Posts Tagged ‘laundry’

Adulting: Housework

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Ever since Christmas, I’ve been on a mission to have a clean house. I read the Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up. I joined some organization groups on Facebook and revived my Pinterest boards dedicated to improving my home. I read lots of blog posts. I looked at dozens of house cleaning schedules and charts. And then I threw myself into it.

It’s been going pretty well. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • Cleaned and organized the coat closet
  • Bought a shoe rack to solve the pile of shoes by the back door problem
  • Cleaned out most of the kitchen cabinets and got rid of TONS of things I didn’t use or love
  • Cleaned out the banquette storage
  • Cleaned and organized the file cabinet
  • Moved the cereal/snacks/crackers/misc food stuff to a cabinet so my countertop is mostly clean
  • Cleaned and organized the fridge
  • Bought new pillows for all the beds
  • Created a laundry system* with multiple baskets
  • Started emptying the sink every night before bed
  • Started unloading the dishwasher every morning after the kids go to school
  • Prioritized an evening clean up every night before bed
  • Started making my bed, complete with throw pillows

Now, weeks later, I wouldn’t be ashamed to have surprise company show up at my door. (I mean, I will probably be in pajamas and no bra, but my house will be in pretty good shape.) I’m not saying things are spotless or that you could eat off my floors – I have a dog, a cat, and four kids – but if you wanted to come in for coffee I wouldn’t be mad. I still don’t live in a Pottery Barn catalog or a blank white box, so those toys on the coffee table are actually supposed to be there, as is the downstairs laundry basket, the art supplies on the dining room table and the bins of small plastic things. The look I am going for is “well-loved and lived-in family home not occupied by hoarders”.

Are you dying to know the secret to my success? Do you want the link to my eBook on how to solve your messy house once and for all? Am I so smug you can’t wait to poke holes in my system? Let me tell you how I have accomplished this 180 turn around from trash heap to nice home. Here it is, my secret to a clean house:

You just have to f**king do it.

There aren’t any tricks. There isn’t a magic organizational chart or schedule or Pinterest board that made my house clean. I have to do all those stupid, repetitive chores every single day to stay on top of the mess. Even my laundry system boils down to “Oh you put away three loads of laundry yesterday? DO IT AGAIN.” I sit down less. I see something that needs put away and I get up and put it away. I don’t let things “soak” in the sink for five days. I pick up the same toys five times a day and then one more time after the kids go to bed…then I do the same thing the next day. It is never-ending. It is stupid. It is necessary.

It sucks.

The peaceful sleep of a child who isn’t living in chaos, made possible by the fact that I made my bed. And then I had to make it again because he slept in it.

But it is starting to get easier. It’s become a habit to clean the sink and clear off surfaces as soon as I can. Same thing with the laundry – I finally remember to throw in a load/switch to the dryer/empty the dryer several times a day. I’m learning to value how 20 minutes of work can help me stay on top of the housework instead of constantly playing catch up. I mean, I am ALWAYS playing catch up. Always. I have four children. I am very tired. But by constantly climbing towards the top of housework mountain I don’t end up buried under it.

It would be foolish of me to say this is a permanent change. I doubt I will ever be someone who finds it easy to stay organized. But by changing my attitude from “I need a strategy” to “Just f**king do it” I’ve made definite progress. You too can have a sort of clean home if you sleep fewer hours, relax less often, and follow your children around cleaning up their messes as they make them.

*I ordered medium sized laundry baskets for every member of the family at the advice of a friend. That way when I’m throwing clean clothes out of the dryer I can throw them into the baskets and putting away each person’s laundry takes a lot less time than sorting from one giant pile. These baskets are the perfect size: http://amzn.to/2mO0gmx.

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My Week(319) in iPhone Photos

My Week(306) in iPhone Photos

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Now that I spend 80% of my day sitting on the couch nursing a baby, the bad news my week in iPhone photos is going to be a little repetitive. The good news is it’s almost all pictures of a tiny squishy baby, so it’s not the worst thing in the world.

Sunday:

sunday1

First time being worn!! In our very most special wrap.

sunday2

Super windy lake, but at least we made it ONE more time

sunday3

First baby of mine to ever take a pacifier

Monday:

monday1

THAT’S RIGHT

monday2

Poor yellow baby (now he’s a blue baby)

monday3

When you turn on the jets in the bath you get a LOT of bubbles

Tuesday:

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Ready for school!

tuesday2

How he feels about the hospital

tuesday3

Baby’s Second Hanna Jams (lobsters were first)

Wednesday:

wednesday1

Friends don’t let friends have a baby without bringing them their favorite wine

wednesday2

Pretending he’s still a baby too

wednesday3

Working on his thigh rolls

Thursday:

thursday1

My life is now this…

thursday2

…and this…

thursday3

And three times a week this (chasing a toddler during soccer).

