I’m no pro at the housewife/mother business. My house isn’t always spotless, dinner isn’t always on the table, even though I try. Sometimes we order out and more often than not you can totally find clutter … everywhere.
But along the way I’ve picked up tips. I’ve found ways to make life easier, more efficient, to keep things rolling. These days, with my world feeling like it’s going to completely crash in over my head, I need these little tips to keep floating.
My guess is, you’re in the same boat (and if you’re not and you’re totally Martha Stewart pre-prison, I think you should leave.) (Seriously) (Ok, you can stay but at least pretend to be flawed, mkay?) and that you too have found a few shortcuts that make life a little easier.
It’s about time we shared, don’t you think? I’ll tell you my “secrets” if you’ll tell me yours!
1. Missing Socks – Everybody knows the curse of the missing sock. It starts out with one, and then two and pretty soon you are walking around wearing a purple knee high with a pink crew sock and calling it high fashion. Nobody knows where the socks go, but we’ve all know the joys of tossing out (or crafting with) mismatched socks. I have discovered that if when you sort your clothes into their load piles you put ALL of your socks and underwear together in one load, you stop having missing socks.
I have no idea why or how this works. But for the past 3 years I’ve employed this principle every single time, and we have not lost even 1 sock in that time! The only time one is leftover is if it’s mate had a hole and I “darned” him right into the garbage can. Works like a charm and also makes folding easier because you don’t have a pile of socks waiting for their mate in a pile as the loads go through.
2. Library Books – Ever go to the library, borrow a bunch of books and then lose them completely? It’s not that you meant to, but you have kids, with bookshelves and a husband who likes to “help” and put books on the shelves sometimes. Of course not noticing the HUGE bar code on the front of the book, and subsequently leaving you to search for hours just to avoid the late fees.
We now have an “In” and “Out” bag of library books. The cloth bag that we bring the books home from the library in holds all the new/unread books. Then I have a bag that is different in color for the read books. As soon as we finish a book it goes into the “return” bag and voila! Problem solved. It’s mostly about creating a habit, but trust me it’s worth it. We borrow dozens of books at a time, and I have literally spent days looking for missing books.
3. Using Cloth bags – For a very long time we had a large collection of cloth bags, and huge pile of plastic ones. With good intention I’d purchase a few cloth bags while doing groceries with every intention of using them over and over. Then I’d take them in the house, unload them and never put them back in the van. I’d go grocery shopping again and find I had no reusable bags and would have pay for plastic.
Then I decided to start putting them with/in my purse as soon as they were unloaded. That way I didn’t forget to take them to van (where they always live in a container) when I left because I always take my purse with me. Now I always have my bags ready and waiting for my trips through Stupid-Store. (note: I also keep 2 small folded bags in carry bags in my purse. That way if I’m in a store that charges for bags I always have a free option. Don’t want to lose the carry bag? Put it inside your large bag with your groceries, then it’s there when the bag is empty to fold back into again)
4. Recipes – I love to cook/bake. I love to try new recipes and experiment with things I can have. But I don’t have the budget to buy endless recipe books, nor do I have an entire room to store them in. And while I can find most things I want online at www.food.com or www.allrecipes.com there’s something I really miss about sitting and looking at a cookbook.
So I borrow them. I go to the library, borrow a dozen cookbooks, look through for a few recipes I love (because lets face it, it’s rare that all the recipes in a cookbook are awesome) copy them into my recipe binder and return the book. On the rare occasion that I find a book I love, I then search for it at our local used bookstore and pick one up. No more useless cookbooks in my cupboard, it’s a space and a money saver!
5. Kid Art – You know what I’m talking about. The endless streams of paper that fill your tables, your counters and your refrigerator. Your kids work hard on them, they make them at school and at home, Sunday school and children’s church, it seems there is a never-ending flow of paper and nowhere to put it.
We have folders for each girl. The art work they bring home can go in each folder, and in their room is a cork board. They are allowed to choose a few favourites and hang them there to display for everyone to see. Once the folders are full the girls have to sort through to pick keep and toss ones. For every one they keep, they choose one to recycle, not because they aren’t all beautiful, but because we can’t possibly keep them all and still see our floors.
6. Candle Holders – You know that wax that’s left in the bottom of your candle holder once the wick has burned up? It’s the stuff you usually stab at with a knife trying to dig out of the bottom, running hot water and making a mess. Or worse, breaking your container.
No more! Put the candle holder in the freezer for 15 minutes, remove and the wax just pops out. The cold causes the wax to shrink a little making it easy to remove and then all you need to do is give the holder a quick rinse or wash and it’s ready to use again.
7. Sorting Laundry – I know we already talked about laundry but this one is a kicker around here. I hate sorting laundry, but it’s important. (also I HATE unfolded laundry. Nothing leaves my dryer that isn’t folded immediately. The wrinkles from cold unfolded clothes makes me want to rewash because I DO NOT iron)
I bought different baskets.
Each girl has her own basket, which get combined for one load of kidlet clothes. Corey has a work clothes basket, I have a hang to dry/handwash basket and we have a regular clothes/sock/underwear/towel basket. Then on laundry day I dump each bin out into its own pile. Pull out the towels and sheets from them to put in their own pile and voila!
Then once the clothes are folded they’re put back in the appropriate basket which gets easily delivered to the right room and it’s done.
8. Taking out the Garbage – Give your husband a job and tell him nicely, if he wants to eat dinner ever he has to do one household chore.
9. Soap Scumb – I loath dirty grout and soap scumby showers, but I had no idea how to handle them. I had good products that took them back but nothing that took the elbow grease out.
Then I bought a dish washing brush, and took it to my shower. The angels sang!
Spray your cleaner on 5 minutes before you want to clean it. Once your read, wet your brush and have at it. Because the bristles are meant for dishes they aren’t super abrasive but enough that they cut through the scum without the bicep burning elbow grease.
What about you? Any great tips that will save me time, money or patience? I’m going to compile all your tips into another post so remember to leave me your blog info so I can share the link love!