Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Saving one minute, but wasting two"

I heard this phrase from one of my neighbours recently and I thought, that's exactly what happens in home keeping when there's no routine. But this really is a post about habits - good ones and bad ones. We really are creatures of habit, and we should use that to our advantage... let me explain.

By now you all know that I am not the prefect housewife, and struggling to set up a routine has always been the difficult part of home keeping for me. Some people seem naturally tidy and able to keep their homes clean, and I reckon it's because they have some sort of a routine that has become a habit. Some people are basically 'habitually' tidy. I've mentioned before that it takes 21 days for a routine to become a habit - so sticking to doing a little bit of cleaning everyday can become a habit if you do it for 21 days! I realised the power of the '21 day' thing when I finally got myself to habitually make the bed every morning, I now really do it without even thinking about it... as a matter of fact, I can't even remember doing it this morning but I know I have. The key is to do these things at the same time everyday. I wanted to share with you what I've learnt so far with my newly formed habits, what good habits have you got around the house? Do you think they save you time?

There are no REAL shortcuts to keeping a house clean, but by not doing it regularly because you don't have time, means you actually waste more time, because by the time you get to the cleaning you have to scrub extra hard.

I've recently been determined to get my daily routine of home keeping right and make it a habit, and guess what, I'm succeeding! Many of my routines I have adapted from the Flylady system (for those of you who don't know, Flylady shares her tips for taking small steps in setting up daily home keeping routines -and she does all of this on her website for free). But once I got my head around the system, it was easy to see why it works and how I coudl taylor it to my lifestyle.

And these are these are my new good habits (I'm terribly proud of them):
  • Checking for and putting on a load of laundry before I leave for work.
    I really struggled with laundry before. I use to think I would notice when the basket is full, but often I thought - oh I'm running late I'll do it later. Eventually I had to do huge loads at the weekends, and my entire Saturday would be taken up by running to and from the washing machine. Now I check for laundry every morning, if there is some, I put it on. When I get home from work, while my coat is still on (the washing machine is in the cold garage) I go collect the laundry and bring it in. Then I hang it up. The next day I take it down and put the ironing items in a basket, the rest gets packed away. Checking for and dealing with laundry is now a habit for me and it has meant that our sock and underwear drawers are now always full.

  • I love these Retro laundry machines! I found them here.

  • Drying the bathroom after every use
    I'll be honest with you - I LOATHE cleaning the bathroom. I use to think people who clean their bathroom everyday must have a lot of time (and are perhaps a bit obsessive compulsive). But you know what, cleaning the bathroom has never been easier than doing it everyday! This is a classic example that by trying to save time in the mornings by getting out of the bathroom as soon as I'm done, I wasted precious weekend time. It meant that at the weekend I would have to scrub the bathroom where the limescale has gathered. Now I simply grab a used towel, and wipe everything down after I'm done. Hey presto, except for the odd squirt of cleaner and a wipe down, I've not had to scrub the tub or use smelly limescale remover on the taps since! I'm even 'habitually' wiping down the bathroom sink after I've used it, and it's still pleasantly surprising me everytime I walk into the bathroom to see how shiny the taps are.
  • While we're on the subject of bathrooms, I thought you might like to see what our bathroom looked like when we first moved into our house, as to how it looks now. Mr Laundrybasketcase did all the tiling himself (with some help from his dad). We weren't planning on having a modern suite, but in the end it's what fitted best into the space, and I really like the tiles - they have a pearl like magical sheen to them that doesn't show in the photo.

    • Cleaning the kitchen sink daily
      Now this tip also comes from the Flylady system, because this is how the Flylady system starts, and it's a brilliant tip. Of course my mum taught me this too, I just didn't listen. By making sure the kitchen sink shines and sparkles before bedtime everyday means that there's never that sinking feeling of seeing dirty dishes piled up in the morning. So now ever night after dinner, I make sure there is nothing that needs washing up, because I need to shine the sink. Once it's been washed and cleaned, I wipe it down so that it's dry. I love or shiny big white IKEA sink.
    • Meal planning once a week
      Finally I have this one sorted too. I was always planning meals that were way too complicated, and as a result the shopping would take long with a long list of ingredients, it would be expensive and because my confidence when cooking meals weren't so great I'd give up and let Mr laundrybasketcase take over. He of course only gets home way after me from work, and it seemed unfair to let him do the cooking all the time. But alas, I have discovered a gem of a book! It has a fabulous title too. It's called "How To Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy, Balanced Diet with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even if You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans (One with an Ill-fitting Lid) and no Fancy Gadgets – Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher... " - great title! It's not for those of you who are already good at cooking, the recipes are quite basic, but for me, it's just what I needed to give me a kick up my backside to do some simple meal planning and cooking. Mainly it helps you to get started with weekly meal plans, and a budget aiming for about £30 a week. So far, so good. Now that I'm into this habit of planning and cooking I'll be trying out more of Ivy's recipes over at Little Ivy Cakes - I love her recipes because she always shows loads of 'real' pictures of how the food looks.

    I still have a habit 'wish list', but every time I learn something new and I feel proud of myself, I realise that it IS important to me to have a clean and comfortable home. And my blog has proved to be a big help, not to mention all the lovely people I've met via it! We mustn't take our homes for granted, and to love our homes we need to take care of it and the things within it. I'm still amazed that a little bit of work everyday means no mre scrubbing away before guests arrive, it's a great feeling!
    Have you got some habits you are proud of, or a habit wish list that you haven't yet got to grips with?

    I'm away this weekend, but my Christmas swap partner Claire from Serendipity loves New York has told me my swap parcel is on the way! I'll take some photos when it arrives and look forward to sharing it with you all.
    I've already sent off my Christmas parcel to Claire too, I hope she likes it!

    Have a great weekend!


    MelMel said...

    How exciting the Xmas swap!

    Wonderful tips as always1xxx

    Judy said...

    I'm so happy you did this post. I clean my bathroom every morning before going to work and my kitchen before going to bed. I always feel so proud when I do your little hints. I don't do laundry every day anymore because there isn't that much with just me. I do keep it up so I don't have lots on the weekends.

    Ivy said...

    I love you so much! All your good habits are so inspiring!Thanks for the mention too. I make some simple stuff too right? :)
    Um... oh, I want that funny titled book you mentioned!

    serendipitylovesnewyork said...

    Hiya, I think your parcel arrived today but I was picking the kiddies up from school, typical! Normally the parcel man comes around 11 when I'm in!! Hope you enjoy yours! Claire xx

    MaryPoppins said...

    I think my habit shall be coming here and reading all your fantastic tips, I am so going to do the Flylady, I am rubbish really rubbish at domesticity :)

    We too have the lovely Ikea sink, though in its packaging on the kitchen floor, waiting to go in, we are have the house refurbished

    Does it work well

    Thanks so much, Ohooo I do make our bed everyday

    Mary X

    Caroline said...

    I am a work in progress these things are also my plans and I try real hard to stick to it
    Being a working mum sometimes cause of time restraints it all goes whoosh then I've got to work extra hard to get it back.

    At least one room is clean!! you can see it on my post today "Welcoming Visitors"

    MaryPoppins said...

    The Thrift Book is quite a good read, many tips in there I think many of us are doing anyway :)

    There are a few new ideas in there

    I bought it from Amazon so not too expensive

    Ohooo I have to have the easy cookbook :)


    serendipitylovesnewyork said...

    Helloooo, I've just emailed you, thankyou for my gorgeous swap, I'm afraid I couldnt wait until Christmas day, my younger two helped open it, they were excited as me! I will be blogging about it over the weekend! Hope yours has arrived safe and sound!! Claire xx

    A note on perfection

    Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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