INTENTIONAL LIVING | OUR EASY TIPS + TRICKS FOR KEEPING A TIDY HOME
Life before Linen looked a lot like easing into slow mornings and going to bed each night with a picked up, tidy little house. We didn’t quite know it then, but we had all the time in the world for everything from house chores to yard work. John and I both thrive off of our surrounding spaces feeling kept + organized – we don’t function well otherwise. Especially since I work from home, what I’m staring at all day has to visually inspire me.
After Linen arrived last July, there were a few weeks that somehow turned into months, where I was so tired and just had to let some of that go. I was simply doing what was right in front of me and for a while, it felt like so many things fell through the cracks – which is perfectly normal. J was so amazing about picking up my slack and we both continued to contribute what we could each day, but anything above what was absolutely necessary felt like a complete labor of love. Ahhh, the newborn phase! I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and some days I even miss it, but here we are, 9 months later! Between getting a little more sleep these days and navigating Linen’s schedule, we’ve really honed in on what is most important to us when it comes to the space we live in. The few things that we need to stay on top of on a daily basis for our sanity and then in turn, what we’re willing to put off. There’s such a balance between adulting and choosing life.
LINEN’S NURSERY // One room that always has to be tidy + neat is Linen’s nursery. It wouldn’t take long for her diaper pail to overflow, laundry to pile up, and toys to stay scattered throughout, so I always make it a priority. Between nap time, play time, diaper changes, and nighttime routine, we spend so much time in her room and I want her to feel the love we pour into her space on a daily basis. (It helps that it’s my favorite room in the house.) I always make a point to hang her clothes as soon as they’re clean, keep her antique, linen cabinet folded + neat, change out her sheets (changing table + crib) every couple of days, and vacuum a couple of times a week, too. I love opening her black out shades each morning to let the light flow through warm up her room. Also, I’m intentional about picking up her toys/play mat after each time she uses them. (We have ONE basket that all of her toys fit into. The moment it overflows, we’ll be donating the ones she no longer plays with or uses. I’m hoping that rule helps us to not be overwhelmed with ‘stuff’.) Sometimes I have to make myself do it, but it always makes me feel better.
MAKING THE BED // Honestly, this is something I’ve never been great at until recently. When Linen was a newborn, I was nursing in the bed a lot, so I used that as my excuse to not keep it neat. However, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to make our bed every day and it has been such a game changer! It only takes 3-4 minutes and instantly makes the entire feel of our room a million times better. Not only that, but unmaking a bed at night feels pretty great, too. I’m one of those people who can’t go to bed dirty (aka, I take a bath before bed each night), so being clean and getting into a bed that feels the same is a match made in heaven.
DISHES // I’ve talked about this many times before, but is there anything better than waking up to a clean kitchen? This should actually be #1 for me because it changes the overall vibe of your home instantly! 90% of the time, we’re great about rinsing our dishes and putting them in the dishwasher to be cleaned. However, it’s when the dishwasher is full of clean dishes that I have no time to unload that the dirty ones seem to pile up. By the time morning coffee and a mid-morning snack are over and Linen’s already had 2 bottles, the kitchen feels like a wreck. Especially if I don’t get to them all day long and then we start to cook dinner at 6, it just throws everything off to have to clean, just took cook and clean again. That being said, I usually try to make sure that the kitchen is clean mid-morning and after dinner/late-evening. That helps me go to bed to a clean kitchen and wake up to one, just the same.
LAUNDRY // For the last 11 years (since we’ve been married) laundry has been J’s thing. He’s much better at it than me, always paying extra attention to what needs to be dry cleaned or hand-washed, and hanging delicate items to dry. It just goes hand in hand with this cleaning mentality and takes one thing off of my plate completely. (Aside from Linen’s, I love doing her little laundry.) Since I don’t have many pointers when it comes to this subject, as far as staying on top of laundry, I’ll speak to this side of it – delegate chores with your spouse. J does laundry, I do dishes. It’s been that way from the beginning and it works! Don’t get me wrong, there are times where we both help each other out if needed, but for the most part, owning our responsibilities has really helped us stay on top of them. Especially for you mamas, if there’s one thing you typically handle that you think your spouse would be good at – let him take it off of your growing to-do list. We’re all different and you have to figure out a way to work together to use it to your advantage. I.E. – I’m a picker upper. I hate clutter, hate a messy surface, and despise things not being in their place. J could care less about the mail being thrown all over the table as long as the table underneath it has been cloroxed, and the rug underneath the table, vacuumed. See, we complete each other. He makes sure the space is clean, I make sure it stays that way. Whatever your strengths, laundry or dishes, clorox or organization, work together to make both happen!
PILLOWS + THROWS // If there’s one, easy thing that can instantly make your space look tidy, it’s fluffing the pillows and folding the throws. We, quite literally, live in our living room, so there are constantly pillows in disarray and throws tossed about. A couple of times a day, I simply bring the pillows back to life by fluffing them and putting them in their place, as well as fold the throws and put them away. It takes about 90 seconds and makes a world of difference when someone stops by unexpectedly, or simply for yourself. Another thing I’ve learned, a lot of days it’s just me and L at home – doing things ‘for myself’ has to be enough.
BATHROOM // There’s usually no messier space than a bathroom after two (or more) people get ready in it every day. Between bath towels, dirty clothes, hair products, make up, skincare, blow dryers and curling wands, deodorant and perfumes – it only takes a few minutes for a bathroom to go from sparkling to messy. However, on the flip side of that, it takes even less time to clean all of that up. John and I both have dopp bags that hold the majority of our ‘getting ready’ products. It really helps us stay organized and it’s even more helpful when it’s time to pack for a trip. You pull the one bag out of the cabinet, use everything in it while getting ready, throw it all back in and put it away until the next time. Aside from that, we have one specific drawer for hair products and styling tools, one for bath and body products, one for medicine, etc. There are so many different categories of bathroom items, so making sure they all have a specific place is key. Aside from that, keep a bottle of all-natural surface cleaner + paper towels under your sink and the next time you have 5 minutes in between getting ready, spray/wipe down your counters and sinks. If you can allow yourself that 5 minutes, 2 times a week, you’re already winning.
I know that may feel like a lot when making a list, but I promise you, each one of those tasks when done daily won’t take up too much of your time. (Aside from laundry, that one can vary!) When you check these boxes and realize how little time it takes to make a big improvement, it motivates you to expand from there. There are days when the deep cleaning simply has to happen, but for the day-to-day living, staying on top of these specific areas of our home make our minds rest easier.
So, what + where are the areas we can let slide? I’m okay with a pile full of returns laying in the floor of the guest room, knowing that’s a project for another day. I’m even alright with a trunk full of dog + chicken food that still needs to be unloaded. I can live with the tupperware cabinet needing to be oragnized and the pots + pans being shoved in where they fit in. I don’t lose sleep over a closet that needs to be organized because it’s one of those things that needs to have time dedicated to it every so often, anyway. There are plenty of things that don’t happen on a daily basis that don’t affect our overall headspace. However, the things that do are checked off the list and we rest easy, knowing we did what we would, when we could – and we’ll wake up and do it all over again tomorrow! There’s nothing better than a house that feels peaceful, rather than chaotic. After all, we all work hard to enjoy the little luxuries of life and the things + places we pour our hearts into should inspire us!
Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Loved this post! I’m all about a clean and tidy home and my husband and I complement each other similar to you and J. We keep a pretty tidy home for our own serenity and it’s a labor of love and team work. One question I have is about editing home decor, how do you choose what to keep and what to let go and how do you avoid buying new ( or in my case antique) home decor when you see something you love?
We keep a basket for our daughter’s toys, as well and I like to make sure everything is picked up so the house looks clean when I go to bed. I will let dusting slide and I sometimes let the folded laundry sit in the basket an extra day or two. It just seems like there’s so much more to do with a little one and less time to do it.
Such great tips! I’ll have to mention the bathroom one to my husband.. ours always looks so unorganized after we get ready then go wake the kids to get them ready!