Posted in cleaning, organizing

How to Have Kids, Toys and a Clean House

I was inspired to write this after hearing several parents talk about how difficult it was to get kids to clean their rooms and that they just couldn’t have a clean house until their children were grown.

There is hope! It is not only possible but it is extremely important to have a tidy home for you and your family. Your home should be your safe space that is a haven from the world, not a place of chaos. Teaching your kids the skills to be organized and clean will be invaluable to them in school and get them far in their careers down the road as well.

Every parent has a love hate relationship with toys. On the one hand, they keep our kids entertained and happy. We love to see our kids happy! On the other hand, we can not stand the clutter and the mess and even the arguing that happens with too many toys.

We love our kids and we want to give them things that will bring them joy. So much so that we continue to buy them more toys for Christmas, birthdays and Easter and use them as bribery for being good in Target, even though we know there are already just too many toys at home!

The toy box is soon overflowing and the kids are “bored”. The Playroom or bedroom looks like an earthquake happened at Toy’s R Us! You are at your wits end and the kids truly don’t know how to clean up. How can they?

So what can we do about all this fun clutter everywhere?

Donate and Dump

Go through ALL the toys!

This can be done with or without your child. You know your kids best. If this is just going to be a crying, fit throwing, unproductive session and they aren’t going to miss the toys anyway, do it without them. If they are very mature and can understand giving to those in need maybe it would be a good life lesson sort of thing for them. Most often doing this without kids is much more productive.

Put ALL the toys in a giant pile and really look at how much is there. Pick each one up. Is it broken or damaged? Dump. Is it no longer interesting or age appropriate? Donate.

Do not donate or dump a favorite toy even if it seems like garbage to you. You don’t want to betray their trust and also don’t want to turn them into hoarders, afraid to let go of anything because you got rid of that one thing that time.


Make piles of like things. Dolls, doll clothes, bottles, blankets, doll stroller in one pile. Legos of all kinds in another pile. Little people farm, castle and cars grouped together. Barbie’s and all accessories. Cars and race tracks. You get the idea!

Anything left that is just a unique item and doesn’t belong to any of the piles, will go into a toy box. If there are too many of these things and they don’t easily fit into the toy box, go back to step one, dump and donate.


Each one of your piles will need an appropriate sized box or tote of some sort. Preferably with a lid so they can be stacked. Some items may not fit into a container. That’s ok. I have Dolls, and clothes and bottles in a diaper bag and that fits into the doll crib. The Little People Farm is on top of a rubber maid container that holds all the little farm animals and tractor. All the Legos are in one rubber maid container as are all the Playdo things.


The next step is finding the best place to store these items. The goal is to have them slightly difficult for the kids to get to. They will be coming to you to ask for the Barbie bin or whatever it is they want to play with next. If they are just on the floor of the playroom it is way too easy to have them all open at the same time. The closet in an extra room, shelves in the garage, even just shelves in a play room that are just out of reach are good places for these. All should be lined up or stacked neatly together.


This is where the real work comes in. Kids don’t just know how to clean up. You have to teach them. Kids ARE great with routine though! Once you’ve established a routine with them it will be easy peasy to keep things in order. It is up to you to make it a habit!

Every time the kids move from one activity to the next, CLEAN UP! If your kids are small you will need to do it with them. Even if they aren’t small you will need to do this with them for a while or at least supervise it.

For instance, the kids are playing with toys from the toy box and decide they want to play babies. Clean up the toys! Put them in the toy box. This should be pretty simple because everything now fits in the toy box.

Go to the closet, or wherever you have the other toys, and take out the baby things. Only the baby things are out and being played with. When they are done with babies, all the baby things are put back in their container and returned to the closet. The next thing can then be taken out to be played with.

Indoor toys stay indoors. Outdoor toys stay outdoors.

You could have 8 kids 0-10 years old and still have a tidy living room or playroom using this method! I promise!

Enjoy. You can be a better person and parent when you have taught your kids how to play and have fun and also to clean up. Enjoy having a tidy playroom, bedrooms and house with less stress and less stuff. You and your family deserve it!

Donate and Dump. You can’t organize clutter. Get rid of what is broken or no longer useful.

Sort. Sort into piles of similar things to be stored together.

Organize. Put the like items in their own bin or tote.

