Keeping the House Clean

As I mentioned in my post about my morning routine, I really like to have the house clean all the time in order to make my days go smoother and for me to be a better mother. I also mentioned that keeping the house clean and organized does not come naturally to me. It is something I have worked on for years, tweaking what I do and incorporating new routines as needed.

For the last few years, I’ve used my bullet journal to help keep me on track and reach my goals for cleaning. Each month I make a page for my daily/weekly/monthly to do’s with squares for the dates to complete each task. As I complete each thing, I color it in. I love coloring in those squares. Having all the day’s boxes colored in is such a great feeling, almost better than the feeling of having a clean house.

I of course have all the things in my morning routine on that page. Then I have some things on the computer that I do every day (daily thread on a Facebook group, adding to my letter to my aunt, updating our finances, a batch of indexing, taking a picture each day, and scrapbooking that picture for Project 365). Fritz does the 7 Minute Workout each day as well.

Once a month, on the first, I clean the dishwasher, the garbage disposal, and the washing machine. I deep clean the stove using the special cleaner and razor blade. I change my sponge and switch the little picture on the welcome sign my sister made me years ago. I rearrange our Lego calendar for the new month. I rub the vinyl letters on the living room wall to make sure they don’t fall off (vinyl letters and super textured walls don’t mix super well). And I clean the couch using leather wipes. Also once a month, on the 11th, Lola gets her heartworm preventative medication. Once a month, on the third Saturday I wash our sheets (twice a year I also wash the mattress covers and twice a year I wash the blankets and quilts).

I have several things I do once a week. Sundays I send an email to my oldest niece who is serving a mission for the Church in St. George Utah, Fritz cleans Rae’s cage, and we put the Sacrament in a baggie to take to church (those of us with Celiac eat Nut Thins instead of bread; for some reason when church switched from 9 to 10:30 we kept forgetting to take our special sacrament so I added it to my to do page). Mondays and Thursday I have a box for bringing in the trash cans (we can get fined by the HOA if they are still out the next morning). On Mondays, I clean the filter in our dishwasher with a toothbrush. Wednesdays I print the letter to my aunt and also send a copy of it by email to my mother-in-law in Ireland. Thursdays I mail the letter to my aunt. Also on Thursdays I make menus for the next week, order groceries (which we usually pick up Friday evening or Saturday morning), and make a list of what I’ll need to do to prep our food for the week once the groceries have been picked up. Saturdays I refill Ani’s pill containers for the week.

Not something I put on my to do page, but that helps with keeping the house nice, I often walk around the house while I read. It kind of kills two birds with one stone. I get exercise and I get some reading done, too. Sometimes I’ll grab one thing that is out of place as I make my circuit (which goes around most of the bottom floor). I put it where it belongs (or on the stairs to go up) as I continue around the circle. It’s a really painless way of straightening up.

It’s amazing how much these things, none of which take very long, contributes to the beauty and mood of our house. I encourage everyone to come up with simple things you can do each day in your home. I guarantee you will not be sorry!

Advertisements

My Morning Routine

Recently on her blog, an author I like, Heather Sunseri, wrote about her morning routine and how it helps her day go smoother. That got me thinking about my own morning routine and how much it helps me as well.

Here’s how mine goes…

I usually wake up between 6:15 and 6:30. Sometimes that’s when Jamie’s alarm goes off, sometimes that’s because I just wake up. The night before, I spend a little time with my bullet journal and write down what I know I’ll have to do the next day and what we’re going to eat. This way, I know what I need to take out of the freezer or if I need to start bread baking and what my plan is for breakfast and how long that’s going to take before I ever get out of bed.

The first thing I do when I wake up is go pee. I don’t know how anyone can wake up and not immediately head to the bathroom. I know there are people who can, but I am not one of them. While I am doing that, I check my Apple watch to see what the weather will be like that day (when we had that bizarre cold snap the beginning of the month, I actually exclaimed “What the crap?!?!” out loud upon seeing our high that day would be 39*). Then I weigh myself and get back in bed. (Usually I shower at night, but sometimes I do in the morning. If it’s a morning I’m planning to shower, I don’t get back in bed, but instead jump in the shower right away and then once that’s done, I get back in bed.)

I spend the next 10-20 minutes reading scriptures. Currently I’m reading the Old Testament. I’ve made it through Exodus and most of the way through Leviticus. I’m reading all the notes I’ve put in there in the past and also all the footnotes this time around.

Once I’ve finished reading scriptures and saying my morning prayer, I get up and get dressed and head downstairs where I cut on the fish tank lights and then put on my shoes. Shoes are a necessity for me because I am a klutz. I’ve broken my little toes so many times. My shoes protect me.

