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Your top tips of making home life easier

(31 Posts)
snowydrops Wed 22-Jul-15 19:34:17

I am currently on Mat leave with DD2 (4 months), DC1 is 3.5yrs. Normally I work 3 days a week outside of the home and DH is full time 5 days a week.

I am very lucky in that we have a cleaner (every other week) who changes the bed, hovers and cleans. She doesn't tidy, organise, iron or do laundry, bins etc (and I wouldn't expect her to!)

Despite this we still seem to find it hard to keep on top of things. Obviously I have a young baby but what tips can people give for organising their home routine?? DH puts DC1 to bed and normally does the dinner dishes and bins and I do everything else, all laundry, all cooking (maybe not at weekend), all shopping, all tidying, packed lunch for DC1 and all general life admin. DH does all DIY and jobs to do with the cellar, when I'm back at work he will have to do more laundry but tbh it will still be mainly me as I have more time at home.

I wondered if anyone has come up with any useful ways of organising your week e.g all laundry on Monday, all admin on Tuesday or whatever?? I constantly feel like I'm doing everything and not a very thorough job of it.

Also I mentioned ironing...I don't actually iron anything unless absolutely essential!

snowydrops Wed 22-Jul-15 19:35:19

Also I wasn't sure if this is the right place for this thread? If anyone thinks it should be in another section then let me know so that I can move it smile

cozietoesie Wed 22-Jul-15 21:12:17

I'd recommend an evangelical approach to de-cluttering - the less 'stuff' you have, the less you have to organize. smile

snowydrops Thu 23-Jul-15 07:11:36

Yes de-cluttering is probably the first step! It's the kids' stuff that's impossible though...!

SophiePendragon Thu 23-Jul-15 07:24:11

It's in the perfect section smile and congrats on your little one.

My approach to housework is do it when it needs it - and secondary to that, do it when you feel like it.

Sounds decadent but it works. If I feel like washing up I do it - if I want to reorganise a cupboard I do it - if I feel like sorting laundry, I do it. That way I enjoy it more and it fits around other stuff better.

My mother has a day by day routine as you describe and I couldn't do that, it would be soul destroying grin

Everything is hard with a little baby though anyway and I am impressed if you can manage any sort of housework tbh smile it took me till now to even begin to get anything done, and he is 2 and a half.

Longdistance Thu 23-Jul-15 07:24:37

I'd love some tips too.

My dds are 4 and 5, downstairs isn't too bad as we've renovated, but the bedrooms are a mess. I work ft and it's 6 days a week. I do most of the cooking, tidying, washing up, bathrooms, laundry. Dh does the bins, minimal cooking, and runs his hoover around hate the thing

I want to get more organised. Currently my evening finishes at 10pm sad

SophiePendragon Thu 23-Jul-15 07:25:14

Oh and do you have an attic? or spare room? If so put everything you can't get rid of for now, but don't use actively, in there. deal with it another time. Work with as little as you can get away with.

MsSampson Thu 23-Jul-15 08:47:27

I feel like a fraud posting tips because my house looks like a bomb site. But I find it helpful to squeeze ten minutes here and there when we are just mooching round the house, especially while the baby naps. I hate having to use childfree time in the evenings to clear up.

So, for instance I clean the loo and sink while the kids are in the bath. And I occupy DD (3) at the kitchen table during DS' s nap with stickers or something while I mop the kitchen floor. Dust during an episode of Bing, that kind of thing.

I don't bother tidying any toys during the day, it just takes ages and looks the same thirty minutes later so feels like a waste of time, and actually doesn't take long once they're in bed. I try and stick a load if laundry on every night before bed on timer. Getting a tumble dryer was probably the most exciting thing that happened to me this year, tragically. (after the birth of my son of course grin ). I'm a slattern about laundry and dont do much separating into type - I find it easier to wash by person so there's less sorting to put away. I don't iron anything, and if anyone buys DC clothes that need ironing I usually take them back.

Admin I have no answer for. We definitely need to Kondo/declutter. The thing that winds me up the most is the constant moving of "stuff" from one room to another. If we had less stuff and a place for everything I presume this would lessen.

cozietoesie Thu 23-Jul-15 10:37:08

I would actually support Sophie's approach.

My only rider to that would be to not start doing something that you know deep down you won't be able to finish easily. (eg it's all very well deciding to clean out the odd kitchen cupboard - but if you're the sort of person that needs to wash all the contents if washable (eg china and glassware) and then get out the steam cleaner and steam clean the cupboards and dry them before you put anything back, it's possible to end up with piles of stuff lying around on a kitchen surface and you having to go out on the school run before it's finished.)

