On February 11, we met as Relief Society sisters to learn and discuss ways in which to create a more peaceful, orderly home. Margie gave a wonderful lesson including counsel and guidance from church leaders about how organization, order, routines, provident living, and living within our financial means all work together to create a more spiritual, peaceful home. When we examine these aspects of our lives, we can see how the temporal and spiritual are intertwined and greatly influence the other. As we strive to seek Heavenly Father's help and follow counsel provide by church leaders, we can have homes that serve as our own temple and refuge from the outside world.
Sisters shared great input and thoughts, including the need to be flexible and embrace the disorder and chaos that is bound to happen while children are young and growing--as this shows the joy and happiness that children bring to our homes and lives! Children can learn from parents what it means to create order in our homes, and there are great teaching moments in daily living that will help prepare children for creating their own house of order some day.
Lastly, we were reminded not to be so hard on ourselves!! We do the best we can do---and that's all we can do! We can be a little better and try a little harder each day. As we trust in Heavenly Father and rely on Him, we will be able to achieve the balance we need to create the type of home we would like to have. As we put our own lives in order, we will then have more opportunities and greater means to reach out, serve, and help those around us. Having a peaceful, Christ-centered home will lead us to want to help others have the same experience!
Here are tips from our very own sisters--ways that can help us have more organized, orderly homes. Thanks for sharing!!
Since I first got married, 53 years ago this August, I have made tentative menus, meal planners for a week, month or whatever. It was usually based on how we were paid. It was a way of knowing what we were going to eat. For seven days, I might say: beef, fish, chicken, pork, no meat, lamb optional. I did this because, just starting out, it was overwhelming to figure out what to cook. Then I'd make a meal plan, and my shopping list was generated by the recipes I would cook. It took all the craziness out of what we were going to eat. It included breakfast, lunch, dinner. Once you get the hang of it, it doesn't take long and it saves on trips to the store and makes cooking easier. It is quite cost effective, as you only buy what you need. It saves lots of time in and out of the kitchen. I used the word tentative, because I never had to cook a meal. If I didn't want to cook, I didn't, but I was always prepared. I think it helped me to learn to like to cook.
1. De-clutter - I've learned that the easiest way to keep a clean house is to get rid of things. I didn't realize it, but every item I owned took a little bit of my time. I recently went through a giant purge and got rid of 8 bags of items I never use in my kitchen. I had so much more space, and I haven't missed any of it in 8 months. Next, I went through the games. I noticed after I got rid of half of them, my kids actually played with the games we had a lot more. I guess having so many stuffed in the closet was overwhelming to them, so the simplicity actually helped them play with them more. Last, I went through the toys. I had the kids pick their absolute favorites, then, I got rid of 5 bags of toys. Once again, my kids started playing with the toys more and didn't miss any of the ones we got rid of. I was shocked. After these three things, the time I spent cleaning each week was cut down by half!
2. Christmas every 3 months - I have another friend who takes out one box of toys at a time, then every 3 months or so, she puts them away and pulls out another box. It makes it exciting for the kids to get new toys to play with and there is so much less to clean up.
3. The miracle cure to laundry - Our current apartment is a little small for our family, so out of necessity I had to put the kid’s dressers with their clothes in the basement. (I thought about doing this in the past, so I'm glad I've finally been able to test it out). I can't believe how much easier it has made my life. Their rooms stay clean for one (which is a miracle), their clothes are all right next to the washing machine so it's easy to throw them in, and after they are washed, they sort out their own clothes and put them directly in their drawers. No transporting, folding, transporting, and then putting away. I finally feel like laundry isn't taking over my life!
In terms of organization tips, I have become a list master to try and tackle those crazy things that seem to linger and never get done. I make a few kinds of lists of things to do, e.g.house projects, travel plans, etc. I have my regular weekly planner. In that I put things that must be done at the start of each week. Then I take a look at my other lists of things that would be nice to get done someday and see which if any I can fit in during that week. This helps me to prioritize. Even one check, each week, off the lingering list helps
- I put socks divided by color or white in a linen/mesh bag that zips shut so I never lose a sock.
- Don't let clean dishes sit in the dishwasher over night.
