Thursday, October 11, 2007

Housekeeping Tips...

So this is for Katie.
I will say that I am no expert on housekeeping but there are a few rules that I follow that make it a little easier.

1. plan your meals at least a week in advance. Do two weeks if you are able. I usually spend about 1/2 hour every other Sunday evening planning our menu for two weeks. I pull out my cookbooks, make a list on a piece of paper with the day of the week (Mon, Tues, etc.) and write the meal name and cookbook and page number of cookbook (so I can find the right recipe I am looking for). At the same time, I write out a grocery list and include any of the more exotic spices that I might need for the meals. That way I know that I will have everything on hand when it comes time to make dinner. No quick trips to the grocery store for one item! That doesn't mean I only go grocery shopping every other week! I do a big shopping trip every other week for those dinners on our menu and day to day staples in our life. By planning meals, you know that you have all your ingredients and you know that you can start things the night before (put your meat in the refrigerator for the next days dinner instead of trying to defrost something at 4:30pm:) That doesn't mean that we always completely follow the meal plan. Sometimes I switch things around in the week (like I might be more in the mood for chicken over beef and so I switch dinners around). And if we decide to go out (which is very rare for us because of Paul's diet), I still have what I need to make that particular evenings meal and can move it to another day. The weeks that I don't do this are more stressful for me, I can tell you.

2. Get rid of your mop. All you really need is a bucket and some rags to mop your floors. Just use good old fashioned elbow grease and get on your knees! It actually does go faster when I mop on my hands and knees. I use old cloth diapers that are no longer good for Petros to wear (fraying, etc.).

3. Have a plan, even if it is in your head, of what day of the week you do what. I know that grocery shopping usually falls on Tuesday. Bathroom cleaning is on Monday (with spot cleaning in between). Laundry is everyday, one load (but we have a really tiny washer and dryer and so I have to do laundry everyday... hey, one of those yiayia things... back in the old country my yiayia would wear the same thing two or three days in a row. That really cuts back on laundry! We have too many clothes and feel like if we only wear it once, it must be dirty. Now, if your baby throws up on you, go ahead and throw it in the laundry. I bet if we were all hand washing our clothes like my yiayia did, we would be wearing the same thing more often!).

4. Keep your sink clean. This is one of those flylady things that I love. I am not on flylady's list anymore, but this is probably the most important thing... Keep your dishwasher (if you have one) unloaded... do this ASAP! And put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher ASAP! If you don't have a dishwasher, wash your dishes as you use them. That way you have a nice clean sink and not a huge pile of dishes to do at the end of the day.

5. Keep your counters free from as much "stuff" as possible. If you eat toast everyday, then, by all means, keep your toaster out all the time. If you eat toast only once a week, find a nice home for it in the cupboard. I only wish that I had a cupboard big enough for my KitchenAid mixer! I have tried every way to get that mixer off the counter and my cupboards just aren't big enough. Right now the thing that is driving me crazy about my counters is that our garbage can is on the counter (otherwise Petros would get into it). I want to put it under the sink, but we have a really deep sink and it won't fit. So I probably need a smaller garbage can that will fit under the sink. Future purchase.

6. Make your bed everyday. Right when you wake up. It only takes a few seconds! And makes the room look great.

7. Lay out your clothes the night before (this is a flylady thing, too). I have been doing this since school started. I lay out all of out clothes (well, everyone but DH) and it makes the mornings so much easier (esp. since we have to get out the door by a specific time in order to pick up our carpool).

8. When your children want to play with you, play with them!

9. Teach your children from an early age how to do housework. Give them responsibility. Even if they can't do it as fast as you or as good as you would like, it will give them wonderful skills for when they are older. My mom made us do our own laundry starting when we were 12 or so. We also each had one night a week that we were responsible for dinner, from start to finish. So by the time I went to college, I knew how to do my own laundry and how to cook a good number of meals. My mom also divided the house chores into areas. Cleaning dad's bathroom was easiest so you would also have to vacuum the living, dining room, and hall. We actually didn't really ever get money for doing chores, it was just expected. Don't get me wrong, we argued, cried, fought, etc. to get out of doing them, but it was part of being a part of our family.

About yiayias... I think that they just looked at what they had to do as their job and did it. There really isn't a secret to it. It was their job. Cooking, cleaning, feeding, bringing water to the house, baking, laundry (by hand) all of this was their job and they did it. I really don't have any insights to their secrets:)


Lauren S. said...

Great tips! Thank you!

I like the last one on getting the kids to do their part - even though they are slower than molasses. I always try to get dd to pick up after herself but often get frustrated with her and end up doing the majority. I need to be more patient with this.

Xenia Kathryn said...

Wow, awesome tips Christina!

I thought I was "on the ball" with doing the dishes regularly and making the bed everyday, but I'm slowly realizing just how much clutter is around me all.of.the.time!

Thanks for writing this!

Christina said...

one more thing that i do is make lunches the night before (lunch for paul and lunch for pavlos.. now that he is in school all day, every day he needs a lunch!). that really helps in making our morning run more smooth.

Anonymous said...

I have a full sized washer and still do about a load a day. It's easier and less overwhelming to me that way...also, if I get sick or really busy, I don't start out "behind" and with a monstrous amount to handle once I'm "better."

I also wipe down the bathroom sink and toilet every day...most especially the toilet since I have a 5 year old boy in the house. 'nuff said on that score.

I think...just do a little every day and things stay managable. And take care of things when they happen or need attending I need to windex the end table next to me right now!

Also, I vacuum three times a week...partly because we now have two cats, but also the same theory as the laundry. I just never let it build up. And the kids are responsible for their rooms, but every now and then I need assist them in a major overhaul.

I just need to figure out what to do with all the little pieces ofdrawings, etc they leave laying about. I'm tempted to throw them away...but they always ask about them later!!

Even with all house is far from immaculate. I really wouldn't advice eating off the kitchen floor any time soon.

Laura N.

kristinsdottir said...

C., when does your mom get back? She was interested in maybe coming to one of our Red Hat things...send me email?

Kristin from church

Christina said...

the drawings the kids do? i just keep a brown paper bag where pavlos' art work goes. he has a very large bulletin board in his room and we pick out different art that goes on the bulletin board. the rest just stay in that brown paper bag. sometimes, after a while, i will throw away something that i know he is not attached to (gasp...yes i sometimes throw away my childs artwork!). I keep the bag in his closet.