Do you spend a part of your morning picking up washing from different parts of the house? How close to the laundry basket does the dirty washing get?
Last year I introduced small washing baskets into each bedroom, as well as the ones already in the bathrooms and for the most part the dirty clothes make it in. I must admit the favourite spot for most of the dirty clothes is next to the washing basket.
The other small change I implemented is different colour baskets to help me sort all the washing at once. I bought these mesh baskets; they are easily folded away and stored in a cupboard between use. They were cheap and I bought 2 a month until I had the colours I wanted.
I then created a schedule. I only have one child in uniform, so as you can imagine we have a lot of laundry each day. If you have nursery school children or younger, you will also have a fortune of washing to do.
I created a schedule for the washing to be done, this mostly ensures that the most important clothing items are washed first. This helps especially when it rains for days.
I have 4 children plus my husband and myself, with a smallish washing machine. Unfortunately my beautiful large Speed Queen died after 25 years of dedicated service and because of its age there are no longer spare parts. I have a really good machine now but it is small and we do around 3 loads of washing per day.
Here is my schedule:
Monday – whites/lights, blacks and hand washing
Tuesday – blue/ greens, brown and reds/orange
Wednesday- Linen ( there are 5 beds, this takes the whole day)
Thursday – Towels and table cloths.
For the most part this schedule works well. Obviously there are colours and patterned clothing that you have to decide where they fit in,
I have an ironing lady who comes 1 full day and 1 ½ day each week, I do my first load of laundry at around 6 am, all three loads are then done by 8 when I need to leave for work.
Put it away
I have spoken to a few ladies who do not have help and one of their main issues is not getting the clean laundry to where it belongs. This is another system that you need to then put into place. How to get the clean clothes back where they belong? Depending on the age of your children you can possibly get them to put their own stuff into their cupboards.
This would only work well with some of my family members, my husband, my eldest daughter, who is an organiser by nature, and my youngest and my son, who would get it to the cupboard but not sort it. My middle child has server ADHD and depending on what happens between where she collects the washing and her bedroom will dictate where the washing ends up. If it makes it to her bedroom she will also get it into the cupboard but not sorted.
Getting it fixed
Another aspect of laundry is repair. Lost buttons, torn pockets and seams. Create a small repair kit to help with mending or a space to put the clothes into so that they can be taken to be repaired.
Another handy tip I learned is to have a singles basket. This is for the socks that have lost their partners, every few months go through the basket and see if you can find matches.
Your laundry room
Where do you do your laundry? Do you have a laundry room or do you have laundry equipment in the kitchen? Wherever it is, it needs to be organised.
How often does your washing machine get cleaned? Are your washing detergents organised?
Do you have old expired bleach? Believe it or not, bleach expires and quite quickly too.
The laundry areas can get untidy very quickly, as your washing machine and tumble dryer, if you have one are flat surfaces, and flat surfaces attract clutter.
What do you do with stray socks? How about the small change in people’s pockets?
Look at the area around your machines, is everything there specific to washing clothes and linen or do you have a collection of odds and ends.
An idea for those of us who have very little or no designated laundry space, are baskets where you can put similar items into. A basket to hold all your softeners and bleaches and another for a small sewing kit for repairs.
How can you have clean clothes and linen if the area is in chaos?
Does it belong?
The first aspect to laundry is getting the area sorted. Get rid of anything that isn’t to do with laundry. Clean out the space, whether it is a cupboard or a room. Empty old and expired laundry supplies and throw the containers away or recycle them, find new ways to neatly store everything.
Once your clothing is washed, it often needs ironing. Make sure your iron and ironing board are both in good condition.
Are you able to dry laundry on a rainy day without your tumble dryer? If you have the space, maybe consider putting up a retractable washing line on the wall. This may be especially important if you have small babies or you live in an apartment building where the washing lines are often on the roof.
It is also a good idea to have a small basket to collect your stray socks. That way you may periodically be able to find the matching sock.
Collecting the lost and found
I read an article a while ago where a lady had a small jar in her laundry room and any money found in pockets went into the jar. I also think another idea would be a catch all basket, anything found in pockets would go into this, e.g. pens, ticket stubs or parking stubs etc.
