The Well-Oiled Machine: Part II

March 27, 2014

{Part I}

I have worked so hard to get our household on a regular and automated schedule – everything from laundry days to bill paying to renewing the annual life insurance policy. My household machine is humming along and requires minimal fuel to keep on chugging.

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BILLS

All of our bills are on auto draft so I never have to think about them. I do cross check them against our budget and update amounts making sure everything seems correct at a few points during each month, but I never have to get out a checkbook or waste paper on envelopes. I keep a cushion of cash in our checking account so I don’t have to worry about drafting out more than is available. {This site has really great information about living on last month’s income and how to save up for that so you aren’t depending on paychecks to pay your bills.} Occasionally I get a bill that is for something one-time (like our annual life insurance bill) and for those I use Bill Pay which takes me about 10 seconds to complete. Our credit card bill gets my undivided attention on the last day of the month when I reconcile everything, but other than a quick transfer from accounts, I don’t have to think about paying bills on a daily basis. Such a time saver!

LAUNDRY

I’ve really gotten our laundry down to a science. I used to do laundry whenever it started to pile up, but now I keep a schedule to stay on top of it before that happens:

Wednesday: My laundry goes in one load together with Mazen’s

Saturday: All of the sheets and towels go into one large load

Sunday: We wash Matt’s big weekly load and we have a second small load for Mazen and me together. We also might do a miscellaneous load of guest room sheets or brewery towels on Sunday too.

Another brilliant laundry trick I adopted this year is the delay start feature. Check your machine – most of them have a delay start button. Even though it sounds like a fancy feature, it’s quite common.The worst part about laundry is staying on top of changing the loads, so this takes one step out of that equation. Put your load in at night and delay the start by 10 hours or so. I grab our laundry baskets on Tuesday night and delay the start to begin at 6am. I sneak down first thing in the morning to change it to the dryer and the laundry is done before breakfast is over.

We all know that I do not waste time folding laundry!!

Awww…baby Mazen!

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DECLUTTERING

Many of you comment that my house is always neat. It’s not always clean, but it is always decluttered! I have a spot for everything and am constantly looking for ways to declutter. I am huge fan of containers like baskets and bins to collect things that might otherwise get scattered about. When my mail comes each day, I take 5 minutes to sort and recycle it. Anything that needs attend is put in a box where it’s tidy but I am reminded of it every time I walk by. Thus, it is usually dealt with by the end of the day.

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REMINDERS

We all have those little things that creep up on us each year: renewing the trash decals, paying estimated taxes, getting the cars inspected. I schedule reminders in my Google Calendar for these type of tasks and have them pop up in my email a few days before. Email is the best place for me because reminders that pop up and go away are too easy to forget. An email sits in my inbox until it’s intentionally deleted by me – hopefully the same day it pops up! Now that I’ve been doing this for over a year, I think I have everything scheduled. I include the amounts too so I can be sure to budget accordingly.

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QUICK CLEANING

I struggled for years to find the right tools to make daily cleaning efficient. These days this is what I do:

Vacuum

I usually vacuum after breakfast or dinner, and it takes me about 5 minutes to do the upstairs. I vacuum the crumbs and dust with my new Dyson DC59 Animal. This was a big splurge (even with BB&B 20% off coupon), but since my old vacuum cost less than $100 eight years ago and was making horrible noises, I figured it was time for a new primary vac. This vacuum is quite the animal and even though it’s cordless its sucking power is just as good as a “regular” vacuum. I knew I wanted a heavier duty cordless one after I fell in love with my Electrolux cordless. Cordless is the key! Even though plugging in a vacuum takes 2 seconds (10 if you have to remove a baby proof outlet cover first), there’s just something mental about having to stop and unwrap and plug in a vacuum. The Electrolux, which I still think is an excellent vac, now lives downstairs and is used in the basement a few times a week. Both of these also turn into hand-held vacuums, so they are multi-purpose beasts. The best tools are the ones you’ll use, so both cordless vacs have been a great investment for me.

