Guest post from Leo Robertson
Homemaking with a toddler is about being seriously focused. Organization and a do-it-now mentality are key attributes as are patience and flexibility.
Your toddler needs as much attention as you can give him or her, so it goes without saying that you want to keep your cooking and cleaning time to an absolute minimum. If at all possible, wake up an hour earlier to get yourself dressed and your housework done before your little one wakes.
My daughter wakes between 5:30 and 6:30 am so if I had to wake any earlier I’d be up in the middle of the night cleaning! Because of this I have developed a short morning and evening routine with a 20 – 30 minute cleaning routine per day.
I get up at 5:00 am to shower and get myself dressed and ready for the day. While I’m in the en-suite bathroom, I wipe down the shower and counters, put my toilette items away and give the toilet a once over with the toilet brush. I take any dirty laundry or towels straight downstairs with any coffee cups and start a load of laundry before I unpack the dishwasher. This is my morning routine.
My daughter is usually awake by this time. While she eats her breakfast and watches her favorite cartoons for about 20 – 30 minutes I get on with my daily chores.
Monday: I dust the furniture, wipe any hand prints on the walls and mirrors, clean the light switch plates and dust any cobwebs. I toss any magazines and newspapers for recycling and empty all trash cans in my home in preparation for garbage day on Tuesday. This literally takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Tuesday: I vacuum the house both upstairs and downstairs and wash the kitchen floor.
Wednesday: This the day I finish up any laundry like ironing anything that needs it or packing away any laundry that’s lurking in the laundry room. I also do a major cooking/baking spree. Yes, this takes longer than 30 minutes but I make sure I plan to be home on this day so I can take my time and enjoy the process.
If at all possible I cook double on the days that I do cook and freeze a portion for later in the week. On Wednesdays, I will prepare meals ahead as much as possible so that I have less work to do every evening. This includes cooking and freezing portions of rice, mashed potato or pasta, chopping vegetables with my food processor (it’s way quicker) or getting casseroles oven ready.
Thursday: I tackle the worst and most neglected room in my house. This is usually my daughters bedroom or the family bathroom.
On Thursday evening when my husband goes off to his photography club and my daughter is in bed, I have a planning meeting with myself. I put on some nice music, make myself a cup of cocoa and plan for next week.
This includes meal plans (and any new recipes I want to try) with grocery lists, errands that need to be run, upcoming birthdays that need cards and gifts bought or mailed and family activities. I also plan my errand day to make sure I’m not doubling back and wasting gas and time.
Friday: is errand day. This is usually the day I take something out of the freezer for dinner!
Saturday: is our family fun day
Sunday: is my day off!
My evening routine consists of packing the dishwasher and giving the kitchen a quick once over. This includes sweeping the kitchen floor and wiping up any spills or sticky patches. I check my calendar for the next day and place any necessary items like the stroller, library books etc near the door ready for our departure. I also take out mine and my daughter’s clothes.
Here are some tips I learned along the way that just make things easier and more efficient around the home.
1. A home management binder is an absolute necessity! If you don’t already have one you can either make your own or buy ready prepared binders. Amy Bayliss has a great one that you can download and customize for free: Homemaking & Life Management Binder Notebook.
2. Once laundry is washed, deal with the clean clothes once. Fold and pack them away immediately once the dryer has stopped. It saves having to iron piles and piles of laundry later.
3. The same goes for paper clutter. Once you open your mail, turf the junk mail and file the necessary documents right away or place the bills into a binder with your checkbook ready for bill paying later.
4. Do it now! The task at hand will be much harder to work up the motivation to do later. The same goes for spills, even the ones in your refrigerator. Wipe them up immediately to avoid having to employ some serious elbow grease on another occasion.
5. Sheets of kitchen towel placed at the bottom of your fruit and veg baskets in your refrigerator keep the basket clean and make for less work later.
6. Before you settle down with your sweetie at night do a 5 minute tidy of the living room or play room so everything is ready for a new day.
I know there are lots of other little chores that I have not added to my list, like polishing the furniture. First figure out how often these need to be done, then slot them into your schedule bi-weekly or monthly on your least busy day.
With these simple routines and daily chores, my home practically takes care of itself–and in 20 – 30 minutes a day! I then have more time to play with my daughter and enjoy her.
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