Friday:

friday1

Helping me make the bed

friday2

He looks so pleased with his noodle and his juice

friday3

FAAAAACE

Saturday:

saturday2

Living their best lives

saturday1

Bzzzzzzzz

saturday3

Presents from Gymboree as part of a campaign! I’ll have the post up tomorrow!

I’m all caught up! Now I just have to edit a bazillion photos of our weekend so I can get THOSE up before the end of the week and then I might just spend the rest of the week napping instead of blogging. I’m sure you understand.

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Laundry Is My New Hobby

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Every year that I’m an adult, I do a couple more adulty type things that make me feel like an actual grown up instead of someone just pretending to be a grown-up. Any time I have to call the insurance company is a big one. Having a hairdresser (as opposed to just going to Super Cuts) is another. I suppose giving birth to children should be on that list, but mostly I still can’t believe I’ve been allowed to create and become responsible for so many humans.

This year’s big accomplishment is finally become proficient in laundry. I’m not sure if I’m just suffering from an abundance of second-trimester energy or what, but our laundry baskets are empty a significantly greater amount of time than they’re full. Let’s just not talk about actually putting AWAY the laundry. That part is still a big nope. But washing? I love washing.

I can tell you what the turning point was. I have a friend who told me she doesn’t dry her kids’ clothes in the dryer. She might as well have told me she sleeps hanging upsidedown like a bat. I thought she was a CRAZY PERSON. Do you know just how many clothes my kids wear? MILLIONS. A million different articles of clothing a day. Where do you put them to dry? What’s so bad about the dryer?

THEN I discovered the world of children’s clothing resale pages on Facebook. If the idea of buying and selling stuff on Facebook is weird to you, you’re the last person in America who has never been invited to a LulaRoe sale. But beyond regular FB parties is the resale world – cloth diapers, leggings, baby carriers, fabric, purses, neighborhood yard sale sites where you can buy everything from a canoe to a car. I’ve taken part in a lot of this sort of thing but it never occurred to me there was a market for kids’ clothes. Since I’m a huge fan of “nice” brands, like Mini Boden and Hanna Andersson, those groups totally got me. I’m now fully immersed in the second-hand world, where a pair of kids shorts in good used condition still resells for $25 and I saw a hard to find toddler t-shirt listed at $100. On these pages, “we don’t use the dryer on our boden/hanna” is a standard listing claim and “wash wear” can cut your value in half. So after I had ordered a few things, I popped over to Amazon and ordered a drying rack. It fits nicely in our bathtub to keep it out of the way and can be moved to the guest room if the kids HAVE to have a bath. It’s also come in handy for my new cloth diapers as part of the Make Cloth Mainstream Challenge, especially for sunny days where I can dry them outside. It’s not actually that hard to just grab my no-dryer stuff as I put the rest in the dryer (I still dry probably 80% of our laundry) and everything gets dry in 24 hours. I don’t actually plan to resell most of my Mini Boden/Hanna, because selling is a pain and my children RUIN clothing, but keeping them as nice as possible for as long as possible is a good goal.

IMG_7238

Linc’s new shirt after he had worn it for 1 hour.

Another thing I got with the diapers is wool dryer balls. DO YOU KNOW ABOUT WOOL DRYER BALLS? They’re supposed to help your laundry dry faster and they TOTALLY DO. They’re supposed to make your laundry softer and they TOTALLY DO. And they’re supposed to reduce static and you know what? THEY TOTALY DO. I have three and that seems to be a good amount for my small-ish dryer, but I know nothing about them except that they’re magic. Allen’s Naturally also sent me a bottle of Stink Out, which is also magic. Takes the boat smell right out of E’s clothes and everything they touch.

My last new favorite laundry discovery is BunchaFarmers stain sticks. I have two, and I keep one in the couch storage compartment and one next to the washer. That way when Linc pours juice all over his shirt I can strip it off him and rub some Buncha on it immediately. Or I can use it on the throw blanket I keep over the ottoman to keep it from getting destroyed by dirty feet, dirty children, spilled cups and markers. I have no idea why it works way better than most of the less-crunchy stain removers, but it does. It’s probably because of coconut oil. Coconut oil is some sort of voodoo that makes everything better.

I realize this might be the most boring thing to be excited about ever, but it’s what’s making me happy right now while my toddler flings himself against his bedroom door refusing to stay in his crib and nap for the second time this week. I feel like at least ONE thing is going well around here. Also, Linc is wearing a VERY cute Mini Boden shirt while he tantrums, so there’s that.

