Tricks to stay on top of chores.

I was feeling like since it’s January I should do a blog post on organizing.  I didn’t feel like I had any advice to offer, but the more I thought about it, I realized I have certain things I do, that help me stay on top of things (mostly) and I could share those.   I wish I had some new, life-changing idea but all of these tricks are simple, obvious things.  Something might help you and writing it will definitely re motivate me.  

  • Whatever I’m doing, I clean the room I’m doing it in first.  For example, before I started this blog, ( I sit on the couch in the family room)  I straightened the couch pillows, put away the items that were on the coffee table that don’t belong there and vacuumed the floor)  Obviously you won’t always have time to do things like vacuuming, but tonight I did.  While I’m doing the activity, if I notice something that needs to be done, I do it afterwards;    If I notice a plant needs to be watered, or something needs dusted etc., I will do that after I finish the blog post.
  • Make your bed every day.  I’m fortunate that my husband gets up after I do so he makes the bed every single day.  Make it part of getting ready.  If your bed is complicated to make, simplify it.  Too many pillows?  Take some off or all of them off.  I don’t use throw pillows at all on our bed.    If one side of your bed is up against the wall, it makes it difficult to make, slide it away from the wall even just enough to fit your body between the wall and the bed so you won’t mind making it.
  • Clean your refrigerator out before you grocery shop.  Get rid of old leftovers, produce that is no longer desirable, expired yogurt etc.  This makes room when you come home with the new groceries.  If I do this first, I notice that I am much more organized putting items away.   If the fridge is already stuffed and messy, I end up just stuffing new items on top of the old items.                                                                                                                                                                       Also, whenever you empty the kitchen trash, you know how when you pull the bag out, it frees up a little space in the garbage bag?  Fill it up, check the fridge, check the kitchen counters, water bottles sitting around,  junk from the mailbox, toss stuff in until its full.
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  • Another kitchen trick is to clean as you cook.  Any time you are waiting for the microwave or oven timer, or something to come to a boil;  empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher, wipe counters, throw trash away, put ingredients away and wipe surfaces.  It’s amazing how much you can get done in a few minutes time.  If something has to bake for 30 minutes that makes me so happy because the kitchen can be clean by time its done baking.                                          Bonus trick — when you wash dishes, use gloves and slather on a thick layer of moisturizer, the hot dishwater works with the moisturizer so when you take the gloves off, your hands are so soft)
  • My bathroom trick is to make sure its clean before I leave the room at night, or in the morning, whichever fits my schedule that day.  Keep a cheap toilet brush that comes in a leak-proof holder by the toilet, put an all-purpose cleaner in it, enough to cover the brush.  If the toilet needs scrubbed inside, just swipe that around and put the brush back into the cleaner.   Some other supplies to make keeping the bathroom clean  a super easy, quick job – Lysol wipes and Windex wipes, keep them in the bathroom so you can swipe the toilet,  counter, faucet or mirror.  Lastly, keep extra trash bags to fit your bathroom trash can in the bathroom, if you don’t have cupboard or drawer space, lay some in the bottom of the trash can under the bag that is in there already .  This makes it so if the trash is full after you get dressed in the morning, pull out the full bag, pop in a new bag and either carry the full bag out immediately or set it by the door to toss in the garbage on your way out.  
  • I do not have much room for cleaning supplies so I keep mine pared down.  I like making my own spray cleaners.  I keep straight up hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle,  under the kitchen sink.  Spray it on surfaces and let it sit a few minutes and wipe to disinfect sinks and counters etc.  I also always have SOS pads or other steel wool pan scrubber.  I cut them in half as soon as I bring a new box of them home.  They are really only good for one use, because they rust and I’ve never felt I needed a whole scrubby so I use halves.  Nothing’s easier for cleaning pans and sinks.  I keep a bottle of bleach under the sink as well                                                                                                                                                 In the hall closet, I keep a spray bottle with  1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 tsp dish soap and 3 cups water.  This is an all-purpose as well as glass cleaner.
  • Laundry – I need tricks for this area!  I have no schedule, I just throw in a load here and there.  If you have any routines, please share them with me!  Here are my two tricks:  1) I use a pillowcase for bras because the hooks get caught on other items, just safety-pin it shut, not tightly, so the water can flow in and out of the pillowcase but the bras stay in.  Also, anything with lace goes in a separate pillowcase so it doesn’t snag on anything in the wash.  2) I keep a long, thick ribbon on my laundry closet wall.  Its tacked at the top of the wall and has clothespins all along the length of it for clipping random socks with no mate. Then when I get a lone sock in a load, I check if its mate is on the ribbon and match them up or if it isn’t, I clip it on the ribbon.    It goes almost from ceiling to floor.
  • A new tip for me, part of my new years resolution, is to have only 6 items on each calendar day.   I have not even gotten those 6 things done on any of the 4 days so far this year so I might even do less.  I like to have a variety of things each day.   I like to include fun things like coffee with a friend, a physical thing (usually a walk) as well as appointments or things that need to get done.  I look at the 6 things so I can plan efficiently (I like to do this the night before if possible)  errands can be clumped together by location, if there is something I do not want to do, I put that before an easy or fun thing so it acts as a reward.  If there is a big job that I am procrastinating doing , I  set a timer for 15 minutes and tell myself I can stop after 15 if I want.  Usually once I start, I want to keep going but if I don’t that’s okay.  I can do 15 minutes again tomorrow.
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  • Last advice is for people with kids/grandkids/pets.  Get a carpet cleaner.

I had more tips and tricks than I thought!  Let me know if you have any other tricks, or if you do any of these.  It’s good to have goals each day but also cut yourself some slack and don’t set ridiculously high expectations.

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