Store. Find a good place to store these bins that are up and out of the way.

Teach. Kids don’t know until they know. One group of toys out at a time! Clean up after every activity.

Enjoy. Enjoy your family more and stress less.

Many daughters have done well,

But you excel them all.

Proverbs 31:29

Happy Organizing!

Elizabeth XOXO

Posted in cleaning, organizing

Tips for Cleaning the Garage

It’s finally starting to feel like Spring in North Idaho! It felt like a long time coming….like a looooooooong time. We have never needed spring like we need it now!

We have had a couple of beautiful sunny days that make me want to throw open the windows and clean the garage! Okay, maybe that is just me?! But seriously, have you noticed how the garage seems to turn into a disaster over the winter?

I think we tend to dump things out there, maybe not as neatly as we should because it is COLD out there! It just isn’t as easy or pleasant to put things away properly.

Spring is a great time to spruce up the garage and get it looking nice again! Many of us are home with time on our hands and the last thing we need to be doing is being idle in front of the TV. So, if you are wondering what you should do next….

Here are tips on how to clean a garage.

  1. Make sure you have plenty of time, your tennis shoes on, your water bottle and some tunes.
  2. Pull out as much stuff as you can to the middle of the garage or driveway if it’s nice out.
  3. Make three piles. Keep, Toss, Donate. Don’t get caught up in trying to sell things unless it is quite valuable. Those things usually just get put back and become clutter once again.
  4. Sweep or blow out the mostly empty garage.
  5. Organize your keep pile by like items, such as Christmas Decorations, tools, canning jars, etc.
  6. Determine where to put things according to how often it is used. Less used items should go in places that are less accessible. Frequently used things should be on shelves that are easy to get to.
  7. As soon as possible take the junk to the dump and donations to your local charity. Don’t let it sit in the garage, clutter seems to multiply on it’s own! Before you know it there will be stuff everywhere again! Get it out!
  8. Admire your work! It feels so good to have accomplished something like that! Great job!

I hope this inspires you to get that garage clean! I know I will be working on that this week. It’s in desperate need!

Happy Cleaning!

Elizabeth XOXO

Posted in cleaning, habits and routines, routines

Tips to Keeping Things Clean and Homemade Sanitizing Wipes

Being clean. Lately that is what everyone is talking about! The corona virus really has shown us just how much we affect each other and how wide that affect is. It is truly mind blowing!

I am sure we have all upped our cleaning habits recently, which is great! Being consistent is key! Routines to the rescue! If you don’t have a daily cleaning routine, go check the Routines page here!

Here are a few tips to help keeps germs and viruses away. Add these to your normal routines.

When cleaning the bathrooms daily, pay special attention to toilet handles, faucets, drawer knobs and door handles. Those things can be done very quickly while cleaning the rest of the bathroom with a Clorox Wipe (IF you can find any). Be sure to change out the hand towels daily as well.

If you are one of the many that can’t find any sanitizing wipes right now, I will include a “recipe” to make your own! Might be a fun project while most of us are stuck at home with not much to do anyway.

Keep clutter to a minimum. Less stuff to have to clean! Now is a good time to get rid of things. Grab a garbage bag and see what you can find to get rid of. You may not be able to donate it right now but it can go to the car or garage for the time being. Try to keep flat surfaces clear so you can wipe them off frequently.

Put at least half the kid’s toys away. Clean them thoroughly. Rotate them daily or every other day, cleaning them each time. This way you aren’t having to clean ALL the toys each day and they are excited to have different toys every day. Also less to clean up! It’s a win win!

Use fresh kitchen towels and dish cloths every day. Use a sanitizing wipe on counters and faucet multiple times a day.

Don’t forget about you car! You go out, go to the store, you touch things, you get in your car and touch your steering wheel, door handle, the stereo, etc. Keep wipes in the car to wipe it down often.

Your cell phone and water bottle should be cleaned several times a day! You wash your hands and then pick up your phone which has soooooo many cooties! Don’t forget your laptop as well.

Then of course, is the most obvious…. wash your hands. I think we are going to need to stock up on hand lotion the way we are all washing our hands and cleaning lately!

Encourage each other in this time. Be kind and generous. Let us remember to be grateful, there is always someone worse off than we are.

