5/20/12

sanity savers

There's always a few little things hanging around in my head that I keep meaning to post to the quick 5 but don't . So I thought I would take all of those orphaned thoughts and put them into one post. 

The task of managing a home is so...sigh. I'm not sure what word to use. Big. Draining. Important. Overwhelming. Here are a few little things that help me keep the chaos to a manageable level.

1. No Dish Left Behind



 I try to get my sink back to empty every night before bed. Load dishwasher, hand wash everything else.I don't always make it but I am so thankful on the mornings when I wake up to an empty sink. It's kind of a mind game- like I feel already on top of my day and I haven't done anything yet. But those little things can go a long way to getting some momentum for my day. 

2.  Put the dishwasher to work


I think I've mentioned before that I like to refer to my household appliances as 'my staff'. I don't really know why. More mind games, I think. But I read recently that you can run sponges in the dishwasher to sanitize them (unless they have had contact with raw meat then you should toss them.)

3. No Place Like Foam
 I like to use foaming soaps in my house because I feel like it is helpful for little hands. My kids seem to do a better job getting the foam spread out than they do the traditional soap. The only downside is we go through it so quickly. I recently learned (from my neighbor- I am living vicariousy on pinterest through her) that you can make your own foaming handsoap. I purchased a large gallon of refill handsoap and use a 3:1 ratio. So for 1/4 cup soap you add 3/4 cup water. Stir it a bit and pour it in! Works great. So far I've refilled five times and have barely made a dent in that gallon. Genius.


4. Money Many Laundering


 Ah, laundry. You can't ignore it; can't quite conquer it. At least that describes my current state of things. I've found that when I sort the laundry into shopping bags then the kids can carry it upstairs and put it away. Laundry baskets are difficult for little people to haul up the steps- but give them a canvas bag and they are quite pleased with themselves. 




Aldi has some nice big bags for $1.99
 5. The Paci Stash
Yes, I realize this picture has little to do with the paragraph, but what's not to love about that comb-over?


After four babies, I found the Golden Idea. Seriously,this one simple technique has saved me so much headache. Hire a nanny. Get a housekeeper. Dimetapp at bedtime.  Nope- those aren't it. The idea is this: keep one pacifier in the crib and one in the carseat. You have to be vigilant for it to work (as in, "Sorry baby, that pacifier has to stay in the crib.") But the side effect is you are never scrambling for a pacifier when it's time to sleep or time to leave. Might sound silly, but it was really helpful. 


6. Flower Power

Every 4-6 weeks I buy myself a fresh bouquet of flowers (costing $4.88 at Walmart). I'm shameless. I just buy 'em for me. Because I work hard. Because they inspire me. Because I keep my table and countertops cleaner when I want my flowers to be all alone. I've found that if you take care of flowers, they actually last a long time (usually for me at least 3 weeks, sometimes even longer!)  

Now, not just anyone can buy themselves flowers. You have to be prepared to deal with the looks when people say, "Oh, who gave you flowers?" and you casually reply, "I bought them for myself" and then their face says "How weird" but their mouth says, "How nice." Just giving you fair warning. But they get over it. And used to it. 

Here's what I do to take care of the flowers.


  •  Look for flowers that look fresh and have NO wilting. Sometimes the ones I really like are looking a bit past their peak already- ignore those and buy something else. 
  • As soon as I get home, I trim the bottom of the stems with kitchen scissors and pull off all the leaves that will be in the water (leaves in the water = mushy grossness). 
  • Next get everybody settled. Usually I divide the bouquet into at least two jars, maybe three (then I can spread them out and enjoy them more- kitchen table, dining room table, top of piano, guest room, etc.) Personally, I love flowers in  mason jars. It just feels simple and lovely to me. But if you have a favorite vase or like to keep everybody in one tall, stunning arrangement- then go for it! 
  • Don't forget to add the plant food packet to the water. I usually divide it between the vases but sometimes I forget. 
  • Around every other day, I check on the flowers, I dump the water and add fresh water. I pull out things that are starting to look dead.
  • Once a week, I pull the flowers out and use kitchen scissors to trim off the bottom inch of the stems. 
  • After two weeks, I start to combine arrangements if things are dying off. By pulling the flowers together (again in fresh water) I can usually get a solid month's worth out of my $4.88. That's a pretty good investment to me because they bring me so much joy. 
  • This list actually makes me seem a little bit psychotic. Like the next bullet point might say, "Sing them to sleep at night." I don't do that. 
  • Put them in Swiss Water. Such a difference.
  • That was a movie quote and a joke. In case you missed it. 
  • This list thing is kind of addicting. All I have to do is hit enter and one of those dots appears.
  • again
  • and again
  • and now we're done. 



Running a house gets easier as you learn the tricks of the trade AND the things that bring you joy. 


Any sanity savers you want to pass on?


Hope your week has moments of joy and accomplishment.




6 comments:

Nicole @ she-laughs said...

I love buying our household flowers (see, how I spun that one??). It just seems to bring a little cheer to everyone, whether they know it or not.

I'm a stickler for an empty sink as well. I love walking into an uncluttered kitchen in the morning. It actually makes me physically smile.

Teresa said...

I thought after you were relocating the leftover flowers into vases that it would go something like:

- 4 days later, beginning plucking out the least strongest remaining flowers and put it in my hair for the day. (Emma's favorite trick)

- In a few more days, press the last few flowers and make them into homemade paper.

- Grind up the remaining stems and petals in a smoothie

- Drink the water

- Buy more flowers

It's sort of like the Native Americans finding 152 insights into how to use a buffalo hide.

Stacey said...

I got the quote and the joke. And I loved it.

I've always had trouble keeping flowers alive, so I don't buy myself flowers. You've inspired me to try again. Just having them around would be such a boost to the day!

Becky said...

Nicole- "by them for our household". Excellent idea.

Teresa- likin' the new profile pic. Who knew flowers could be so versatile?

Stacey- glad you go the quote, but then I think you always do! Buy some flowers and bless your home =)

Christy said...

Yep, I totally buy myself flowers too. AMAZING what a pick-me-up fresh flowers can be!! And I've gotten away from the clean sink every night routine. *sigh* It, too, makes such a difference. Need to get back in that habit!!!

Jacq said...

I just found your blog! :) Anyway,I just had to comment about the flowers. I do the same thing. What is it about flowers on a table? My name is Jacqueline and I shamelessly by myself flowers...all.the.time! :)