One SIMPLE way to get more done at home.

As a mom staying home full time with kids, things can get crazy pretty quickly. Your day can go from quite productive at 9am to you thinking your day is a total loss at 9:02. Someone spills their cereal bowl on the floor. Someone else walks through it and falls and gets hurt. The baby is crying and you still haven’t had your coffee. This just set you back at least 30-60 min to get everyone calmed down and cleaned up. Will you get anything accomplished today?

What you need to do is realize that there are little workers in your house right now that can do work for you while you are not around. No, I am not talking about your children, although they are a great resource as well. I am talking about your machines! Think about the various machines that you have in your house that once you start them, they do part of the work for you. I am talking about your dishwasher, your washing machine and your clothes dryer. You may have other machines you use as well, like a crock pot or bread maker that you can add to this list.

When you are desperate for help you need to see things in a new light.

When there were nine of us at home I often ran my dishwasher twice a day and between clothing, towels and sheets, I did about 3 loads of laundry every day. Your family may not be that big so you might not do that many loads of laundry or dishes in a week. But regardless of the size of your family, I bet you underestimate what you can get accomplished in a day with the help of your machines.

Washing machines

I started adulthood with a ‘laundry day’. One day a week I would ‘do the laundry’. It seemed efficient. It seemed practical. It fit into a nice schedule. That is until I realized I was doing more than just 2 or 3 loads. I found myself waiting for the machine to finish so I could rotate the laundry and then move onto the next thing. After all, this is ‘laundry day’ so I have to get the laundry done today. In addition, I found that inevitably I needed to do a load midweek for something missed. So laundry ‘day’ was really a myth. So how often should you do laundry?

A simple solution is to do some laundry every day.

By the time I had a couple of kids I quickly figured out that it is much more effective for me to do laundry every day. Every day? Yes, doing laundry 5-6 days a week is more effective than doing laundry all in one day.

When you build into your morning, lunchtime, dinner time and bed-time routines 2-5 minutes of laundry time, you have just accomplished two loads of laundry per day in about 15 minutes.

  • Morning routine (2 min) - start a load of laundry (sheets if needed should be done in the morning rather than waiting until later in the day)

  • Lunch time (2 min) - rotate the laundry and start a new load

  • dinnertime (5 min) - rotate the laundry and make the bed or fold the load but don’t put it away.

  • bedtime (8 min) - fold the last load and put both away at the same time.

Part of the reason this works is because you are only doing one load at a time, rather than all of the laundry in the house. When you take one laundry basket from one bedroom and do only the laundry in that basket, then you don’t mix up several people’s dirty laundry to then have to re-sort after it is all clean. In addition, all the laundry gets put away in one room. Faster to sort. Faster to put away.

Dishwasher

So many people I know wait to run their dishwasher until it is full. They no doubt feel like they are being good stewards of the earth and saving water. Studies show that it costs less overall in electricity and hot water to run a dishwasher than to hand wash dishes. In fact some studies claim that you can use as much as 27 gallons of hot water by hand washing a full load of dishes. The same amount of dishes run in an energy efficient dishwasher which takes as little as 3 gallons of hot water. So even if you ran the dishwasher ¾ full, it would still likely save money over hand washing. So how often should I run my dishwasher?

A simple solution is to run your dishwasher on a consistent schedule.

If you have a family of five and eat most of your meals at home then you probably could run your dishwasher twice a day. If so, you should run it after the breakfast and lunch dishes have been loaded and then again after the dinner dishes have been loaded. If you run it less frequently then it is likely that you will have dishes sitting in your sink at any given time waiting for there to be room in the dishwasher.

If you have a smaller family, eat out frequently or use paper products often then for the sake of you family schedule, you should still run your dishwasher one time per day. If you don’t, food will stick and dry on the dishes. Some dishwashers are better at getting dried food off than others. But the big reason you should run your dishwasher every day is because you are trying to establish habits and patterns that will decrease your stress level. Having a dishwasher always ready to receive dirty dishes so they don’t accumulate in your sink is a simple way to relieve stress.

The goal is maintenance not completion.

Remember that these jobs of laundry and dishes are maintenance type jobs. They are ongoing. They are never truly completed. There will always be more. While that can be completely frustrating to many, if you look at it from the opposite perspective it can be liberating. The goal is not completion. The goal is maintenance. Think about it this way: “What can I do today, so that tomorrow, this maintenance job is not overwhelming?”

This one simple way to get more done every day is to let your machines work for you. Work them into your daily habits so they are accomplishing tasks for you so you can do other things.

Don’t just survive...THRIVE!