Chores · Laundry

Laundry Help

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A lot of moms see laundry as the never-ending, dreaded task that overwhelms and irritates. I, actually, don’t mind laundry. I love the smells associated with it, the end results, and the fact that laundry helps me know if certain children of mine are remembering to change their underpants regularly. πŸ˜‰

While laundry is not a dreaded task for me, I totally get how annoying it can be. It is always there; if there are people living in your home, there is always laundry. Even the moment you have emptied the laundry baskets…someone has dirtied something. After struggling for a long time with keeping up with the dirty clothes, I have found some ways to stay ahead of the dirty game:

1.Don’t schedule one day for laundry.

Now, I know a lot of people swear by designating one day to do laundry. I used to do all laundry on Mondays – from the time we got married until about my third child. Every Monday, laundry was done. But, the thing that got me was when someone was sick…on a Monday. It would throw off my entire week. If I was feeling lousy or the kids had a stomach bug, Mondays were ruined. I would not get all the loads done I had planned, and then the whole rest of the week I was playing catch up, while more dirty clothes were piling up! I just couldn’t do it.

So, I started doing a load a day. Mondays are still pretty heavy laundry days, when I do 3-4 loads, but the rest of the week I do about a load a day. Even if it is a small, quick cycle load of towels, I do it. Why? Because if I wait and try to throw 7+ towels in with my Monday loads, I start to feel overwhelmed again. Here’s how a typical week of laundry loads goes…

Monday – 3 to 4 loads of clothing (darks, colors, lights, and undies/socks/undershirts)

Tuesday – kids’ bed sheets, usually two loads because that is five beds of sheets. And sometimes, if I need to wash someone’s comforter, it is another load or two.

Wednesday – my bedding. Sometimes just a load of my sheets and pillowcases, sometimes I do a second load of our machine-washable comforter (our best investment…a king-size comforter that can be washed at home and fits in the washer)

Thursday – usually all towels (bath, hand, kitchen) and washcloths. Sometimes a load of darks, if we have left the house a lot and the kids need jeans.

Friday – catch up on any growing piles – colors, underwear, etc.

Saturday – When I wash the kids’ comforters on the same day, it is usually a Saturday and it is five loads (one for each comforter). BUT, I don’t wash their comforters regularly, so Saturdays are usually just random laundry load days.

Sunday – No wash. At all. Too much going on with church in the morning and evening; I learned to steer clear of doing laundry on Sundays.

2. Follow through on a load or it will take over.

Seriously, how many times do we start a load in the washer and forget it? We have to run out for something or we start some kind of cleaning project and forget all about the clothes in the washer. Then it is 6:00PM, and we remember the load that has been sitting in there for 8 hours. Ugh! That has happened a few more times than I like here. So, once I start a load of laundry, I make a note (sometimes mental, but most times literally a note on a paper where I can see it) to check on it in 35 minutes, the average time for a regular load in our washer. Keeping track of the laundry load helps me remember to get it into the dryer, so I can start the next load or just to keep it from smelling yucky after sitting in a damp, enclosed washer drum all day.

The other part to the follow through is once it is washed and dried, I have to put the clean clothes in a basket and bring the basket to where I am. I can’t just put it back in the basket and leave it on top of the washer or dryer. I have to bring it with me in order to get it folded and put away. That whole “out of sight, out of mind” thing comes into play here. If I see the basket in the living room with me, I am likely to fold it and get it out of there because clutter annoys me…and a basket of unfolded clothes is clutter, to me. I will fold it, divvy up the kids’ clothing and send them away with their items to put in their drawers. Which leads me to my next point….

3. Laundry isn’t just for Mom.

I love serving my family. Honestly. It brings me such joy. BUT, I did not wear the 35 pairs of underwear in the wash…so I will expect the wearers to put their own items away (with the exception of my husband – he works hard away from home every day, so I don’t expect him to come home and do more work that I could have simply done when I put my own clothes away). Sometimes I ask my kids to help me fold the laundry, if I am crunched for time. Usually, though, I just expect them to take their pile of clean clothing and put it (properly) in their drawers and closets. This took a little practice to get going. I had a few kids that would take the whole stack of clothes (shirts, pants, undies, sock, dresses, etc) and just stuff them all into the same drawer. No good! I had to take them up to their rooms and show them how to correctly sort and put away their items…and then made it very clear that I expected this each time and would follow-up randomly to make sure they did it. Sometimes I actually remember to follow-up and make sure, other times I completely forget – but they don’t know that! πŸ™‚

My expectations for my kids and laundry are:

  • they must get all dirty items into the large hamper in their bathroom. I have explained that wearing a t-shirt for 3 hours while just sitting and reading does not create a dirty item. They also understand that jeans may be worn more than one day, unless they went on a hike or were rolling around on the floor in a public place.
  • whomever puts clothing into the hamper and notices it is full is responsible to move the full hamper into my bathroom, so I can see it needs to be sorted and prepared to wash (I have 4 baskets in my bathroom for sorting clothes before I even get to the laundry room. It is super efficient for me.). If it is overflowing and no one brings it to my bathroom, I simply discipline the person with the clothing on top. Simple. πŸ˜‰
  • they can help fold if they want (sometimes a few do want to), but only if they are going to actually FOLD and not just wad things up and stack them.
  • they must take their clean clothing and put it into the correct places in their rooms or they will be out of clothing to wear very quickly.

4.Not eveything on our bodies is dirty every day.

This might sound gross to some of you. Believe me, we are uber-hygienic and very wary of germs and dirtiness. BUT, we have had to lay some ground rules for what constitutes a dirty clothing item with the kids. If they wear jeans out of the house and go somewhere that they will be on the floor (library, church, etc), that item will go in the hamper at the end of the day. Shirts worn to AWANA go in the hamper because our children have this uncanny way of sweating with the slightest bit of physical activity at church. Pants and shirts worn at home on a boring school day can be worn a second day. If the kids were running around like maniacs in the basement, I will probably tell them to throw their shirt in the hamper. Pajamas get worn two nights before we wash them, unless someone has an accident or spills food on them during breakfast (ahem, Ethan!). Jeans can be worn 3 or 4 days around the house before we need to wash them.

I don’t know how you all feel about the dirtiness of clothes, but I think our clothes are a lot less dirty than we think on regular days at home. It is such a waste of water and energy to wash not-really-dirty clothing. AND it saves on how many items you actually need to have for each of your children (that is a whole other post, though, that I plan to write….decluttering the kids’ drawers). If we can really evaluate the clean versus dirty items at the end of the day, we might save ourselves some irritation by not having as much in the hamper. Socks and underwear are the exception – those get changed at least once a day. We have a few with very stinky feet, so sometimes a change in the middle of the day (when they have been sweating) is necessary. And we also have a few that have an accident – possibly when being tickled by a sibling – and need to change underwear. No names, though. πŸ˜‰ But, seriously, clothes are usually durable enough and clean enough to go more than a day on the body before needing to be washed.

(Another exception may be the puberty stage. I suspect my boys will need to wash shirts more often when they reach that age; they sweat getting up from the couch now, so I assume the sweat and body odor will be enough to wash their clothes more frequently in the coming years! My girls haven’t been affected by this stage much, but I plan to be careful to avoid any embarrassing B.O. issues.)

There you have it – my super fabulous efficient way to get laundry done and not be overwhelmed by it. I cannot guarantee these things will work for you, but I know they work for us. And if you struggle with laundry (or just simply hate it), try these suggestions and see if maybe they’ll work for your family too!

Do you have a laundry system? Or do you just wing it each week??

What’s your biggest challenge with laundry? Do you have any tips to help other moms stay on top of it?

Cleaning · Household · Laundry · Organization

Chore App and Chart

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Our family is all about everyone helping out around the house. If you live here, you help here. πŸ™‚

Several months back, I was trying to figure out how to get a chore schedule up that wasn’t too permanent (I have wasted too many poster boards!), so we could try out a routine and see if we liked it. Ethan was still three then, and he was fully capable of helping with most of the things the big kids were expected to help with. So, I devised a little plan and chart (the picture above).

(I should mention my husband and I prefer a really clean home. Like, to the point where we will vacuum and clean after guests leave, regardless of how late. My husband has been known to mop the kitchen floor at 11:30 PM after our friends left because he realized at some point during their visit that the floor hadn’t been mopped in a few days. I refuse to complain about his mopping decisions because HE MOPS THE FLOOR AND LIKES IT. That is one less thing on my chore list, so I do not care what time of day he wants to mop!)

I took each of the items that get done fairly regularly and assigned them to someone a couple of times a week. The purple board is just a large magnetic board, and the letter rectangles are just cardstock that I cut out and attached a self-sticking magnet to. Easy peasy!

Since I went to all the trouble to make the chart, I wanted to be sure the kids were paying attention to it and completing their tasks. So, I took the smaller white board so they could mark off when they had completed tasks (and I could follow-up and make sure they actually got done!). The category “Jack” on the chore board is for our dog – I put Ethan in charge of him often to get his food and water filled up. And everyone around here can work our vacuums, so we all get a turn vacuuming different areas of the house.

We are a few months into using this chart and just a few things have changed, like cleaning the bathrooms more often. Iris and Lily now clean them on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. With seven people home 90% of the time, they just get messy quickly! I also changed Jack duty to a bigger variety of kids and moved Ethan into more of the kitchen and table cleaning duties. He is pretty handy with the small vacuum and crumbs in the kitchen!

I still fill in on the days no one is tending to the different areas. Laundry duty on the chore board does not mean they do a load of laundry, just that they are responsible to help me move loads from washer to dryer or fold and put items. Iris and Lily could probably do a couple of loads, but I just prefer to do it myself. I may or may not have lost a few clothing items to my husband’s laundry skills. 😦 I don’t mind laundry at all.

For myself, I used the Motivated Moms appΒ (affiliate link – thanks for using it!)Β and I LOVE it! I started using it last year, and I find it to be the easiest way to keep track of everything. It has chores already programmed into it, but you can also add or remove tasks to suit you and your day! They have options for a light version of the app, a full version, and now on the website they even have printables! So many options that you are bound to find what works with your schedule. I highly recommend it!

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See how awesome that list is?? I still get to check off boxes, but it is all digital! I am a paper list person naturally, but the Motivated Moms app just really helps…I can take it anywhere I go because it is on my phone! I don’t have to worry about finding my paper list. Chores and tasks are a breeze when the app is keeping track, and I can just focus on my day and the task I am working on!

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What chart or app do you use for chores??

 

Chores · Cleaning · Household · Laundry · Organization

Routine for Clean and a REVIEW!

 

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(Photo courtesy of blog.blacknight.com)

 

*Affiliate Disclosure:Β This post contains affiliate links.*

I am tough to please when it comes to cleaning routines. I prefer to have a paper list of things to clean/complete, so I can physically check them off. Paper gets annoying, though, as I do not like clutter….and paper makes for serious clutter.

Technology is so not my thing, but I really love an app I found for a daily checklist. It is customizable and, even though it’s digital, I can still check things off! It’s a win-win, really!

The app is called Motivated Moms, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I purchased the $1.99 version to test it out. I get two months’ worth of daily checklists to try, but I see how much I like it already andΒ know the full year’s subscription would be perfect for me.

The app allows me to assign tasks to different rooms or people. I have my Quiet Time on the checklist, as well as our group reading time and a variety of other home and school items. It even reminds me of little things I forget to do like regularly restock toilet paper in the kids’ bathroom! (I tend to forget to check on that….and only remember when I hear a little voice yelling “MOM! There’s no toilet paper for me!”)

This week, it reminded me to clean out my toaster. MY TOASTER! I haven’t cleaned that thing since my youngest was born…3 years ago. I almost didn’t do it, but my need to check things off won and I emptied all the crumbs out of the toaster. It was disgusting! I even scrubbed the top and sides of it. The thing looks brand new now! And I would not have ever remembered to clean it had it not been for this app.

The Motivated Mom app is available for iPod/iPad/iPhone, as well as for Android. It comes with a ton of pre-loaded tasks, and they can be sorted by room. That is how I prefer, so I can see what needs to be done in each area of the house that day. As I complete them, I just click the box and it checks it off and moves it to the bottom of the list. Laundry and Feed Pets are on the lists every day, which is great because we have to do both every single day!

While I do love being able to add custom tasks to the lists and choosing how often they appear (daily, weekly, etc), the only “negative” thing on the customizing is that the pre-loaded tasks’ names and frequency cannot be edited. So, for instance, the unload/run dishwasher task was pre-loaded. I prefer to have them as two separate things (since I have to unload in the morning and then run it at night). Ok, so it is not really a negative; I am just very particular and like to check off as many items as possible! I realize I have a problem. πŸ™‚

To change it, I hid the pre-loaded item and just added two custom tasks- “unload dishwasher” and “run dishwasher.” And my need to check things off is satisfied with each. πŸ™‚ It took a whole 45 seconds to add the two items, so I am not at all complaining!

The custom task adding is great, though! You can choose the name, when it’s due, if it repeats (and when), who the task is assigned to, and what room it belongs in. This is like heaven for an organizing freak like myself!! You can set appointments on there, if you want and just had a due date and not have it repeat.

It really is a great app and a test run for two months at only $1.99 is amazing! $8 for a year’s worth of tasks isn’t bad. Sure, it is more than a typical app (and you have to renew it after a year for another $8), but it is a daily use app and if you break down the cost….$8 divided by 365 days? That’s only $.02 a day!

I highly recommend trying at least the $1.99 version to see for yourself. They do offer a Motivated Moms Lite version for $.99, which covers one month of tasks. Whichever one you try, I am pretty certain you will find it useful and convenient!

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Do any of you use this app?! What do you think about it??

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Cleaning · Homeschool · Household · Laundry · lessons in love

That’s a Wrap!

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What a tough week!!!

Tuesday morning, about 2:00 AM, Lily woke up to vomit. Then again at 3:30AM, as well as a few other times after that. (It is all a blur now…)

We had been hit with that crazy stomach thing going around! I have heard of so many families from church having it since the New Year, but I thought for sure we had dodged it. NOPE! And it is the craziest bug ever. Lily slept for about an hour around lunch time, and then she felt totally fine the rest of the day. The next morning, she felt nauseated again and threw up once after having some kefir to drink (that was my fault!).

Iris ended up with a bad stomach ache all day Tuesday and ended up vomiting just once around 3:00PM, and she has been fine ever since. No fevers for either girl, and no one else got it. Such a goofy thing. Not long-lasting but just enough to make ya feel gross.

So, Monday we were able to do some schoolwork. Tuesday turned out to be crappy. We did a little group reading while the sickies laid around, but that was about it. Wednesday was a little better. Disinfecting took priority, though, so we mostly just read our history and group reading book. Thursday Dad was off, and I had a meeting, so we didn’t do much. Today we are getting some math, history, group reading, Bible, spelling, and copywork done. (Talk about cramming a ton into one day!!)

I am so ready to be done with this week. We missed all kinds of appointments/playdates, the girls missed their church club on Wednesday night, and I racked up $3.00 in library fines because I kept forgetting to renew a movie and we hadn’t left the house to return it! UGH!!

These kind of weeks happen now and then, and I am learning to just go with it. Sickness just stinks. Even though we are home, doing schoolwork makes them more nauseated, I think. Unless they have been lying and just trying to get out of doing things…hmmmm.

Anyway, I am calling it for the week – That’s a wrap, people! I am spent. My washer and dryer have really gotten a lot of use this week. My emotions have been on a roller coaster with all the “my tummy hurts” claims Β – some unfounded, by the way….it’s amazing how quickly a three-year-old picks up ways to trick mom! My nerves are shot. I have probably had a gallon of coffee this week. It’s just been rough. And I wasn’t even sick! I can only imagine how the girls’ bodies feel now.

While we didn’t accomplish much this week, I am going to go ahead and high-five myself for keeping people alive, fed, and clean. I am also going to high-five myself (without telling my husband! HA!) for not burning down the house when I left the stove on for over an hour after reheating some soup for the kids’ lunch Wednesday. So thankful there was at least a little bit left in the pot, so it didn’t burn and start a crazy fire!