So do not fear, for I am with you;

    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Home Made Sanitizing Wipes

  • 1 roll of quality paper towels. Cheap ones will fall apart.
  • 1 air tight container, such as an empty plastic coffee can or old wipes container.
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Isopropyl alcohol (tip!!! Isopropyl alcohol might be hard to find right now, but your local liquor store still has Vodka!! It will sanitize as well!)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T. dish soap, preferably Dawn

Cut your paper towel roll in half using a sharp serrated knife or electric knife. It’s a bit messy.

Depending on your container you may have to peel off a few sheets of paper towel to make it fit. It is ok if it’s a tight fit.

Combine the water, alcohol, vinegar and dish soap and pour over the paper towels in the container.

Put the lid on and turn it upside down for a few minutes and then turn it back over. As soon as the paper towels are completely saturated you will be able to gently pull the cardboard center out easily! Now you can pull your wipes out from the center.

Happy Cleaning!

Take care and stay well!

Elizabeth XOXO

Posted in cleaning

Changing my Mind

Here we are more than halfway through the first month of 2020! How are you are doing? Did you make resolutions or not this year?

I can’t say I made any resolutions. Those always seem to go by the wayside before the end of February! I did, however, set some intentions toward the end of last year. I want to better myself in all ways, not just to have a cleaner home, or just lose weight or have more patience . I want to improve myself as a whole. That seems like a big goal but I figured that if I get my mind right, the rest kinda falls into place.

I heard something a couple months ago that has really stuck with me. “You are where you are because of who you are. If you want to change your circumstances, you have to change you.” That is not a word for word quote, but pretty close and I can’t remember who said it, but it was like a huge neon sign for me! I need to change my mind! I need to change how I think and begin to think like the person I want to be. I can’t wait to become that person and then change how I think. It doesn’t work like that. Maybe that is pretty Captain Obvious but sometimes you don’t see those obvious things till they hit you in the face!

If I can’t seem to lose that thirty pounds, I am thinking like someone who is thirty pounds heavier that she ought to be. If I have trouble keeping my space tidy it is a reflection of my cluttered mind. If I have trouble with finances, it will never get better without changing my thoughts and beliefs about money. If I hate my job, it is my thoughts about what I am worth and where I deserve to be that has me there. Everything in our lives is in direct response to what we think and believe.

I can learn all I can about cleaning my house and keeping it clean and organized but until I start changing how I think, uncluttering my mind, knowing that I deserve a clean space and thinking positively, my house will always go right back to reflecting my negative thoughts!

“Most people don’t lead their own lives – they accept their lives.”

― John Kotter

How do we change our minds though? I mean, aren’t our thoughts just part of who we are? Is it even possible to change how we think? YES! It is! The thoughts that we think now were learned. We were taught by our parents and the people that surrounded us and our experiences in life. We can learn new thoughts the same way. Surround ourselves with positive people. If you don’t know any, find new friends! Listen to podcasts and audio books that talk about the things you want to change. Read personal growth books. Journal your thoughts and things that you are grateful for. Meditate and clear your mind. Pray and do daily devotions and quiet time. Spend time thinking about what you think about. What thoughts do you have that don’t serve you? What negative self talk do you hear? Have INTENTIONAL thoughts instead of letting your thoughts just run around willy nilly! You are in charge of them!

“If I wanted to make a difference… Wishing for things to change wouldn’t make them change. Hoping for improvements wouldn’t bring them. Dreaming wouldn’t provide all the answers I needed. Vision wouldn’t be enough to bring transformation to me or others. Only by managing my thinking and shifting my thoughts from desire to deeds would I be able to bring about positive change. I needed to go from wanting to doing.”

― John C. Maxwell, Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters

I know this is a bit different for a house keeping blog, but without this, I am just throwing out band-aids and temporary fixes. If we don’t clear the clutter in our minds, we will never be able to clear the clutter and organize our homes for any length of time. It will always go back to reflecting our thoughts.

I want you to truly have peace in your mind and a peaceful clean home. Let’s do 2020 the right way! Let’s CHANGE OUR MINDS! Change your mind, change your life.

Here is a list of a few of the podcasts that I enjoy listening to while at the gym and while getting ready for the day. There are so many out there and they are free to listen to! Find some that speak to you.

  • Feel Better, Live More with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
  • The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson
  • The Chalene Show with Chalene Johnson
  • The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo
  • The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast
  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin
  • Girls Night with Stephanie May Wilson
  • ESV: Through the Bible in a Year

With Love, Elizabeth xoxoxoxo

Posted in family, family traditions, memories

Santa Clause…Just for fun?

Today my blog has nothing to do with cleaning or keeping house. It may or may not offend some but it’s my story. I believe I am to share it. I hope it has an impact on someone’s life.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures

With tears streaming down my face and a terrible twisting knot in the pit of my stomach I ran to my mother after school and threw myself on her. I had tried so hard to hold it in since recess that morning when my world had been shattered and everything I believed to be true was ripped from me.

As many other kindergartners, I believed that if I was a good girl that Santa would bring me my Christmas wish, that beautiful blonde haired doll that drank a bottle and really peed her diaper! I looked at her in the JC Penny’s catalog every chance I got! I worked very hard to be nice to my brother and do my chores and be obedient to my mother.

That day, I was crushed. The boy on the playground told me that Santa wasn’t real. That parents just lie to get us to be good. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I don’t remember much from forty -eight years ago, but I remember that very clearly. Tim. He was smart and normally a nice boy. His mom was friends with my mom. Why would he lie to me? He must be lying…. my mother wouldn’t lie to me, would she? Lying is so wrong!

As I cried on my mother’s shoulder, she asked what was wrong?! I couldn’t get it out until we got home. She held me on her lap and told me that Tim had been right. Santa was just a story. I was just devastated. Confused and bewildered I asked why did you lie to me? Lying is bad! At this point my mother was just as heartbroken as I was. We both were in tears. It’s just supposed to be a fun story that children believe she said. She comforted me and eventually I began to feel a bit better but still didn’t feel right inside.

Nothing about this felt good. Thoughts continued to run through my head. I may have only been five, but I had been taught right and wrong and was no dummy. This Santa thing didn’t sit right with me.

That night my mother tucked me into be and we began to say bedtime prayers. A thought flashed in my mind and my eyes flew open. I gasped! This is just another lie! How can this be?! Jesus is who I talked to when I was scared or alone. He helped my mommy feel better when she was sad too! We had been through so much since daddy left but Jesus is what made us feel better. That sick feeling came back with a rush and I felt hot and the tears were flowing again.

Jesus isn’t real either I screamed!! My mother was taken aback. “Of course He is honey!” ” But you said Santa was real and he isn’t. I couldn’t see Santa and I can’t see Jesus. I tried to be good so I could get my Christmas present and I try to be good for Jesus. You said Santa could see me and Jesus can too! You LIED!” I cried.

My mom held me for a long time and we cried together. She asked me to forgive her for lying to me about Santa and promised to never lie to me again. She told me that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit do exist and that Jesus had died to take my sin so that I didn’t have to “try to be good” to receive anything from Him but that He loved me unconditionally. She reminded me that I had asked Jesus to live in my heart and that if I prayed He would give me peace and understanding and that I would know for sure He was real.

We prayed together and Jesus did fill me with peace and I knew He was there with me and that He was not just a lie. I knew in my heart that He would always be there for me and that I wanted to live for Him and let other people know that He isn’t like Santa. He is real and He loves us so much that He sent His son to be born and live and give His life for us so that we don’t have to strive to “be perfect”. He forgives us and has paid the price for us. He gave us the best Christmas gift ever given. It is for that reason that we celebrate the birth of Christ!

I made a decision at five years old that I would never ever lie to my children. I would never tell them that Santa was real and that they had to strive to be good to earn gifts. I would never give them reason to doubt that Jesus was real.

When I grew up and had my girls, we read the “Night Before Christmas” and all the other stories of Santa and they enjoyed those stories just as much as they enjoyed all the other fairy tale books we read. We put out Mt Dew and cookies on Christmas Eve because our “Santa” liked Mt Dew better than milk! We put out “reindeer food” in the snow, knowing it was a wonderful gift to the birds. They enjoyed every minute of the Christmas season and never believed in Santa. They believe that Jesus was born and came to save us from sin and give us grace. They have never doubted it a minute.

I don’t write this to heap guilt on those who have told their kids that Santa is real, but just to share from a child’s point of view. Maybe you might rethink the story you’ve told. This made such a huge impact on me as a child. I have always felt it was important to share but had never written it out until now. I hope that it can help a parent or child somehow.

This year, give real thought to your Christmas traditions and remember the reason for the season!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Merry Christmas!

Elizabeth xoxo

Posted in cleaning, laundry, organizing

Cute Laundry Rooms and Real Pantries

I am going to be honest. I am good at keeping things clean. I am not good at coming up with clever organizing ideas. That makes keeping things clean harder. Organizing is something I really want to work on! I have been doing some reading, blogs, Pinterest, magazines and the like to get some ideas. Some are great, some are weird and some are just not even feasible. I mean, these pantries…. do these people actually have any food? Super pretty, but hardly anything in there! I shop at Costco. We have cases of vegetables, not just a few cans. We buy pretzels that come in a ten pound bag. I buy white flour and wheat flour in fifty pound bags each!

This is what a Costco trip feels like!

Speaking of pantries, have you noticed that most houses don’t have pantries anymore? Ours doesn’t have one. It has a nice sized linen closet in the hallway which I use as a pantry of sorts. I store my small appliances in it and my spices are in a behind- the- door hanging shelf. It’s a bit of a walk to go get the spices for dinner, but it works and who needs a linen closet!? I don’t have extra sheets and only a couple extra blankets and those live in my closet in my room. Tablecloths are stored in my dining room hutch. I have a very large book shelf in my garage that is our main pantry. Flour, canned goods, extra baking supplies, snacks, rice, pasta, toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, foil, Ziploc bags, and the like are all stored out there. Between spices in the hall and the food and supplies in the garage, making dinner is a work out! But it works! So if you live in one of those houses that someone who doesn’t cook designed…. be creative and fine another space for a pantry! Coat closet, linen closet, laundry room, garage… think outside the box!


I found a really awesome blog about organizing your pantry and wanted to share it with you! Kelley has fantastic and realistic ideas for organizing your pantry, even if you don’t have much space. Go check it out here!

I recently did some major decluttering in my laundry room. I had never really taken the time to make my laundry room “look cute”. I don’t know why, it just never occurred to me! I do spend a lot of time there however and after cleaning it all up and getting rid of a lot of unnecessary things, I decided to make it look nice.

I made a bag for bags! I have wanted to have an attractive way to store extra grocery bags for a while now! I found a neat tutorial on how to make one right here! It was super easy! If you have a sewing machine and know how to thread it, you can make this! How much cuter is that than a grocery bag stuffed with other grocery bags stuffed in the corner?!

I think it really helps to have our laundry rooms look pleasant and our cupboards and pantry’s look tidy and organized. It goes a long way toward improving our attitude toward the mundane house work.

I have said before that I have a mantra. “Improve every room you are in, even if it is just to smile in it. ” It’s much easier to leave a smile in a room that is inviting, cute, and seems to smile at you!

I am not sharing pantry pictures as of yet… don’t expect that it will ever look super “Pinteresty” with matching baskets and chalkboard labels, but I am working on it being better organized and finding what works best.

How does your laundry room feel? Does your pantry give you anxiety? Take some time this week , even just fifteen minutes, to declutter, rearrange and make those areas look pleasing to you. You would be amazed at what you can get done in just a few short minutes.

You deserve to have a home that smiles back at you!

Love ya! XOXOXO

Posted in organizing, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

Awkward Minutes

Hi Friends! Just a short little thought today, because sometimes all you have is a minute or two. That is what this is about! Using all those little scattered minutes.

Photo by Stas Knop on

We all have those awkward minutes between things that we think are useless minutes. The three minutes waiting for the water to boil. The five minutes standing in the bathroom waiting for your toddler to pee. That unusually long time it takes for your washer to stop actually spinning when you thought it was almost done. You know what I am talking about?! If you added up all those awkward minutes and put them together you would probably have a good chunk of time to get something done, but you can’t really do that. But why waste them?!

Make use of time, let not advantage slip.

William Shakespeare

I have a running list on my refrigerator of random things that need to get done. Some are things that would take quite a bit of time, some are short little things and some are things that my husband has to do. Some of those longer things can be broken down into small pieces though.

