In the last couple of years, after some years of complete overwhelm, I’ve been working hard to simplify things in my life, particularly when it comes to caring for the house. To do so, I’ve tried to incorporate a few little philosophies (or mantras) into my everyday life …
Keep it where you need it … I used to care if people saw my Norwex enviro and window cloth hanging in my bathroom, but frankly, it’s far more convenient to have it where I need it than have to travel all over the house looking for it. Beyond the cloths, I’ve equipped every bathroom in the house with it’s own toilet brush and it’s own bottle of toilet bowl cleaner. Yes, that means I have three bottles of toilet bowl cleaner in the house open at the same time! GASP! Baby formula and bottles? It’s much easier to have it all handy on the counter (I prepare at least six bottles a day) than to have it put away up in a dark corner cupboard where I have to struggle to search for the parts I need with a squirmy, crying baby in my arms. No, I really don’t like the counter clutter, but to compromise, I did make sure the tray that holds it all is a pretty one 🙂
Be sure to have (and use) the right tool for the job (AND have good quality stuff) … this may apply to yard work more than housework, but having the right shovel or a decent rake (or the equivalent) makes the task so much easier to complete. Picking up leaves by hand is slow and time-consuming and it certainly is not a good use of my time. Having a huge scoop shovel simplifies the task! Get whatever you need to make the job as simple as humanly possible! As for the good quality stuff to work with … get a GOOD vacuum (we have two Dysons … the one we’ve had for probably 10 years already), get some good cloths (like Norwex … their pricy, but so worth it), and get some good cleaner (my favourite is definitely Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner … I can hook you up if you need some).
Function before aesthetics … my dining room china cabinet used to hold pretty things on top – a plant maybe, a special photo, or maybe a vase of some sort. Now, it holds vitamins, a dish of chocolates or candies, and a Young Living diffuser. It’s also become the charging station for our phones and the iPad. So it looks like a cluttered, jumbled mess ALL THE TIME, BUT again, things are where we need them. The girls can reach their vitamins, plug in their own iPad, or grab their own treat (with permission) instead of me having to get those things out or do those things for them day after day after day.
Contain!!! Let’s face it, kids have a lot of crap, I mean, beautiful little treasures. I recommend keeping a trinket box of sorts for all those little items that don’t really seem to belong anywhere else. My older daughters each have a little trunk that houses their treasures … a special feather, kinder egg prizes, bible camp keepsakes, a pretty rock, a container of blurp or silly putty, a special creation. The trunks are kept on the bookshelf in the dining room (they are pretty when they’re closed), so their items are always handy, but they are not scattered everywhere. They bring out their box, play with what they want, and put it back (with a little prompting).
Despite all of these things, I still have a tendency to complicate things at times. I mean REALLY complicate things. Let’s take vacuuming as an example. When I see that something needs vacuumed, like the entrance, I immediately think BIG … oh my gosh, I now have to vacuum the ENTIRE house. And because I suddenly have to vacuum the ENTIRE house, I now need to pick up every item in the house that might get in the way of vacuuming. I probably even have to move the couches and vacuum under them (and they’re really too heavy for me). And the beds, and every other piece of furniture that could possible have a speck of dust under it … and suddenly, I am overwhelmed. Old Leanne might have just said, “Screw it!” and vacuumed NOTHING, knowing there was no way she could possibly do ALL THAT VACUUMING in one shot. New Leanne will just grab the little rechargeable vacuum from the laundry room and quickly vacuum up the entrance (and maybe the kitchen since it’s close by).
Old, overwhelmed, Leanne certainly creeps back in more than New Leanne would like … for example, the other day, New Leanne noticed the screen deck needed vacuuming. Old Leanne was sure that those gravel specks on the floor meant dragging out the BIG vacuum and moving all of the furniture. Oh man! I don’t really have time to do that right now. Now the screen deck is going to remain a pig sty forever (it was far from a pig sty). New Leanne remembered another new(ish) philosophy that she’d been working on, “not perfect, but better,” and grabbed the little rechargeable vacuum and went to work. It certainly did a good enough job, quickly making the screen deck habitable (and pleasant) once again. Of course, there’s a time and place to move all the furniture and vacuum underneath, but not EVERY TIME something needs vacuumed.
My all or nothing attitude (Old Leanne) gets me into a lot of trouble sometimes, especially when it comes to caring for the house, which is sort of my life’s work right now. I tend to want things to be PERFECT (THEY NEVER ARE), instead of being happy or satisfied with BETTER. This can make for some great feelings of overwhelm and unhappiness at times. New Leanne has a lot of work to do … old tendencies die hard … ALWAYS a work in progress it seems.
I’d love to hear about some of your tips and tricks to simplify looking after the house! Please comment below.