Over the years I have found that if the house is clean, I’m a much calmer person and a better mother. So once I’ve got my shoes on, it’s time for me to do some cleaning. First I start bread in the breadmaker if we’re having sandwiches for lunch and get anything frozen out of the freezer that we’ll need for meals that day. Then I get out a cloth that I think my sister crocheted years ago (I love those cloths) and wash the kitchen counters, dining room table, and stove. If the dishes in the dishwasher are dry, sometimes I’ll put them away and reload the dishwasher. If they are wet or if I don’t feel like unloading at the time, I’ll wait for one of the boys to get up and have them deal with the dishes.

Some time in there I start breakfast. When depends on how long it’ll take to make it.

Then I head into the downstairs bathroom for the next step in my morning routine. I brush my hair and then brush and floss my teeth. At that point I’m ready for the day (I wear make-up almost never). I wipe down the toilet with a Clorox wipe before I leave the bathroom.

Each weekday I sweep a different room in my house. Monday it’s the living, Tuesday the kitchen, Wednesday the stairs, halls, and bathrooms, Thursday it’s the dining room, and Friday I sweep and also scrub the downstairs bathroom floor. The Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the month I mop those rooms/areas after sweeping them. On mopping days, I move everything reasonable off the floor (like I leave the filing cabinet in the dining room, but move the school carts and the table into the hall) so that it’s easier to get the floors really clean.

If Lola is around downstairs, I’ll brush her at some point in there. She sheds year round so brushing her every day helps keep down the number of hairs I sweep up every day. If she’s not downstairs, I’ll get around to brushing her later in the day.

By the time all that is done, it’s about time to eat breakfast and start school with the boys. Having the house clean and ready for the day is just super helpful for me and makes me happy. I was not born organized. Growing up, my room (and anywhere I played) was a mess. I’ve worked really hard and incorporated ideas from such cleaning gurus as Sidetracked Home Executives, FLYLady, Heloise, and Marie Kondo. I highly recommend finding a morning routine that works for you to get your day started off right, too!

November Spreads

I’m tired just looking at our calendar for November!

The meal calendar worked great last month so I’m using it again.

I like keeping track of the books I read each month and random thankful things I think of during the month.

The first and last weeks of the month are partial weeks, but I made them fit quite nicely.

October’s Bullet Journal Spreads

For my October monthly spread I decided to go with orange and black. I really like the color-in squares for chores and such. It’s working well for me.

For my books read section I was going for a book with the pages fanned out. I failed. I decided on ghosts for recording things I’m thankful for this month. The 7 Minute Workout color-in boxes are for Fritz. I’m also tracking whether underestimating how much Creon I need leads to being tired and/or having low energy the next day (results so far: most definitely).

Instead of just making lists for our meal plan like I usually do, I decided to make a calendar. The circles on the side of each meal are to record if we ate it as planned or not. This makes it way easier to shift around stuff as needed because I know what I still have ingredients for.

I reused some weekly spread styles I’ve done in the past that worked well for me.

A Bit of My Bullet Journal

After doing my planning digitally for a while, a few months ago I went back to my paper bullet journal. I love it. It allows me to be creative and also helps me make sure I get everything I need to get done done.

Every month I start out with a spread that gives an overview of appointments and things and also a tracker for doing my daily/weekly/monthly chores. Since Jamie and I are going to Ireland this month, I decided to do a bit of a passport stamp/Irish theme.

Each month is split into weekly spreads where I put what we are eating, places we need to go, and random stuff I need to do. I also add in quite bits of things we did that I want to remember. I kind of went Washi tape crazy with August’s weekly spreads.

I have some fun spreads to keep track of ongoing things I do. For example, I colored in pictures as I planned our next school year, giving me a visual tracker of how much more I needed to do.

I’ve got a spread to keep track of my scripture reading (currently going through the New Testament). I came up with a picture to go with each book. Some make more sense than others. When I finish a book, I color the picture in. I discovered I am not too bad at drawing if I am looking an an outline example to copy. I’ve always thought I was really bad at art, so that was a fun discovery to make.

I made a nice little bookcase to write in the book I’ve read along with the date and my rating. I filled it up just with the books I read March to July. On the next page I am keeping track of the subjects I’ve completed planning for (just have literature left for all of them – it takes a while to pre-read all the books!).

Starting with this month, I decided to do a monthly bookshelf instead of an ongoing one. I also made the books a little bit fatter to make it easier to write in the titles. I attempted to draw raindrops on the blessings/gratitude page. Maybe I’ll get better at them over time… or come up with something I can draw better next month!

This is just the stuff from one shopping trip. When I checked out the conversation went like this:

Her: Did you find everything you were looking for?
Me: Well, I only came in for the pens, so…
Her: Yeah. That happens.

I might have a bit of a Washi tape problem. I have so much of it. But it’s so pretty! And useful! I have all my bullet journaling stuff – tons of pens, stickers, a pair of scissors, tons and tons of Washi tape, stamps, and ink pads – in a nice craft basket with lots of pockets of open areas to hold everything.

