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what have you done to streamline the daily running of your home?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
i'm looking more for a way of making things easier b/c i feel like i could spend all day every day picking up, putting away, cleaning something, laundering something etc... the only thing i've come up for myself is regarding laundry. i've decided to stop folding towels, washcloths, cloth napkins, and diapers. when dry, they go into their individual bins (a bin in the hutch for napkins), two bins in the bath closet for towels and washcloths, a bin in ds's closet for diapers). this has saved time, but i'm still looking for more ideas. got any?
post #2 of 30
I am right there with you...I am interested to see what everyone says!

For me, I am trying to look at what IS working (like for some reason I can clean the bathroom and wash the towels EVERY Monday, but cannot keep up with wash and menu planning) and figure out what it is about those things that make them work. I guess it is mostly the routine.

Great thread!!!
post #3 of 30
Let's see. I have:

- purchased one of those three compartment laundry sorters and I sort my laundry right into it by color so instead of dumping out a big container to sort laundry, I just glance at the sorter to see which load is ready to go in the washer.

- put together cleaning kits, one for each floor of the house. I keep my vinegar spray, a shaker of baking soda (like the ones for parmesan cheese), rags, etc in a basket with handles so that I can clean just about anything by grabbing my basket of cleaning stuff and taking it with me to the mess. Very quick and easy.

- bought a little, lightweight stick vacuum so that I can just grab it without messing with cords or a big heavy vacuum every time there's something on the floor I want to clean up. I do the floors by each outside door with this vac every day and it cuts WAY down on the stuff that gets tracked through the rest of the house, which means I don't have to pull out my big vac as often.

- Banned knick knacks from the house. The only decorative stuff I have hangs on the walls. That way, dusting is faster. I used to have little decorative things on shelves and so forth but it took FOREVER to dust around the darn things. Now they're gone, I don't miss them, and dusting just takes a quick swipe.

- Decluttered, obviously. The less stuff, the less there will be to pick up and put away, or be in your way when trying to do things in your house.

- Limited myself to one main hobby. I love to sew, but I also had some calligraphy supplies, scrap-booking supplies, a whole collection of rubber stamps, etc. I had too much crap that way and could never focus on one hobby long enough to really get into a project. There were always too many other things I could do. So, I just have my sewing supplies and one basket of knitting, and that's it. I blessed someone else with all the other crafting stuff and I'm much happier this way. I realistically only have enough time to sew and do a little knitting anyway. I also only buy enough fabric or yarn for one project at a time now, instead of trying to keep a big stash going. Much easier on storage that way (not to mention my wallet!).

- streamlined my dishes. I used to have big, bulky stoneware plates and bowls that didn't really stack well and filled my dishwasher up too fast, and took up way too much room in the cabinets. I bought one box of Corelle dishes. They are thin, they stack into a very small, compact space, and don't take up nearly as much room in the dishwasher. Dishes are MUCH easier to deal with now. I love love love Corelle dishes.

Ok, I think that's most of it. I'm sure there's more but I can't remember anymore right now and this post is getting long, lol. Hope some of my ideas are helpful!
post #4 of 30
I just read through Peter Walshes book: It's All Too Much. Now I must implement. I loved the way the book gave me "permission" to get rid of stuff that is not beautiful and functional or that I simply love for my home. I already cull the kids toys frequently, but still trip through the house. This book has some great techniques for evaluating what you need and what is excess.

I agree that meal planning is a sometimes tricky spot at our house. Still working on that one.

Good Luck!
post #5 of 30
That's a good book! I just read that one.

I know this is the whole idea of this forum, but honestly what has helped me the most is having less stuff.

I decided I didn't want to live each day cleaning up Stuff or ignoring it until it overtook my spaces.

As for other ideas: we got some pretty cloth bins for the living room and they go underneath the table behind the couch. DD can easily pop her stuff in them after playing. Takes 10 mins or less.

