Since having our third kid, I’ve wrestled a lot with giving myself grace on the things in life that I’m just not able to keep up with. It’s a journey that I’m still on, but I wanted to write a series about relaxing your own expectations of yourself, so that you can live a happier and more balanced life. This week, I’ll be sharing how I do that in 3 areas: household chores, kid stuff and self care. Let’s start with household chores.
My 6 Favorite Household Hacks
When it comes to your house, the best thing you can do is focus on the parts that are important to you, and make them beautiful. I’m all about doing the best I can with what I have today. I may not be able to deep clean the house, but I can freshen up the areas that matter to me. I liken it to how you feel when you’re really cold, and you run hot water over your hands. Your whole body feels warm, right? Well, if you can’t clean the whole house, focus on the areas that make you feel like the whole house is clean. Because that’s where the value is for you.
1. Quick mop the floors. For me, I love knowing that my floors are clean, even when I can’t mop the whole house. And somehow, if my kitchen floors are spotless, it makes me feel like the whole house is clean. And so, after dinner is cleaned up, almost every night, I sweep, and then wet 2 rags with hot water in the kitchen sink. I throw them down on the ground, put a foot on each wet towel, and then walk/waddle all the way around my kitchen. In 2 minutes, the whole kitchen feels spotless and all the coffee spills and errant oatmeal wads are gone. I love seeing those floor gleam, even though they were just wiped with hot water.
2. Put dishes away when they’re wet. I don’t spend time drying each dish. I just take it from the dishwasher, pour any water out, and put it right in the cupboard. It air dries in a few minutes anyway.
3. Don’t fold laundry. I don’t do this (which is probably why I have a constant laundry pile), but I know some moms who just put laundry into piles and let their kids put it into drawers without folding it. Sure, the clothes are wrinkled, but who cares?
4. Do 1 load of laundry a day. I used to wait until I had like 5 loads of laundry before I’d start doing the laundry. It’s no wonder I always felt behind! Then, a friend told me that she does 1 load of laundry a day, and she’s totally able to keep up with it, and it doesn’t feel overwhelming. I’ve started doing that, and it totally works! I usually start a load in the morning, or at naptime, and it’s folded before dinner. (Which is convenient because the laundry table is also our dinner table. But let’s be real, we’ve pushed laundry to the other side of the table many a dinner meal. #thatswhatthecouchisfor) And here’s another hack: don’t bother separating the colors. I’ve never done it, and I’ve never had an item discolor.
5. Keep a clean car. Somehow, for me, if my car is clean, my whole life feels clean. So, every other Sunday, I drive our Suburban, alone, to the local drive-thru carwash and then vacuum it myself. It’s simple, fast and cheap. Then, I wipe down the interior with a baby wipe and sometimes replace my favorite $1 coconut air freshener. It takes 20 minutes and it adds enjoyment to the several hours I’ll be in the car during the week.
6. Make the house look perfect before you leave. This is one of the 8 ways I’m surviving with 3 kids under 4, and the key word is “look” perfect. This doesn’t mean the house is perfect. But for me, I make sure that the kids have picked up all toys, that the tabletops and kitchen counters are clean, and that the dishes are done. Every single time we leave the house. It may sound crazy, but for me, it works. And let me tell you, nothing feels better than walking into your house after a morning away, and seeing the visual picture of a neat and tidy home. To me, it’s worth being 10 minutes late to our morning activity. I usually don’t regret being late, but if I skip picking up before we leave, I do regret that.
What are your favorite household hacks? Please share them in the comments section below! And check out my other posts about how to Give Yourself Grace, when it comes to taking care of kids, and taking care of yourself.