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Batch Cleaning

batch cleaningBatch Cleaning has been something that I recently discovered and have found to be a LIFESAVER! This idea was introduced to me while listening to the Thrifty Little Mom Podcast by Kim Anderson. Please check out her website HERE. She is AMAZING!

Anyways, batch cleaning can is really breaking up your cleaning into smaller pieces in your week or day to make life more efficient, easier. How it looks may be different for everyone. Make it your own.

Here’s the idea. In one week, I need to maintain bathrooms, floors, bedrooms, the kitchen, dishes, laundry, etc. These are those tasks that really need to be completed during the week to keep your home clean. I used to tackle ALL of these projects or tasks pretty much on the weekend. UGH! Long weekends. Not enough time to relax. More Stress and less time for me to be present with my family. Plus, that ugly frat is quick to come around and make a terrible mess by Wednesday.

So, I decided to break down cleaning into smaller, more palliative, efficient pieces. This takes the overwhelm out of cleaning and has allowed me to be more present in my life. You may be saying, Okay Ashley get to the point. Tell me know this looks in practice.

I have detailed out my weekly routine for my batch cleaning below:

Monday:

Kitchen – always keep a clean kitchen. Dishes are completed after each meal or at minimum by the end of the night. Have your spouse do dishes while you bath the kids or vice versa.

Laundry – throw a load of laundry in the morning and toss it in the dryer after work. It will be ready to fold and put away later in the evening when you are binge watching Netflix or watching the news.

Quick Pick Up – Set a timer for 20 minutes and pick up what you can. Involve the family.

*Floors – I vacuum and do a detailed mopping at some point during the day. It could be in the morning before your kids get up, after they go to bed, or any time that works for you.

Tuesday:

Kitchen – always keep a clean kitchen. Dishes are completed after each meal or at minimum by the end of the night. Have your spouse do dishes while you bath the kids or vice versa.

Laundry – throw a load of laundry in the morning and toss it in the dryer after work. It will be ready to fold and put away later in the evening when you are binge watching Netflix or watching the news.

Quick Pick Up – Set a timer for 20 minutes and pick up what you can. Involve the family.

*Bathroom – Deep clean the bathroom. This can be done when the kiddos are taking a bath (take age in to consideration). Do this when you wake up in the morning or at the end of the day.

Wednesday:

Kitchen – always keep a clean kitchen. Dishes are completed after each meal or at minimum by the end of the night. Have your spouse do dishes while you bath the kids or vice versa.

Laundry – throw a load of laundry in the morning and toss it in the dryer after work. It will be ready to fold and put away later in the evening when you are binge watching Netflix or watching the news.

Quick Pick Up – Set a timer for 20 minutes and pick up what you can. Involve the family.

*Bedrooms – take the time to do a deep clean of the rooms. (involve your family – everyone takes the time to pick up their room).

Thursday:

Kitchen – always keep a clean kitchen. Dishes are completed after each meal or at minimum by the end of the night. Have your spouse do dishes while you bath the kids or vice versa.

Laundry – throw a load of laundry in the morning and toss it in the dryer after work. It will be ready to fold and put away later in the evening when you are binge watching Netflix or watching the news.

Quick Pick Up – Set a timer for 20 minutes and pick up what you can. Involve the family.

*Living Room – deep clean and organize the living room.

Friday:

Kitchen – always keep a clean kitchen. Dishes are completed after each meal or at minimum by the end of the night. Have your spouse do dishes while you bath the kids or vice versa.

Laundry – throw a load of laundry in the morning and toss it in the dryer after work. It will be ready to fold and put away later in the evening when you are binge watching Netflix or watching the news.

Quick Pick Up – Set a timer for 20 minutes and pick up what you can. Involve the family.

Take a little break! Enjoy much needed family time.

The weekends typically end up being my time to meal plan, go grocery shopping, and those other little errands. But mostly is my time to relax and just enjoy my family and friends. As a busy mom, these tasks can be made easier and more efficient as well. Stay tuned for more information on these short cuts.