Do you have any idea on how to remove stains? What to use for what type of stain. A good idea might be to create a stain removal kit to keep with your laundry detergents.
Do you have a laundry room? How old was your oldest item in the laundry room?
This week we are doing the laundry!
The refrain, ‘ I don’t have anything to wear!’ is a regular sound in my house. I am not sure about you, but in my house it seems that as soon as you put the clean clothes in the drawers, they are back in the washing!
I read about setting up a schedule for laundry last year and implemented it in my house. It mostly works but there are still times where the refrain down the passage is “I can’t find my….”. This may just be because there are three teenage girls, two of whom share a lot of clothes. And so the search begins! First they look in each other’s cupboards and then in the washing basket. My son has a different problem; his clothes seem to land up in his father’s cupboard!
No matter how many times you tell everyone, ‘If the clothes are on the floor, then it is assumed that they need washing’, it doesn’t seem help!
We go through a lot of clothes in a week as none of us are in a uniform. The school my girls are at don’t have one, I work in an office and no longer wear one, my son (sort of) has a uniform of black pants and white shirt and my husband wears a white jacket over his normal clothes.
Creating a laundry area
Very few of us are privileged to have a laundry room but even if you do, it still needs to be planned out and kept tidy. You can’t iron or fold clean laundry in a dirty space.
Your detergents, bleaches, stain removers and softeners, should be kept together, clearly marked and away from the children.
I used to have this big, wonderful 10kg capacity top loader machine, but sadly after 23 years of use, it died! The manufacturer doesn’t even have spare parts anymore! Now I have a very good front loader, it works beautifully but the only problem is, it is a normal size and we are doing a minimum of 3 loads of washing 4 times a week.
Here is what we created to keep up with the demand of 6 people!
Monday – Whites and blacks
Tuesdays – Bright colours and delicates
Wednesday – Dark colours like brown and blue
Thursday- Sheets and towels
Friday – Dish cloths and underwear (separately, of course)
I use separate baskets to help with this.
Do you have a laundry routine? How often do you wash your bras? How often do you change the sheets on your bed?
Need help staying on top of your clutter, why not join the group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/
This week we are going to try and sort out the playroom, or if you don’t have one of those, just sorting out their toys.
20 years’ worth of toys!
Over the years I have collected tons of toys and books. I have 4 children but instead of getting rid of the toys as they grew older, we just added to the collection. My clutter is now so bad in certain rooms that I had to call in expert help.
I read an article a few years ago about getting the children to help you sort their toys and books, so I tried it. Not a winner at all. They kept finding things they wanted to keep. At that stage my girls were still pre-teens and they would find stuff and then run off and play with their new find. My son was a lot better.
I gave up then but now it is time to begin again. They are all teenagers now, so the baby doll without the eyes and the one with the blue face (my middle daughter wanted to do CPR so she painted the face blue) can all be tossed. All the Noddy books, pre-school books and ABC books are being donated to charities and schools which need them.
Everything in its’ place
There is a lot of work to do. If you have the space to create a playroom, then do so. There is nothing better than being able to close the door on the mess, especially when you have already cleaned the area 2 or 3 times that day.
Depending on how old your children are, you will need to create either a play area or a study area and sometimes both.
Book shelves are great for this as you can put nice baskets or boxes on the lower shelves for toys and reading books and school books on higher shelves.
Boxes also work for toys but children then tend to pull everything out and play in the box!
Where to start?
Are you finished having children? How old are they? These are just two of the questions you need to ask yourself.
Any books that your children have out grown pack up and donate! There are so many places that need them. Broken books should be placed in recycling bins/bags for disposal.
Next the toys! One bag is for tossing and one bag is for donating. If it is broken in any way, it gets tossed! If your children no longer play with it, sell it, swap it or donate it.
Whatever you do, don’t make my mistake! Make sure you get it out of your house immediately it is sorted. My first attempt made it into boxes which never left the house, so it actually looked worse than before!
With my family being older, we have what was a very tiny playroom that is a guest/TV room, which is now used as the ironing room, still full of all the toys that I haven’t got rid of yet!
How do you organise your children’s play area? Share some ideas or even pictures!
I am sitting in my lounge right now looking at my old stained carpet and all the collected junk and
wondering how we have lived like this for so long.
