Years ago, I worked in a dance supply shop, selling tights and toe shoes. It was a store rule that whomever closed the shop was responsible for a short “Putting the Shop to Bed” routine: general tidy-up, stock straightening, and a quick vacuum of the floors so opening up the next morning would be fast and easy, and the store would look great. As an opener, it was a treat to walk into a tidy shop first thing, and get mentally set for a day of fitting pointe shoes. As a closer, I found it a very pleasant contemplative habit, puttering around setting things to rights in the last part of the day. I could lock the doors with satisfaction, and know it was a job well done.
If such practices work well for a retail shop, why not give them a go at home?
I cannot spend my whole day following kids around and cleaning up after them. It’s a little boring, and teaches them nothing. Instead, I use short bursts at key times of day to “put the house to rights” or “put the house to bed.”
Depending on the day, that might include folding that last bit of laundry (and calling for a Minion to put it away), or making sure those towels get folded and put away fresh from the dryer. I might take 5 minutes and de-clutter a hot-spot. The children can do a “quick tidy” on the toys, take dirty clothes down after baths, and grab the big chunks off the living room floor before I run the vacuum.
Putting the house to bed really doesn’t take much more than 15 minutes, particularly if everyone helps with something. And, I sleep so much better, knowing that I’m not starting off behind the gun in the morning. I can’t claim to be perfect in consistency, but when I make the effort, and rally everyone else into making the effort, it makes a huge difference.
I also tend to queue up a 15-minute play list of really loud music. Work is more fun with music… just ask Snow White, and Giselle.
Do you have any particular “keeping my sanity” tricks to managing the home?