Sometimes, even on a boring page like this one where I was planning meals, I decide I need to be a bit creative and add a little picture to make it more fun.

I had quite a bit of extra space on the page where I listed the last bits of school stuff I was still waiting on from what I had ordered so I drew a cute little picture to go with it. Stuff like that just makes me happy and also makes my bullet journal extra pretty.

Sometimes a little one line note about something isn’t enough. For those times, I go to my next blank page and write whatever I want about it. My parents, the little guys, and I saw Christopher Robin on Saturday and it was just so cute. We all loved it. So for this page I decided to use some stamps (I just happened to have a couple Pooh ones) and used my pretty pens to write some quotes I like from the movie.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I used a paper Bullet Journal, affectionately known as My Brain, for well over a year, but, then, a few months ago, I decided to go digital. I switched to OneNote (which I have on my laptop, phone, and iPad). In addition to everything I had in my paper Bullet Journal, I also use OneNote for school planning (which I’ll explain in part 2).

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I use it the most to tell me what to do each day. Our planned meals and snacks, schedule, and my to do list are all on one page so I can see what I need to do when. I have the My Brain notebook shared with Jamie so he can see what we are doing and what’s on our schedule and add to it as needed.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

My to do list is color coded so if I have a few minutes I can just look at the colored section with tasks that are most convenient at that time. Red is in the physical world, blue is on my phone, green is on my computer, iPad, or phone, and purple is on my iPad. If I don’t get something done, I just move it to the next day (like on today’s list, I moved fold clothes and put away clothes from yesterday).

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I have three notebooks that make up my digital Bullet Journal: My Brain, Recipes, and Journal. In My Brain, the My Day tab has several pages under it. Several of them are my calendar. They allow me to easily add things to my Today and Tomorrow pages. The Every Day, specific day of the week, and First of the Month pages are my to do lists for those days. I just copy and paste to add them to my Tomorrow page (which gets copy and pasted to today each morning). The RS Lesson Schedule page helps me keep track of what to read (in the Gordon B. Hinckley manual and Conference talks) each week to prepare for Relief Society.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I keep track of what I’m reading and what I’ve read in my Reading tab. The 2016 Books and 2017 Books pages are just running lists split by month of what books I read on what date and what rating I gave them (out of 5 stars). The Reading Challenges page is where I plan the books I’m reading each month this year to spell out the birthstones, what our book club books are, bedtime stories for the boys, school books, 52 Books Bingo, etc. My favorite page is Sentences That Made Me Laugh. That page has a bunch of quotes from books I’ve read that I found funny.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

The rest of the tabs in My Brain are Health which has pages for keeping track of Ani’s symptoms, what we are still owed from overpaying for some procedures she’s had, and the kids’ vaccine records. Blog Ideas is just one page of ideas for blog posts. Scouts which has pages for Fritz and Adrian with a list of things they need to complete for rank advancement. Sports has pages for our taekwondo schedule, a record of dates for earning belts and mid-terming, and Fritz’s times at swim meets. Church has pages for planning family home evening, my notes for General Conference (one page per Conference), my Personal Progress answers split by value, and a poem Ani wrote when she was around 12. Finances has pages with spreadsheets for our checking account, the kids’ money, our budget, and a list of 2017 pay days.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I really love my Recipes notebook. Most of the time we use it just like a cookbook, reading the recipes off the iPad as we cook. The notebook is extremely useful every Wednesday. That’s the day I make our menus for the week. I go through the sections of recipes and pick the breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners that sound good to me at the time. As I write down what we’ll be eating, I make our grocery list and note how the chicken will need to be cut. The grocery list is the used to order groceries from HEB (which Jamie picks up on his way home from work). I cut chicken once a week, on Wednesday night, so the gross bits can go out in the trash on Thursday morning (living in Texas, we definitely don’t want chicken sitting around very long).

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

My Journal notebook is mostly exactly what it sounds like. I copied my journals from 1999 on and divided them into years. Under the year sections, the journal entries are divided into months. I copy and paste all my Facebook posts including pictures into my journal. The AB Letters tab is where I wrote my letter to my aunt each week (it also gets sent to my mother-in-law). I keep her up to day on what’s going on in our lives. I’ve been keeping those letters since December. The Fun Stuff tab had a page for funny things people in the family have said. It’s probably no surprise to anyone that Adrian’s is the longest. I also have Adrian’s birth story, a page of things that happen that I am grateful for, and a page of things that blew my mind (like the fact Queen Victoria had a granddaughter who was still alive when I was born). The Christmas Letters tab has a copy of all of our annual Christmas letters (and one Valentine’s Day letter that year I was super late…) since 2007.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

So that’s how I use OneNote to be my brain. It totally keeps me organized. In a couple days I’ll post part 2 on how I use OneNote in our homeschool.