Wipe Counters

Our kitchen counters get a spritz and wipe several times a day with Clorox Greenworks spray and a microfiber cloth {I have some of these.} After trying all kinds of cleaners, I like Greenworks best for kitchen grease. I thought my older cleaners were doing the job {Shaklee} until I switched to Greenworks at the recommendation of a friend and noticed a huge difference in how crisp things were. I wipe the bathroom counter daily when I wash my face at night. A swift swirl of a wash cloth and you’re done.

Wet Mop Floors

Floors are my number one dirt struggle. When the floors are dirty I feel like the whole house is dirty. I spot clean them all the time! I would like to wash the whole kitchen floor a few times a week, but realistically I wash it about once a week. After experimenting with a steam mop and several kinds of cheap mops, the quick and easiest solution (again the one I’ll use most often) is a mop with a washable pad and some all-purpose cleaner in the sprayer. This is the mop I have and I am happy with it. I also have a set of these for quick cleans that I love and they attach to the same mop (no Swiffer needed). They really do the job. But I try to use my washable fabric mop head for deeper cleans because it’s the greener solution.

DEEP CLEANING

Everyone’s least favorite chore. Ugh. I used to set aside a weekend day about once a month and tackle the deeper cleaning. It would take me half a day to get through everything, and sometimes I still felt like my house was dirty.

I knew with a baby on the way I’d need (want) some help in the cleaning arena, so we now have a monthly cleaner, Tony, come to handle the dirtier spots. Tony deep cleans the two bathrooms, the kitchen, the dusting all over, and vacuums all the floors and corners. I’m thankful because I hate cleaning bathrooms! He has told me I’m one of his easiest clients because my house is pretty clean to begin with because I maintain it well with small cleans during the week : ) I also end up taking one morning once a month myself to do even deeper cleaning like baseboards or windows and touch up paint spots.

Once I got started with having someone come to clean on a regular schedule I was able to mentally let go of dirt that would nag me. When the shower starts to get gunky I don’t think “I really need to do that” every time I look at it anymore. Instead I think “Tony is coming in 3 days.” It’s been really liberating. A few of my friends have help cleaning too and the average cost is generally somewhere from $80-150 a visit depending on house size to give you an idea of the investment.

FOOD

You’ve heard me talk about Cook Smarts and groceries, which have really changed my life. Meal planning was one of the last pieces of the house puzzle I had to figure out. I used to loosely plan means and I would often go to the grocery store twice a week, but these days I almost always go Sunday mornings and stock up for the whole week. We have been rockin’ the Sunday prep day too, which has really streamlined the meal making process in our house. When farmer’s markets are in season I usually split my time between the Saturday big city market and the smaller Wednesday market near our house for mid-week supplies. I’m not sure how we’ll handle the prep day and Cook Smarts when the markets open this year. We now waste very little food, and my designated shopping days keep me from having to go to the store multiple times mid-week.

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I’d love to hear your tips on how you keep your house humming along!

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hannah @ eat, drink and save money March 27, 2014 at 8:26 am

My Dyson was one of the best purchases we EVER made! I am a huge cheapskate, but the Dyson was well worth it. I can’t even use other peoples vacuums without getting frustrated that they don’t work as well as mine. These are all great tips. Unfortunately we downsized to a small condo and have a tiny stacked washer/ dryer combo. I’m still trying to figure out a good wash schedule. It’s tough with cloth diapers.

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2 Rebekah {aCricketSang} March 27, 2014 at 8:28 am

Thanks for the tips and secrets to a smoothly running house!

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3 Fancy March 27, 2014 at 8:47 am

I LOVE THIS POST! Do more like this!!! My favorite posts were “Home Neat Home” and this one reminds me of those. Thanks for some great tips, Kath! :)

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4 Katie March 27, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Agreed. These are some of my favorite posts! :)

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5 Kendall March 27, 2014 at 8:48 am

I really love your posts like this, as a college student just entering adulthood, there are SO many things I have to handle on my own that I’d never thought about. I enjoy reading how you manage to stay on top of everything :)

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6 Andrea March 27, 2014 at 8:56 am

Once I start making money (student at the moment) a cleaner is one of the first things I’m hiring…I hate deep-cleaning!

