Tackling the Two Biggest Time Suckers| How to Easily Manage Your Home Part 2

Tackling the Two Biggest Time Suckers| How to Easily Manage Your Home Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the series How to Easily Manage Your Home!

If you haven’t yet had a chance to read part one, you may want to check that out first.

Each post in this series will be building on what we did in the last, so I’ll be waiting right here while you catch up if you missed the last one!

Tackling the Two Biggest Time-Suckers

In this post, we will be tackling the two biggest time suckers for moms.

And I think it is pretty safe to say that these are the two biggest time suckers for every mom because they are never done.

Of course, I am talking about Dishes and Laundry.

These two chores keep coming up day after day, multiple times a day and seem to continually need our attention.

It can be really easy to get fed up and just think “Forget it! I’m not doing dishes or laundry today!”

But then of course the dishes and the laundry continue to pile up without our consent, and eventually, we have to take care of them again… only now it takes even longer than before.

So I wanted to share this post about how I went from being very overwhelmed by my kitchen and laundry to realizing they really aren’t that bad… as long as you do them correctly!

Before we get started, grab your Block Schedule that we created last time, your pen, and a notebook (or binder, or the Autopilot Workbook)!

And as always, if you prefer to watch, you can check out the YouTube video that goes along with this post:

And remember if you want to keep track of which routines you have set up and which ones you still need to do, grab the Easy Home Management Checklist!

Step 1: Doing the Laundry

So let’s go ahead and tackle the laundry routine first.

This post will just be an overview of getting your laundry under control.

But if you want every laundry tip I have, be sure to read How to Solve the Laundry Problem or watch My Minimalist Laundry Routine.

1) The Only Rule You Have to Follow

When it comes to laundry, there is one major rule you have to follow if you want to simplify your routine:

Do ONE load of laundry EVERY DAY, from START to FINISH.

And by finished I mean folded and completely put away in your drawers, or your closet, or wherever you put your clean clothes.

Having piles of folded clothes on the floor isn’t that much better than having piles of dirty clothes on the floor.

So be sure to finish your task every single day.

2) Put It In Your Block Schedule

Now that we know we need to do laundry every day we are going to build our laundry routine into our daily schedule.

(That is we are going to do laundry every day except for our Mom’s Day Off of course… more on that later.)

So grab that Daily Block Schedule that we created together in the last post.

Now we are going to decide which blocks of the day we are going to be doing our washing, drying, and folding, and putting it away.

Keep in mind that these can all be in different blocks or all in the same block depending on what your day is like.

Options for Work Outside the Home Moms

If you work outside the home all day, here are a couple of options that may work well for you:

Option 1: When you get home from work, start the washer. After you cook dinner and before you eat, switch the laundry to the dryer. And as you watch your favorite show in the evening, fold the laundry.

Option 2: Another option would be to start the washer when you get home. Then switch the laundry to the dryer before you go to bed. Then in the morning before you go to work, fold the laundry.

With the second option, you will still be doing one complete load every day, the order will just be reversed.

Options for Work at Home Moms

If you are home during the day, I recommend that you get your laundry done during the day.

In my Daily Block Schedule, I start my washing machine before I even go down to breakfast.

I switch it into the dryer near the end of my Morning Block.

Then at the beginning of my Evening Block, I fold and put away the clothes.

But like I said before, you can do all three in the same block if that works best for you.

I just like to put the different steps in my laundry routine where it naturally flows in my day.

So write down “wash laundry, switch laundry, and fold and put away laundry” in whichever blocks work best for your daily routine.

3) Put it on Your Cleaning Routine Sheet

Now that you know which blocks of the day you are going to do your laundry in, I want you to put it onto your Cleaning Routine sheet as well.

If you are creating your own template, just write down every day of the week with 6 lines underneath it.

On my Cleaning Routine template, the bottom three lines have the words “wash, dry, fold” on them.

Next to “wash” I will write “Morning Block.”

Next to “dry” I will write “Morning Block.”

And next to “fold” I will write “Evening Block.”

So go ahead and fill in which blocks you will be doing each activity in.

Step 2: Cleaning the Kitchen

Now that the laundry routine is built into our daily routine, let’s start working on the kitchen.

Again, this will just be an overview, but if you would like a detailed breakdown with even more ideas about how to streamline cleaning your kitchen, you can read The Busy Mom’s Guide to Cleaning Your Kitchen the Easy Way or watch How to Clean Your Kitchen Fast.

1) The Only Rule You Have to Follow

In this next step, I’m going to be showing you the most efficient way to clean your kitchen. But obviously, if you don’t like my way, you can clean your kitchen however you’d like!