For instance, I have on my list to trim the bushes out front and to cut the dead blooms off my hosta and my hydrenga . At first that might sound like a weekend long project. Today the babies were sound asleep, the toddlers were playing nicely in the living room. I grabbed a garbage bag and the shears and left the window and front door open so that they can see me and I can hear them and I took less than five minutes to cut the dead blooms off the hosta. Ta-da! Maybe at nap time today I will get to the hydrenga!

So next time you are waiting for your toddler to pee, grab a Clorox wipe and wipe the baseboards. Dust the shelf in the laundry room while waiting for the washer. Clean the slider window while waiting to let the dog back in. Clean out the cup full of pens and pencils while waiting for a friend to arrive.

My iphone tells me each week how much time I have spent on my phone and on which apps. In other words, it tells me what I have been doing with my “awkward minutes”! Take back all of your awkward minutes and turn them into productive minutes! And don’t forget to break down what seems to be a big job into to little chunks at a time!

Have a wonderful productive week!


Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.

Charles Richards
Posted in camping, cleaning, family, habits and routines, routines

Giving Myself Grace

Hi Friends! It has been so very long since I have written here. Six months in fact! I have missed it so very much! I have had so many things going on in my life that I had decided to put this on the back burner for a while, but I couldn’t stay away forever!

Honestly, I had been feeling like I am not very qualified to write a blog called “The Self Cleaning House”. I still don’t. Not sure how I thought I was! With a family of five, a large house, an in home day care with six children, two of them infants, doing laundry for two families, writing two blogs and starting an eCommerce store, and camping every weekend all summer, I feel very often that my house doesn’t reflect the image I would like it to. Yes, it’s tidy-ish. The bathrooms are clean and the laundry is done and well, the basics are done, but that is as far as it goes.

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell

Those daily routines…. I’m telling you, they are life! Without them my home would be in shambles right now. If you don’t know what those are, check out the routines page here. If you do, but need to dust those off and start again… DO IT!!

BUT…. my closet….not sure what has happened in there! The bathroom drawers… oh my! And then there is the garage….. so much. I want to cry every time I go out there.

Can you relate? I am hoping you can, because that is why I decided to jump back in to writing here as often as I can at least.

I hope that I can inspire you and ME to get to those things that are bugging you right now about your house. Yes! That thing that just popped into your head just now! See, I knew you had something too!. I know I am busy and you are busy. Crazy busy, in fact. Like, OMG, we have so much to do today we won’t be done with today until next Tuesday, busy!

But….. we got this! We can fine tune routines and knock things out in little five minute increments. So, without guilt and shame I am going to jump back into writing and sharing ideas with you. It helps to keep me accountable but I am also going to remember to try to give myself GRACE! You do the same!

I promise to be back again soon with ideas, encouragement and updates on that garage of mine!

Love you all! E


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

2 Peter 1:2

Posted in cleaning, habits and routines, routines

Routines, Wine and Pizza

It was Friday late afternoon. It had been a long tiring week and I was very much looking forward to 5:30 pm, a glass of wine and pizza that I didn’t have to make! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook but at the end of a long week of toddlers, chicken nuggets, diapers, and toys I am quite ready to have dinner delivered and put my feet up!
I was clock watching, getting kids snacks and preparing for parents to arrive when I received a text message from our landlord. We don’t hear from her much so I was surprised. She lives in Alaska and we live in Idaho. We take care of the house and don’t bother her unless we have to and she doesn’t bother us unless necessary as well. It is a good situation and she is a great person.I read the text…. “I am in town and would like to come by to see the house tomorrow morning if that is OK?” She hasn’t been to visit or see her property in about three or four years so I totally understand her wanting to drop by…. but, tomorrow?!!! Yikes!! Terror struck me and my mind started to race. What all needs to be done? Should I clean and organize the freezer? Clean the tops of the kitchen cupboards? Disinfect the garbage cans? Whoa…….. breathe…..

