Hard to believe, but the busy holiday season is fast approaching. In addition to keeping school going, I know we would rather spend time with our kids on fun holiday preparations and activities then dealing with the house and mundane chores.
But the truth is, if we want to stay joyful and focused on the “reason for the season,” we can’t add in time-consuming activities without also taking something away. Something’s got to give.
So check out these random tips for keeping your household streamlined and simplified:
- LAUNDRY – Most of the work is sorting and folding, so eliminate those steps. Keep a basket in each kid’s room, wash each separately, and hand the basket back to the child to fold and put away. I have heard from many moms that at first they resisted this idea because they were concerned about wasting water and electricity. But, after trying it, they found it to be financially negligible, but super time productive!
- MEALS – Make a list of your family’s favorite meals and rotate through them. Who cares if there’s more repetition than usual; everyone’s looking forward to turkey and holiday treats anyway. Ask each child to pick a meal so that they look forward to getting their favorite every couple weeks.
- ENLIST THE KIDS and say yes to their requests. “Can we play a family game?” “Sure, right after we ALL clean up these dishes.”
- BEDTIME – Is bedtime challenging? Get them self-motivated by making a list, with pictures if necessary, of all the bedtime chores: bathing, brushing teeth, etc. When they complete it without being reminded or complaining, they earn a privilege, like 15 minutes of screen time or getting to stay up a little later, past bedtime.
- NIGHTMARES? And while we are talking about bedtime, anyone struggling with bedtime fears? Try playing the sound game. Make sounds from another room and see if your child can guess what is making the sound. Give them fun stuffed-animal earmuffs to wear during scary storms.
- KID’S ROOMS – Equip kids to keep their rooms uncluttered. Give each child their own under-the-bed storage box to keep all their treasures.
- STUFFED ANIMALS – What to do with the stuffed animals? Put a straight line of Command hooks or double-sided Velcro up the wall about every five to seven inches. Not only will the animals be off the floor, but they make a catchy decoration as well.
- KID’S “ARTWORK”. Do you have “wall artwork” that can’t be removed or cleaned? Disguise it with a frame; hang an empty picture frame around it.
- REDUCE those piles of the kids’ must-save artwork by instead taking photos and keeping them in an album or binder.
- GO PAPERLESS and set your bills up with auto payments. Really, it’s time. The accumulative time savings is worth the effort now. You can monitor all activity with email, and even have them be automatically filed to a specific email folder for quick perusal.
- HAUL IT AWAY! It feels so good. Yes, it might be useful someday. Yes, it might be worth something (make a donation and take a tax deduction instead). Clearing out stuff does miracles on clearing our heads for more useful tasks.
- PREPARE – Take just ten minutes. Taking a few minutes the night before, to prepare for the next day, will eliminate, or at least reduce, the rushing stress that almost always accompanies an unprepared beginning of school or out-of-the-house exit. An evening routine is your best friend.
- JOT IT DOWN – Always keep a notebook lying around. Jotting down to-do tasks, items needed at the store, or anything else that pops in your head that you need to remember will keep your head clear and sharp. Be sure to keep pen and paper at your bedside too. Lying awake with your head spinning in thoughts is such a waste of time and energy.
- SAY NO. This is a busy time. Pick your priorities and don’t feel guilty. You can only do so much and still be available for your family. Take the time to spend on activities that you enjoy and matter the most.
Streamlining and simplifying can have a big impact on you and your family. So go for it!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka.