What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where To Start?

I found myself in the unenviable position of waking up to a house that looked like a cyclone had blown through it.  It many ways it had.  We arrived home Thursday evening after being on the road for a couple of days ending a lovely three week vacation.  Along with our luggage there were various bags of food and other items collected along the way home and during our vacation.  Putting things away that night might have been easier but the foodie finds had to be readied for their photoshoot and we were tired.  I took the foodie shots on Friday and puttered tidying up while being quite thankful that other than the clothes we wore on the way home the other clothes were cleaned so there was no massive amount of laundry to do.  On Saturday we debated going for a much need grocery shopping, I made a homemade chicken noodle soup and we settled in for the afternoon.  That evening we hosted an inpromtu get together of 11 people not including ourselves.  The following morning as we were still cleaning up oldest and youngest grandkids arrived so the toys came out.  We had a great barbequed meal and after they left caught up on Coronation Street while ignoring what needed to be done.  By then we were exhausted.  Sunday morning despite the weather reports was lovely so my husband went to the store for bread for the turkey stuffing, we popped the stuffed bird into the oven, then headed out to do a bit of boating that would likely be our last trip of the season.  When we got home we finished up prepping dinner as one of our kids and significant other were coming as well as a couple of friends who cancelled at the last moment.  The kitchen filled up with the larger pots, pans, roaster and a few platters that all needed to be hand washed, kids toys were everywhere, bathrooms needed cleaning, floors needed washing, vacuuming needed to be done and entertaining extras put away.  In short the house was utter chaos.  That was my morning greeting!

What do you do when faced with this type of situation?  Let's face it everyone gets tired enough or sick that even clean-up gets left for the following day.  The problem is the clean-up can pile up more so it is important to tackle as quick and as systemmatically as possible without getting over tired or discouraged.  Here are a few of my tips for dealing with this type of situation:

  • don't try to do everything at once - A surprising amount of tidying and cleaning can be done in 15 minute bursts.  Do as much as you can for 15 minutes then take a break and do something else.
  • start small but start - Pick up one thing and put it away.  This morning I started by just gathering all the platters into one spot beside the sink followed by putting away those little things like the salt & pepper shakers that had been left out.
  • use the one in one out rule - During heavy household use as in entertaining items from the kitchen end up in the family room and visa versa.  Everytime you leave a room take one item that doesn't belong there and put it in its proper spot.  As you leave that room do the same thing.  All misplaced items will soon be back where they are supposed to be but you won't even noticed you did the tidying.
  • take a stretch break - About every 15 minutes I take a 5 minute stretch break from the computer.  If I spot something out of place or a little task that needs doing (eg. load the dishwasher) I do it.
  • focus on one task - A lot of my cleaning tends to be in the form of multi-tasking however focusing on one task can help big cleaning jobs go a lot smoother.  Noticed how I focused on gathering the platters.  There were 6 platters and while aside of the turkey platter were not really dirty having just held snacks they still needed washing.  Visually those they created a lot of clutter.  Washing and drying them took less than 10 minutes but when put away the kitchen suddenly looked cleaner.
  • once the puttering is done - Once everything is put away I wipe down the counters, shine up the fixtures and mirros in the kitchen and bathrooms then vacuum the floors.  Finally I wash the kitchen, bath and utility room floor.  The house is back to neat, tidy, and presentable for the next round of guests.

Garden Gnome