Disclaimer: I don’t have an Amazon affiliate account, so those links (and everything else) are just regular links. I got the stuff from Allen’s Naturally for free because of the #mcmschallenge but I love them enough to pay real monies when I run out. 

 

 

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A Mom’s Real Life Guide To Stain Removal

Monday, July 20th, 2015

stain removal

Item: White t-shirt
Stain: Grass
Treatment: Dab stain with rubbing alcohol. When it’s time to wash, pour some detergent directly onto the stain before throwing it into the laundry.

Item: Pink ballet leotard
Stain: Blood
Treatment: Soak leotard immediately in cold water, then rub with a bar of soap. If it doesn’t all come out, treat with hydrogen peroxide, since a slightly pale spot on the leotard is less likely to get your yelled at by the dance teacher than an obvious blood stain.

Item: Swim trunks
Stain: Sand
Treatment: Wonder how the hell SAND can stain a pair of swim trunks. Leave in the back of your car for 2 days because you forgot them. Throw them in the once a week hot water load of laundry, cross fingers.

Item: Sparkly white tutu
Stain: Green chalk paint
Treatment: Throw it in the laundry with the regular stuff, because it’s just chalk, that should come right out. Realize the stain hasn’t even sort of come out. Spot treat with a stain stick, toss it back in the regular laundry. Realize the stain STILL isn’t out and now it probably never going to. Hide that tutu and hope your daughter never notices it’s gone.

Item: Baby pajamas
Stain: Blueberries
Treatment: Let the naked baby run around the house while you spray all the stains with OxyClean. Baby smears blueberries on everything. Forget pajamas, use a toothbrush and Resolve to scrub blueberries out of the new couch. Vow never to buy blueberries again.

Item: Batman underpants
Stain: Skid marks
Treatment: Throw them away. Kid sized underpants are cheaper than the price of your dignity.

Item: Mom’s favorite shirt
Stain: Salad dressing
Treatment: Curse the fact that you can’t just eat your salad of sadness alone for FIVE MINUTES. Instead, you eat standing in the kitchen where you will always end up with half the salad falling on your cleavage. Try rubbing it with baking soda to draw out the oil, realize it barely even matters because you can’t have nice things.

Item: Brand new Tea Collection dress
Stain: Sharpie WTF WHERE DID YOU GET A SHARPIE
Treatment: Count to 10. Count to 10 again. Count to 10 one more time. Calmly ask daughter to remove dress so you can try to get the stain out. Blot stain with vinegar and pray to every god you can think of that it comes out.

Item: Wool rug
Stain: Pizza sauce
Treatment: Move rug to the other room where the stain is hidden by a couch. Order new rug.

Item: Every pair of shorts/pants your almost 1 year old owns
Stain: Baby poop
Treatment: Give up.

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Empty Pockets

Friday, June 17th, 2011

My life is a pocket, being emptied before the endless parade of pants go into the machine.

A crumpled $20 bill. It’s enough for a day – a coffee, a burger, a pretty bobble from Target – but wouldn’t make a dent in a year’s worth of bills and car payments and mortgages. My worth as a mother isn’t paid in dollars and cents, so I am both worthless and priceless.

A rubber band. My patience being pulled and stretched and twisted further and further with each temper tantrum, each unwashed dish, each crying baby. Sometimes in breaks and someone gets stung, a hurtful snap I immediately regret and I vow that next time I won’t let it get so tight.

A paper clip. Holding it all together a day at a time. Doctor’s appointments, vet appointments, car maintenance, groceries, playgroups, laundry, dishes, bedtimes, start all over. Papers papers everywhere and that file cabinet I was planning to use still empty. I need an hour a day a month to organize before I’m buried alive.

A goldfish cracker. The compromise between having a hungry, cranky toddler and eating nothing but organic, locally grown produce hand-picked by virgins under a full moon. The place where doing what is “best” for my family meets doing what is best for ME when it comes to my family and the guilt I do or do not feel when I cut corners. Sometime delicious trumps perfection.

A band-aid wrapper, the band-aid long since peeled off a skinned knee. I cover up the boo-boos, deal with the pain, pretend it’s not a big deal. I’m glad the hurt is so small but the scars are still there even after the scrape is gone.

Lint. Dog hair. My hair that is still falling out by the handful thanks to post-partum hormones. Messes of all kinds invade my space. Bits of yarn. Crumbs. Pen marks. Dirty feet. Messy faces. Playdoh ground into the carpet. Drips of milk. The remnants of a day full of fun, sunshine and creativity.

A penny. For luck. We are all healthy, clothed, fed, loved and safe. So much luck.

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