- Put baking soda in the bottom of the trash can (just a little) and change it about every 3 to 6 months. Pour it down the sink to help with the drain smell
- soak dress shirts in the washer with water and oxi clean powder for 1 to 3 hours before washing to get out sweat stains on neck and sleeve cuffs, then drain and wash as you normally would
- drink a glass of water before you eat a meal
Attached is a picture of something that has made my life easier this year. It is a file I keep on my kitchen counter to take care of paper clutter/mail. I file it right away so I don't have piles of paper sitting around. Then, I can go back and go through it, when I have time. I think you can see some of my categories. In addition to the ones you can see, I have a folder for Bob, me, and the pets.
Here are a couple of things that work for me when I do them. The operative word here is WHEN.
a) Wake up and get ready before the kids are up. The days where I am able to read my scriptures (even for a few minutes), make my bed, get dressed, etc. go a lot smoother than when I don't.
b) Meal planning - I've tried to do monthly, but weekly seems to get done more often. It's nice to know what you're going to be having for dinner before 5 p.m. ;)
Also, in this vein I've started making dishes and freezing half of them for another time. Prep work is done for 2 meals. Yeah baby!
c) Planning at night for the next day. I usually just jot down what I want to accomplish - phone calls, errands, chores, etc.
d) I just started exercising again on November 1st. I've found that my day goes smoother if I go straight to the gym after getting Lucy and Andrew on the bus in the morning.
I can't allow myself to leave the house in the morning until one load of wash is in. What is most helpful for me is to broadly sketch out the week. If I know what day I will take care of "X", then I don't have to stress over it today. Then I simply make a To Do list for the day, in broad order of priority. The list helps me take advantage of "butterfly moments", which otherwise would flutter by with nothing accomplished.
To keep my cooking to a minimum I ask for restaurant gift cards for birthday, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, even resorted to Grandparents Day so the cards keep comin’ in so I can keep eatin’ out.
I keep a lot of files for different things and I label the outside so I know what is inside when I pick them up.
We try to give things away if we haven't used them/worn them in one full year (so I get out all my favorite platters once a year to keep them safe).
Each of the kids has a cute, labeled bin that they put their papers from school in. I sort through them about once a week so that at the end of the year only the "favorites" can be kept and put in their school memory books.
I make the kids update their own school memory books for each year on the last day of school. (Not homemade book, store-bought ones that ask questions and have spots for pictures and things).
Label-maker, label-maker, label-maker! It is definitely one of my favorite possessions, and labels on things help tons once everyone in your house can read them because who doesn't like to put things in the place with the label?
Have separate tote bags packed the night before for your next day's activities. (Bag for gym, bag for kids during doctor appointment, bag for library trip, bag for kids’ sport activity etc). Line up the bags in one central location, so you can grab and go when things are hectic. This helps you mentally go through what you need the next day, as well as gives you time to prevent last minute "emergencies" like an unwashed uniform b/c you've prepared ahead of time.
Crockpots are your best friend, when you've got a busy day--saves you time & money ... and helps your family eat healthier than fast food on the run!
Always do the dishes before bed.
I always grocery shop on Mondays and make it last the week, writing a complete grocery list before I go.
I make our lunches the night before.
I have all the kids’ lunches, outfits, outerwear, shoes, backpacks, hairbrushes, squirt bottles, aquaphor for chapped lips, tooth brushes and paste ready at night, so when I wake up in the morning, all I have to do is pop a few fridge items (already prepped), in their bags and make sure they get dressed at the right time (gather up outfit, shoes and outerwear from their individual pile). Usually, I have quite a leisurely morning with no stress. They eat, brush teeth, get dressed, grab backpacks and are out the door.
The thing that's currently helping me the most is having groceries delivered. We use the app Peapod, (which orders from Giant), to build our grocery list. Then we schedule delivery, in a range of hours on a certain day. We have until midnight the day before to add to the list. They app remembers each order and can build a list for us. You can sort by "aisle", lowest price, price per unit or by ingredient like gluten-free. Wade loves this because he can get what he wants when he needs it instead of waiting for me to get to the store. There is a small delivery fee (free for the first 90 days) and we include a driver tip with the order. It's so convenient.
Each day I have an assigned chore, i.e. M/W/F laundry, Tue grocery shopping, Thu clean master bath, F wash kitchen floor
2013 I printed out a 12 month calendar and wrote down dinner menus (I go shopping by my menu) and this year I’m using it. So I have a year’s worth of dinners.
A wise woman once told me, “Never pick up something twice. When you pick something up, put it where it belongs”.
Laundry – Fold each load as it comes out of the dryer. Then, the clothes don’t pile up to an overwhelming mound.
~~Stay tuned for following posts including the Budgeting Info and Freezer Meal recipe used during our activity!~~