My Mom Journey: The Tidy Sweep

Welcome to the first edition of My Mom Journey!

Our house is small, but it collects stuff like a big house. Maybe I feel it more because our space is limited and we essentially have 5-6 people in this space all day long. I was starting to regularly feel overwhelmed with things and when I feel overwhelmed my inclination isn’t towards getting active and fixing the problem, but rather towards procrastination. I can literally look at something and think, “I really need to unravel that knitting project and put the yarn away,” for weeks.  I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not. I have a ball of yarn connected to a project that Alex decided to “work” on sitting on the shelf in our living room just waiting to be unraveled so I can start again. And it’s been there for weeks.

About a month ago, when I was working out my new daily and weekly work schedule, I added a 15 minute slot in the morning to do a quick tidy in the house. This is the time where Chris is gone taking Olivia to school, Alex is usually happily outside or with Chris for a ride, and I have the house to myself for a brief window of time.

I’ve read on organizing blogs that sometimes the way to be the most efficient is to give yourself a time limit, and use that time to the max. When the time is done, you’re done, and you move on to other things.

With my “Tidy Sweep” I literally pass through each room and just pick up and put things in their places.

I start in our bedroom and make the bed, which is really easy here because it just means straightening out the sheets and pillows. I pick up any clothes, throw them in the laundry basket, and move on. In the kids rooms I make Olivia’s bed, fold Alex’s blanket and pick up the clothes that Olivia likes to throw around. I actually leave cleaning up the toys and papers to Olivia, but that will be another post. If any of the sheets in the bedroom need to be changed, rather than make the beds I strip them, like I had to do with Alex’s crib this morning. Our beds are quick and easy to make, so it only takes a few minutes in each room.

In the bathroom I pick up the toothbrushes and toothpaste that always get left from the kids brushing their teeth. I try to regularly move things out of the bathroom that don’t belong there. Olivia is a pack rat, so I find the most random things in the bathroom. Today it was a broken hair tie, a Barbie and some other random items. Olivia needs to be reminded to pick up her clothes after stripping down for a bath at night, and I often forget, so the next morning that gets picked up and thrown in the kids laundry basket.

In the kitchen I quickly tidy up from breakfast if Yonese hasn’t already beaten me to it, and wipe down counters and the table. It drives me nuts when the dishes ooze from beside the sink so I’m all about consolidating into neat piles. And I hate it when there is food stuff left on the counter.

In our living room it’s usually just a case of putting stray toys (that didn’t get put away the night before) in the toy box, and putting pillows back on the couch, and books where they go.

I’ve found that doing this 15 minute sweep through the house to just put stuff where it lives and to tidy up actually changes my whole outlook for the day. I feel calmer and more organized, and I can think about other things. It’s simple, and quick, but it has big effects on how my day goes.

Question: What quick, little things do you do to help make your day go better? What would you like to change? 

~Leslie

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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