Spoiler Alert!

If you do these small 20 minute cleans, you will not really need to spend very long on these Deep Cleaning Tasks. Very easy to fit into your schedule. FREE yourself from the stress of maintaining your space and enjoy the life you want!

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A place for EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING in its place.

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Many of you have probably heard this saying or some form of it. Well, let me tell you, living it is hard, but really pays off. Today, I will reveal what I have done for my organization, intentional living journey so far in my home. I hope this inspires you and maybe gives you ideas. I want to caution you that what works for me and my family is not necessarily going to be best for yours. There is no failure in that. Just an understanding that organization is a process and each individual is very different. I do provide these services to clients and am always willing to support you and your family on your journey.

Let’s begin. The kitchen. This is often the main place for people to gather. It is the heart of our homes. So, I often recommend that people begin organizing here. I am notorious for keeping, hoarding kitchen appliances and utensils. I may not ever use them, but I might, right? Well, on this journey I needed to take a look at of the things that I have and determine if they are worth keeping. If it has sentimental value, but you do not use it, I say keep it. But if it does not and you are only keeping it because you may use or you spent money on it, ask yourself, does this serve my family or could it serve someone else better? Can I purchase this item again if I needed it? I ask myself this because the more things I have the harder it is to organize, the more cluttered things can seem. With these as my questions, I gathered a large box and began to remove things that were not serving my family. If they were in a good shape, which many of the things were, they went off to Goodwill to find a new home.

Much of my cupboards, I was able to organize without it costing me any money. I like to group things by “like” objects or uses. I also like them to be stationed where I would use them. So, the potholders are near the stove, the coffee mugs near the Keurig, etc. Again, remember you have to get buy in from the other members of your family. This worked for my husband and I.

I then did use from fabric bins that I already had to organize my pantry goods. These a labeled, so it is clear and easy to find what you are looking for. I also used magazine holders for my canned goods. These were very inexpensive and actually made of cardboard. But I used them to keep similar canned goods together in the lazysusan.

Then onto the counters. Now,  I really like pretty clear counters. But I do have a small kitchen, so some things needed to be housed there. Also, there are some items that my husband prefers to have on the counter. Compromise was necessary! So, I did find some great little trays that I use to control the “clutter” by grouping like objects in them. This helps me to feel like my counters are fairly clear, while giving a home to the things that need to be there.

The refrigerator and freezer were a nightmare. Often where food went to get lost and spoil. UGH! I dreaded opening the refrigerator. Things fell out and I would wait for weeks to clean it out. Terrible! I started by going through everything. Throwing out expired food, etc. Then I cleaned every crevice, pulled out every self/drawer, and gave new life to these appliance. After that, I grouped like food together. For us, leftovers were often lost. So, I grabbed two plastic bins at Target and labeled them leftovers. All leftovers live here. I also needed a place for juices, kids snacks/juice/bottles, cheeses, fruits, veggies, and meats. I did use labeled plastic containers for these too. Cheap placemats were placed on the selves. When things get spilled, my refrigerator is easy to clean now! This has helped us to reduce the amount of food wasted, reduce duplicate items, and to improve our ability to maintain a clean frig! Overall, we save money on food!

The freezer was a hot mess! I could never find what I needed. It was also like digging through a pile of frozen bags. No one has time or wants to do that. So, I used four reusable bags that I already had in my home. I labeled them and grouped like food. I did the same with the top shelf, but used more plastic bins. The label maker, I borrowed from my parents. It is truly amazing!

For the rest of the house, I looked around made a list of common items that I am always looking for, or are always laying around. These were often things that did not have a home. So, I made them a home. Always getting input or feedback from my husband because we all need to agree with the home that is chosen or it will not get put away. This has helped greatly! Sometimes it did require a labeled bin (you will learn that I love my bins) and sometimes it just required making space for it.

Although, I am still working toward de-cluttering our space and organizing, I find that by giving everything a home, I spend less time cleaning on the weekend. For the past month, I have actually been able to be present with my family and RELAX on the weekend. Normally, I am running around like a tornado and cleaning. Only to have it messed up, and completely overwhelming by Wednesday!

