After much struggle of keeping the house kept up with (since I am a firm believer in the effects your environment has on your mental health), running a business, and having a family, I have found that these four things done at night truly have helped set me up for a great start to the following day! I am naturally more of a care free, go with the flow person, but working from home has forced me to put routines in place to set me up for a success and keep my sanity. So the hope is that those of you trying to find some structure to your days to help you feel a little more satisfied and less overwhelmed, I wanted to share these things with you!
1.TIDY UP (Quickly)
There is this thing called “Murphy’s law” and it basically is the concept/theory that however much time you give to complete a task, that’s how long it will take. So if you honestly set a timer for 15min. and didn’t do anything else but clean up, you would be surprised how much you would get done! If you don’t have kids, this may not feel so challenging, but regardless it is great tool to use when trying to accomplish anything. If you find a place for everything and get rid of your clutter, clean up should not take that long.
My House Rule (for the downstairs common spaces): no random objects on the floors, counter, or tabletops. My little ones help clean up their toys, put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket, throw their trash in the garbage, and bring their dishes to the sink. So yes, an 18month old and 4 year old can play their part! Children are smart and are more than capable, so when you are teaching them these skills, it’s preparing them to be on their own one day and they honestly love to be apart.
Also, clean up becomes a group effort and not something that just mom does. Everyone understands the standard for what clean up is so everything usually looks exactly the same, even when I am not there to do clean up with them.
TIP: grab an empty laundry basket and put any items that do not belong downstairs or in common spaces, into the basket to then be brought and distributed upstairs or to wherever the items need to go. If things to do not have a place, then the best thing you can do is start to declutter your house, room by room, making a place for everything.
Allie Casazza has great tips, courses, and free resources that help moms and people all of the world get rid of all of their excess so they can focus on what really matters, making their home a place of refuge, not of stress!
2. DISHES DONE/FLOORS SWEPT
Nothing is worse than waking up and starting your day with a sink full of dishes!! You most likely will just keep putting them off at that point, then the pile up is unbearable. If you have spouse, one should do dishes will the other one is tidying up or is getting the kids ready for bed. And if you have older kids, have them do dishes. I will definitely be making my girls do the dishes when they are older and right now our son does his own. I also do dishes through out the day (especially while I am waiting for food to cook) so that they don’t pile up too much by the end of the night.
And honestly, if you really don’t have the time or energy to do them that night, at least pick up all of the dirty dishes from around the house and put all dishes in the sink, that way it is the only thing you need to clean in the morning. It makes having to do them not as daunting! I know for some, dishes can be relaxing, and if you have good music or a podcast, they really aren’t that bad.
When it comes to the floors, I will vacuum with my heavy duty vacuum if the carpets are really bad, but if not we actually bought a robot vacuum called a Eufy that we will put on so that it does a pretty decent job getting all of the crumbs off of the floors while we are sleeping. We will just lift up the chairs so that it can do a good job on the floors and then I am able to mop quickly in the early morning.
3. LAY OUT CLOTHES and FOLD/PUT AWAY CLEAN LAUNDRY
If you read my morning routine blog post, I always put in a small load of laundry in the morning, then by I will dump the clean laundry basket on top of my bed, so hubby and I cannot go to bed until it is put away. We usually will fold the load together while we are catching up about how our day went or if one is putting the girl’s down to sleep, the other is folding the clothes.
Whether it is your outfit for the next day or your workout clothes, or both, putting your clothes out sets your day up for success. There is no rushing out the door because you are trying on a bunch of different things and don’t like them. Also, if your work out clothes are out or packed, your way more likely to follow through with your exercise commitment. Especially if it is hard to get a work out in, you want to be prepared so there are less barriers and you can actually complete your workout! I honestly just sleep in my workout clothes since I workout at home (a t-shirt and shorts), that way I just hop up and put on a sports bra and do it. After kids came, the task of packing up the baby, bringing their diaper bag, gym bag, the travel time, etc. I surrendered the idea of still being able to go to the actual gym like I use to, even though it had childcare.
Check out My Morning Routine for what at home work out plan I use, which has been really effective!
If you have kids, you can try putting them in their clean outfit for the next day after their bath so that you do not have to get them dressed in the morning. They make pretty comfortable and cute kids clothes, so mine don’t seem to mind most days.
4. JOURNAL/PROCESS THE DAY
We tend to just go through life not really processing all that we do in a day. I do not do this every night, but have been trying to a lot more because when I do, it truly helps.
- write down what went well and what you accomplished
- write down how much time you put towards your goals and priorities
- write 2-3 things or people you’re grateful for today
- write your 5 dreams that you will accomplish, but in present tense. Example: I am debt free (when you aren’t right now). I have an exceptional marriage (even if you may not be married yet), whatever things you want to happen or who you want to become.
- I also tend to journal about my day in a way that I am talking to God and then write anything he tends to be speaking to me about. This definitely helps me to connect with my relationship with God and to slow down.
5. PLAN OUT NEXT DAY
Check your calendar and take note of any meetings or appointments. You want to see ahead of time what time you need to be ready by or what time you need to get kids ready by. If it is work day, write out your top 3 things you plan to accomplish and then time block your day by writing out how the day is going to go and what time you will give for each task. You accomplish wayyyyy more if you plan ahead and don’t allow for interruptions. especially if you work for yourself, you have to become super diligent at setting boundaries and creating time to work on the urgent, as well as the important tasks.
After you plan out your day, you can set your alarm accordingly to how much time you need to give yourself to exercise, shower, eat, etc.
Well friend, I hope that was helpful! These rhythms put into place in my home have helped extreme overwhelm and have giving a mutual understanding to everyone in our home of the expectations. It has been great to know that the nights I’m not there, that the house will be taken care of the way that I would. At the end of the day, everyone in your home can all pitch in, regardless of how small.