I like the bins cuz they are not see-through. When her stuff is in there, underneath that table, everything looks so stream-lined. I enjoy walking into the room and sitting on the couch. It feels good in there.
post #6 of 30
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post #7 of 30
I agree having less stuff is the way to go. I continually declutter, tomorrow I am making a trip to our local food pantry and dropping a big box off. A bunch of canned goods that my parents gave me a few years ago. Since a couple of you mentioned meal planning issues, this is what I use and love.

http://www.cookingtf.com/mailer.html
She is a mama from mdc, best food ever too !!!!!!!!!

As I was cleaning up the kitchen tonight I noticed a bunch of random stuff laying around that goes in other rooms/garage etc, so I put it all together, in my free moments I can put each thing away...having it together reminds me to do that. I read awhile back that someone goes room to room collecting things that dont belong and put it in a laundry basket to be sorted and put away, i think that is a good idea if I had more rooms/stuff etc.
post #8 of 30
Wow great ideas everyone! We are moving to a two story house soon (hopefully, waiting on the military) so Ill definetly been using the idea of having two sets of cleaning supplies. I was wondering if that would create more clutter instead of less and waste money but Im glad to see someone else does it. With one toddler and one baby on the way (and a cat, dog and soon to be a little reptile) Im trying to simplify as much as possible.
Things Im starting to do:
-Stick to a cleaning schedule. I use to try to clean EVERY room EVERY day and I would feel aweful about myself if I didn't get it done. However, now I stick to one maybe two rooms a day. The house looks a TON better and I feel a lot better about myself.
-Do cooking once a week instead of every night. Its nice to be able to take a nice homecooked meal out of the fridge without the fuss of making it every night. Its especially nice for when my DD is having a "I want mommy" day.
-Go through and get rid of a TON of stuff. Im talking about two-three closets full of stuff that we thought we needed and really don't.
-Got a chest freezer, might sound a little counter productive but going shopping for me is hard right now and its nice to have meat stored up (especially when I can get it on sale and sales are hard to come by)
-As far as laundry, as soon as it comes off it goes into the wash and I have a basket in front for dish towels and the like. I haven't been seperating clothes (we only have one laundry basket) so as soon as the washing machine is full it gets started up.
-Doing dishes daily, I use to wait until the dishwasher was totally full and I ended up having to hand wash a lot of dishes so now every night before bed it goes on.
-Doing a month's shopping of nonperishables at one time. The 15ths paycheck usually I go and shop for all the cans, rice, etc that I will need for the coming month then all I have to do on the first is pick up more fruit/veggies.
- This might also sound a little counter productive, I pack DH's lunches now. I found that I would sit and worry about him not eating (especially when he had to PT) so packing his lunches meant less worry and that helped with my day.
-One last thing, I started asking for help. This might sound weird but I use to feel bad about asking DH to help me when he got home but I just don't have the energy to do it all anymore (before it was making have a mental breakdown). Asking him to do some of the stuff I can't or shouldn't be (like cleaning out the kitty litter or heavy lifting) lightened up load and he loves it. He loves feeling useful, he confided in me that he was feeling like I really didn't need him for anymore than a paycheck and it made me feel bad.

Im sure theres more but my daughter is lifting the kitty off the chair by her collar so I have to go stop her.
post #9 of 30
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post #10 of 30
We've got a looong way to go but we do some things that work:
  1. have the minimum area of flat surfaces possible throughout the house -- this is huge for us as any flat surface is a major cr@p collector
  2. we don't do any laundry sorting at all -- whatever doesn't survive our Darwinian laundry selection process doesn't get kept (I am not thrilled about this but it works for now)
  3. have a very quiet dishwasher so that we never feel that we have to delay running it even though it's in the main kitchen/dining/living area
  4. have all clothing in one room (in our case a bedroom being used for storage and a family closet)
  5. I've also found that having a chest freezer is very convenient and saves lots of shopping trips
  6. limit the quantity of toys available to kids
  7. wall-mount shelves/cabinets whereever possible to making cleaning easier
post #11 of 30
I love the idea of cooking once a week instead of daily. When DS was born, I had stockpiled my freezer (above fridge type) with 30 days worth of meals and it was heaven!

One thing I've done is lowered my cleaning standards. We haven't slide into hovel yet, (not by a longshot, actually) but relaxing my expectations of what constitutes clean has helped me accept where my life is with little young children.

I also heartily endorse asking for help. I really want to instill in my kids (and sometimes DH...) that this is OUR home and hence the responsibility to make it pleasant and clean falls upon all of us to some degree or another. Although some people refer to my role in the world as housewife--I didn't actually marry my house!!
post #12 of 30
I just spend all day picking up, cleaning, putting away.

What I did to streamline was to basically have a routine every day. There is usually an hour in the morning where the kids entertain themselves (or the tv helps them) and I just get things done. I do it as quickly as I can, and it usually includes vacuuming. I also pick one chore every day, for example yesterday it was the fridge and today I did a drawer under our stove. Cleaned it out and threw away some things. And I do small things when I see a chance, like putting in a load of laundry while I wait for my coffee to get ready.
If there are bigger things I don't get done during the day I do them when the kids are in bed at night. If I work fast I get that done in 30 mins, but I only do that when I have the energy for it.
We also declutter all the time and have moved things that were stored in a different spot to where they're used as much as possible.
post #13 of 30
I'm always looking to streamline as well so I'll be watching this thread. Here's what I've done to make my home life more simple:

General:
1. Much, much less stuff. It really makes a difference! And the stuff that I have I love so I use it a lot.
2. A place for everything. It's much easier to put away the kid's art supplies because there is a place to put them. I'm not just piling them away somewhere intending to get back to them someday and never doing so like I use to.
3. To do lists. I don't like to have clutter in my head either and writing it down makes all the difference for me.
4. I deal with mail immediately. I recycle junk before I go inside. Anything that needs a response goes in one basket for later.
5. I have file for each person in the house. Any pending paperwork goes in there.
6. I've greatly reduced my standards and my commitments in areas outside the home I'm not really dedicated to. This is the bigest one for me!

Food:
1. I make menus and do one big grocery shopping a month. Then I strive for one other shopping a week for perishables.
2. We eat a lot of simple, easy to prepare meals. While I'd love to be fancier, my picky kiddos dictate this.
3. I make one offering at snacktime, lunch, and dinner. There's always modifications for picky ones but I'm not a short-order cook. You might not like all of the meal but there's enough there you'll like. Breakfast is a pick-your-own meal most days. I've also stopped the all-day grazing we'd gotten into. Now there's snack time.
4. I'm more and more keeping food in the kitchen/dining area. I use to think that this was everyone's home and kids could eat wherever they want. But, I have to do much more cleaning when that happens. It turns out that toddlers doen't eat yogurt as carefully on the couch as adults do and strawberry cereal bars really, really stick to walls.
5. My kids all clear their plates. The older two have after-meal chores. (Oldest puts away all food items, younger one pushes in chairs and wipes table (then I rewipe!).)

Laundry:
1. I do 1-2 loads per day. I start the load first thing after showers. That gives me all day to get it swiched, folded and put away. It often takes all day to accomplish this one!
2. We don't keep a ton of clothes per person, just enough so it's nice to have a person's clothes washed weekly but not a necessity.
3. Kids that are old enough help put clothes away.

Cleaning:
1. I try to do the same routine each morning. I unload the dishwasher, clean up breakfast, start laundry, sweep kitchen each morning.
2. I clean up the kitchen after each meal.
3. I try to pick one chore to do each day, depending on what ever else is scheduled. It might be big or small, but I just keep chipping away.
4. I am always picking things up. It is rare for me to walk from one end of the house to the other empty handed. I take something into a room and take something out of it.
5. Almost always have clean kitchen counters. This makes me feel calm.

Yardwork:
1. Have finally recognized that I HATE it and hired a very nice man to do the weeding.

I've learned so much on this forum the past year! I'm proud of the progress I've made.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by shimmer View Post
I'm always looking to streamline as well so I'll be watching this thread. Here's what I've done to make my home life more simple:

General:
1. Much, much less stuff. It really makes a difference! And the stuff that I have I love so I use it a lot.
2. A place for everything. It's much easier to put away the kid's art supplies because there is a place to put them. I'm not just piling them away somewhere intending to get back to them someday and never doing so like I use to.
3. To do lists. I don't like to have clutter in my head either and writing it down makes all the difference for me.
4. I deal with mail immediately. I recycle junk before I go inside. Anything that needs a response goes in one basket for later.
5. I have file for each person in the house. Any pending paperwork goes in there.
6. I've greatly reduced my standards and my commitments in areas outside the home I'm not really dedicated to. This is the bigest one for me!

Food:
1. I make menus and do one big grocery shopping a month. Then I strive for one other shopping a week for perishables.
2. We eat a lot of simple, easy to prepare meals. While I'd love to be fancier, my picky kiddos dictate this.
3. I make one offering at snacktime, lunch, and dinner. There's always modifications for picky ones but I'm not a short-order cook. You might not like all of the meal but there's enough there you'll like. Breakfast is a pick-your-own meal most days. I've also stopped the all-day grazing we'd gotten into. Now there's snack time.
4. I'm more and more keeping food in the kitchen/dining area. I use to think that this was everyone's home and kids could eat wherever they want. But, I have to do much more cleaning when that happens. It turns out that toddlers doen't eat yogurt as carefully on the couch as adults do and strawberry cereal bars really, really stick to walls.
5. My kids all clear their plates. The older two have after-meal chores. (Oldest puts away all food items, younger one pushes in chairs and wipes table (then I rewipe!).)

Laundry:
1. I do 1-2 loads per day. I start the load first thing after showers. That gives me all day to get it swiched, folded and put away. It often takes all day to accomplish this one!
2. We don't keep a ton of clothes per person, just enough so it's nice to have a person's clothes washed weekly but not a necessity.
3. Kids that are old enough help put clothes away.

Cleaning:
1. I try to do the same routine each morning. I unload the dishwasher, clean up breakfast, start laundry, sweep kitchen each morning.
2. I clean up the kitchen after each meal.
3. I try to pick one chore to do each day, depending on what ever else is scheduled. It might be big or small, but I just keep chipping away.
4. I am always picking things up. It is rare for me to walk from one end of the house to the other empty handed. I take something into a room and take something out of it.
5. Almost always have clean kitchen counters. This makes me feel calm.

Yardwork:
1. Have finally recognized that I HATE it and hired a very nice man to do the weeding.

I've learned so much on this forum the past year! I'm proud of the progress I've made.
:

We do pretty much everything like this poster with a couple of modifications. For example, I have a cleaning schedule that I do every day including "daily" things that need to get done every day. Here's what mine looks like:

Daily
- Dishes (I run the dishwasher every night)
- Swifter the kitchen (this happens in the morning and at night)
- Tidy bedrooms (right after we get up)
- Laundry/put clothes away (I do 1-2 loads a day).
- Put toys back in toyroom (every night before bed with the kids)

Monday
- Dust/vacuum living/dining room
- Downstairs bathroom

Tuesday
- Dust/vacuum master bedroom
- Master bathroom

Wednesday
- Upstairs "guest" bathroom
- Gather trash for trash day

Thursday
- Dust/vacuum play room
- Disinfect toys

Friday
- Dust/Vacuum kids’ rooms
- Mop kitchen/foyer/laundry room

Saturday/Sunday
- Strip beds and wash bedding
- "Special" cleaning projects (baseboards, windows, or any other needed cleaning)
- Wipe down leather couch/loveseat

I totally agree with eating only at the kitchen/dining table. No one in our house is allowed to carry their food around to eat. I'm also a big fan of creating a weekly menu (I do this every 2 weeks) and shopping for everything all at once. I haven't been able to do the cooking in advance thing yet, but I can totally see the merits of it. As for lawnwork, DH is responsible for everything outside, with the exception of the flowers and weeding the beds -- that's me, and I usually do it as needed when the kids are napping. When they get a little older, I'm totally recruiting them to help, though -- they'd love to water and pull weeds!