Definitely time to end this week!!

Anyone else out there have a crazy, out-of-the-ordinary week?? Please tell me I’m not alone!! πŸ™‚

Chores · Cleaning · Household · Laundry · Organization

Goals for the Day

1. Make crockpot burrito filling. Not on the menu plan but uses pretty much the same ingredients as the Rice and Beans I had planned.

2. Make a double batch of homemade whole wheat tortillas (these are so delicious. seriously, go make them.)

3. Whip up THIS chicken salad for lunch. Also, not on the menu plan but I have the ingredients…and it looks really yummy.

4. Make THIS french bread to go with the chicken salad for lunch.

5. Wash our master bedroom sheets.

6. Two other loads of laundry.

7. Clean bathrooms.

8. Dust and vacuum upstairs.

9. Inventory stockpile.

That’s not too much to do, right??? πŸ™‚ And it’s already 10AM….not a single one of those has been accomplished yet. Yikes! Better get that bread started!!

Have any huge plans or checklists today? Share them! Let’s be optimistic together!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚

Chores · Cleaning · Household · Laundry · Organization

Organized Home: Incorporating Your New Plan

Well, we are at the point in planning that I get to many times – I map out all the new ideas I have and put down on paper what I am going to do around the house and on what day. And then…I set it aside and never get around to actually doing it! It all looks so good on paper (or on the computer) but I keep putting off a good day to start. πŸ™‚

Today I am going to give some things and sites that have helped me START the plan that I wrote out to get my home organized and clean.

1. GET A CHECKLIST

I like having a checklist to physically mark off the things I have accomplished each day. I like posting it on the fridge, so I am staring at it every time I am in the kitchen. I found a few great checklists that we have used to help us!

The Confident Mom’s 2014 Planner (yes, I realize it is for 2014…I am sincerely hoping she puts out a planner for 2015. we LOVED this one!)

FlyLadyΒ  (She has some great baby steps for getting started. She also has a detailed list for cleaning each “zone” of your home. With homeschool and five kids, though, I did find hers hard to maintain. BUT, still some awesome ideas.)

Cozi (A GREAT family planner with options for grocery lists, menu plans, AND it is also an app for your phone. It offers a great checklist option for daily to-do’s. AND you can view FlyLady’s daily items through it!)

Money Saving Mom (free customizable printables to list your daily cleaning items, menu plans, and more. I love using hers from time to time.)

My favorite of these is the Confident Mom planner. My husband and I use Cozi on our phones, so we know each other’s schedule and appointments, but I rarely use the To Do lists on it. I really just enjoy having a paper checklist. But if you are on the go a lot, the digital option might work better for you.

FlyLady offers great Baby Steps for getting your home under control. She has you work on one item at a time to consistently add to your routine, so it becomes habit for you to stay organized and plan ahead each day for the next.

2. REMEMBER: IT DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT

I have learned NOT to try to change an entire routine all at once. It has to be gradual for me or I feel overwhelmed and quit. Remember, your home didn’t become unorganized in a day, so it will take more than a day to organize it all. You have to give yourself some grace and just do a little bit at a time.

Think about what irritates you most about your schedule or lack or organization. Which thing do you want to change most? Work on that first! For me, it was my kitchen. I felt cluttered and it stressed me out each morning. So, I attacked the countertops first. I made a habit of putting things away at the end of the day. I ran the dishwasher at night, set my coffee timer for the morning, and made sure there were no dirty dishes in the sink. I love it now. My kids are early risers, so I don’t have much time in the kitchen alone in the morning. The LAST thing I want to be doing is cleaning up the previous day’s mess before we can get started with the current day!

I feel less rushed in the morning now because all I have to do is breakfast and putting away the clean dishwasher dishes. And then I was able to focus on the next area of clutter in our home. πŸ™‚

3. LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW YOUR GOALS

You cannot change the way your home runs…on your own. There has to be some teamwork. Otherwise, you will drive yourself nuts! Trust me in this!!

If you are assigning tasks to kids or your spouse on certain days, sit them down and let them know what changes you’re making and why. Tell them how the clutter or disorganization makes you feel and tell them you need their help. I know they would be willing to help and support you, especially if it makes for a happier Mom. πŸ™‚ I know my kids don’t mind helping when I am stressed and they see my ugly side!

But you have to TELL THEM. You can’t just assume they know or will pick up on it. They don’t read minds; don’t expect them to!

4. CHECK OFF THE CHECKLIST!!

If you are going to the trouble of using a paper or digital checklist….BE SURE TO REALLY USE IT! There is something about seeing all those items checked off each day that builds my confidence. It might seem so silly, but sometimes being a mom is overwhelming and can make us feel maybe useless. Seeing that we have accomplished things during the day lets us know we can do this. We don’t have to be overwhelmed; we can get this under control. We are so useful in our homes; we essentially keep the home running!

5. TRUST THE LORD WITH THE THINGS WE CANNOT CHANGE

There is going to come a time when we see no change in our homes. Things may even fall back to how they used to be – unorganized, chaotic, stressful. Sometimes we may have a child or spouse that doesn’t seem to care as much about staying organized as we do. We can’t change them. All we can do is share with them how important this is to us and ask for their help. They may not be willing to help at that time. And we cannot change that. We have to just pray and give it to God, knowing He will bless our efforts. Our focus should be on the things we can or need to change.

As little as our organization may seem in the big scheme of life, it is still important. And God wants to hear from us about what is important to us. Our goal should be to keep our hearts right and trust Him to help change happen where and when it needs to happen. (This applies to so much more in our lives than just organizing our homes, but it works here too.)Β  πŸ™‚

Next week I will touch on menu planning and how that helps with overall organization! Happy organizing!

 

Chores · Cleaning · Household · Kitchen · Laundry · Menu Plan · Organization

Organized Home

photo courtesy of almolook.com
(photo courtesy of almolook.com)

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I have started (and stopped!) several topics or themes. Life always picks up and gets crazy or I simply forget and never go back to those themed posts! I have somehow been able to maintain Menu Plans on Mondays and Recipes on Wednesdays. I am on and off with the Bake It Tuesdays. BUT, I would like to add a post theme of “Organized Home” on Thursdays.

WHY??

Because the more moms I talk to, the more I hear that staying on top of household things is hard, they don’t have time, or people just don’t know where to start. Well, I happen to be the BEST organizer of the home EVER…..NOT! πŸ™‚ I do strive to stay organized in the home, though, because I feel absolutely overwhelmed caring for everyone and keeping the home clean without an organized, detailed, possibly-kinda-obsessive plan. This series of posts is just my opinion of how to create a plan and then actually use it. (I am also the BEST organizer who thinks up a bunch of organizational plans and then never implements them!) If I were as cool and organized as other blogging moms, I might have some printables for you; however, I am not that advanced, so I will link to my favorites for you to print and use how you see fit.

Today is just the introduction and a rough outline of the steps/topics in Home Organization I’d like to cover. Please keep in mind that I do a lot of foods from scratch, so there will be several steps that include organizing time to allow for foods to be prepped and made. Feel free to skip any of those that don’t apply to your home.

Here are the post titles/ideas I hope to cover (and more may be added as we go, if I realize that my organizational skills failed me and I actually left steps out):

1. Contemplating a Master Plan

2. Finding and Using Printables – Cleaning

3. Finding and Using Printables – Menu Plan

4. Assigning Items to Each Day

5. Working Around Distractions, Crabby Kids (or Mom), and Failures

6. Staying Consistent to Create a Habit

7. Tips for Around the House

Those aren’t necessarily in the exact order I will post them, but it gives you an idea. If you have a suggestion for an additional topic or a change in the ones I listed, PLEASE feel free to comment or email me (milkandhoneybreads@yahoo.com). I am so willing to add things or move things around to post what will be most helpful for you!!

So be ready! Next Thursday is go time! Which means I have one week to get my act together here and be the perfect example of all things organization!! πŸ™‚