Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Slow and Steady: Building routines

I've always been more of a hare than a toirtoise when it comes to cleaning and household maintenance. I let everything build up for weeks, months, while moping and feeling down. Then I have a blitz, when I try to do everything all at once. My boyfriend describes these days as me 'having a Monica moment', after the Friends character.

Bloggers like Rhonda at Down to Earth or El at A Thrifty Mrs speak about how routines help them keep control of their homes, and of course you can't mention routine-building without referring to Fly Lady. I've been reading these and similar blogs for a while, wanting to build a routine and not really sure how to start.

A few weeks ago, I realised that, almost without noticing, I had built up a small routine. I had been more reliable at doing the washing up every day, and from there it was a small step to dry and put away the dishes. And then it was so easy, with the surfaces clear, to wipe and dry them. And then it just made sense to wipe the sink and splashback tiles while I was at it. So without realising, I have built up the beginnings of a routine which means my kitchen is always usually tidy and clean, a welcoming space to cook or bake.

The process has also made me more aware of where the items are stored, and the few items which don't have homes in cupboards are bugging me every day so a kitchen reshuffle is on my list. One thing leads to another leads to another. This really has brought home to me how important it is to make a start, however small, and let things grow organically.

So this month, I'm working on building up a more thorough routine, of around 15-20 minutes a day. I'm constantly chopping and changing, to find a routine that feels easy and stress-free, but that covers all the tasks that I would like to do. This process will definitely take some time to tweak, but I can see an easy way to feel in control of my home emerging from this process.

The best thing? Now that I have a planned routine written down, even one constantly subject to editing, it's made such a difference to how I feel in my home. Before, I'd look at everything that needed to be done, and feel depressed at how much there was, and be too discouraged to start.

Now, if I see something that needs doing, I don't stress because I know it is (or will be) included in my routine and will be done in its own time. I can focus on the task set for the day, which is sometimes so small that I can do it before I go to work. Having completed the small task, I feel a disproportionate sense of accomplishment and achievement, and can sit with a cup of tea without feeling pressured by the rest of the housework.

It's a lovely feeling!


  1. I'm liking your thinking. I am easily distracted from chores but wish they had been done. I might have a browse through some of those blogs you mention. Going to have another crack at that hand bag tutorial tomorrow - slow progress so far but I want to get it done.

    Eleanor xx

    1. Thanks! The concept is great, but I'll have to keep it up a few more weeks to get any sense of whether the way I'm doing it is working for me.

      I'm looking forward to the hand bag - my current model is rather bashed about and needs a replacement - and I will have to go on a fabric-finding excursion to the boxes of stash in my basement.



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