There is one rule though, that you have to follow if you want to have a clean kitchen all the time: You need to clean your kitchen immediately after every meal.

I can attest to this rule from experience.

I used to think that it was way more efficient to save the dishes until the end of the day and do the dishes just once.

But the problem with this is that dishes get harder to do the longer they sit there… and the more dishes there are, the harder it is to motivate yourself to actually do them.

I would always tell myself that I would do the dishes after supper.

But what would usually end up happening is after supper I would tell myself that I was too tired and I would do them in the morning.

Well, let me tell you, it’s really a bummer to wake up to dirty dishes every. single. day.

So do your dishes right away, and don’t delay!

2) Put it In Your Block Schedule

Now that we know we need to do our dishes after every meal, I want you to grab your Daily Block Schedule again and write down “Clean up Breakfast” in the correct block, “Clean up Lunch” in the correct block, and “Clean up Dinner” in the correct block.

This will serve as a reminder that this needs to happen before you can do anything else after the meal.

3) Write Down The New System

If you are creating your own templates, I want you to write down how you are going to clean your kitchen in a new, more efficient way on a piece of paper.

If you are using the Autopilot Workbook, you can just grab the sheet called “The Easy Way to Clean Your Kitchen” because I already did this step for you (just because I like you! 😉

Here is the easiest way to clean your kitchen:

  1. Clean as you Cook
  2. Clean Right After the Meal is Over
  3. Put the Leftovers and Condiments Away First
  4. Tackle the Table
  5. Clean the Counters, Working Toward the Sink
  6. Do the Dishes
  7. Sweep the Flool
  8. Get Everyone Involved

If you struggle to get your family involved, don’t worry about that step for now, we will be covering how to get your family involved in a later post in this series!

4) Put it Where You Can See It

As you (and your family) learns this new system, it’s important to have everyone on the same page.

I suggest placing the sheet of paper that you just wrote the list on (or The Easy Way to Clean Your Kitchen sheet from your workbook) on your refrigerator for easy reference.

Once you have your kitchen and your laundry systems in place, your house will immediately feel and look cleaner all the time!

Leave me a comment down below to let me know how it goes!

Be sure you grab your free Easy Home Management Checklist to see every routine that will help simplify your life.

Ready to Start Easily Managing Your Home?

If you are ready to get organized and make a plan that will help you run your home without stress, check out my course Put Your Home on Autopilot!

This course walks you through the steps to get your home practically running itself!

In Put Your Home on Autopilot, you will learn how to set up effective cleaning systems, set up your day for success, and start making time for the things that matter most.

In just one month you will go from feeling overwhelmed to in control. And if you have any questions along the way, I’m only an email away!

I hope to see you inside the course!

(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can just grab the Autopilot Workbook and work through it yourself. 🙂

Enjoy the Giggles

The Busy Mom’s Guide To Cleaning Your Kitchen The Easy Way

The Busy Mom’s Guide To Cleaning Your Kitchen The Easy Way

Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you work at it, you can’t keep your kitchen clean?

How I Keep My Kitchen Clean With Two Little Kids at Home!

That used to happen to me every once in a while.

Kidding! That used to happen to me all. the. time.

One minute I’d be minding my own business, then BAM! My kitchen would decide to look like no one had washed a dish in a month. 

And I knew that I had just cleaned it yesterday.

Kitchens can be very rude like that.

If there are two chores that can sneak up on you without you realizing it, they are doing the laundry and keeping the kitchen clean.

While cleaning the kitchen can seem like a never ending task, it can also be one of the most rewarding if you figure out a way to stay on top of it.

One day I had enough of the kitchen cleaning roller coaster and decided to figure out a better way to keep my kitchen clean.

I needed to know if the only way to have a clean kitchen was to spend every spare minute cleaning the kitchen, or if there were any tricks that I could use to make the process easier.

Finally I figured out the secrets to having a clean kitchen *almost* all the time. And once I knew the secrets, it wasn’t as hard at all!

In this post I’m going to show you the tips that I now use every day to keep my kitchen feeling spotless, even with two little kids in the house!

And if you prefer to watch instead of read, here is the video that goes with this post:

Invest a Little Time Ahead of Time

These first four secrets are the foundation for having a clean kitchen.

They will take a little time and energy up front, but they will pay dividends in the long run.

Then I will show you the day-to-day maintenance tips for keeping your kitchen sparkling.

If you need to do the first 4 steps, I’d recommend seeing if your spouse, mom, friend, or a babysitter could take the kids for a day so you can lay a foundation for a kitchen that practically cleans itself in the future. 

