First, I have to tell you that I've always been much more of the do-it-when-inspiration-strikes kind of person than the plan ahead kind. I know now that this is a severe disadvantage once you add kids, their stuff and their schedules into the mix. I floundered for a while and then I tried HARD to get on top of everything house and family related. All of it. At once. Changing it. Taking Charge. Making a plan. Getting ahead and staying ahead.
It worked! We had wide open counters, clean floors, disinfected toilets, healthy food prepped, homework done on time ... it was GREAT ... for about 3 weeks. And then it all fell apart again. I couldn't maintain it. This disciplined routine was not in my nature. I was back at square one. I was disappointed. I wanted things to feel better. I wanted things to flow better. They always used to and I had to get there again.
Feng shui is all about creating a space and a life that works for you. As I thought about all of the things that were different in those 3 weeks, I realized that only a few of them really mattered to my well-being and to our home-life flowing in a manageable way. Living in a mess had not worked for me. Living like the pinterest board moms hadn't worked either. I needed to figure out what would work for US and OUR HOME.
I started by deciding what standards were essential for me - the person who is here most and has to make most of it happen. Those amazing have-it-all, do-it-all mom bloggers would not like my standards. You may not like them. My mother-in-law and Nana definitely wouldn't like them. Hell, my husband might not even agree with them. But here's the deal. None of them have to actually make it happen, here, under our circumstances, and with my skill set. I do. So I looked at what was critical to making us work, and that I could do in less than 30 minutes a day. Here's what I came up with:
1. Make the bed -- It just makes me happy to have a made bed! I may not go in the bedroom much during the day but I feel extreme accomplishment when I walk in and the bed is made. (Even if the floor is covered in clothes. Even if the nightstand is clouded in dust.) That feeling is WELL worth the 3 minutes it takes in the morning to make the bed.
2. Unload the dishwasher -- If the dishwasher doesn't get unloaded in the morning before my day gets underway then the kitchen becomes a total clusterf%^#. Total! Putting the dishes away takes me 5 minutes and can happen while my daughter puts butter on her waffle! The kitchen stays maintained for the rest of the day because now there is a place for everything to go. Starting to do this one thing consistently at the same time each day has been a game changer.
3. Start or finish a load of laundry -- Back in the day I could just dedicate a day every few weeks to handle the laundry. This does not work now that I'm handling laundry for four. When laundry for 4 people gets backed up it becomes a monster job that affects all areas of the house for multiple days. I thought it was crazy at first to be doing laundry every single day. But it has worked. And as long as I stay on top of it for at least 3-4 days a week by putting 15-20 minutes or so into keeping a load moving along, it makes a huge difference!! I still fall back into old patterns with this one sometimes, but I see the energy it takes and commotion it causes and try to get back on track quickly!
I know I said 3 things but those three have worked so well that I'm trying to add a fourth quick and simple routine that will help make every afternoon smoother.
4. Take out something for dinner. It takes two minutes to pull something out of the freezer!!! When I don't do this first thing in the morning I end up fretting all afternoon about what I can make work for dinner with the limited time, energy and ingredients I have to put into it. I'm trying to get a handle on the money we waste on take-out and the bad food we end up eating because I've skipped this step. Please send me some good vibes on making this one work because I seem to sabotage it every few days!!
As the kid's have gotten older we've also put weekly family chores in place that help cover all of the other stuff like dusting, sweeping, vacuuming and disinfecting. Everyone puts in about 20-30 minutes at one time and we end up with a better version of clean because of it. I wish it all happened more often but for the most part it's fine (by my standards!) To be honest, things don't fall apart if deep cleaning doesn't get done for a while, so here, in the Miller house, it takes a back burner to the daily routines .
So through this learning curve I've realized I need to have good feng shui placement in place, but I also need to keep a watchful eye over how much stuff we keep and also implement daily, basic routines that help it all keep flowing. These are the things that help our home feel better and flow better. Your choices, about feng shui, about the stuff you keep, and about the routines that work for you are going to be different than mine, but I hope you'll consider them. They've made a huge difference for me.
I'd love to hear what routines you have in place that keep your world flowing well. Please share in the comments below!
Happy Feng Shui-ing!