I may or may not have looked like this….
Ok…..what really needs to be done? I looked around. I decided the carpet needed to be vacuumed, dusting should be done, entry rugs shook out, the kitchen and entry should be swept, and a little extra tidying up in the bedrooms. My family pitched in and we had all that done easily in a half an hour! By 6 pm we were having wine and pizza!
Photo by Pablo Macedo on
The house looked fantastic! I didn’t go all crazy and do things that didn’t need to be done and with just a few minutes of normal cleaning it looked great. You know why it only took a little effort to make the house company ready? Routines!!! The bathrooms were clean, there were no piles of laundry, dishes/kitchen was done and beds were made, the house was tidy, the kitty litter and garbage had been taken care of. The house look good and smelled good!

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27
Thank you, routines, for giving me a self cleaning house that allowed me to have wine and pizza on the Friday night before my landlord was to come see our home! Side note…. the landlord couldn’t fit stopping by into her schedule before leaving town so she never did make it. If you all want to stopover… house looks great!
If you haven’t already, go check out the routines page here on my blog!
You need to have your own self-cleaning house!
Posted in cleaning, habits and routines, motivation, planning, routines, self discipline

How to Eat an Elephant

I am tired. At 52 years old and still taking care of 6 toddlers and babies and my family every day, I am exhausted at times, ok…. most of the time!

We have all been there! I remember stumbling into walls I was so tired when my babies were young. All I wanted to do was go to sleep for 48 hours!

Clearly, that isn’t a possibility. Life goes on and so must we! We will survive. We have homes, children, laundry, work, meals, and relationships to tend to.

So how do we keep going when we really just want to nap or put our feet up? How do we keep from being overwhelmed and frustrated?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Doing daily routines is a huge lifesaver during times in your life where you are sleep deprived or overworked. You do those on autopilot. For all the other things that need to be attended to… them one thing at a time. One load of dishes, one room tidied up, one meal made. Put one foot in front of the other and try not to think of the whole picture, just what needs to be done next.

Photo by Pixabay on

We often give ourselves too many outs, too many breaks. We are capable of far more than we think. Yes, it is really easy to say “I worked hard all day. I deserve to sit down and watch my favorite TV show instead of doing the dinner dishes.” but is that really doing yourself any favors? It’s not! Those things left undone will still be there when you are ready for bed or when you get up in the morning. It will put you that much more behind the next day and the next. It will snowball, get you down, make you depressed, make you make bad choices, make you grouchy and more tired.

I am not suggesting that we live on four hours of sleep and never stop working. Most definitely not! Sleep is very important for your health. I am talking about those times you know you should be folding clothes while watching that TV show. The times when you decide to just read one chapter of your book before starting dinner dishes….and then dishes don’t happen. The days you hit snooze too many times and decide not to do your morning routine.

Have you ever read Little House on the Prairie? Have you ever read the whole series? I know they are kids books but if you haven’t read them, read them. Read them to your kids. I have read them multiple times. I read them to my kids… maybe more than once. I am reading them to my granddaughter. They made a huge impression on me when I was a child. So much so that a few years ago when we had the chance we took the family to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house in Missouri. It was a wonderful experience.

If you are ever in Missouri it is worth stopping in to see! Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum, click here to check it out!  

Whenever I am tired and really just don’t wanna anymore, I think about all the things those people did and how hard they had to work just to survive. They couldn’t go through the drive-thru for lunch. They couldn’t even stop at the grocery store after work! Every single thing had to be planned, not days ahead but whole seasons and years ahead! They didn’t have a washer or dryer for laundry, Heck, they didn’t have the luxury of a couch to sit on and TV to watch while they folded their laundry! They would feel ashamed to be as lazy as we are now. We are capable of SO MUCH MORE! Modern convenience has us convinced and conditioned to feel we deserve to sit down and put our feet up.

A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep–So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.

Proverbs 6:10 and Proverbs 24:33

(Just a quick side note… did you know that the above verse is in the Bible TWICE?! The exact same wording. I am thinking we are to take notice of that verse!)

I am sure that if our lives depended on it, we would be up before dawn putting wood in the wood cook stove and starting those beans to soak. We would be milking the cow and feeding the horse. We would be canning all day during harvest and skinning deer and drying meat in the winter. Sewing clothes by lantern light would be our downtime. If our survival was at stake we would take far fewer breaks and find a strength within we didn’t know we had.

Next time you just don’t wanna…. remember, you have a TV and a couch. You have time and you are capable of so much more!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

 If you are interested in purchasing the “Little House” series, click on the image below!