I hope my story and pictures inspire you to find your definition of clean and organized for your home. There is no right or wrong. In my mind, I am on a path to freedom to spend time with my children and enjoy life. Cleaning should not take me away from my family! It is still a very real challenge, but it is getting easier. It can become easier for you too. Remember I am here for you, if you need that extra support.

Continue on this journey with me. You are never alone.

Path to Intentional, Purposeful, and Mindful

intentional livingIntentional, purposeful, and mindful continue to appear in my research as to how to live a better life and become a better, stronger me for my family. As I continue to think about what these words mean to my family, I think of being truly present in my life in the pursuit for a better life for my family. We all live very busy, chaotic lives. Technology, although great, has become a constant distraction. It is a way that we invite our work, our friends, and our families into our lives virtually. This has its benefits. However, it means that we cannot truly walk away from our work or from the constant media distractions. Further, many parents work and the balance can be difficult. For me, I felt overwhelmed by all the incoming distractions and chaos in my life. Although I am in the room with my family, I am not present. I am looking at the dirty dishes, thinking about the laundry that needs washing, and about the project I need to complete a work. I feel like a failure every time I look around to see the house a hot mess. Why am I not able to keep up? How can I be a better mom/wife for my family?

Well, it always gets worse before it gets better. I fought for months in a tearful, anxious, overwhelmed state. This was greatly affecting my family and I did not like the person I was becoming. It felt hopeless and I felt like I failed nearly every moment of every day. Finally, I decided that I could no longer stay in this state and I made an appointment with my primary care provider. It is not easy to tell someone that you feel crazy all the time, you cry more than you would like to divulge, and that you feel desperate to find me again. Needless to say, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression/anxiety and placed on medication. So many emotions with this alone…Will they judge me? Does this look bad in my chart? Do I really need medication?

Let me tell you. It has been a long road and I know that I have not completely weathered this season in my life yet. Although with a lot of support from family, friends, and my healthcare team, I started to see this journey as an opportunity. It has allowed me to evaluate my life in a way that I probably would have. It is giving way to a rebirth.

In this season of change, I needed to start somewhere. I knew that the various definitions of intention, purposeful, and mindful living sounded like something that my family needed. A life I wanted to gift them and myself. The path is not straightforward and is a little overwhelming to even get started. So, where do you begin? Is this even possible when you feel so far away from the end result? Will this help me through my depression/anxiety?

I sat down and decided I needed to determine what I can control in my life to help guide me to our end goal. As I looked around, I determined that the messy house was a main cause to my stress and anxiety. Much of the time, it felt to me like a frat had come over, destroyed my home in a drunken rage, and left the mess for me to pick up. Okay, so maybe this is a slight over exaggeration and I may have an overactive imagination. But this is how living in the mess made me feel. It was overwhelming. When my space is cluttered, so is my brain. Let me tell you that is already a jumbled mess most days. So, this is where I start my journey. One room at a time, I vowed to work to de-clutter and to organize. This takes examining and inspecting the house. How does my family live? What do we need to find organization and simplicity? Where do I start?

So, I started with kitchen. This is the room in my house that allows me to nurture my family and needs to be maintained for the best us. I love to cook for my family and family dinners are VERY important to my husband and I. Again, I took to the internet and magazines to think about how I could do this. The inspiration grew and grew. My husband and I set a budget. I set a date on the calendar and gathered all of the supplies that I needed for this big opportunity for our family.

 

Stay tuned for the break down of my kitchen simplification on the road to intentional, purposeful, and mindful life!

 

 

 

The Journey Begins

WIN_20180501_08_21_57_ProThanks for joining me!