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7 Ali March 27, 2014 at 8:58 am

These are all excellent tips! Right now, I’m just flying by the seat of my pants to get everything done and there is really no rhyme or reason for it. I need to streamline the process and get some of these tips in place.

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8 foodandfarm March 27, 2014 at 9:04 am

This sounds so orderly! I would love to have time to clean like this. It is SO hard keeping up with a full time job and two kids :(

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9 Jessie March 27, 2014 at 9:14 am

What works for me: I have four seasonal master lists that I update all the time and print off each season and chip away at. For instance: Fall – change furnace filter, clean gutters, put hoses up for the winter, put snow emergency bags and ice scrapers in cars, change batteries for smoke detectors, flashlights, thermostat, etc. etc.

For deep cleaning, I always have a room of the moment. After the ‘normal’ cleaning is done for the week, I set a timer for 30 minutes and work on that room. If it is part of the room or in the room, it gets attention – wash the walls, wash the curtains, remove heater vents and clean, empty a linen closet to clean and cull, etc. I rotate from room to room except for the kitchen which gets a 15 minute timer every week for the constant deep cleaning there – every cabinet gets emptied and cleaned, the fridge coils get cleaned, etc. The timers make it less overwhelming but eventually everything gets cleaned, culled, maintained.

And the white board in my kitchen so that we never run out of basics. We have room to have at least 2 of staples. If you empty a bottle of laundry detergent, peanut butter, deodorant, you put the next one out and write the item on the white board for the next trip to the grocery store/Target/hardware store.

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10 jillian March 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

WOW, I am really impressed! Great ideas…

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11 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Great ideas! I love that you have checklists. I think mags like Real Simple have some of those seasonal cleaning items detailed out for printing.

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12 Kelly March 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Have you guys seen iheartorganizing.com ? It’s an amazing blog that has great checklists for the home, similar to what you describe!

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13 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Loooooooove her blog!!!!

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14 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

Oh my gosh, I’m pinning this. First I was going to comment on how I really should automate my bills but as I kept reading almost every tip was something I should do! Love this post.

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15 Shannon March 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

I LOVE these posts. Whenever I am in the market for new cleaning equipment/products or how to streamline my cleaning routine, I always check your blog. I am so excited to have an updated resource! It would be fun for you to do another post on all of the cleaning products and such that you use these days.

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16 Jackie March 27, 2014 at 9:42 am

I love automating my bills! So easy!

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17 Annelies March 27, 2014 at 9:55 am

Thank you for this post, Kath. Loved it so much. It reminded me of the organizing house/finances posts I loved so much on your website.

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18 Catherine March 27, 2014 at 10:27 am

I completely agree with your views on the cordless vacuum! Not having to plug it in has made it so much easier, more efficient, and maybe even a little fun. (I can’t believe I just called vacuuming fun! Mazen looks like he’s having fun vacuuming though, so maybe I’m not crazy! :) Haha.) I also love your laundry basket. I don’t know if you still have it since that video is 2 years old, but it looks so much nicer than our big, plastic, clunky one.

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19 Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog March 27, 2014 at 10:50 am

I always feel like my house is dirty when the floors are dirty too! We’ve lived in our house a little less than a year and I’m still trying to figure out a good cleaning/organization routine. These tips are really helpful! I like how you’ve seemed to divide a lot of large tasks into small manageable ones.

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20 Reynaul March 27, 2014 at 10:59 am

Hi! I found you thru another blog I think but glad I found you! Great post! I live in RVA so were practically neighbors! :-) I have a Dyson as well and LOVE it! I don’t know what I ever did without it.

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21 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Welcome!

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22 Shel@PeachyPalate March 27, 2014 at 11:20 am

Saturday is cleaning day in our house…usually a few hours in the morning…laundry happens pretty much everyday but we do have a small washing machine by American standards! The dishwasher is on at least once a day if not twice…its my nemesis! I’m the worst when it comes to groceries but I have the luxury of no kids so trips to the store aren’t such a struggle…and having to work in a fruit, veg and wholefood shop and restaurant means I’m constantly surrounded by potential buying opportunities!