Every home has that one area that seems to collect everything. Sadly, I have three such areas. My
bedroom, the TV room and the worst is what is meant to be a home office ( which is actually part of
my lounge) so there is a screen which we put up to hide the collection of clutter.
It is definitely going to take more than 15 minutes to declutter my lounge.
Serving a purpose
Let’s start with the name – we call it the lounge and we have a TV room, we had a play room when
the kids where younger (now my bead room) but this room has many names in different homes It
can be the family room, the sitting room, the great room, but by whatever name you call it the room
definitely needs to have its purpose defined.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have this space, so defining areas of a room for a specific purpose
will help you declutter your space.
Get out of my house
I decided to start with getting rid of anything that is broken or damaged. Sadly this is not a 15 minute
task for me. Part of my lounge was designated a study for my husband but over the years has
become the place where things go when no one knows what to do with them.
In December 2015, I hired Sweep South to help me clean. The ladies they sent did the most amazing
job and then I let them down by not getting rid of the boxes of old books that we packed for
donation. It is out there!
I am using the opportunity of having my floors redone and the roof/ceiling fixed to try again. I have
already got rid of 3 non-functioning laptops and 2 printers and an old box shape computer screen!
The curtains are being washed in preparation for the completed work. My aunt does project
management and her builder has come in at the most reasonable amount.
Already my lounge has taken shape and will be where we keep our many books, which are currently
scattered all over the house.
The newly finished floors look incredible and my lounge is once again a place in which to sit
comfortably. I am looking forward to being able to hang up my curtains again as it is a little cold right
now without them.
This time I am definitely not keeping the donation box. I have made a declaration to my family, ‘If it
doesn’t work, or you are too old for it, or it is just plain ugly, it may not come back into my house!’ It
is a good thing that it is winter and there is no rain as all of this is outside in the garden.
I have included a small cleaning schedule to help keep your lounge looking lived in but not untidy.
Sweep and/ or mop the floors.
Give a quick wipe to dining room chairs, tables and couches and clean up spills and daily
living that happens
Vacuum your carpets and if you have fabric furniture do the furniture as well
Dust any pictures, paintings and mirrors, wall units and bookshelves you have in these
Every 2 weeks polish your leather or wood furniture, polishing too often allows a buildup of
oil on your furniture making it harder to clean marks off. Sometimes you will find black build
up in the joints of wood furniture from polishing it too often.
Wipe down the TV screen and any computer screens.
Clean the outside of your DVD player.
Damp dust all the skirting boards
Wash the windows
Polish any silverware
Clean light switches, door handles and light covers
Lift the couch cushions and deep clean. Also move the lounge suite and clean behind and
Wash the walls, doors and ceilings
Clean the grouting between the tiles, if you have tiles or wash the carpets.
What do you use your lounge for?
In March 2015 I started a new job and embarked on a new journey – a journey to make living life easier. This has now become my slogan for the company which I started from this blog.
Clearing out clutter and getting rid of possessions that no longer serve their purpose and are just taking up space, was part of this.
I joined a group called Declutter 365 and quickly realised that, because it was American, it really didn’t suit our South African lifestyles. I had to go back and look for past posts to help me sort out my stuff! This is how ‘We’re getting Sorted’ came about and it was time for my next step.
As I rarely bake anymore, I went through my baking utensils stored under my sink and got rid of pieces that were now rusty (there had been a slow leak). I didn’t get rid of everything but I found missing pieces and put them together. If I couldn’t find what was missing, or repurpose it, then it was put into a box and I dropped it off at the dump.
Your 15 minute task for the day is to clear out your baking goods and make sure that what you have is a) usable and b) necessary. This means, if you don’t bake you don’t need a ton of baking tins!
