Over at Bento Lunch, Shannon is having a giveaway in conjunction with Chef Boyardee and BlogHer. She asked "What brilliant idea makes your life run smoother?"
For me, it's having my kitchen cleaned up before bed. I'm sure many of you do this already, but I spent the first 11 years of marriage not too worried about leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight. It didn't bother me too much to wake up to last night's dinner dishes sitting around. Didn't seem to bother my husband too much either, because he never said anything.
However, with my husband being deployed to Afghanistan this year, and me having to do both mom and dad jobs, I realized that I was getting completely overwhelmed with how the house looked. To me, the house was a disaster area. Toys everywhere, messy kitchen, grimy bathrooms. I knew that my 2 boys (3 and 1) deserved better than what I was giving them.
**Please understand, this was my perception. My friends who came over never recoiled at the sight of my house and gladly let their children play and use my bathrooms. We're always harder on ourselves than anyone else would be.
So in August, I decided that the one thing that I needed to do to start getting my house (and my life) back together was to make sure I cleaned up my kitchen each night. Being in my kitchen is like nirvana to me. I love being in there, creating and making food for my family. And I had gotten away from being creative in there because of how messy it was. So each night, after the kids were in bed, I cleaned up my kitchen. I even started doing the dishes during the day so it wouldn't be such an overwhelming job at night. I scrubbed my sink. I wiped all the counters down. I even made sure I put the dishes away that I had washed and put the drying mat back in the drawer. I left nothing out on the counters except the few things I chose to stay out (coffee pot, paper towel holder, bread box, utensil holder, etc).
And do you know what I've learned? Keeping the kitchen clean spills over into the rest of the house. Now, I don't keep everything dusted or scrubbed like I should, but each evening, the boys help me put all the toys and books away, I run my swiffer on my wood floors a bit more often, and I wipe off the sinks in the bathrooms, too.
This has been a lifesaver for me since my husband deployed because it brings me a sense of peace each night before bed and each morning when I get up. With a clean kitchen, I feel like I can conquer the day...well, and a big cup of coffee in my hand doesn't hurt either. :)
If you'd like to enter this contest, check out Shannon's blog (link at the top) and tell her what brilliant idea makes your life run smoother. If you stop and think, I bet you'll think of more than one!