(OK, maybe it doesn’t quite clean itself, but it sure takes a lot less effort!)

And feel free to skip down to the Everyday Kitchen Cleaning Steps below if you already have the foundation laid.

1) Declutter Your Kitchen

If you want your kitchen to feel clean when you walk into it, declutter it.

You don’t need 100 different gadgets that only do one thing. And you don’t need multiple gadgets that essentially do the same thing.

Cut everything back to the basics. Keeping only things that you use consistently.

Basically in my kitchen the rule is: if it is useful to my family on a weekly or monthly basis, and it can fit in my cupboards (not on my counters!), it stays. 

If it isn’t or doesn’t, it goes!

My absolute necessities include:

Vitamix: This baby is irreplaceable in my plant-based kitchen. I use it almost every day.

Bosche: I love this machine for making my bread and pasta from scratch.

Knife Set: A good set of knives is essential in any kitchen. But you don’t have to keep every knife if you have too many. You really only need one or two large chopping knives, a couple of paring knives, a serrated knife, and a bread knife. 

Stainless Steel Pots and Pans: I recommend investing in a good set of pots and pans if you don’t already have one. Even if you cook frequently, a good set should last you many, many years. We love cooking with this Calphalon set.

Cast Iron Skillets: These are my favorite non-stick cooking pans. I’ve tried other brands, but once I learned how to properly use my cast iron skillets and how to take care of them, I’ve never turned back!

Glass Storage Containers: I highly recommend grabbing some glass storage containers if you don’t already have clear containers for storing your food. Check out this post if you want to learn more about why clear storage containers are important in the kitchen: How To Reduce Food Waste By Planning to Eat Your Leftovers.

Other than that I have the daily necessities items like dishes and silverware, measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, and cooking and prepping utensils.

How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean Without Cleaning All the Time

2) Clear Your Counters

Now that you have gotten rid of your unnecessary items, everything should fit neatly into your cabinets.

Clearing the counters does wonders for making your kitchen feel clean:

It gives you a clean slate when it’s time to start cooking, it is obvious when you are done cleaning, and your kitchen feels clean between mealtimes.

The only thing I keep on my counters is a basket of the fruit and veggies that I don’t store in the fridge.

If you can’t find a place in your cabinets for everything, try getting rid of more items. We can live quite happily with way less than we realize.

If you aren’t quite sure what to get rid of and what to keep, try putting only your essentials in the cabinets of your kitchen and everything else in a box or two in the garage. At the end of six months, keep only the things that you took out of the box and donate or sell the rest.

But be sure that everything you take out of the box fits into the cabinets!

Before I cleared my countertops, I found it interesting that if my husband cleaned the kitchen, he would stop long before I would have if I had been cleaning.

Now that it is more obvious, he gets a lot closer to my idea of clean before he quits 🙂  

3) Have a Place for Everything

Once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, have a specific place where each item goes in your kitchen. 

When you know exactly where everything lives, cleaning up is quick and easy.

Having a specific home for everything also makes it easier to direct someone like a house guest who might be helping clean up after the meal to the proper place for each item. 

My four-year-old and eighteen-month-old girls can unload the dishwasher all by themselves because they know exactly where everything goes.

4) Clear Your Refrigerator Door

Keeping the outside of your refrigerator clear will make your kitchen sparkle.

The refrigerator is something that everyone who walks into your kitchen will see. 

Since it’s such a large part of the kitchen, if the refrigerator looks clean, the whole kitchen will look clean. 

And if it doesn’t, well… you get the idea.

On the front of my fridge, I only keep one work of art from each child. They get to pick what goes on the fridge and they tell me when they want me to swap it out for something different.

I use these magnets so the fridge still looks nice and neat even with the pictures on it.

On the side of my fridge (which faces away from the common area in my house and only I typically see anything that is on it), I keep my daily schedule, my weekly cleaning schedule, and my daughters’ chore checklists.

5) Set an Expiration Day

If you are decluttering your kitchen for the first time (or the first time in a while) don’t forget to look at the inside of your fridge and your pantry.

Keep only the items that you know you will use in the next month and items that aren’t expired. Then make a plan to use the items you kept. Check out this post on How to Begin Meal Planning When You Don’t Know Where to Start if you need some help with creating a plan to eat what you have.

After this initial sweep, set one day each week as your expiration day. I personally use my grocery shopping day. Clean out any expired items or leftovers that weren’t eaten from the week before.

If you find yourself throwing away a lot of food every week, check out my post How to Work Leftovers Into Your Meal Plan for ideas on creating less food waste.

