Earlier this year, I treated myself to The Art of Homemaking programme over at Brocante Home, and I am so glad I did. I have always enjoyed Alison's writing and programmes, but this one seems to really click with me somehow. Maybe it is because it is the one that I need right now? Who knows...but it is all about housekeeping as a way to prime your canvas for homemaking. It helps you to develop your own routines, so your home runs like clockwork, and you have the pleasure of knowing that everything is taken care of.
With going back to work full time, and this short time of having 3 jobs, and it being spring, which always makes me want to start fresh, it really is a good time for me to get some good routines going to support me. The other evening, I found myself alone, so I sat down with some notebooks and got scribbling.
First I made a list of all the jobs that have to be done in each room every day, and then every week, and then periodically, perhaps monthly. Then I took the 'every day' tasks, and tried to put them together into a morning and evening routine, so they will be done on automatic pilot. One small tweak I have made is rather than taking the rubbish and recycling out in the evening (Carl often used to do that after one of us had done the washing up) I am taking it out on my way to work in the morning. It is only a tiny thing, but it means I am doing it when I would be going out anyway rather than one of us going out in the dark. Early days yet, but the new daily routine seems to be working nicely for us.
The big decision I had to make as far as cleaning went was if I wanted to do a different room each day, a different task each day but in all the rooms, or do everything on one day. For now, I have opted for the latter. The plan is to do it on a Monday when I come home from work, unless I am working late, or we are going out or having company for dinner, in which case I do it on Tuesday. Then if I have done it on Monday, on Tuesday I choose one 'periodical' task like defrosting the freezer or cleaning the oven (I wipe it out after every use so it doesn't need doing more often!). If I have done the cleaning on Tuesday, the periodical task moves to Thursday. Friday I write a menu plan and do the grocery shopping online, and clean out the fridge ready for the grocery delivery. Sunday is the day for fresh bed linen. Carl likes to have a hand in some of the tasks, so the laundry tends to be his, although I do put it on from time to time, but in general I have not included it here, as he takes care of it.
I got home from work yesterday afternoon, and felt a little tired. I didn't really feel like cleaning..it was a beautiful afternoon, and I would rather have sat and read. But I looked around and realised that it would be so much nicer once everything was clean and in order. I also realised that I couldn't do it on Tuesday because I am working late. So I put on some music and got down to it..and I am really glad I did. I finished just before Carl got home, by which time everything was clean and neat, and I had candles burning in the living room, and lavender oil in a diffuser burning in the bedroom. The kind of home you would want to come home to. I hope the routines will help keep me on the straight and narrow and not be tempted to put things off! I think that having a regular day for menu planning and ordering groceries will be a really good thing too. Over the last few months I have found it harder to settle down to doing it regularly, so of course I end up buying some milk on the way home, something for dinner, something for our lunchboxes, which really adds up. So I think this way will save us some money as well as being more organized!
Talking of being organized..I did want to post about our Mothering Sunday, but I want to go and get dinner ready now, so when I come home from work this evening, it just needs to go in the oven to reheat, so I must away to that.
I hope that spring is smiling on you today
ps I have taken to using a lot of natural cleaning products based on vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemons. I am really pleased with how efficient they are, and I was also thinking that I know a lot of friends with children who have bought all kinds of cupboard locks to make sure their little ones don't drink their Cillit Bang or the like...it made me realise how wrong it is to use chemicals that could kill us to clean with. Ok, if the baby drinks the vinegar it isn't going to do it any good, but it isn't going to do it as much harm as if it gets into the bleach bottle. As well as being good for the purse and the environment, homemade natural cleaning products are just better all round! They make sense...and with essential oils, you can choose how they smell, as well!