Since I was a young girl, I dreamed of my calling. For years, I felt that my calling had to be career focused. That drove me through school and led me to many of my experiences. Like many, becoming a mother changed me in different ways. I knew that I would enjoy being a mother from a young age, but I did not know how much I would truly love the beauty in motherhood. It is through this passion and love that there is much anxiety and fear. When my daughter was born, I started to feel anxiety like I had not in my life. I would become overwhelmed, agitated, and fearful – for no reason, at least not obvious to me. In not truly being honest with myself, I could not be honest with my healthcare team or my support team. So, I thought and was given the message that my feelings were very normal.

Then I found out I was expecting my son. My second child in a short period of time. This was not my plan, but God’s plan. I needed to continue to remind myself that God does not give us anything that we cannot handle. For some reason, I was to have two children in a short period of time. They are meant to be here and born into my family to my husband and I. Although there is some comfort in this, for a type A person that wants to control EVERYTHING, there is much anxiety in this as well.

In my true form, I purchased a home, moved, and had a baby in a two month time frame. This is just how I roll. Having one child was easier than I expected, but having two was harder than I imagined! I spent much of maternity leave feeling even more overwhelmed, anxious, and tearful. I felt most often like a complete failure most moments of the day. Much of time, my daughter, my son, and I were all crying together. My poor husband was our support and did an excellent job moving us through this season in our lives.

Several months later, I decided I needed to be honest with myself and those supporting me that I needed help. I was so overwhelmed in my day to day. I spent much of my days crying (like really ugly crying) and feeling like I was failing in every aspect of myself. I did not want this to be the memories of my children’s childhood. My children, my husband deserve better. I deserve better for myself.

I needed to give myself permission and time to get better. This came in many forms. I needed to allow myself to take medication, to see a therapist, to keep my routine appointments with my healthcare team, to ask for help from my support team, and to allow myself to feel these emotions. As a mom, I think many times, we do not give ourselves permission to feel, to grow because we do not want to take away from our families. It is through this process, that we can actually provide better for our families. Through feeling these emotions, I was able to and continue to be able to sort through my thoughts and worries to determine how I can manage/control this current state that I am in. How did I do it? Well, I am continuing to work through it. I am very much in the pretty early stages of working through this opportunity.

Now, I know that using a word like opportunity to describe depression seems very odd. I did not come to this conclusion overnight and I do not expect everyone to feel this way. I am choosing to live more positively and think with more positive thoughts, which has been helpful to me. I am looking at my current mental health as an opportunity for me to grow and become stronger in my relationship with myself, my husband, and children. In turn, I will become stronger in other relationships in my life.

So, I needed to start somewhere. After much thought, I realized that there were certain things that cause anxiety or me to feel overwhelmed that I can control. Some I cannot. I wanted to start with the things I can control. One area of my life that has always been an outlet for me in through cleaning and organization. However, I found that I was spending A LOT of time doing this and not well. My house always seemed to look like a frat had taken up residence, trashed it in a drunken fit, and left. Not a good feeling. Maybe slightly over exaggerated, but this is how it made me feel. This was something I COULD control. I would NOT let it control me. I still needed time to be present with my family – a value that is very important to me.

Through this process, I also learned that I had been organizing our house and designing it in a way that made sense to me, to my brain. I was creating fun, detailed organization processes that inspired me. However, these processes did not work for my husband or my young children. I needed to learn how he organized, although different from me, to find a common practice that would work for my family. I also needed to keep in mind that I have two kids under the age of two. So, my design needed to encompass the toys and their life style too. This was a big job, but the freedom from clutter was very inspirational to me. The freedom in intentional design was intriguing and I wanted to find this dream of mine for my family.

I am still on this journey, but after about two months, I heard the words I needed to continue to put the effort in. My husband looked around our home yesterday and said to me, “Is this really our home? It is organized and clean. It is Wednesday!” He was right. It was pretty organized. Not as perfect as my former self would have liked, but the frat no longer partied in my home. Cleaning no longer took a whole weekend. My stress was beginning to recede.

I have developed a method I call Co-Organizing. It allows you to take your family values, understand each person’s organizational style and develop a sustainable, organization system that allows you to be more in the moment with your family!

That you for joining me on this journey and I hope that you continue to walk alongside me no matter what season of life you are in.

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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