No matter what season of life you're in, having a Daily Routine can save your ever-lovin' sanity.
I say this as one who has moved from the seasons of babies & toddlers of my own – to GRAND babies and toddlers of my own...and still managed to maintain my messy tendencies.
I have proven that the theory of "when the kids grow up and move away I'll be SO much neater" has a lot of holes in it. Why, it's practically "wishful thinking!"
The other day, I was completely annoyed by the careless way five pairs of shoes were randomly left around the house...until I realized they were ALL MINE. (Then of course, I excused myself because I knew how busy I'd been. I couldn't be expected to put my shoes away considering the duress I'd been under, could I?)
Turns out, putting the shoes away took me all of 1.5 minutes, and the task reminded me how helpful Daily Routines are, especially for Messy Perfectionists like me.
I've always called Daily Routines "Minimum Maintenance," and each year I've blogged about how doing a daily minimum amount of work is not only a game-changer, but a sanity saver.
Recently, I read about a study that shows links between clutter and depression, and it makes total sense to me that when we are drowning in too much stuff, too much mess, and too much busyness, we can't live freely and generously...like we wish we could.
Basically, clutter makes us feel drained.
And it's hard to be creative and optimistic when you're just pooped out all the time.
Many people think their clutter situation is just too big to be impacted in any significant way by a Daily Routine.
They know their homes need a major overhaul, so what good will "washing dishes and picking up" be when everything else is in such disarray?
And so, they wait for the perfect moment to present itself (in the form of a work-and-obligation-free month) for the "real work" to take place, and of course that never happens.
Take it from one who knows.
You can read more about my Minimum Maintenance and Housekeeping Tips here - trust me they are POWERFUL, but for today I'll just hit the highlights of the things I have learned that make true sanctuary start happening.
My Daily Routines
Morning Self Care: Shower, get dressed (including shoes), put makeup on. Nothing says "I'm uninspired" like staying in PJ's until noon. Obviously, if you are heading out the door to work, pajamas are not an option. Most likely. I like to have personal prayer and devotion time before the day begins, but I'll be honest, sometimes evening just works better for that. (For me).
Sinks, counters and stove: Staying on top of dishes is almost a full-time job, but the best things I do is at least get them all done (and kitchen cleaned) each night. Waking up to an empty, clean sink is a delight. And it also makes you feel like you're not starting the day in a huge deficit.
I always make coffee the night before and set the timer so I wake to the smell of fresh coffee brewing. And a clean kitchen.
Bathroom sinks and counters...I'm personally less intentional each day about those, but I feel like a million bucks when I take the time to straighten and wipe down.
Daily quick tidying: five minutes per room. Have you ever timed yourself for five minutes? You can get an INCREDIBLE amount of tidying done in short order. The timer is your best friend. It's great for motivating kids to help as well!
Make beds. Notice how magazines always show bedrooms with beautifully made beds? That's because unmade beds are gross. Also, having your bed made is an instant mood booster, and you're way less likely to fall back into it.
I do a quick pick up of the living room before I go to bed.
Be "Company Ready." Ask yourself, "what would a visitor see if they (oh, horror of horrors) dropped by unannounced?" Pick up the entry area, living room and guest bathroom so that those places look presentable, and thus save you from utter humiliation.
A by-product is that when YOU walk in the door, you feel welcomed and impressed. It feels like sanctuary in here, you think.
These Daily Routines are not meant to be a deep, organizational cleaning system.
They are simply designed to create a "clean enough" environment for each day. You'll be amazed what "clean enough" can do for ya.
I find that when things are tidy, I can think straight. Er, straighter. I am more creative, motivated and productive.
And strangely enough, I feel spiritually more connected to the Lord. It seems I just can't settle my mind and heart to hear Him when the place is a mess.
Go figure. I guess "Home Sanctuary" affects more than just my mood. It affects my spiritual life as well.
We'll talk more about that later.