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23 Jamie March 27, 2014 at 11:38 am

Hi Kath,
I’ve never posted a comment before but I read your blog every day. I thought this was such a great helpful post. It gave me so many good ideas about streamlining my life and house! My husband and I are moving into our first house in two months and clutter makes me crazy so I really appreciate your practical advice. I wish you all the best :)

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24 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Thanks Jamie!

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25 Livi March 27, 2014 at 11:56 am

Google calendar alerts are seriously a life saver! I would miss so many meetings and deadlines without them!

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26 Safa March 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I have absolutely loved this post. I really like knowing how other people keep their houses tidy and I’m always impressed with how well you maintain your house, especially with a toddler. I live in a large household and haven’t yet moved to my own place, but this is of much help.

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27 Robyn March 27, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I am loving this series from you! I recently had a second baby, and am struggling to keep up with my household! Some days are great, others I feel like I’m drowning. I’m going to try some of your suggestions, and work on my organization :). I definitely see a cordless vac in my near future! I’d love to see a detailed daily plan, like how you fit cleaning/working out/play time/family time all together

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28 Pat March 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Ha! I knew someone else dealt with dry clean clothes like I do! I sort my clothes from my husband’s than do like you, pull out like things and put them in drawers. I fold t-shirts and jeans, hang “good” clothes, and done! If I’m feeling really nice, I’ll match and fold husband’s socks too. :)

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29 Emily March 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Thank you so much for this post and the previous post. I am a few months shy of turning 27 and wonder when I will feel like I have a firm grasp on adulthood. I’m very responsible so nothing gets missed, it’s just keeping track of it all and not allowing myself to feel overwhelmed. It might sound strange, but it feels comforting to look up to someone a few years older and know that I’m on the right track. :)

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30 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm

: )

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31 Valerie March 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Yep, just Sunday we had a Housecleaner come to do a deep clean and give us a quote on a once monthly deep clean and we signed right up. No kids, but two busy working people who would rather give up hard earned cash than spend an entire weekend day cleaning I hope will be worth it- I figure it’s one less dinner out per month.

We also try to put away all dirty dishes by the end of the meal (into the dishwasher). It helps to have that rule so they don’t pile up.

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32 Tracy March 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I loved reading your laundry method…memories…those were the days for me! I have 4 teens (all in sports) plus my husband and myself who all exercise/practice every day. I do 3 loads of clothing laundry (at least) EVERY day! Haha! Kinda insane right? I also do towels 2-3x a week and all the sheets on the weekend. It’s never-ending! Good thing laundry is my least disliked chore :)

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33 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Gah!!!! I also don’t mind it that much, but I don’t think I’d want to do it that often!!

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34 Matt March 29, 2014 at 10:32 am

That is my personal hell… shudder!

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35 [email protected] April 1, 2014 at 2:34 am

I am so glad to read this Tracy. I so envy Kath’s light laundry load. It’s 12:30am and I am folding my 4th load of the night. Nice to commiserate. I had twins from my first pregnancy so the only time laundry has ever been light is pre-kids.

Thanks for sharing all your techniques Kath.

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36 marcie March 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Awesome information, Kath. Thanks so much for sharing. I moved 4 days ago and so the timing is great for me to establish new habits!

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37 Melanie March 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I LOVE my dysons! We have the slim corless as well and I also have a regular upright! We have four cats and you would never know it!

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38 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Yes, the suction definitely lived up to the hype!

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39 Amy March 27, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Kath – Just watched your laundry folding (or non-folding) video for the first time. Totally blew my mind!

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40 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Haha. Why fold things that don’t wrinkle!

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41 Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit March 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I think decluttering is the number one thing I need to work on. I have things everywhere and it makes me so stressed!

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42 Leah @ goodnightcheese March 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm

It was so interesting to see how you get it all done! How would you say this schedule compares to before Mazen was born in terms of how often you vacuum/mop or how things like laundry are split up? Or even when you were in grad school?

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43 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I’m vacuuming a lot more and doing maybe 1 extra load of laundry a week (his clothes are tiny!) I used to just do our laundry once a week and used to wash sheets/towels + things less (gross).

