough cleaning and perhaps a quick polish if needed. This also includes quickly dusting table tops in the family room.
2. Start the dishwasher. After a full day of dining, all of the dishes should be nicely loaded into the dishwasher ready to go. You don’t even have to fill the little cup. Because honestly, there have been some nights that I didn’t start the dishwasher simply because I was too tired (or lazy) to bend down there and put the pellet in. It’s nice to have it all ready to go.
3. Kitchen cleaning. Wipe down my counter-tops, cupboards, and stove, sweep the floors and mop.
You pretty much want to prepare the kitchen for a fresh start in the morning. There’s nothing like waking up to a kitchen you can go right into and begin preparing your morning meal.
4. Vacuum the floors. I don’t know about you but as quiet as they say the new dishwashers are, they still seem to be pretty loud to me. If you have a super quiet one please let me know.
Anyway, because mine is so loud, I use that as an excuse to vacuum my floors.
Vacuuming is one of my favorite chores because it seems so relaxing. I also get some weird gratification from seeing the nice lines imprinted on my carpet.
I like to do this when the house is quiet and it feels like it’s just me and my vacuum against the world.
5. Laundry. Another one of my favorite chores is ironing. Now that my home is relaxed I can iron clothes while listening to a little music. Put them on hangers and put them away. I also like to put away the folded laundry at this time, but this is mainly my ironing time.
It takes about an hour and a half to complete my evening routine. This is simply because there are a few of my favorite chores in there and I take my time to do them.
Notice I didn’t mention bathrooms or any deep cleaning in this routine.
This routine helps me to keep the very basics running smoothly daily. You can certainly add the bathrooms and any other part of your home that you’d like into your perimeter routine.
I also have a weekly cleaning schedule that helps me maintain other chores like cleaning the refrigerator, organizing, and cleaning the bathrooms that help me manage my home.
My philosophy is to always have housekeeping done by noon, no matter the day. This keeps the middle of my day free to run errands, manage emergencies, deal with school affairs, and other pertinent parts of the day, including self-care and self-development.
I hope this blesses your homemaking routine in some way.
Let me know if you already incorporate a similar system, or if you plan to try this one. I’m always looking to improve my systems.
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Blessings, and Happy Homemaking!