I'd defend time to take a decent run at things which are going to be intensive - you'll have a good idea of timescales once you've done it once or twice and knowing your own home.

Becauseicannes Thu 23-Jul-15 10:54:59

I have 2 of a similar age (4 and 2 months), no help, we find the following helps:
-meal plan in advance, cooking as much as we can in advance. Stocked freezer with premade items like bologna use sauce, tomato sauce, mashed potato etc. When I make a meal I freeze a child size portion of it and pop in freezer, creating a stack of healthy ready meals for when I'm up against it and don't have time to cook for dd.
- keep ingredients in the house to make a baked treat like banana bread to take to play dates. It's quick to make, dd can help and I can bake it while I am doing other stuff instead of running out to the shops.
- DustBuster for little vacuum jobs
- turfing stuff on a regular basis
- washing every other day (quite frequent at the moment due to baby in the house) so that there is not a pile by the weekend.
- dd helps to water the garden with her watering can.
- do a load of washing up in the morning so not looking at a dirty pile all day and during the day wash as I go.
-keep cleaning products in the bathroom so that you can clean as you wish.

MissBattleaxe Thu 23-Jul-15 11:01:18

If it looks overwhelming I set a time and say, give myself 15 minutes for a quick tidy up/laundry fold session. You'll be amazed how much difference it can make it you're rushing round but you know it's not for long.

starfish4 Thu 23-Jul-15 14:51:07

I tend to have a concentrated effort before 10am to do what I really feel is necessary - usually washing on and ironing, hovering or cleaning bathroom - even if I had to leave at 7.30am the washing would still go on then as I like it to dry outside when warmer if poss. That way, I feel I've done what is essential to me and if anything else gets done great. I do shopping early on Sat morning when it's quiet, so very quick and top up shopping on way home from work.

mrsmeerkat Thu 23-Jul-15 16:03:50

I have two under two and no cleaner but I am regimented about laundry. I actively go around the house first thing in the morning (after changing babies) and last thing at night and wash. If i wasnt already married i would marry my tumble dryer.. no jokes. I love it and if it broke I would go and get one the same day. Always damp weather here no good drying.

Strip beds usually on a Friday and dh always remakes the bed when he comes home from work.

I batch cook so today I got a big clean done when babies were napping and washed behind sofas etc so I would usually use that time to cook- today bolognese sauce appeared from the frezzer and taglietelle and ready to go tonight

I have a pack of baby wipes to hand and the detol spray (in a tin can for germs) and do light switches, fridge etc.

If i see a mirror smeary I will fo them all. That type of thing.

mrsmeerkat Thu 23-Jul-15 16:43:00

I also recommend buying kallax from ikea - loads of it plus a storage monks bench (i picked one up cheap second hand and painted it)

quirkychick Thu 23-Jul-15 17:07:30

I like Sophie's approach! I am SAHM but would feel a total drudge doing it on a schedule. I always prioritise washing (love my tumble drier too). Dcs at school, so if have ironing (mine) I watch a box set & iron.

I usually try admin/phonecalls on Mon as people seem to respond better earlier in the week. I have a dc with sn and am often chasing up/pushing things.

Rewards for rubbish jobs that need doing e.g. filing a huge pile and then I can sit down with a cup of coffee.

quirkychick Thu 23-Jul-15 17:09:01

Also batch cooking.

QuiteQuietly Thu 23-Jul-15 17:23:57

I have batch cooking and laundry nailed. I double up on 1-2 meals a week (or parts of meals, like shep pie innards) and freeze. I do a load of washing every day (which usually results in weekends off). I separate nothing apart from bedding (which is naturally a full load by itself). WM loaded the night before, switched on in the morning and then either moved to dryer or hung out. Get it folded and put away before next load goes in the machine. I would like to have more stuff ironed (currently just uniforms), but not enough to actually do it.

I am however lacking in housework and admin. I am getting there, but eagerly seeking magic tips. I automate as much as possible and probably spend a morning a week on paperwork/chasing for DH (LD) and general kids health nonsense, but there is always so much more to do. Chucking loads of stuff has been a revelation, but I still find it much easier to read about cleaning than actually do it. We are ok - not ashamed if someone drops by - but would love to be better. Will definitely try admin/chasing on a Monday - it does make sense.