Every Day Kitchen Cleaning Steps

Now that you have the foundation for a clean kitchen laid, I’m going to show you the most efficient way to clean your kitchen!

Cleaning your kitchen in this order will save you so. much. time.

Grab a pen and paper because you’re going to want to write it down, memorize it, and make it happen. (Or if you want, grab my Autopilot Workbook and print The Easiest Way to Clean Your Kitchen and put it on your fridge!)

1) Clean As You Cook

As you cook, stay on top of the mess by putting things away when you are done with them.

I will often get the girls involved in this step by having them put things away as I finish with them or by having them start rinsing the dishes that I am already done with.

But even if the girls aren’t in the kitchen when I am cooking, I still rinse the prep dishes when the food is cooking since it saves time later.

I usually try to race against the time that the food needs to simmer, cook, or bake to get everything in the kitchen back to normal before the meal starts.

It also saves time to wipe up spills on the stovetop while they are still warm. Don’t wait until they are stuck on!

How to Clean Your Kitchen Like a Minimalist

2) Clean Up After Every Meal

If there is only one thing that you learn from this post, let it be this: don’t wait to clean your kitchen!

Dishes don’t add together, they multiply. Something that would have taken you 5 seconds to rinse off immediately, will have grime stuck to it like cement if you wait until “later” to clean it. 

The biggest thing to remember if you want your kitchen to stay nice and clean is to clean up completely right after each meal.

3) Put Away Leftovers and Condiments First

Getting all the food put away first makes it easy to see what else needs to be cleaned.

I found it discouraging if I was doing the dishes only to realize that I forgot to put something away before I started doing the dishes. 

Then I had to stop what I was doing and switch gears to finish putting the food away before I could clean whatever the food had been in or on.

Getting everything in the refrigerator first saves me time.

4) Tackle the Table Next

Take all the dishes to the sink, put the placemats away, and wipe down the tabletop. Done!

I find this is a great chore for young kids to help with.

5) Then Clean the Counters

Next, working toward the sink, clear everything left on the counters. 

Put it away, or in the sink. Then wipe everything down.

Doing the counters next will keep any dishes from lurking in the shadows then jumping out at you just when you thought you were done.

That’s right, you can’t scare us anymore, dishes!

6) Now Do the Dishes

Now that we know there are no dishes hiding anywhere, we can start washing them. 

Waiting until this point in the process to start the dishes prevents that terrible feeling when you think you’re almost done then you turn around and realize you forgot something.

Whatever you do, always end the night with an empty sink. It will give you a fresh start the next morning. 

7) Sweep the Floors Last

The Easy Way to Clean Your Kitchen

Sweep the floors once everything else is done. If you try to do this sooner in the process, you will have to go back and do it again. 

Crumbs find a way to jump out of your hand no matter how carefully you wipe off the counters. 

Plus, if you sweep last, you don’t have to be as careful when you are wiping down the counters. (Read: You can wipe them down fast!)

8) Get Everyone Involved

If you have a spouse and/or children who are old enough to help, cleaning up after dinner should be a combined effort.

If multiple people are helping, you can do some of the jobs simultaneously. Just make sure each person knows what their job is so nothing is left half done.

My dad says that when he was growing up, cleaning up after the meal was a fun family time. Everyone had a job and worked together. One person put the food away, one person washed, one person dried the dishes, and one person put everything away after it was dry. 

It is a fond childhood memory for him of quality time with his family.

After all, you enjoyed the meal together, why not clean up together?

Other Posts You Might Like:

5 Steps to Create a Weekly Cleaning Schedule will help you create your own cleaning routine that you can actually stick with. If you want to see my weekly cleaning routine check out My Simple Weekly Cleaning Schedule: The Routine That Took Me From Overwhelmed to In Control.

How to Solve the Laundry Problem will show you how to stop getting behind on laundry.

If you’d like to create a daily routine that will help you get your cleaning done more easily, read How to Create a Daily Routine with a Simple Block Schedule.

And be sure to check out A Beginner’s Guide to Toddler Chores and How to Teach Your Children to Enjoy Doing Chores to get your kids started helping out!

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Then check out Simply Streamlined!

In Simply Streamlined, you will learn how to 

  • Declutter Your Home
  • Put Effective Routines in Place
  • Create a Set-It-and-Forget-It Meal Plan
  • Get Your Finances Under Control

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  • Put Your Home on Autopilot Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
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  • Master Your Money Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
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I hope to see you inside the program!(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Streamlining Resources!)

A Busy Mom's Guide to Cleaning your Kitchen The Easy Way
13 Hacks for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean