Without a doubt, my favourite social media platform is Instagram. For years and years it was Twitter but after my sister convinced me that my blog should have an Instagram presence, I set-up a new account and haven’t looked back. Admittedly I don’t really tend to post pictures of my own these days, but there is something so alluring about the beautifully curated squares shared by others that draws me back. I rarely go a week without finding one of two new ‘gem’ accounts to follow. Originally it was parenthood, then through 2018 it was around sustainable living. Now in 2019 I am diving into the world of Instagram garden accounts*. My latest find is Laetitia Maklouf who shares lots of wonderful hints and tips about managing a garden on a few short minutes a day. And, in fact, it was in her recently shared blog post – Reclaim your garden: Zero waste, inexpensive, enjoyable ways to get your garden shipshape this weekend. – that I found a tip which resonated so completely with me: Reset the garden every day.
(*Amazing that it’s taken me this long really given my long standing love of my garden and plants both outdoors and in!)
The reason is because for such a long time I have been a huge advocate of what I term ‘The Daily Reset’. What does that mean you may cry? Well, for me it means having a ‘default’ mode for major parts of my house and taking the time to quite literally return the room – reset it – to that state at a certain point everyday. Usually it’s an evening thing, ready for the morning. But I’m going to share my key ‘reset’ areas and as you can see, not everything is just a pre-bedtime affair.
So the first thing I do at the start of every single day is make the beds. My and my husbands bed, Little H’s bed and Little Z’s cot. For our bed and Little H’s, I pull the covers back and fold them at the bottom of the bed to let the mattresses air after a night being squashed under clammy bodies. I also fold or hang PJs ready for the next night. For Little Z’s cot, I fold-up her sleeping bag, tidy her cuddly toys and check the sheet is clean. It takes just a few minutes yet it makes the rooms look tidier and means the beds feel fresh at bedtime.
The Organised Mum always advises people trying to get a grip on their cleaning to focus on the kitchen if they have a limited amount of time. The reason – the kitchen is a hub room and somewhere you always go countless times each day. I absolutely agree with this and of all rooms in the house, the kitchen is the one that stresses me the most when it’s a mess. So I load the dishwasher, wash-up, wipe the side and put away any clean dishes after every single meal. It’s tempting to chuck everything in the sink and deal with it once the girls are in bed. But I know it will make me more and more irritated as the day progresses. Plus, I am a huge advocate of children understanding that cleaning needs to happen. So after each meal I will play with the girls for 10 minutes, mainly so Little Z can roam free for a little bit after being in the high chair. Then I put Little Z in her den, tell Little H to amuse herself and keep an eye on her sister and nip to the kitchen to do the tidying. And most importantly, by doing it so often, it only takes me 10 minutes to tidy and wipe up after each meal. (I also try to tidy as I go when preparing meals – putting veg scraps in the box, utensils I’m finished with in the dishwasher etc. Saves a few extra minutes at the end.)
This follows on from the kitchen because this also needs cleaning after every meal thanks to little scraggles getting food everywhere. I also sweep under the table (and occasionally wipe since Little Z likes to fling…). Our dining table is a hub of activity on our days at home because it’s where Little H does all of her colouring, crafting and playing with toys like Lego. The last thing we need is small feet stomping discarded pasta sauce around the house, or getting leftover risotto all over her pads of paper. I also get Little H to regularly tidy away any table games, either before a meal or when she has moved onto another major game and says she’s done with her table activity.
Walking into our lounge, especially in the morning, and seeing a sofa covered in stuff and with cushions in disarray puts me in a mildly annoyed mood. It looks messy and like we don’t look after our home. It’s such an easy thing to fix so every night before we go to bed, I flumph the cushions up a bit and put them in place on the sofa. I would lie if I said there wasn’t random stuff on the sofa most of the time but I try and clear what I can and make sure the rest is neatly folder or, in the case of Little H’s cuddly toys I sit them neatly in the corner!
This is a massive one for me because I have no issue with the girls enjoying their toys and making use of the lounge to play. BUT, I hate them being left out when they are no longer needed. So, there are several things that are commonplace in our house:
- Before a new toy comes out, the old one is packed away (within reason – this rule applies to ‘big stuff’).
- All toys are tidied away at the end of everyday. I usually try to get Little H to help do this but if we are running late then I do it once the girls are in bed.
- Tidying-up the devastation in Little Z’s den at each nap time, bedtime and any other point during the day where it looks like toys have just been tipped out of a bag into a pile. I have been known to stop on my way to the stairs when late heading to bed to tidy the den because I just can’t leave it! Aside from looking neater, one of the main drivers for tidying it up is that it makes it easier for Little Z to explore the next time she’s in there. And the longer she’s amused, the easier it is for me to make a quick cuppa and tidy the kitchen!
So if there are niggly areas in your house that cause you stress and annoyance if they aren’t neat, consider putting them on your daily reset list. A few minutes each day can make a massive difference to your state of mind!