peltata Thu 23-Jul-15 17:33:35

Don't iron just shake washing vigorously before hanging out
Declutter - clothes, books, kitchen ware, furniture, toys, garden stuff
Use your local charity shop as a toy/book library then donate the stuff back one your lo is bored of it (also makes you feel good for supporting charity - Dr Barbados gives you a statement every so often letting you know how much money your donations made)
Make use of healthy easy meals e.g.
fresh tortellini with ready made pasta sauce, grated cheese on top with salad and garlic bread.
salmon fillets or trout baked in foil bag with herb butter served with new potatoes and veg all steamed in the same pot.
Burgers or sausages baked in oven with potatoes wedges and corn on the cob
Jacket potatoes (nuke for a few minutes in microwave beforehand then finished off in oven) with chili and salad
Have a take away or ready meal once a week
Get a stick vacuum much more motivated to do a quick clean as needed
Get a monthly delivery of all non perishable foods and household items
Go out at least once a day with dcs then they have less opportunity to make a mess.
Anything that can be paid by direct debit do so
Make friends with someone whose house is in a worst state than yours grin

MissBattleaxe Thu 23-Jul-15 17:48:07

I know its sounds geeky but when I buy a new cleaning product I can't wait to use it! My current crush is Stardrops from Home Bargains. I'm wiping everything!

yogababymum Thu 23-Jul-15 21:09:14

Ok I will admit that I am abit ott with the clean house but here's my suggestions. I have three kids aged 10,6 & 2.

*Toys stay in one room ie the toy room or kids bedrooms
*Keep a basket with all the cleaning essentials in it so you can grab it & go to each room
*Laundry done each day & put away after it dries
*Ironing put on hangers & put in a pile (I have an ironing room so I hang it all in there & then tackle it at the weekend or when needed)
*Antiback wipes are your friend, wipe down the benches at night (now this is ott but I like doing it, serve breakfasts at the table cereal/fruit/yogurts etc (not toast) then that keeps the benches clean until lunch) only the table to wipe down & the dishes to wash.
*Have a big clear out, I did this recently after we redecorated & it's really helped the overall look of the house
*Pick one day per week to wash out the fridge/clean windows/change beds
*After the kids have washed in the morning I get washed/dressed & use the facecloth to wipe down the sink, then sink it in the wash.
*Each room has their own laundry basket & my kids bring it down & take it back up again, put away their own things.
*Line the grill with tinfoil/Greese proof when you use it, saves washing up
*I always buy two of the same duvet set then replace immediately when changing the beds. Saves me waiting on the wash/dry/iron & i get to keep the room matching.

I hate dusting so I am watching for tips smile

Hope those help a bit!

dementedma Thu 23-Jul-15 21:16:25

I have 3 dcs and can't remember a time when we ever did a wash everyday. Make life easier by not washing every item of clothing after one wear. Other than underwear or visibly soiled items, its really not necessary.

Jenijena Thu 23-Jul-15 21:30:48

If you're overwhelmed, do 15 things. It's enough to make a difference, but can be very quick. Might be pick 15 things off the floor, clear 15 bits of paperwork, hang 15 clothing things, etc. Got me through maternity leave when I realised I was amazingly shit at housework but also couldn't stand the chaos.

Flyingbytheseatofmypullups Thu 23-Jul-15 21:41:24

We don't use a laundry basket for clothes. Whatever needs washing at the end of the day goes in the machine the next morning. Washing machine gets switched on when it's full. Only exception is towels and sheets. I feel much 'happier about my laundry since adopting this method!
Am pretty rubbish at everything else.

simplydivine05 Thu 23-Jul-15 21:50:40

We both work full time with me often doing 6-7 days a week. I rota the cleaning so dust and vac one weekend, clean bathrooms (I have two and a downstairs loo) on the opposite weekend. My ds is 7 so helps with tidying. He has set daily jobs for which he gets pocket money. We always cook extra at meal times and freeze for handy ready meals.
Couldn't be without my washer/dryer and it's a big one so can get away with 4 loads a week including towels/bedding. I tend to get everything washed and then sort and put away in one go. I don't iron anything unless necessary. I do uniform in one go and other half does his work stuff as he wears it. I'm self employed and live in jeans. I will get as many days as I can out of jeans.
We have a dishwasher which has been a great time saver. Kitchen gets cleaned every day after tea with dettol spray and kitchen roll. I always have several packets of cleaning wipes on the go for quick cleans. A handheld vac was a good investment too.
Sometimes the house isn't clean or tidy and I can run myself ragged trying to keep up before I just have to give in and let it slide. We never live in squalor and my other half often reminds me of this when I'm berating myself for being a failing mother who doesn't have time to dust (or whatever other chore I haven't done)!

ovumahead Thu 23-Jul-15 21:57:17

Tumble dryer
Cleaner once a week
Laundry once a day
Ignore everything else

Works for me!

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