One of my favorite homes to visit is the house of a homeschooling mother with 10 children. She laughs and says, “I’ll never win a House Beautiful Competition.” But that’s not the point. Her house is fully lived-in and there’s a lot of warmth there.
That said, our homes are busy center of learning and places where we spend hours nurturing our children—and a little neatness can go a long way towards maintaining our collective sanity. While perfect “House Beautiful” homes aren’t the goal, some level of organization can help bring a sense of peace to our homes and give us more time to enjoy life.
In her book Simplify Your Life, Marcia Ramsland says, “The faster the pace of your life, the more organized you need to be.”
She nailed that one on the head! When we are busy, that’s when things start to feel out-of-control.
To help combat that chaos, Ramsland suggests mastering 10 time-saving habits.
I love that word—“habit”—because a habit is something that takes zero thinking. It’s something that is ingrained and something we do automatically. So if we can focus on forming good habits when it comes to keeping our homes organized, we won’t have to use up valuable brain-power every day wondering what we should be doing. We can just do it automatically, because it’s a habit.
Before I delve into the time-saving habits, I think it’s important to note that it’s better to go slow and be successful than to bite off too much of the proverbial elephant at once.
If this list seems overwhelming, start with just one thing. Every week or two, add one more thing. After a few months, you will start feeling a lot better about your house and your life.
10 Time-Saving Habits
1) Make your bed. As soon as your feet hit the floor, take two minutes to do this. Your room will look instantly more clean and organized.
2) Practice the “two-minute pick-up” every time you leave a room or your desk. Turn around and pick up as much as you can quickly in two minutes.
3) Learn to love clean counters. Significant amounts of time and energy are lost if clutter is not dealt with. (Okay, Mrs. Ramsland, have you ever tried homeschooling?! But, as hard as this may be, she is right.) I definitely need to work on this more, but we do try to keep at least our kitchen island cleared off. It is very de-stressing to me to have nothing in my line of sight when looking out across my kitchen.
4) Cut your workload in half by putting things away now. Several years ago I heard this advice and have tried to follow it ever since: “If you can pick it up in a minute or less, you should pick it up immediately.” If you think about it, many of the things that pile up quickly can be taken care of in less than a minute if done immediately: hanging up a coat, throwing away junk mail, putting a glass in the dishwasher, etc.
5) Set the pace for your day by arriving early, or at least on time, for your first event. My husband would really love for me to work on this one!
6) Be sure dinner is on time and regular. I heard a speaker once say that if you know what you’re having for dinner by 10:00 a.m., the rest of your day go so much more smoothly. I like to plan our menu for the week based on our calendar, so if it’s a really busy night, we make sure to have something simple planned for dinner or plan for leftovers.
7) Solve the problem of “I forgot . . .” Don’t clutter your mind with things to remember. Write them down in your planner or on your phone and review them frequently.
8) Assign to-do items to the next three days. Limit your lists to 10 items so you don’t get overwhelmed.
9) Strive to focus your day’s events on things you enjoy. Our kids need to see us scheduling time for things we like to do, too.
10) Congratulate yourself daily for your accomplishments. I am not sure why this habit is included, other than making it an even number, but if you need to congratulate yourself, go for it!
Bit by bit, as good habits are formed, we can hopefully enjoy more organized homes and spend more time on the things and the people we love.
What are some of your favorite time-saving habits?
Photo Credit: iStock.. Following image courtesy of author.