By: Leah Prescott
Do you make your bed every day? It’s a habit I never really picked up. It just never seemed important to me. Anyway, I would always pull the covers down again, so what was the point? In my quest for household peace and simplicity, I have added some new habits to my daily routine, and making my bed is one of them. I have been surprised by the results.
It takes only about a minute to make the bed, but it can change your mindset and set the tone for your day. I have realized that making my bed becomes the signal to me that rest is over and work has begun. It’s nice to walk through the bedroom and have it finished. It’s nice to have a smooth surface to lay a basket of laundry on. It’s nice that if we have to call a plumber or HVAC technician at the last minute, I won’t have to be embarrassed by the state of my bedroom (not that that has ever happened to me….) It’s nice to see the pattern of the bedspread I chose with care, rather than have it kicked and twisted at the foot of the bed or find my beagle trying to nuzzle her way under the covers. She does that every chance she gets.
As I add habits of household harmony, I’m finding it creates a snowball effect. When I leave a room, I’m naturally looking around for an item or two to return to its place as I go. When the closet is neat, hanging up a jacket isn’t difficult. If my bed is made, I am less likely to fling my purse on it or pile it with books. When I am able to enjoy the cleanliness daily, I am motivated to keep it up. Here are a few more simple habits that are working for me this summer:
Leaving the house neat. This has been a bit of a battle but I knew the time to start was over the summertime when our schedule is relaxed. It does take me quite a bit of effort and the kids have to be involved in this. But walking into a neat house on return is totally worth it. If we walk into a neat space, it’s so much easier to deal with the chaos of a barking dog, groceries to put away, hungry kids, and approaching naptime.
Dishwashing on a schedule. This is a tip I got years ago and it has worked great for me. Every evening after dinner, I start the dishwasher without fail. If it isn’t quite full, I seek out items to fill it (a great excuse to clean out the fridge, collect water bottles from the car, or run the bath toys through the dishwasher). Every morning, I unload the dishwasher while I am waiting for my coffee. This makes it easy to load throughout the day and the kids can put their plates directly in after meal time. Simple, but it really helps me keep up with the dishes.
Make clean-up a no-brainer. I have realized I have to eliminate any excuses to clean, no matter how weak they may be. This means having cleaning products easy to access wherever they are needed: in the kitchen and under each bathroom sink. I thought since my house was tiny, I could keep all the products in one place, but having them at arm’s reach makes a difference. I’ve also discovered a new product I really love: Windex Touch Up. You just dab a rag on the top and it dispenses a bit of cleaner right where you need it. This is great for quickly wiping down the counters and mirrors in between deep cleanings.
Multi-tasking. When waiting in the car, I pick up clutter. While my son is bathing, I clean the bathroom. While making meal plans and grocery lists, I take an extra moment to quickly wipe down the fridge. While chatting on the phone, I start a load of laundry. I know that many of you will think these are obvious, or maybe you do them by second nature. For me, these have to be very deliberately added to my lifestyle since order doesn’t really come naturally to me.
Create spots of beauty. I read this on a blog somewhere and it really resonated with me. In the chaos of parenting, my home “décor” (if you can even call it that) has not really changed. While we don’t have the time or resources to do some of the major projects on my wish list, these quick face-lifts are totally doable. The idea is to focus on a clutter-magnet area and give it a mini makeover. An example is my bedside table. Hanging a homemade wreath, cleaning out the drawer, and finding the perfect basket has motivated me to keep it neat. Buying new velvet hangers and organizing my closet by color has made it so much prettier and I have easily kept it neat. Sometimes the little things can make a big difference.
These habits have made my summer far more productive and have given me a sense of accomplishment. Progress is progress, after all! Have you found any easy ways of improving your productivity? I would love to hear about them!