We all deal with chaos. Little chaos. Major chaos. The regular chaos. Life is busy between tending to kids, cleaning the house, preparing meals, grocery shopping 500 times a week (it seems like it!), running kids to this play date or that activity, keeping up with family and long lost friends and just life!! Most days I feel like I barely have my head above water, barely treading. And some days I know I am just drowning.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a “Learn How to Juggle All That You Do in Your Life” activity at our church and boy has it lit a fire under me! Leaving that activity I made a commit to better organize my life and all the chaos in it. I don’t think it is possible to get rid of all the variables, but we can better organize ourselves and juggle it more efficiently.
Today I am sharing the tips and tricks I have been applying for quite some time and some that I just recently starting applying to juggle all that I do in my life! By no means am I an expert, but this is what I have found works for me!!
- Have a “clean day” – Have one day where you get it all done – dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, scrubbing bathrooms. It’s a miserable day, but it beats a miserable week or dragging it all out. I used to have my “clean day” be Friday. My thought process was ‘start the weekend off right with a clean house!’ I liked the idea of not having any cleaning tasks to do throughout the weekend because it was literally just done! But, from the church meeting I attended, many of the women indicated Monday was their “clean day” as the weekend tends to be messy with everyone home and running to and from activities. The women explained they used to get so frustrated cleaning their house Friday to have it wrecked all weekend and then living in a messy house all week. Makes sense!! I have tried this switch out the past couple of weeks and it is so true! Monday is now forever my “clean day.”
- Meal plan – I am such an indecisive person so this task is little pulling teeth for me. I will cook anything, give me recipe! But, please don’t make me decide what to make!! I like to sit down with Geoff Sunday evening and make a plan for the week and then take it a step more by making a grocery list based on the plan we make.
- Consolidate Errands – Make a list of all the places you need to go – grocery store, Target, Costco, the mall, etc. For me I run all my errands in the morning and I really only have about an hour and half with my kids until we ALL have a meltdown. Most days there is no way I can get all my errands accomplished and so Sunday/Monday night I make a list of the places I need to go for the week, cluster them by location and hit one area of many stores each day. It keeps my trips short and gets us out of the house!
- Clean kitchen at night – Go to bed with the kitchen tidy, the dishwasher loaded, the trash taken out. Basically any simple task that will help you start your day off with nothing hanging over your head. I hate the mornings I was lazy the night before and didn’t wipe down the counters or put away the stack of papers I sorted on dining room table. It takes up precious time before the kids wake up and starts my day off running late!
- Teach children to HELP – Tate is still very little but I encourage him to help ‘clean up’ any chance I get and the “clean up” song is one of the few songs he has memorized and will randomly sing throughout the day. Teach and encourage your kids to help you with any task they are capable of doing depending on their age and abilities.
- Have a “laundry day(s)” – The same concept as the “clean day” above. This will prevent you from doing a load of laundry every day (no one wants that!). I know many women said they have one day a week they do laundry but that is just not enough for me. I choose to do laundry two days a week – Monday and Friday. It helps things to constantly be moving in our house but not moving every day!
- Wake up before the kids – I love my sleep. I am not always the best at this, especially when we still have a baby that needs a 3am feedings, but my days do so much smoother when I do wake up before the kids and get myself “ready” for the day. It takes 4 times as long to shower, quickly brush my hair back and throw on some make-up with the kids awake than when they are tucked away still asleep.
- Make lists – Anyone that knows me knows I have at a minimum 4-5 lists going on at one time. Today’s to do list. Tomorrow’s to do list. The week’s to do list. A running grocery list. My errand list. Who to call and catch up with list. My list of lists can go on (I will spare you, though). Find a system that keeps you organized.
- Make YOU time – I know this is last, but it really should be somewhere near the top. We all have something(s) that help to make us tick, make us happy(ier). For some it’s reading, for others it’s crafting, for me it’s this. Whenever I am able to get a little “me time” at the gym and help pump my body with endorphins my day just runs more smoothly. It does. We all need down time, whatever it may consist of may be different but it is important.
Other helpful hints:
- I don’t know about you, but I find that I constantly have things I need to take downstairs when I am upstairs and when I am upstairs I find I then need to take other things downstairs. The piles can add up quickly and with only two arms (usually less than that because at least one arm is holding a baby) the trips up and down the stairs adds up quickly! I have been putting a basket at the top and bottom of my stairs and adding to the basket of things that need to go up or down to consolidate trips.
- While you are cleaning, turn on the music! It makes the job a little more enjoyable and takes my mind off the not-so-fun task.
- Have your children on a schedule. I am all about schedules! It is the only way I function and manage my day. My children wake up around the same time every day, they eat around the same time every day, they nap around the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every day. If they ever start to get fussy I can immediately respond to their needs with “oh, it’s close to nap time” or “they are hungry” because know when these triggers are coming. This is how we get our children to sleep and on a schedule.
- Know that every day is going to throw you curve balls and you just need to duck! Just kidding (kind of). But seriously, every day is going to be different and have challenges. Remember to breathe and try and “roll with it” as “they” say.
I hope at least one of these helped you. If not, I told you I wasn’t an expert!