Saturday, January 28, 2012



As we look at those chores on the Weekly Rotation, there are some ways to save time and effort – working smarter, not harder.

Tip #1 – Laundry
A friend called mine “The Laundry Dragon” once.  The name stuck!  Start slaying your Laundry Dragon by understanding fabric content and how to handle them.  Read labels.  Follow directions.  Treat acrylics and nylon gently.  Don’t cheat and throw everything in together.  The fabric won’t last as long and you’ll be replacing those great sweaters!

Use good detergent and stain removers.  I like TriZyme or Biz as an additive. They contain organic enzymes that break down food stains and even lipstick.  I seldom have to pre-treat collars or stains.  Everything comes clean.  Once in awhile I use a prewash spray for something stubborn.  Check stains before they go into the dryer and get set in with heat.  I’m proud of my family looking clean and sharp.  And they don’t have to feel self-conscious or embarrassed because of tacky clothes.

Use good tools for stacking and sorting laundry.  I have a divided hamper for dirty laundry.  A full section is a full load of colors, darks or delicates.  For clean laundry I LOVE those stackable bins that are open on the front.  With one for each family member, I toss their clean items in for them to come and get each day.  I mate socks as they come out of the dryer.  Strays go into a small basket on a shelf, and I mate those once in awhile.  (When the kids were younger, one of the kids had the chore of mating 3 pairs every day from this basket.  J)  Recently I found these bins for under $5 each at my local Wal-mart.  Get the size that holds several pairs of jeans and T-shirts.  They are often used for potato bins.

Hang most outer clothing on hangers as soon as the dryer stops.  If you missed the buzzer, put a damp towel in (and a dryer sheet) and run it again for 10 minutes.  I don’t iron many items, and most are ready to wear this way.  If you don’t have enough hangers, pick up a few from the dollar store.  If your laundry room doesn’t have a rod for these items, you can get a hook or arm that hangs over the door.

Set aside things that need to be mended.  Don’t put them back in the closets or drawers unless they are ready to wear.

Tip #2 – Tools
You don’t find carpenters pounding nails with a rock.  Don’t try to do housework with poor tools.  Buy the best vacuum within your budget.    Price is not necessarily a measure of what’s best.  It doesn’t have to double as a food processor or carpet shampooer.  Make sure it is easy to get up and down stairs, that it has a hose for edging and getting under coffee tables, that the bags or canisters empty easily and hold enough for more than a room or two.  Pay attention to how much power it has and how easy it is to retrieve legos and small toys from inside it.

Keep a spray bottle of disinfectant cleaner under each bathroom sink and in the kitchen.  Have plenty of rags (without using your good towels).  Have a toilet bowl brush and cleaner in each bathroom.  These are not expensive, but you’ll find it easier to give it a quick swish if you don’t have to trudge downstairs to the other bathroom to get the tools.

If your dishwasher is doing a crummy job, check to see if it has a filter that needs to be cleaned out.  You shouldn’t have to prewash the dishes for them to come clean.

Stop and think about what is frustrating you or creating an obstacle to doing your weekly chores.  Find a way to make that chore easier, faster, less of a burden.  Work smarter, not harder!

Keep carpet spot cleaner and a rag under the kitchen sink especially if you have children.  We have a lot of company, and it keeps me from being stressed when something gets spilled.  I just jump up and grab the red spray bottle.  (I’m actually more surprised if company comes and goes and we DON’T need it!)

Keep a roll of trash bags that fit the trash can under the bathroom sinks or in the rooms where you will need them.  Leave one or two in the bottom of the trashcan.  Maybe the person who takes the trash out will take time to put the new one in place.  Or maybe not.  Oh well, at least it’s handy.

Tip #3 – The Timer
The Timer is your friend!  Don’t dawdle through chores all day long.  If you find yourself stalled, set a time for one chore, then another.  Turn up the music, and get it done.  Set a limit for total chores then go do something fun or worthwhile.  Charities need volunteers, friends need encouragement.  Don’t be a slave to housework.  J

Tip #4 – Grocery Shopping
Use a divided grocery list that matches the aisles and sections of the grocery store you prefer.  (I like the one that comes with my Covey planner.)  With produce, meat, frozen, and canned goods grouped together, you can get in and get out more quickly. 

Build your grocery list from a menu saves money and time.  Deciding what to make as you are going down the aisle leave you to the mercy of slick marketing.  A little planning ahead will help you eat healthier and avoid the danger of buying too much when you are hungry.  I try really hard to stick to my list and ignore the call of impulse buying.

Next time – Major Projects and Spring Cleaning

Thursday, January 26, 2012



Once you've tried the daily “Basics” plan, you might be wondering about all those things that aren’t on the list.  You could ignore them and let them haunt you… (“Linda… I’m calling you… I’m that dirty bathroom that gives you the creeps…”)  Nah.  That’s not going to work.

I like a clean house.  You probably do too.  I have visions of sipping a cup of tea while smiling to myself because the house is clean.  Of not cringing when my husband invites someone over unexpectedly for lunch after church on Sunday.  Of enjoying the place I live fully, feeling like I belong there, that others are happy to be there, and so on.  Of imparting a sense of being cared for to my family.

I think the thing that women object to is having to do the same cleaning over and over.  Endlessly.  Or perhaps it is having the little munchkins mess everything up right after you’ve cleaned it.  Endlessly.  I remember cleaning all day on Saturday when I was a kid.  I don’t want to give up all my Saturdays in the future in exchange for a clean house.

So here’s the happy medium I found I can live with.  I break up my major chores and do two or three a day and do them after my “Basics” or after work.  Here’s what my list looks like:

Monday – Laundry (2-3 loads)*, Water house plants, Change sheets, Vacuuming

Tuesday – Errands, Bathrooms

Wednesday – Grocery shopping, Face scrub (exfoliation), Mopping

Thursday – Laundry (2-3 loads), Water house plants, Ironing

Friday – Dusting, Glass tabletops, Mirrors, Microwave, Clear out

        leftovers in fridge

Saturday – Take out all trash in the house, Make a menu for next

        week, set TeVO to record favorite programs, Face scrub

Sunday – Church, Day of rest, Call extended family

You will need to adapt this list for your own family.  When I had small kids at home, vacuuming had to be at least twice a week.  The bathrooms they used had to be done more often.

Now estimate how much time each chore will take.  Be realistic.  Some take 10 minutes and some take 45.  I’ve found I can get these done in an hour or two, depending on the day.  But I also found I’d planned to do so much on one day that it would take 11 hours to do it all back-to-back.  That was a shocker!  I realized it was more of a week’s list than a day’s list.  And I would have felt condemned and guilty for not getting it all done if I had not figured the time needed.

Once in awhile you get a crazy day, and none of these chores can get done.  Feel free to move the Monday list to Tuesday or cancel the Tuesday list until the next time if you have to.  I hereby extend my magic wand and grant you the authority to be IN CHARGE of these things!  Don’t let a list control you.  Decide what works for you, then make it happen.  Put on some peppy music, crank up the volume, and MOVE!!

Proverbs 31 talks how the about the virtuous woman smiles to herself when the snow flies because her family is prepared for it.  It says strength and dignity are her clothing because she has it together.  This was written in a day before electricity and washers and dryers and dishwashers and vacuums.  Actually, she may have had dirt floors!  Yikes!  I can take charge of my responsibilities and make my home a lovely and peaceful place.  Then I’ll make my cup of tea and smile.

*More on laundry and other specific chores in tomorrow’s blog!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


 Shortly after I first got married an older woman friend gave me some advice about staying on top of housework.  She said to have a small list of “Basics” you do each day.  These are the bare essentials.  Do them first thing (after your devotions), and then if the day goes haywire or is filled with errands your home can be peaceful.  At least these things are in order. 

I’ve used this advice for almost 36 years.  It works well for me!  Here’s my list:

  • Dishes
  • Beds
  • (Floors)
  • Clutter
  • (Laundry)
  • Dinner plan
  • Email, Calls
  • Make-up
I show “floors” and “laundry” here in parentheses because I used to have to do those daily when my kids were small, but now with the kids grown and mostly gone, I don’t do those every day. 
Adapt this list to your needs.  Decide what things must be done.  Then limit the time you spend on this.  It should take no more than 45 minutes to an hour.  Set a timer if that will help you.  Put on some snappy music.  Get ‘er done!  Then you can smile to yourself as the day unfolds and you are on top of the game.

Next time:  What about those other chores?  The Weekly Rotation

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Proverbs says a good wife is a good thing for a man, a gift from the Lord in fact.  Movies may depict the single male as living the good life, but studies actually show that married men are healthier, life longer, have better mental health, make more money, are less likely to be in prison, are less likely to be assaulted, and so on.  (By the way, the stats do not apply to those cohabitating.)

Some studies think this is because wives help husbands remember their doctor appointments.  Ha!  I think that they go AT ALL is because they want to live long and care for their families.  And because their wives remind them.  The partnership of marriage fosters companionship and caring.  (Not synonymous with "nagging" by the way.)  You want what is best for each other.  You love to see the other person flourish, grow, achieve, excel.  This applies to health and every other area of life.

I think women also give this kind of support in friendships.  The caring concern that encourages a friend to keep that scary doctor's appointment, that prays over the diagnosis, that watches someone else's children while they get treatment, that brings in a meal or a pizza to those going through difficulty is unique to women.

I hope my women friends grow in their appreciation of God's design.  Being a women is a great thing.  Not in the feminist, "I'm as good as any man," kind of way, but in the "God's design is wonderful" kind of way.  I hope you enjoy the grace and the good that flows from your heart and ideas.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


There is such a war in our culture.  You know, the male-female thing.  What a peace it is to settle into the idea that the Creator made me a woman and that that is a good thing.  He said it was not good for man to be alone.  That means that a woman is a good thing.  This week, let's talk about why it is good.

A good place to start is that the differences between men and women are good.  We often try to make our men like us or get frustrated that they don't think like us, react like us.  Actually, it's a good thing they don't!  What an emotional world this would be if men had our hormones!!  On the other hand, without women, how much nurturing and tender influence might be lacking? 

Women bring beauty to the world, caring, tenderness.  And yes, emotion!  Men's logic, reason, and sense of the bottom line ("Just give me the Reader's Digest version, dear.") are important to the mastery of the world.  But without the softening influence of women, it becomes a stark and hard reality.  This is not to say women are without reason or logic.  Far from it!  Yet I think those parts of us often function through a filter of intuition and sensibility.

More on this in my next posting.  :-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

I've always given my daughters advice about having a great life.  Now I've been asked by several other women to mentor them as well.  Maybe sharing this will spread the wealth of Splendid Life I enjoy.  :-)  I plan to write several times per week and share ways to make this journey richer - in joys, in time, in blessings.  I'll accept questions and try to answer those when possible.  Join me!