Unlike Tricia, I don't have a houseful of family members to chase after while trying to tackle housework. My husband might not be the neatest man on the planet, but I do usually manage to do a fair amount of housework each day. But that doesn't mean that I don't value the importance of finding a few moments here and there to undertake small tasks that, when added up, can feel overwhelming. In Day 6's challenge, Tricia asks:
How do you use those random minutes throughout the day to clean?
Here are some I came up with:
- If I need to run errands outside the house, I try to join them together to save time. I go grocery shopping on Mondays and Thursdays, and I often visit the library or the bank on my way there, so I don't have to take time out of the day to walk that direction again the next day. Since my midwife appointments fall on Mondays, and the GP's practice is on the way to the supermarket, I combine these also.
- I always wipe down the counters in the kitchen after doing the dishes. We might only have one and a half counters to clean, but even if the floor still has crumbs on it and the hob needs a good scrub, clean counters make the kitchen look so much nicer.
- It's amazing what you can achieve while waiting for the kettle to boil or toast to pop. Sometimes I take the recycling outside, sweep the kitchen floor, refill pasta jars, etc.
- I used to have a rule that if I was going upstairs or downstairs, I'd take something with me--a mug to put in the kitchen, ironed clothes to take upstairs, etc. Now that we live in a one-storey house, I don't have this rule, but since our dining-room and study are combined, I try to take any dishes that are leftover from breakfast or lunch back into the kitchen every time I get another cup of tea or check on the laundry.
I'm often a bit intimidated by people who have colour-coded spreadsheets or calendars where they schedule a different item for each hour of the day. I've found that some tasks are helped by scheduling (like writing, which I often neglect in favour of laundry or cooking dinner) and others can be loosely scheduled (I always shop on Mondays and Thursdays, but not at the same time each week). Even if a detailed schedule works for Tricia, I appreciated her advice that, "It doesn't matter what system you use, as much as the fact that you're doing it." Find something that works for you, and stick to it. If this means giving up on a system you've been failing at for months and years, try something new and see if it suits you better! Perhaps different systems suit different periods in your life. Right now I don't need to find hidden moments to fold laundry or wash dishes, but I'm sure I'll appreciate nap time when I have a newborn!
My favourite quote from today's challenge is this: "Do what you can, when you can." Sometimes we beat ourselves up for not achieving as much as our friends or neighbours, or even as much as we achieved last week or last year. But the important thing, which we often forget, is that we're trying and we're achieving something, no matter how small. Maybe it's not at the time we'd planned or hoped for--sometimes I do wash dishes at 10pm at night on a busy day!--but we're doing it, and that's what counts. I think this is a quote I need to add to my whiteboard on my desk in big, red letters so I don't ever forget it.
This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!