Daily house routines
We are no stranger to “routine” talk on this site. In fact, check out my previous post about the power of routine or more specifically, the power of a bedtime routine. I like to think of a routine as a powerful weapon for combatting mental chaos and household disarray.
Routines, when done right, free up our time so we have more time for our families, more time to work on our personal goals, more time to practice self-care.
Even those of you more free-spirited, relaxed ladies out there benefit from a little routine as much as us Type-A’s. (We just may show our discomfort with the lack of routine a little more than you.)
Today, I want to talk about a concept of routine that works for me — “putting the house to bed” and “waking the house up”. You may have heard of this before, but since it’s such an easy way to incorporate a routine into your life without much effort, I thought it was worth mentioning.
Let’s break it down a bit, shall we?
Put the house to bed
Think of this as closing the house down for the night. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you probably remember cleaning up when all the customers were gone, straightening the tables up, restocking for the next day, and shutting all the lights off before you left. It didn’t feel closed up until all of those tasks were done.
Doing the same thing in our home each night gives us a sense of order, so we can sleep better and wake up relaxed, knowing we’re rising to a fresh start in the house.
Here are the tasks to get done to “put the house to bed”:
Tidy up the kitchen —
Clean off countertops, start the dishwasher (if you use one), do the dishes, wipe out the sink.
If my kitchen isn’t clean, I feel like my whole life is out of whack. I despise playing catch up the next morning with dirty dishes and a cluttered island. I don’t want to deal with yesterday’s leftover tasks…let today be for today!
Take care of the laundry —
Fold and put away any laundry, rather than let the baskets sit there to greet you in the morning.
Make your life easier if you can…if your kids are old enough to take care of their own clothes, set their piles in their bedrooms to put away themselves.
Laundry can be a real struggle without a routine. Because it never ends. I’m sharing my 3 simple steps laundry routine so you don’t have a mountain to dig out of each weekend. Not only will you have more time on weekends, but you’ll always have an empty basket handy when you need one.
Put things in their places ―
This includes toys, books, crayons, etc. that may be lying around the living room, playroom, dining room, wherever your children play (in my house, this means literally everywhere).
It could be a job for your kids before bed…Like I’ve said before—housework is not only mama’s job! Before books are read, teeth are brushed, or any other nighttime routines you have with your kids begin, have your children pick up their messes from the day. But they are kids and there’s bound to be a few stragglers left behind, so do a quick sweep of the house before you head to bed.
Picking up may feel like the last thing you want to do before bed, but you’ll be thankful you did when you don’t have to trip over their clutter in the morning and accidentally wake up the household. That’s a pretty big buzzkill when you want some peace before everyone is up for the day and the crazy starts all over again!
Lay clothes out for the next day ―
Even if the next morning won’t be rushed, consider laying out at least your children’s clothes to eliminate that chore the next morning. This is one less decision that needs to be made, so everyone can focus on all the other things.
If you have a child that is particular about what they wear, let them help with this task. If it doesn’t work for the kids because you find it actually causes more stress in the morning, do it for yourself for reasons above – one less decision and less time getting yourself ready.
Unpack and repack bags —
This goes for the diaper bag, any bag you take to and from work, a gym bag, school bags, etc.
Pack lunches ―
If your family takes their lunches to school (when it’s in session) or work, pack them the night before.
It’s easier to stay on track with healthy eating if you take your own food to work but sometimes the morning is too chaotic to pack something. That’s when we end up eating whatever is convenient. And we all know that often it isn’t a healthy choice. Give yourself a break and prepare the night before.
Wake the house up
As a mother of 3, I know that mornings are something to take on a day by day basis. Kids like to keep us on our toes! But if you’ve effectively “put the house to bed” the night before, your morning should be calm and peaceful.
Make a point to wake up before everyone else in the morning, if only to catch a few quiet moments to yourself. After you’ve had a cup of coffee, written in your gratitude journal, or worked out―whatever you like to do first thing in the morning―it’s time to wake the house up.
Going back to my restaurant example…you’d never just unlock the doors and start letting the customers roll in. No, there was prep work to be done before you were ready for all that. There were salad bars to be stocks, lemons to be cut, etc. Luckily your house doesn’t require as much work to wake up as a restaurant. But it does require a little morning prep, too.
Let the light in ―
Open up the curtains and blinds, maybe crack a window or two for some fresh spring air.
Natural light is essential to our wellness. It elevates our mood, boosts our productivity, and signals our body that it’s a new day.
Rotate the laundry ―
Do you have clothes to fold? Then start a new load. If you have a washer with a timer, set it for another couple hours so that it doesn’t wake everyone in the house up. We just want the house awake – not anyone else.
Empty the dishwasher ―
Did you run the dishwasher in your “put the house to bed” routine? Be sure to empty it before you leave for the day. The last thing you want to come home to is a pile of dishes next to the sink.
Morning clean sweep ―
Make beds, brush hair and teeth, put breakfast dishes in the dishwasher.
Taking the time to make the bed each morning, instantly gives your room a cleaner, more organized look. It also makes going to bed much more enjoyable. Who likes to get into a messy bed after a long day? Nothing is more irritating than sheets going one way and a comforter going another.
And having the kids start a routine that includes bed making and good hygiene is good for their independence. That’s part of the mom gig, right? Teacher of life skills and autonomy? Bonus if it helps us out a little, too.
By actively closing up your house for the night and waking it up the next morning, you are being present and mindful of your actions. The routine engages us with our home and reminds us of all we have to be grateful for.
Many of these “putting the house to bed” and “waking the house up” routines align well with a Curt Steinhorst presentation I listened to at work last week. Anything you can do to simplify your life and minimize the amount of tedious decisions you have to make in a day will give you more time for rest. You need rest and a routine so you can focus on what matters most to you!
If you’re looking for more routines to put into action, check out my resources page. Do you struggle with meal planning? I’ve found easier ways to stick to this task. If I can do it, you can, too! These simple a.m. and p.m. routines will start and end your days with less chaos and more peace. You’ll feel more caught up and heck, maybe get you so caught up on life, you’ll have a free weekend!
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