Sunday, January 31, 2010

Household tips

It is the beginning of a new year, and once again I find myself with the itch to organize everything. There's just something about January (now almost February) that makes me want to purge closets and reorganize drawers; it renews my resolve to do monthly menu planning, and catch up on baby books. It seems I'm not alone in this desire. So I just wanted to share with you some of the tips and tricks that I've found useful as I've tried to keep our house running smoothly. I also want to welcome you to leave a comment telling your own useful tips. Most of these tips are not original to me. Most of them came from other moms, and they are just things I've heard that have stuck with me and have made my life a little easier. So, without further ado, here you go:

1. Swallow your frogs first. In other words, at the beginning of the day if there is some item on your to-do list that is making you cringe (for me these are those annoying phone calls), do it first. Get it out of the way.

2. Put your "handmaidens" to work. (This was related to Proverbs 31:15 where the wise woman rises early and provides tasks for her handmaidens) The modern day equivalents to handmaidens being things like crockpots, dishwashers, washing machines, bread-makers, (and dare I say it... children who are old enough to help out). The point of this is to get these things working for you right away (after all, it's really lame to try to load the dishwasher after dinner and find that it is full of dirty dishes)
3. When you don't have time to straighten the whole room, go for the biggest impact and straighten the largest flat area first. In the bedroom this probably means making the bed, in the kitchen it could mean clearing off the table or the island. And remember, the largest flat area could also be the floor (this is especially true of us with young children who spread their toys all over the floor). The whole room will look much cleaner when that one area is neat.
4. Touch your mail once. Don't open it until you're ready to deal with it -read it, act on it, file it or throw it away. This helps alleviate all those paper messes. (I used to do this, and it really worked... I need to start doing it again.)

5. Make twice as much as usual for dinner and freeze half. I feel like I'm on top of my game when I have something tucked away in the freezer. It's like having convenience food with half the cost and twice the nutrition. Of course, this only works for certain types of food: soups, stews, casseroles, marinated meats, and baked goods usually do well. Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer is a great book that has tons of good tips and freezer recipes.
So please leave a comment telling us your own tip... whether it's for organizing your time, your money, your meals, or your closets... anything that has made your life a little easier... please share!


Micah and Christa Forsythe said...

You inspired me to clean... and yes - I find February is that magical month that draws me to the closets... the stash it all guest room and every other corner that has been cherishing junk. I love clean things... in fact I just cleaned up all the big play areas before sitting down. I really loved your tips... my mom taught me a lot of those too... I especially like the 1st 1... swallow your frogs... I am going to remember that!

Jeana said...

I need to be more on top of #2, putting my handmaidens to work. I love all your phrasing, especially "swallow your frogs first." Makes me feel like I'm a fairytale princess :) Except, you know, with housework to do.