When I first started meal planning for my family, instead of standing in front of the fridge, or cupboard, trying to decide at the last minute what to make, I went shopping in my own kitchen. The first thing I did was take everything out and get rid of boxes of food that had expired. Then I went through the cans. Expiry dates are actually just telling you that the manufacturer will not guarantee the quality of the product after that date. As long as the cans aren’t bulging they are usually okay! That being said, I threw out anything that had expired more than 2 years before which, sadly was quite a lot. With what I found in my cupboards (including the fridge and freezer), I didn’t actually need to go shopping for nearly 3 weeks. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/06/30/i-own-my-kitchen/
Spices are essential ingredients in all foods and as long as they are stored in airtight containers and in a dark, dry place, they should last quite a while. Here I once again have a really good collection as cooking is something I love to do and I like to know that no matter what recipe I try, I will have the required spices and herbs on hand. My favourite ‘go to’ spices are Paprika, garlic salt, onion salt/ powder (from America, as this is no longer available here), Masala, curry powder, mustard powder, black pepper and salt. Do you have any spices that you can’t cook without?
Continuing on from clearing out your pantry cupboard, keep sorting through what you really need and what you know your family will eat and, if necessary, what kind of meal you can make that will disguise the foods which they don’t eat.
Make an inventory of what you have. This can be used as a “shopping list” and the items on the shelf are what are in the grocery store. Go to the link and type in what you have and this site will find you recipes that make use of your chosen ingredients. http://www.myfridgefood.com
It is coming up to the Jewish holidays of Passover, so for all the kosher members of the group, stay calm! Read the calendar and possibly get a head start on next week’s work which will be clearing out your fridge and freezer!
Please remember to share how you are moving along and if you are winning, or need some help. Post pictures when you can please.
More important than having a tidy home, is having a clean home! You can actually have a very tidy home with everything in its place but dust on every surface, or you can have a clean home with clutter all over the place.
It doesn’t matter whether you have full time help, part-time help or no help at all; certain things need to be done every single day to maintain a functioning home.
With that in mind, it is time to create a housekeeping routine. This routine is to help keep your house from becoming an unsafe and unsanitary environment. It is not meant to turn your house into the front cover of a magazine.
Create a therapeutic environment in your home.
Let’s face it, coming home to a clean house, or just even getting into a bed that has been made, gives you a good feeling. In nursing we call this a therapeutic environment. It is an environment that encourages healing and promotes health.
How does this apply to your house? Healing does not have to be from a physical illness or injury but from a psychological aspect of getting rid of the stress of the day.
If you have kids, the mess doubles but the time you have to clear it up halves. This means doing a little each day.
Create a routine for your kids
Kids in South Africa’s more affluent suburbs are spoiled; almost all suburban homes have some form of domestic help. Getting the children into the habit of picking up after themselves can be a difficult battle, especially if you have a nanny from the day the baby is born. Nannies tend to let their charges get away with things that their own children could not do.
We had an incident a few years ago, where one of my kids pulled every single thing out of the closet and onto the floor looking for the ‘right’ outfit to wear. I instructed my helper to leave it and my child was told to repack the cupboard properly. After 3 day I noticed that everything was neatly back in the cupboard and when I checked ,it turned out that my domestic had felt sorry for her and packed up!
I read an article a while back that said that kids as young as 3 can start making their beds. It does have to be perfect and you shouldn’t go and remake the bed but, as time goes by, the child’s bed making skills will improve.
Another article stated that if you only do one thing around the house each day, making your bed should be it. For the reason I stated earlier, you feel better when you get into a bed that has been made, but also so that you can honestly say that you did one thing that day.
The benefits of a cleaning schedule
Creating a cleaning schedule is not about the daily tasks that get done, but to ensure that those small things like dusting the ceiling fans, or washing the skirting boards, don’t slip through the cracks.
How to create your cleaning schedule
Take a notebook and pen and start at your front door. Look at your entry way and take note of what needs to be dusted, washed or polished. Don’t forget to look behind and under the furniture.
Walk through your house, room by room, and check each nook and cranny and write it down. This may take more than one walk through, as you will inevitably forget something.
Take a year planner and start to plot your tasks for every month, every 4 months, every 6 months, and stagger the tasks so that you create a routine and nothing gets missed out.
You can create your own schedule, or download the one on the website, and add or adjust that one http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/printables/house-cleaning-check-list/. You can also add tasks like paying the bills to your schedule or routine. Remember, it isn’t written in stone and you need to create a system that works for you.
If you have your own routine, why not share with us what works for you? Please feel free to join us on Facebook as We Get Sorted. https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/
For most of us in South Africa, who have domestic help, December can be a very difficult time, for this is usually when most domestic workers go on their annual leave. Usually for 3 weeks at least
For some, it is a time to realise how much this employee does for you and how much easier they make your life. For others, it is a time to realise how little one needs their help, or how little the help actually does in a day when you are not at home.
I have been reading different posts on Facebook and the one thing that comes over clearly is that, whether or not you have chosen to have help, whether it is only with the washing and ironing, a housecleaner once or twice a week, a full time domestic or even a full time nanny, South Africans are privileged and, dare I say it, spoiled!
If you are at work all day, you rely on these employees to look after your homes and keep them to the standard you expect. Some families are lucky enough to hire a person with integrity, who looks after your home and children as if they were their own. Others discover that they only thought they were lucky!
I was fortunate this year in that my three older kids went on summer camp for 3 weeks. I say this because, since they came home, I simply can’t seem to keep my house as clean as I want it to be. This has caused me to revise my cleaning schedule. The cleaning schedule available on the website is free and is a very basic one which each person adapts to suit their needs.
The first week the children were away, I started getting my house in order and notes were made about what I found or didn’t find.
The second week I was unexpectedly on leave as my boss decided to close the office. I started cleaning and discovered that without the older children at home, I could get the entire house done in 2 hours! Once they came home, it took about 4 hours.
They brought home 3 trommels (tin trunks/kists for non South Africans) filled with washing which took me 5 days and 5 loads a day to do and we are still ironing! Also, they insist on wearing clean clothes which I keep on having to wash and it feels like it will never end!
The benefit I discovered in doing all your own housework? I have lost 3kg! I also know now how much can be done in a day’s work and what can’t.
I honestly feel that every person who wants to employ a domestic worker should do the job themselves for two days before drawing up a cleaning schedule! This way your expectations are realistic.http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/printables/house-cleaning-check-list/
As much as I didn’t find the housework too onerous, I will be glad to have full time help again. It has become extremely difficult to keep my house clean, put food out for lunch for the children and make supper, while I am at work full time and the 4 kids are at home full time, with very little to occupy themselves and very reluctant to clean up after themselves!
This is, of course, the fault of a privileged upbringing! In countries where there is no domestic help the children are taught from an early age to clean up after themselves and do chores around the house. We cannot absolutely blame the children for this is how we were brought up as well!
How do you manage to get your children to keep their rooms and belongings neat and tidy?
Week 2, This weeks assignment:
Clear out your magazine and newspaper collections.
I am still sticking to the easy stuff this week. I hope everyone was able to do their 15 minutes.
I say that I am sticking to the easy stuff but, in my house, newspapers, and more especially magazines, are a huge issue. About 5 years ago I decided to declutter some papers in my husband’s supposed study area as the clutter was getting to me. I found unopened professional magazines going back 5 years! His answer when asked why, was that possibly there is a good article in them! I also found car service documents for cars that were sold before we were married in 1991! We still haven’t found the document my husband needs!
Now that we get the Jewish Life magazine, I have another set to worry about. He is presently diligently working on his collection of old magazines and papers, as he is looking for a very important set of documents.
Walk around your house with either a box or a plastic packet and collect all magazines and newspapers. Magazines with recipes should go where you keep your recipes, we will get to them another day. Choose the magazines you want or need and put them in the place you want to keep them. Remember magazines are good for projects, but you don’t need 100!
It’s time to get rid of old school books. If you don’t already belong, maybe it’s time to sign up for the group called Second hand school books and uniform exchange. Here you can either swop or sell your unwanted books. I am sure even your old textbooks from varsity could go there!
You collected your magazines; maybe you feel that it is a waste to recycle them into the bin, so what about finding underprivileged schools that could use them for school projects? Just remember that when you donate the magazines, they should be appropriate. Men’s Health may not be the right magazine to give to a primary school, but it might be the perfect thing for a high school!
You have chosen what you want to keep, now it is time to relook at why you want to keep them and what purpose they will serve. Any newspaper more than 2 weeks old should be put in a recycling bag, if there is an article you want to keep, cut out that article and get rid of the rest. The same treatment goes for magazines 3 months and older. If there was a recipe or something in a magazine that you wanted, tear it out and put it with your recipes. You don’t need to keep a whole magazine for one page in it.
You have torn out the recipes you wanted from the magazines that you don’t want, now remember those old school files you decluttered last week? Use one to create a file to store your recipes or articles in.
With these small tasks, each day you should already start seeing a difference in your home and it only took a little time each day.
If you have help, the tasks may go faster, or slower, depending on who is helping you!
This is what my wonderfully clean and organised entrance, with the help I am getting sorting papers!
Remember to share!
So here we begin! I am starting off slowly with the easy jobs first, so that we can get into the swing of the 15 minute routine.
The first area I want to cover is what is called a family launch area. For my family that will be my entrance hall. This is the place where each morning everybody leaves the house for school or work. We all leave via the front door as this is the most direct route to the car.
Whether you are taking kids to crèche, or school, or you and hubby are off to work, the mornings always seem to be chaotic. So having a designated area in your home, where you can keep nappy bags, school bags and briefcases, is a step closer to the smooth running of the morning.
If you have the space there are some amazing and easy ideas of how to do this. Put up coat hooks and hang the bags from them, ready for the morning rush and out of the way, so no one trips over them.
I chose to put baskets under my entrance table as this is where I have space! Each person can have their own basket or as we do, have 1 large basket, I am using this for a double purpose, when something is found in the wrong place it goes into the basket of whoever owns that item, they have until the end of the week to put it where it belongs or it goes to donations.
If you have the space and the money, then have a bench made with storage for the bags or a locker cupboard made, where each person can put their bags or rain jackets.
The most important aspect of your launching pad is that you need to use it! It really does help! If the area that you have chosen is appropriate, why not make it a charging station for all your cellphones, ipads, tablets and other devices?
I am always losing my keys, so I created a space where we can all dump our keys when we get home.
Here is your first 15 minutes!
Create a simple morning launch area; you can always expand with more permanent solutions later. If you already have an area, get rid of what does not belong there.
Create a morning routine. Some kids do better with a known routine. I have one child who used to almost have a panic attack if you changed her day without warning. Even now, as a teen, she doesn’t do well with surprises.
This also helps with keeping the house running smoothly if, for some reason, you are not there.
When I was working 7 am to 7 pm shifts, my mornings off were torturous for me. Everyone was running around like headless chickens and someone would invariably leave something at home. The school even sent these coloured cardboard signs for my one child to put up so she wouldn’t forget her lunch every day! With a launch area, this is less of an issue these days.
Making space for homework is important in a routine. Even if your children are of crèche age, assign an area where they can work on an activity. In our home we are lucky and each child has a small desk at which to work. However, if you don’t have that kind of space and homework is done at the dining room or kitchen table, make a specific box for each child with extra stationary which might be needed. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard, ‘but my ruler is at school’ or ‘I don’t have a black/blue/green pen’ just to delay doing homework a little longer. For much younger kids, have a couple of pictures and crayons for them to use as homework, even beads that they can string together is ‘homework’.
After homework is complete, the children pack the boxes and put them back where they belong. I wish I had done this earlier, when the kids were younger!
Everyone should be getting ready for school, so it is a good idea to go through old stationary and get rid of what doesn’t work anymore. What is left can either be put into the homework boxes (if you buy new stationary each year) or be returned to the pencil box for use.
Decluttering of old school books. Previously each year I bought school books that the schools requested and quite often I would get some back unused. Thankfully, the new school my girls go to require only flip files and arch lever files and lots of exam pads. I will have to buy one or two books which the school has recommended for one of my children who is very disorganised and distractible. It would be better for them to glue worksheets into a book for her, rather than rely on her remembering to file anything!
Get rid of old exam papers! When was the last time you thought about looking at an old exam with fondness? Keeping report cards is an entirely different matter, so you will need to find a safe place to keep them.
I have also only kept 1 or 2 drawings from each child for each year of school. As much as it would be great to be able to keep them all, it is not a practical option.
You are now ready for the school year to begin! Don’t forget to print your January calendar. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/printables/january-2016-calendar/
Don’t forget to let me know how the first week went, and remember to share! If you have been following my blog or my page on FB Kahseringyourlife, you will have seen the pictures of my meals and how bad they were, in the beginning, so don’t worry about the quality of your pictures! Share!