Beatrice is 8.5 months, and I think I’ve just about got to the stage where the state of the house doesn’t make me want to kill myself on a regular basis. I put this down to a) experience – I’ve had a good amount of time now with two kids, so I can start making space for things other than cluster feeding and trying to keep the toddler entertained, and b) The Lazy Genius podcast, which I have just discovered, and which is genuinely full of useful things that I’ve implemented and which have totally changed the way I keep my house in order.
Ya’ll, she makes me want to be a Southern, Christian stay-at-home mom. I’m none of those things, but I have discovered some things about my home keeping since being on maternity leave…
1. I need a system for cleaning.
If I just cleaned whenever I felt like it, my house would literally never be clean. I hate cleaning. So I need a system. I used to have a print out, which worked before kids. But my standards have dropped significantly since then (and they were never particularly high to begin with). Now, I have days marked out in my bullet journal of ideally when I should change the bedsheets, clean the bathroom and clean the hob. They don’t always happen, but seeing the little boxes in my journal gives me enough of a prompt usually to get it done within a couple of days, if not on the designated day itself.
2. I do laundry by type, not by colour or by how full the load is
This tip came from this Lazy Genius podcast episode. Instead of washing whites together, I now do the following loads as and when there’s enough to make it worthwhile: Things that hang (meaning everything comes out wet, nothing goes in the dryer), mine and Peter’s clothes (all easily foldable and putawayable in our room), the kids’ clothes (so everything is foldable and putawayable in Beatrice’s room, where both of their wardrobes are), towels, kitchen towels, reusable wipes etc (go on a hot wash – towels don’t even get folded, just go straight back into the bathroom, kitchen towels get folded and put away in the kitchen).
I know this doesn’t seem that much of a big deal, but really, it’s made a huge difference. Previously, I’d have to pull everything out of the machine before putting it on to dry to find the stuff that needed to hand up. Then, I used to fold everything in our room, and then piles of stuff would just sit there – kids’ clothes couldn’t be put away straight away if Beatrice was asleep so I’d forget about them. Stuff for the kitchen would sit there for ages because I’d keep forgetting to take them downstairs. This just makes this so much easier.
3. I clean the kitchen after every meal
As much as I would rather clean the kitchen at the end of the day, sorting everything out at the end of each meal makes life way easier. It takes around 5 minutes most days, whereas if I leave it to the end of the day, it can easily take 30 or more. Plus, at the end of the day I am exhausted and just want to lie on the couch watching Netflix. I do not want to spend 30 precious minutes cleaning. This means that if I leave it to the end of the day, it usually means leaving it to the following morning, when I want to clean loads of crusty old pots even less. Not a great thing to wake up to. PLUS it means that I actually enjoy the kitchen during the day, and don’t get that ‘ugh’ feeling every time I walk in and see all the dirty dishes.
Again, this was inspired by a Lazy Genius episode. She has an order for cleaning the kitchen that I roughly follow, and it really does work.
4. When it comes to toys, less is more
Sometimes I go round to friends’ houses, I feel a little stab of envy at how many toys they (/their kids) have. But for the most part, I don’t think we need that much. Everything we have is within reach, most of it can be seen at a glance, and it’s easy to put everything away at the end of the day. We actually had double the amount of toys out until recently, when I got fed up of the big toy bag where everything got dumped. It was impossible to find anything and half of the time we didn’t even know what was in there! SO I took the things Theo and Bee liked most out of the bag and just put them out on the shelf. Then I took the rest of the things in there and removed the bag and its contents to our bedroom. At some point in the next couple of months, I’ll do a toy refresh and swap some things out. It’s working for me and neither of them has complained.
5. Decluttering is a lie
I love to “declutter”. I’ve given away so many things on Olio. I’ve sold a whole bunch of stuff recently on eBay. But my house is still full of stuff and my sideboard still ends up covered in crap. I’m learning to accept that this is just the way it is for me, and it’s okay not to live in a minimalist environment.
6. Seasonal decor is just never going to happen
I wish I had seasonal candles and we had autumn traditions or a way of marking the equinox. And technically we DO have seasonal candles, but I never remember to light them. And I did get Theo to paint the pumpkins in the picture above, but that’s it for autumn. Those pumpkins will sit on the radiator cover until they start going a bit squishy. Hopefully when the kids are older, we can do more interesting craft projects, and then we’ll have more traditions, but right now, I think squishy painted pumpkins are as good as it’s going to get.
7. I hate hoovering, but sweeping is pretty satisfying
I don’t know why I hate hoovering so much, but I really was having to force myself to do it. I think it’s the noise – Theo hates loud noises, so I can’t use it when he’s at home (well, I can, but he yells “turns it off turn it off!” the whole time it’s on), and I could use it when it’s just me and Bee, but I never do because she starts chasing after it and cries when I don’t give it to her. So I started using a brush and dustpan whenever I spot some dust and it’s way better, and very satisfying. My house is now about 50% dust bunny free (I’m still pretty crap).
Of course, right now I’m on maternity leave. What will happen when I go back to work? I’m hopeful that some of the systems will stay in place.
Peter literally does not notice if the kitchen is full head-to-toe in dirty dishes. Or if he notices, he certainly doesn’t care. We’re doing shared parental leave from the middle of next month, and he’s said he’s going to make himself a schedule of things like changing the sheets, cleaning the bathroom, etc, to do throughout the week. Will it happen? Let’s see!
What systems make your life earlier? How do you declutter!? WHERE DOES ALL THE CLUTTER COME FROM? Answers in the comments, please 😉