Living the simple life is sometimes not so simple.
Some days start bright and early with milking the cow and suddenly turn into a whirlwind of activity. Before I know it, it’s time for dinner. I don’t know what happens. I seem to enter a time vortex around 8am and come out about 5:30pm.
I have found a few small changes can make a huge difference, reduce stress and help me accomplish more. When I am intentional about how I spend my time, it is amazing how much time I have. When I have no plan and haphazardly roll through my day I often reach the end of it and wonder where it went.
I’m definitely not a simple life-expert and have a lot of room for improvement. If I am honest, I have to admit that I go through phases. I do very well for a time, and then fall into bad habits.
While wallering around in bad-habit-land, at some point, I will look around and decide enough is enough. The great news is that tomorrow is a new day. No matter how I may have failed today, yesterday or in the past, I get a fresh start tomorrow. Yea!
With the understanding that I am a successful mess, I reluctantly share some tips that have given me an easier, more relaxed, simpler life.
When I started this post I had no idea it would boast over 3000 words. EEEEK.
I thought it might be best to split the 10 things into 3 groups.
To read more:
Today, let’s tackle delegation, waking up & laundry!
Simplify Life TIP # 1
Delegate. I am certainly capable of doing all the work around here, but that would keep me constantly busy and would leave little to no free time for me to spend with my children. If we all chip in, the same chores that would take me 3 hours can be done in 30 minutes.
Additionally, I think children who come from homes where they contribute are happier. I believe by chipping in they feel needed, helpful and get the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.
Another benefit reaped from allowing the children to help is that you will be teaching your children how to work. We feel this is a very important part of growing up.
I’ve been blessed with 4 kids – let’s take advantage of the blessing!
We have times in the day when we all get the work knocked out. This leaves us all more free time to enjoy.
Simplify Life TIP #2
Get up…… Before your kids. I was not easily converted over this line of thought. I spent the first several years of motherhood waking up when the first little feet hit the floor.
Trust me on this one. I like sleep. Especially in the mornings. I could write an essay on why I should sleep until 9:00 every morning. But I’m not going to……
Because I know how wonderful an entire day can be if I wake up FIRST. The peace. The quiet. The coffee. The quiet time. The ability to get 28 things done without 1 interruption. This is one of those things where “Actions precede beliefs.” You probably won’t believe it until you’ve lived it.
“She also rises while it is yet night”
Simplify Life TIP # 3
Revamp the Laundry Department. With 4 kids and a farm, I have some experience when it comes to laundry.
Here 3 things that have changed my life in the laundry room.
Laundry Tip # 1 : Get another Dryer.
Yes, you are now in my laundry room. All 6 feet of it. If I can squeeze a second dryer in here – just about anyone can do it.
The dryer we had used for over 10 years died. We replaced it with these commercial, SpeedQueen, stacked dryers. It showed up just like this – already stacked, ready to go.
If you have the room and the finances get a second dryer, or washer, or both. This is one place you probably won’t regret putting some money. We have 1 washer and 2 dryers.
In winter there are snow clothes, gloves, hats, scarves, bibs and coveralls that all need to be dried.
In summer there are towels, bathing suits, and clothing that just need to be dried.
Even when I’m not drying loads of snow clothes, or loads of beach towels, there are those times when I go to toss a load of freshly washed laundry into the dryer and find it is FULL OF CLOTHES. This generally happens when I have stolen 2 minutes from teaching the kids and DO NOT have time to fold the load in the dryer.
I refuse to toss clean ,dry clothes into a laundry basket, since that will make them cold and wrinkly. Furthermore, I hate basketfulls of clean, unfolded laundry. They make me miserable. If it comes out of the dryer it must be folded immediately. Period.
Unless, you are not me and you don’t mind basketfuls of clean laundry. Then I suppose it’s OK. BUT, in this house, no way. Nope. No clean laundry wadded in baskets.
Since I have 2 dryers, I can just toss the washed load into the other dryer. HORAY! When it’s folding time – I send both loads on a twirling, fluffing cycle for 2 minutes and fold. No wrinkles.
I am always grateful for my second dryer.
Laundry Tip #2: Do laundry every day (within context).
I used to DREAD doing the laundry. It was always there haunting me. It was NEVER done. It was ALWAYS piling up on me and never giving me a break. I think DH is the one who said to me, “Why don’t you just do it every day?”
WHAT!?? Are you suggesting that I should do the one thing that I LOATHE more than anything else on the planet everyday of my life? Do you hate me? Have you lost your mind? The Laundry Beast was consuming and destroying 2 days of every week – Why would you want to destroy the other 5? Why would you suggest such torture?
I am an accommodating gal, so I decided to give it a trial period.
Prepare to be shocked…… I found that when I did laundry every day it was not a big deal at all. It was always done. It was always caught up. It was no longer piling up on me. It was no longer miserable. OK, it is still pretty miserable, but at least the beast was dead.
Once again, DH was right. Darn it.
Side note: Listen to your husband. He’s always right.
Other side note: Do laundry every day.
I know there are days when you will be buried in the garden, or stretching fence, or you will have gone to town and you won’t be doing laundry. Other than those days – do the laundry. Some days this means 2 loads. Some days it means 3. Most days it means 1. I start every single day with a load in the washer. Even if there’s 3 loads to do I typically have them all done by lunch.
Washed, dried, folded, & in the baskets for the kids to put away. My younger ones put their clean clothing away themselves. I put away my husband & my laundry.
Laundry Tip # 3: Let the older kids do their own laundry.
If the kids are old enough to do their own laundry, let them do it. Oh, how I wish I would have handed this responsibility over to my teenagers sooner. I’m not sure what I was waiting for. Do I enjoy pain? Was I being a control freak? Was I afraid they would break the washing machine? I couldn’t tell ya’…… What I can tell ya’ is….
Let them do their own laundry. I’m not sure what was holding me back, but buying them laundry hampers and handing them over was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. They may walk around in light blue socks for a few months, but they’ll get the hang of it.
To recap, here’s the 1st Three Changes that have simplified my life:
- Delegate – Allowing my children to help me with the household work has saved me time, sanity and I feel it teaches them good work habits.
- Rise – Awaking early is never something I regret. It always gives me a boost to my day and my spirit.
- Laundry – Doing a little laundry each day is a huge help to my overall workload around the farm.
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