Morning and Evening Homemaking Routines
I said I've been revamping my routines and that part is certainly true enough. In fact, I'm still working on those cleaning charts. I thought I'd share my morning and evening routines. These haven't changed much in the past few years but they are really what keep my home neat and nice and helps me to focus immediately on the bigger picture each day. It's all little things that, once done, just make life simpler. In a pinch, doing a morning and evening routine can be the difference between a house that is pretty much company presentable and a disaster zone, so if I am ill or not able to devote a full day to cleaning, my home is still ready for hospitality.
Un-make the bed. This sounds counter-productive doesn't it? There is a reason to do this! I throw back the covers on the bed and let the sheets air. This is ideally done for at least 1 hour. I sometimes do make up the bed after 20 minutes, and occasionally John sees the unmade bed and decides to make it himself, but most mornings I let the bed air an hour. This helps keep the sheets fresh all week long and it allows the bedding to completely dry in case of any dampness from perspiration during the night.
Open the curtains. Opening the curtains each morning lets the sunshine pour into the house. It is ideal to also open windows and let the house air for a few minutes. This is a habit I mean to incorporate with my new routines. However, opening the curtains is a signal to my brain that the day is well begun. There's something about those open blinds and curtains that makes me feel ready to face the work of the day.
Put away clothes. I don't leave piles of folded (nor unfolded) laundry about but I do air clothing that I've worn before re-hanging in the closet. It takes just a moment to put clothes away properly and does much to reduce the appearance of visual clutter.
Empty waste baskets. I don't know why even just a little trash in a waste basket makes a room look messy and unkempt but it does. Try it and see for yourself. I don't take out the bag and put in a fresh one each time, unless there's a deep mess in the bag. Mostly I just tip all the wastebaskets into one and dump that in the kitchen trash.
Straighten up. Neatly stacking magazines, picking up the odd items on the tables and arranging what's meant to be there neatly, putting dirty laundry in the laundry room, all do much to make a home look neat and fresh and ready for company.
Empty the sink. I put all dirty dishes left from evening snacks and water glasses and coffee cups into the kitchen each evening (see evening routines) but dirty dishes in the sink just don't add up to a neat room. I rinse and load into the dishwasher right away. If you haven't got a dishwasher (and for many years I didn't have one) run a pan of soapy water and neatly stack those dishes in that soapy water. Even if you don't get to them right away, you've saved yourself a step and it's surprising how nice a dishpan of soaking dishes looks compared to the disarray of things randomly piled in the sink or across a countertop.
Put away the clean dishes. I sometimes have dishes I've done after supper that I let dry on the mat overnight. I put those things away. It reduces visual clutter and makes for easier work as the morning goes on, because I don't have to interrupt my flow as I work.
Start a load of laundry. I used to do this every single morning times 7 each week, when we had kids at home. Nowadays, I tend to do two loads on Sunday or Monday (sheets and towels and such) and then we do a load of clothes about every three or four days. Starting our washing first thing means they are ready to go on the line when I head outdoors to feed the pets, which saves my steps. It also insures that I get clothes on the line before leaving the house if I happen to be going out.
I consider evening as the hours between 7-10pm. That's well after supper and before bed. There are a few jobs I tend to each evening, not many, because goodness knows, if we don't quit housework doesn't either. I believe every day should have a starting point and an ending point. An evening routine promotes good rest and being plagued with poor sleep, I do all I can to insure my mind doesn't have a reason to conduct committee meetings all night long!
Shut the blinds and curtains. Typically we do this about sunset each evening, so the time varies according to season.
Put away evening dishes. We usually have a glass of milk or water (me) or cup of coffee (John) each evening. Those items are generally on the table between us at some point. I put those in the kitchen on the counter each evening just before bed.
Turn down the thermostat. About 30-45 minutes before bedtime I lower the temperature. In warmer months I turn down the AC so that it is 3 or 4 degrees cooler and turn on fans in the bedroom. In winter, I substantially lower the thermostat (by about 10 degrees). I find that it's easier to sleep if the house is cooler.
Prepare the bed. I remove the pillow shams and turn back the bedcovers. I generally do this at the same time I'm going about the house shutting blinds and curtains.
Once over the kitchen. Just before going to bed I put away any food stuffs that might have been left on the counter from snacking and wipe the counter one last time.
Straighten room one more time. I try to leave the room neat, so the newspaper will be put in the wastebasket, cushions placed properly on seating and computers shut down and closed. If I've been reading magazines or writing on hard copy paper, I straighten and neaten those things and put away any little items I've had out over the evening like nail clippers or lotion or lip balm.
These are by no means all the tasks I do each day but they are the beginning and ending routines I follow day in and day out, on vacation or at home. All promote a sense of being ready to be productive or of being ready to finish off the day.
Do you have morning and evening routines?