And if you have a room you're not using, I highly recommend a toy/kids room. It's so nice to be able to dump their toys into a separate space at the end of each night -- even if they aren't as great about putting everything in it's "correct" space at this age. The main thing is that I don't have to look at or trip over toys after they go to bed. Ahhhh.
post #15 of 30
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post #16 of 30
: I'll come back when I have more time to write something.
post #17 of 30
I have some things that I do that help me, and I'll come back and share them later...don't have much time now, gotta get the kiddies in bed.

But I have a question for those who don't sort their laundry - how do you keep your whites white when you wash them with the colors??? THis sounds so nice, but I can't figure out how you keep things from turning other things funky colors!
post #18 of 30
one thing that helped immensely was a shoe bin by the front door. Also, I do not "find" shoes, belts or pajamas for my daughters. They are responsible for them. If they want me to find them, they pay me a dollar. I know it sounds harsh, but we went through this EVERY morning/evening. I will help find other things that get lost, but they are responsible for those things.

The "place for everything" is really good...like hairbrushes, scissors, tape, etc. That is the key to my mess.

Backpacks, jackets get hung up by the front door. That helps too. We have a bag for each activity and the items stay in the bag---dance class all in one bag, soccer all in one bag, etc.
post #19 of 30
i haven't read all the posts but here are a few things I do:

Laundry--the machine is in the kids' walk in closet (they have the master bedroom) so the kids toss their clothes in the machine as they get dressed in the AM or enroute to the shower in the PM. I do two loads a day and often just lay the clean clothes from they dryer out for the next day (3 of my dcs and I don't care if we are "repeat offenders" in the parlance of my middle school). Also I wash all but the most precious/delicate things (of which there are few) and the stinkiest fishy things together. My whites are still white and colors still fine after years of this so I'll keep doing this. I unload anything that isn't being worn the next day directly into the hagning sweater bags (one for each child) or into a basket that holds dh and my clothes. The latter I bring into my room and put away every few days.

Thus laundry takes about 5 minutes 4 times a day.

The dishwasher should be empited as soon as it runs (it runs 2 or more times a day). That way people can rinse and load and keep the counters and sink clean.

Those are my top tips of the moment.

One thing that would really reduce clutter would be to stop all activities for the kids and adults. No more soccer cleats/swimming goggles/surf shirts/coolers/fish buckets/sheet music/painting materials/photo gear/riding boots/bike helmets/book stacks/sewing projects/glue sculptures. Can you imagine!!???!!
post #20 of 30
My DD has a "school box" that sits out in the lounge room where she always gets ready. In it is her school underwear and socks, hair ties in a container, brush, sunscreen, nit preventive , head gear and a printed routine for getting ready in the morning she helped make. Our mornings run smoothly and it's easy to tidy up after her as well. I wish I'd had it since she was a little one cause we always did hair etc in the lounge room and always had stuff "out" or was looking/fetching it.

I always use the just used face washer/flannel to wipe down the counters in the bathroom after we are finished. All damp cloths go in a mesh bag that hangs on the laundry door so they can dry out rather than fester if they aren't washed quickly - have found having lots of cloths and using them once or twice only before washing has been really helpful. It's just nicer to use a clean cloth to do a job that one that's been hanging around. And it barely makes a dent in the laundry - I rinse them once then add in towels for a normal wash.
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