Six months ago I wrote a post about the chaos in our home. I was coming out of months of morning sickness, a sinus infection that just wouldn’t quit, and headaches that had left me unproductive and miserable, and as a family we’d developed a lot of bad habits and dropped the good ones we did have in place.
Our house was always a mess. We were just barely getting school done every day. I felt like Sean and I were constantly trying to pick up or clean up after the girls. We were barely staying on top of household chores. And the house hadn’t been decluttered in ages (or at least a full year, one or the other).
Although I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and continued to glean tips from other organizing and family blogs, the most important part of the process for me was simply paying attention to the habits, routines, and clutter in our home and looking for ways to improve them one at a time.
These days, our family is still fairly chaotic, but there are soon-to-be-8 of us, and not one of us has a quiet, meek personality, so that’s probably to be expected.
Our home, on the other hand runs—well, not exactly like a well-oiled machine, but a whole lot better than before…
1. We’ve established some really great routines—like our daily morning time and straightening the house at transition times during the day. These help our days to feel peaceful even though our actual schedule varies from day to day.
2. Everyone has chores and pitches in. Not just everyday chores, but big chores, like cleaning the bathroom and completing a load of laundry from start to finish. And we’ve trained the girls on more everyday chores as well, so I can now ask any of them to grab a rag and wipe down the table or wash a few dishes in the sink and know that it will get done properly.
3. Spiral notebooks and daily checklists have been a sanity saver. The two big girls use theirs religiously, while I have to remind the middles a bit more, but either way, I am better able to communicate expectations, make sure the important things are getting done, and stay on top of what the girls need to do each day, which means they better understand those expectations as well and can move through them more quickly.
4. The clothes have been organized, decluttered and put away neatly. It’s been almost three months since I KonMari’d our clothes, and I find it so much easier to stay on top of the laundry simply because I want to keep our drawers looking fresh and neat and organized.
It’s been about a month since I finished rotating the girls’ clothes, and the extra work I put into it paid off just as I hoped—their clothes are no longer overflowing out of their drawers while they complain that they have nothing to wear. Our oldest does a couple loads of laundry a week, folding and separating them into piles which each of the girls puts away.
5. Lunch has officially become a do-it-yourself affair. All of the girls can make various sandwiches, quesadillas, leftovers, noodles, eggs, etc. for themselves and their little brother, which means I’m getting healthy breakfasts and dinners on the table more often because I don’t have to worry about the middle meal. (And the big girls have mastered a few meals, like this 10-minute lasagna, for dinner as well. )
6. I’ve decluttered everything from top to bottom. Less clutter we’re now better able to stay on top of the cleaning and straightening on a regular basis. The house never feels too far from clean (although it’s still amazing to me how quickly we can trash it on any given day!), and it feels much more manageable overall. When things are decluttered, it’s also easier for me to see the things that need to be thrown or given away just as we go about our daily lives, so it’s easier to maintain as well.
Of course, we’re about to enter the newborn “daze” and I know we’ll need to make many adjustments as we go. But regardless of what the next weeks and months hold, we’re in a better place than we were six months ago, which makes it all feel a little more manageable!