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44 Lauren March 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Great post!
I just watched the how not to fold laundry video, and was wondering what ikea wardrobe you have? I’m actually looking for something for my bedroom.

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45 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm

It’s the PAX system.

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46 Becky March 27, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Laundry – during the ‘off’ season, it can pile up until no more fits down the laundry chute & that’s when I know it’s time to head down & do some. During the ‘on’ season of soccer, I run a load of colors every Friday so that there’s a clean uniform for my girl to wear on Saturday mornings. I will do another load of whatever else has piled up enough to fill my washer. I agree, I love the delay button.

Clutter, I give up. Everyone walks in the door & drops stuff where ever. It takes a mommy meltdown some days to get them to pick it up. The other day, she took her socks & shin guards off in the middle of the kitchen floor and left them. ?? Seriously.

I leave the vacuum out so every one trips over it, hoping it inspires one of them to use it. No luck.

I totally covet that Esskay box.

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47 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm

: )

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48 Cheri Armour March 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Wow, I have no kids and I feel like I’m so much more less organized than you are. I’ve got to get myself on a schedule so that we (just me and the husband-to-be) and the dogs have a nicer machine to work with :)

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49 Carol March 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm

It’s a little easier for me because it’s just me and my roommate – but my favorite way to make my house look “uncluttered” is to have a spot for EVERYTHING. This makes picking up super easy and simple – and I never lose anything (unless the dog decides to take it outside and bury it, like my flip flops…). Make sure that the places you pick for things are convenient, too. Things that you use often should be kept close to the spot in which you use them, etc.

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50 Shay March 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm

My question might be answered in an upcoming post, but how did you go about planning for the long term “well-oiled machine”. Specifically meaning- wills, living wills, guardianship, college tuition for kids, retirement, taking care of aging parents, etc.? I find this to be one of the toughest tasks to anticipate-any advice?

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51 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

These are definitely headaches, but once you get the planning done you’re usually good for a long time. We did all of our wills/gardianships and stuff when I was pregnant and will just fine tune them in the years to come. We set up college planning after Mazen was born (that’s an automated bill for us) and so is retirement, at least in the Roth area. Taking care of aging parents we haven’t gotten to yet! Not sure what kind of planning that requires, but I think that’s a cross-that-bridge-when-we-get-closer thing for us.

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52 Sam March 28, 2014 at 12:06 am

Kath, this is super helpful. We finally (finally!) reached the point where I can stay home with our kids, so I put in my notice at work last week and both of my kids will be finished with childcare around their birthdays (1 and 3 years old) and our 10 year anniversary. Nice! :) I’m so happy to think about finally getting our household under control as well. I’ll use your tips for sure.

Question – How do you store all of your paperwork – house paperwork, car maintenance records, tax returns, healthcare stuff, even Mazen’s things like artwork?

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53 KathEats March 28, 2014 at 6:18 am

We have file boxes for household stuff (and are paperless for most bills). I don’t get artwork yet but I plan on turning the curved wall in the basement into an art gallery and recycling them as space calls. Keeping the best of course! And sending some to his grandparents who are eagerly awaiting that day.

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54 Elyse March 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Loved the last two posts so much! I am finally having some of the same feelings of being “settled” (in a good way) in life. And one year after buying our first home, I feel like I’m getting into a great routine for how to take care of efficiently. Thanks for sharing your methods!

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55 Katie March 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm

I love decluttering and am always looking for ways to get rid of stuff or to organize what we have better. :)

Every night, before I go to bed, I make sure all the dishes are cleaned and put away, and all the rooms in the apartment are cleared of clutter. I love practicing yoga in the early mornings, and to practice in a clutter-free area is so peaceful first thing in the morning. It makes the rush to get to work a whole heck of a lot less stressful.

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56 Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living March 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm

You’ve inspired me to do a little spring cleaning! I admit, I’m not the most organized person in the world, but these tips give me hope. Thanks for sharing!

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57 Allison March 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Best cleaning tool ever…the roomba. We bought ours about two months ago and it’s the best money we have ever spent. It runs about two hours each weekday and it picks up dirt dog hair and dust.
Worth every single penny!

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58 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm

I used to have one and had to babysit it because it would get stuck on things! I kind of wanted one last year and started doing all the research, but I decided a high powder cordless suited me better. But I still think they are super cool!!

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59 elizabeth March 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I feel lazy and disorganized after reading this. I have bills, laundry, decluttering and food under control ,but I don’t feel like I can get cleaning where I want it. We have three dogs in the house and I would need to wash my floors everyday to keep them really clean. I do vacum everyday, but the hair is always there anyway. What would you do, if you had three dogs? Will you ever have a dog?

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60 elizabeth March 27, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Sorry, the lazy and disorganized part sounds stupid, I just feel like it can be a waste to put so much time into cleaning in my multi dog household, even though I would like my house as spotless as yours.

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61 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm

That’s a tough call. I would probably vacuum everyday and just get up what you can. I guess it’s just part of having pets just like crumbs and sticky spots are part of having kids.

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62 Reynaul March 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Random question but I love your I eat real food t shirt that you’re wearing in one of your pictures on your about page. Where did you get that? I would love one!

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63 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm
64 Jeanie March 27, 2014 at 5:46 pm

You are so efficient! I’d love to tell you how my house hums along, but in reality it groans.

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65 Paula March 27, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Great post.

I get the same comments about my house as well – people are always saying it’s so neat and tidy. Actually it’s just because it’s not cluttered. When everything has a place it’s so easy to keep it looking nice.

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66 carrie March 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm

This post was exactly what I needed! I am still working on finding a system that works. By the way, I think you would be an amazing life coach.

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67 Marie @ My Personal Finance Journey March 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm

I always do mop our floors, the dirt is very obvious because we have a white tile so it is very necessary to mop it always. And Saturday is my laundry day and also I do arrange my clothes and stuffs every weekend just to keep it intact always.

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68 Elizabeth March 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Our routines are so similar, it’s almost scary. I have 2 children (14mo old and 2 week old). There is no room or time for inefficiency. Now I find that I enjoy having this control over things. BTW the Dyson Animal really is the best investment that can ever be made!

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69 Emily @ Life on Food March 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm

I will have to check out the Dyson. Our vacuum just went dead a few days ago. It was a pain in our new two story house though carrying it up and down the stairs.I would love one for each level.

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70 Laura March 27, 2014 at 8:22 pm

This sounds so silly to me now, but I am just recently learning that people have schedules and routines like this in place for keeping their home clean! I am 36! I struggled with fitting in cleaning on the weekends and honestly not even every weekend, and then when I had kids, and still work full time outside the home, it all fell apart. I couldn’t understand how I was supposed to stay on top of it all, and how other people seemed to. Then I found the flylady website and have been working on her routines ever since! I am still learning, but it was like the biggest Aha! moment ever! And I feel like why didn’t someone tell me about this before, that the secret to it all is being organized and having routines?? I guess that is what the Home Ec courses of yore would have taught me!

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71 KathEats March 28, 2014 at 5:53 am

Haha. Love the Fly Lady!

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72 Mom March 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Don’t feel bad. I’m Kath’s mom and it never crossed my mind to have a cleaning schedule either. And Kath, I love the Flaubert quote. I wrote a long term paper on him in high school. Maybe you’d like to read it on your next trip home! (I’ll read to Maze while you do…)

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73 Lena Livanes March 27, 2014 at 11:50 pm

I have the same Dyson as you and love it, but I also have a Roomba iRobot and have to say it is a life changer at keeping the floors cleaner. They have come along way in the last few years, I run it 5 mornings a weeks just as I leave to drop the kids at school/preschool.

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74 KathEats March 28, 2014 at 5:46 am

Our house has a pretty choppy floor plan – does it work well in different rooms or only open floor plans and big rooms?

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75 Lena Livanes March 28, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Ours has no problems going into other rooms. I tend to keep it in our dining/kitchen/lounge rooms most of the time and only do the bedrooms 1-2 times a week, as it doesn’t get that dirty in there.

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76 KathEats March 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Cool!

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77 katy March 30, 2014 at 10:20 pm

our house is all wood floor and tile, and we love our roomba. We run it through the main part of the house (kitchen, living room, and hallway) a few days a week on a schedule and it keeps the dog hair under control. We separately run it through our bedroom and guest rooms a few days a week. I’m always amazed at how much it picks up, and shocked at how quickly dog hair and dust bunnies accumulate if we take it off the schedule.

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78 Sue March 28, 2014 at 12:27 am

Hi Kath!
I’m a new reader to your blog! I really like your tips and tricks, I consider myself a bit of an organisation guru and I thought your tips were right on the money.

A few things I do which may interest some:

Laundry- I live in Australia so everything gets hung out to dry outside, this might be relevant to some warmer areas of America? When I take items off the line I try and take down each persons individual item at a time and fold before it goes in the basket. That way I can deliver piles of folded laundry around the house in already organised piles AND I got to spend a little bit of extra time outside soaking up some sunshine (and vitamin D).

Food shopping- I also am a huge fan of meal planning. One step further, I organise my grocery items by location in the supermarket. Usually I divide a peace of notepaper into 4 sections, produce, meat, dairy and, other (to compensate for the middle aisles of the supermarket). As a real foodie, I’m only ever picking up 4-5 items from all the middle aisles in the shop which is why I lump them all together. Makes it much quicker to do one pass through the supermarket without having to back track. My husband also loves this for when he does the food shopping (delegation is KEY).

I hope these don’t sound OCD!!!!

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79 KathEats March 28, 2014 at 5:45 am

Great tips!

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80 Jessica March 28, 2014 at 8:39 am

I almost always take my 20 month old son with me for our big grocery shop trip and I divide my list by location as well! It saves a lot of time, keeps us moving, and prevents having to go back to an aisle we have already passed for something further down the list. I recommend it as well.

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81 Amy March 28, 2014 at 8:05 am

I don’t know where the idea of weekend cleaning came from… I want to RELAX on weekends not work more lol. So my schedule has mininmal cleaning on weekends. I assign one chore to each day of the week. Mon: floors. Tues: laundry. Wed: dusting. Thurs: organizing/bigger projects. Fri: bathroom. Daily: kitchen. Sunday: bedsheets (their laundry).

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82 Andrea March 28, 2014 at 8:52 am

Does Matt do the outside work or do you have a system for that as well? Having lived on my own in a condo for years I have most of the interior stuff down, but now that I’m in a house I’m finding that the outside yard work and general house maintenance is really a lot more work than I had planned on and still haven’t come up with a good system there. Any tips are welcome!

I do agree on the cleaners being worth the money if you can afford it, I also have a handyman that I can call in the jobs I just can’t handle DIY. It really helps to know that I have someone to call when I need help.

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83 KathEats March 28, 2014 at 11:44 am

The yard is a neverending struggle!! Matt does the gardening and we’re lucky not to have too much around the house to deal with. We have our lawn cut by a lawn guy for pretty cheap (and because we never bought a mower here) and he helps us with bigger projects like pruning a huge bush. I have SO MUCH I want to do in the yard and no time to do it!

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84 ered March 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

I’m still oiling our machine but with the recent birth of baby 3 and doing admin for our acupuncture clinics from home, you can bet I’ll be whipping this house into shape! nothing I do is revolutionary but it’s made a big difference for me: dishes go straight to the dishwasher once rinsed and I run it at night, unload in the morning while breakfast is cooking and I’m standing around the kitchen anyway. Make the bed first thing in the morning. I also gave up the delusion that I was ever gong to iron: I have not the skill, time, nor desire so I take my husbands work clothes to be dry cleaned and it has been very liberating! I hate doing laundry, especially the putting away and I already don’t fold lol. Gotta get some big clothing vats or something…also, cordless vacuum. Genius! I too love, love, love these posts :)

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85 KathEats March 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm

You and I are like minded : )

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86 Hannah March 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Love these posts!! I have been thinking so much lately about decluttering, but my main issue is that everything does NOT have a place. I’ve been trying to take on problem areas as projects, and minimize stuff to help make space in closets. We are in a really small space, so it seems like a never ending project sometimes- but I’m determined!!!

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87 Dana March 28, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Wow…this is impressive! We couldn’t be more different. I am the furthest thing from organized or detailed. I seriously need to adopt some of these techniques.

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88 Alex @ Kenzie Life March 29, 2014 at 10:38 am

If you have a post that talks about how exactly you stay organized/decluttered, please point me to it! I’m not messy, but I have a hard time keeping random papers and other small things organized, and eventually they start taking over my counter space. I think I need some jars/containers/bins to deal with this, but I also don’t want to just create a bunch of junk bins either. If you have tips to combat this I’d love to hear them! :)

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89 KathEats March 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Check out the Home Neat Home category on the left sidebar. That’s where all the organization is : )

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90 Alex @ Kenzie Life March 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Kath!

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91 Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet March 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm

What a wonderful post, Kath. I think I’m hearing ya on the cordless vac thing.

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92 Michele March 29, 2014 at 8:40 pm

These posts always give me great ideas! I have to say that your laundry video gave me a little bit of a panic attack though! :) I am soooo weird with laundry. Nothing gets dried all the way in the dryer except towels and sheets. I put all my clothes on low for just a few minutes and then immediately put them on hangers and hang them up on racks. My washer and dryer is in my garage and I live in Florida so things dry pretty quickly, plus I live alone so it’s only my clothes. When everything is dry, all the clothes go right in the closet. People think I’m weird because all my workout clothes are on hangers. Thanks for sharing your tips with us! I need to check out that vacuum. That is definitely my least favorite chore!

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93 ered March 29, 2014 at 9:27 pm

I wish I could put a picture on here – I’ve been working on my closets all day – over the door shoe organizers! For cleaning supplies out of kids reach but still convenient for me, hanging purses on kids clothes hangers in unused closet hangy space…hooping spring scarves through the tall hanger space…I’m on a roll. Thanks for the kick start! I would also like to thank the Mary Tyler Moore show for keeping me company, and my husband for occupying the boys lol

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94 KathEats March 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Go you! Wish I could see it : )

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95 Jess. March 30, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Thank you so much for this post! I have been really struggling with trying to get my house running smoothly while working 2 jobs and preparing to get pregnant, and my motivation was really starting to lack. After reading this post, I am feeling motivated and committed again. Exactly what I needed!

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96 Lisa March 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm

LOVE this post! And LOVE my Dyson as well! Cordless powerful vacuums are the only way my house stays somewhat decently clean! Any ideas on what you buy for snacks? I feel like I try to only shop once a week for groceries, but then I don’t have any great snacking ideas. Or maybe it’s a sign to give up the snacking! :)

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97 KathEats March 31, 2014 at 7:13 pm

:) My favorites are fruit with nut butter, trail mix, yogurt, cereal with milk, roasted/salted almonds.

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98 Quinn @ Wealth Out West March 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Very smart to keep reminders in your calendar for all of the important annual / quarterly household events. I keep mine all on a list, organized by month, along with the due date and budgeted amount (for things like property tax, homeowners insurance, etc.). The same thing works well for a small business like your bakery — I wrote a post about this for small companies on my blog if you’re interested. It helps make sure you never miss important deadlines (like tax filings, business license renewals, insurance policy renewals, etc.).

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99 Sam April 24, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Hey Kath,

Would you consider doing an updated post on your grocery budget? As I mentioned in one of my comments above, I recently quit my job to stay at home with my two young ones full-time. We’ve cut our grocery budget down some in recent months, but I would love some help cutting it down further. If I recall, you have a pretty lean budget without sacrificing quality. Could you give a sample weekly shopping trip and also address non-food items, like tissues, TP, paper towels, anything you might buy in bulk?

Thanks so much!

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100 KathEats April 24, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Hi Sam,

I did this post not too long ago that is about as detailed as I can do for now. Wondering if you missed it somehow? Hope it answers some questions. We get TP and paper towels at Sam’s Club!

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