29 August 2009

Working the Days

Sometimes people ask me how I have time for everything I do. Perhaps the secret is that there is a lot I don't do! I also have to give the reminder ... I only blog about the good stuff.

I find that when I dwell on the beauty and joy that surrounds me in the ordinary bits of life, my perspective on my days is so much better. In short, my life doesn't always look like my blog! My bathrooms can get disgusting, the clutter collects, I forget birthdays, I'll snap at my kids, we'll eat sandwiches for dinner, and my attitude can be rotten. But I'm okay with that. I'm just working through life like everyone else. What is wonderful, is that while I have my own breed of trials and issues, they don't take away from all the blessing that God has, for some reason, seen fit to bestow upon our home. That is what I seek to focus on, and that is what, I hope, is reflected here.

So. Back to the practical question of how we work our days. I am not a perfectly organized person. It's true, I sometimes daydream about it ... but in reality, perfection is not worth the price of my time and energy. That said, keeping up on the housework and having a basically tidy home, really does make me feel good. To make time for the reading, the photography, the sewing, cooking, giggling, and playing, I'm a believer in crackin' out the work when you can! While I can't say I run a "tight ship," here's a few tips that keep our boat adequately strapped down:

• Do a load of laundry each day

I used to have "laundry day" which would completely exhaust me and leave me feeling defeated when the machines were still chugging at 9:00pm and the mountains of unfolded clothes and bedding threatened to block all household walkways. I find tossing a load or two in the laundry each day is so much more manageable. Some days it's just gathering all the towels, and bath mats and running them as a load.

• Wipe the kitchen counters down thoroughly each day
Again, if I take a couple of minutes to pull out a rag and cleaner, I can polish up those counters and it never becomes a big task. Plus, your whole house can be a disaster, but a clean kitchen somehow makes up for it.

• Make your bed
Like the clean kitchen, a made bed instantly gives the feeling of tidiness ... even if it isn't completely.

• Clutter Control
Before the kids get to watch a movie or have some treat, we race through the house and put everything (and I mean everything) that is not in it's place on the door mat. The house will instantly look picked up and now all the clutter is in one spot to work from. Much easier.

• Clutter Crisis
Sometimes hurried and drastic measures must be taken! Take the same strategy as above, but put it all in a large garbage bag and shove it in the closet until you can get to it later. Be forewarned! It is very easy to forget about the bag and end up with a giant closet project later. This is a risky procedure, but there are times you gotta' do whatcha' gotta' do.

• Clutter Reduction
I'm still working on this one, but I'm becoming more and more of a purger. Stuff can weigh you down and create burdens where there don't need to be. Before birthday's and Christmas, we purge the kids' rooms. I regularly purge closets and Pops' and I have a dreams of a purged garage. Not only do we frequently "move things along" but we learning to differentiate between meaningful or useful items and plain ol' stuff. The stuff is what we are trying to have less of. Again, still working on this one.

• Plan Meals for the Week
I despise not knowing what to make for dinner at 5:30. But ... when I sketch out the week's meals (I even write down ideas for breakfast and lunch), and shop for groceries accordingly, I save money, time, and lots of sanity. I will repeat, however, that I sketch out the meals. If needs or plans change, it's no biggie.

• Cook to Freeze
I absolutely love having meals in the freezer. Whenever I can get my act together, I make a double meal. One to eat that night, and one to stick in the freezer. I've also been buying large quantities of meat or poultry when there is a sale and freezing meal sized portions in ziplocs with a marinade. These freezer meals are so fantastic for nights when there is soccer practice, Mom gets sick, or you just don't feel like cookin'.

• Put Things in Vases
I always find it's worth my time when I take some clipping from something outside and shove it in a vase. Twigs, flowers, branches, herbs ... doesn't really matter. It doesn't cost a penny and is such an easy way to bring some pretty into the house. Things in vases make me smile.

• Rest Time
I realize not everyone has this luxury, but we still take time after lunch to rest. The kids go to their rooms and do whatever they want as long as it isn't too noisy and they are able to clean it up when they are done. This is when I read, blog, have some tea, take photos, sew ... anything I'd like to do. I rarely do chores during this time. If I get this little break in my day, I'm just more enthusiastic about pursuing the rest of it.

• Perspective
I'm not a Pollyanna. I can complain like a champ and am skilled at feeling sorry for myself. But it never makes any positive impact. When I'm in the Word and approaching my days as though it's the task He set before me, I want to do a good job. I want to find the joy in it. So much of what we have or don't have doesn't really matter. It's what we do with it that does.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men.

Colossians 3:23


  1. You are amazing... I tell you, some day, I will grow up to be like you!!

  2. I liked that post. I was inspired to go cut things and fill vases, and I like your clutter idea- with the mat.

    And I love that verse!
    I'm so with you on the laundry- never again will I have a designated day. Hideous!

  3. Great attitude - lovely blog. I'm with you on purging and planning - I should just go and do some now! Thank you for visiting.

  4. I laughed as I imagined you cramming a garbage bag of stuff into a closet to "deal with later." I do the same thing with little piles...

    Rest time is my happy, happy friend. We do the exact same thing... actually, in general, I run my house a lot like yours.

    And, I always say, tidiness gives the allusion of cleanliness, so if you're lagging behind in the cleaning department by all means keep things tidy!

  5. This is beautiful, Anna.

  6. Great post, Anna. I totally agree that a clean kitchen makes everything better. In fact, I think I'll clean mine right now.

  7. Thank you for sharing Anna. It is a relief to know that I am not the only mom who snaps at her kids or sometimes serves sandwiches for dinner! And I too like a made bed and clean counters.

  8. I, too, am happy to have stumbled into your "lovely blog world." And I was so encouraged when I read this post in particular! I loved the last thing you said about keeping in the Word and approaching the day as the task He has set before us. You are right. That makes me want to find the joy in it.

    I can't wait to read more! And fabulous pictures!!!

  9. Great post! I saw this when looking over your recipes... very practical and and I love the fact that you admit that life isn't always what is posted on the blog, I feel that way too. (Actually ironically working on a post right now with some very similar themes) I feel like I am just starting to learn how to better work my days, I've got a long way to go. Good stuff!
    P.S. I figured out what class we had together at GFU - music appreciation in Spring '95! :-)