As far as the kids' routine, I was not as successful as I wanted to be. In the middle of the month, I started waking them up at 7:30 and putting them down to bed at 7, and it didn't take long for that to catch on. River is up like an alarm clock with a cheerful Good morning! every day now. I am in the process of some gentle sleep training with Austen for her afternoon nap (today is day three). Everything seems to effect her. Bathtime at night or in the morning? Wake at 7:00 or 7:30? She is so sensitive to sleep/wake times and they dictate her whole day. I am still trying to figure out the best routine for her. I came down with something twice this month and was unable to stick to a good routine. If it's already difficult for you to be organized and get up early in the morning, nothing will set you back on your ass like a fever and achy muscles.
Here's what I established this month:
My Laundry Routine
I used to do it once every four or five days. I'd always have a huge pile to wash, dry, and fold, and sometimes it would take literally all day. A mountain of laundry would sit on my couch and often I didn't have the energy to do it because I felt like I had to get the rest of the house clean first, so I would actually have a spot to place the folded laundry. Often times, I'd never even get around to folding and putting away the laundry, so it would stay in a basket for a week or longer, or worse, it would get mixed with the dirty laundry and I'd end up washing everything all over again. I tried dedicating certain days of the week to laundry, like every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, but that was hard to stick to. This month, as I was trying to organize every aspect of our daily life, I realized I would have to do laundry every day.
I have two hampers -- once in the laundry room and one in our bedroom -- and two laundry bags. At the beginning of each day, I combine the laundry from the day before into the hamper in the laundry room. I sort the clothes by dark, medium, and white. I always have one decent load of dark a day, so that is what I wash. I hardly have any whites, so these usually get washed once a week. Here is the routine I've sort of fallen into:
Day 1: dark
Day 2: dark
Day 3: light
Day 4: dark
Day 5: dark
Day 6: light
Day 7: linens & whites
As soon as the laundry is done, I take it out and fold it and put it away. Washing clothes every day might seem like overkill, especially if you don't have a large family and are used to doing the wash once or twice a week. But trust me -- with the time and sanity you'll save, it's worth it. You won't have dirty clothes piling up in the corners, you won't have mountains of laundry to fold and put away, and the time you'll spend on washing and folding clothes will be condensed to about 15 minutes of man power per day, compared to hours of work once a week.
This is my ideal laundry routine. On top of this, I also do diapers every three days. Some weeks, I'm really good at keeping up with it. Other weeks, I just get behind. But if I can stick to this routine, it makes life a lot easier for me, and clothes don't magically disappear. (It's not just socks, right? I mean, other moms have this problem too, right??)
The last time I posted, I left you hanging with what I did with all that crap I put in the bag. I talked about how I went around the entire house, and if something was lying around that didn't belong in that room, or perhaps didn't yet have a home, or took too much effort in the moment to put away, it went into the bag. Here's an example of some things that were lying around on the counter that went into The Bag: screw and nails, hair ties, random papers, mismatched baby socks, an empty bottle of saline, pieces to a board game... you get the picture. Maybe I should have just thrown the saline bottle away, but in the moment of just trying to get things clean, it was easier to toss it in the bag. By the time I'd gone through the entire house and everything that did not belong was out of each room, I had filled up three paper bags of STUFF. It took me an entire afternoon to go through this stuff. It was a year's worth of accumulated junk that didn't have a home. No really, I watched three or four episodes of Downton Abbey.
This made getting the rest of the house clean really easy. Instead of pausing in the middle of wiping the counter to go put a cell phone charger in the basket in my room, I just stuffed it in the bag. This is now a part of my daily routine. At least twice a day, usually in the afternoon and again before I go to bed, I go around the house and pick up EVERYTHING that does not belong. At the end of the day when the kids are sleeping, I take the bag and put its contents away. Sometimes it's a pain in the butt to have to reach up high to put a throw blanket in the closet, but it keeps the house spotless and you won't have junk piling up on available surfaces. It is so tempting to set something down and not put it back for days. But that's how my house turns into a pigsty -- fast.
Organized Spaces = Tidy PlacesMy advice is to take care of the cosmetic first, starting with the front of the house. Get the house picked up, company-is-coming style. Then work from the inside out. Organize one space at a time. Keep three bags handy -- giveaway, trash, and the junk bag. Getting every corner of your home organized is possible, and once it is, it will be so much easier to keep things neat. Everything has a place and getting things picked up is as simple as putting it in its place. If I pick up several times a day and put things away every night, there's no way the mess will get out of control.