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Make Your Bed: Sneak Peek at Chapter 7 of The Happiest Mom

by Meagan Francis on February 7, 2011

Confession time: I thought I was so clever and original with the “make your bed” bit when I first wrote about it almost two years ago. Come to find out, however, Gretchen Rubin had long-before declared making the bed daily as one of her happiness resolutions. And then when I reflected a little more, I traced the origins of my bed-making life makeover to FlyLady, with whom I had a love/hate relationship for the first ten years of motherhood.

So no, this is not an original idea. But it works: your physical environment can have a big effect on your emotional state. Maybe an unmade bed is not a big mood-buster for you, but we all have different tolerance levels when it comes to mess and clutter, and different triggers that make us feel anxious, edgy, or just plain meh.

Chapter 7 in The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets To Enjoying Motherhood will help you figure out what your particular triggers are, and help you come up with a plan for getting your house clean and organized enough : enough to help you feel functional, on top of things, and happy. And this week, we’ll be covering that same issue here–decluttering, cleaning, organizing and getting on top of things at home.

Compared to last week’s posts which were a bit on the heavy side, what with talking about mindfulness and life-goal-setting, this week’s topic might seem a bit more practical and straightforward. But I think environment is hugely important to a mom’s emotional well-being. I’m far from a neat freak, but I feel like the ability to exert some bit of control over the state of my home does help me feel saner, calmer, and happier. And I also believe we owe it to ourselves to live in a place that feels functional, cozy, and safe.

So look here for a week’s worth of posts that will celebrate the art of making a home and help you delegate, prioritize, and create a cozier, cleaner nest–without working harder.

Before we kick it off, I want to know: what are YOUR biggest homemaking challenges? Do you have trouble getting the family on board? Fight over division of labor with your spouse? Or just can’t seem to stay on top of the clutter? Please share in the comments!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth February 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

You mean I’m not the only one who has a love/hate relationship with FlyLady. I’ve gone in cycles with her, but finally wound up with Motivated moms and it works somewhat better for me (as long as you know I haven’t printed out this week’s checklist yet, sigh).

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rakovank February 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm

The dishes! I love flylady too, and I try to shine my sink like she suggests every night, but I haven’t found a way to keep dishes out of my sink and off the counter around my sink. I have a “cup of the day” rule where each family member is only allowed one cup for the whole day. That helped by eliminating (ok – greatly decreasing) cups all over the house. I started using paper plates at breakfast since it’s often so hard to get out of the house in the morning. But my sink and often my countertops around the sink still stay cluttered with dishes. I feel like I’m ALWAYS doing the dishes. That’s definitely my trigger.

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Leah February 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Definitely the clutter. Actually, the clutter AND getting started. I have SUCH a hard time with getting started because it just feels like such a giant pile of DOOM. In that way, the timer aspect of FlyLady really helps. But it has been (honest to god) over a year since I’ve managed to get consistent with the timer. Because I can’t get started.

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Bonny Clark February 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm

My biggest challenge, honestly, is encouraging my kids (and spouse) to pull their own weight. I have a great chore system, but it needs supervision! The kids aren’t old or adept enough to do their chores without someone watching over them or at least checking/offering feedback. I fail miserably at that!

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kate February 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Like rakovank, dishes are my biggest hurdle. I hates them and they never end. Even with a dishwasher. I’m also frustrated by the fact that even a few days ‘off’ (for work, or sick child, or just slacking) seems to bring things crashing down. My challenge is accepting that these things need to be done, and I’m the one to do them (as I’m the one here in the house the most to do them).

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erin from swonderland February 7, 2011 at 8:13 pm

the winter laundry is doing me in. there is just… so much of it. so. whenever i get overwhelmed by a small mundane thing like laundry, i try to focus on a great big project instead; decluttering the closet or getting all of the too-small or weird barely-worn yet seemingly always dirty kid clothes out of the pile, or cleaning the laundry room. something related to laundry but BIGGER, so i feel better about the laundry, and it becomes easier, if that makes sense.

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Brett Paesel February 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm

My problem is the debris. I can’t entirely figure it out. But wherever my boys go they leave small particles that become minor heaps. It’s crumbs, bits of paper, tiny rocks. God knows. It’s literally crazy-making. I do a huge cleaning and within hours there’s a tiny wall of it forming around the dining table.

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Katie February 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

My issue is that, if we don’t start off with a near-perfect home at the beginning of the week, things just seem to accumulate. If I spend all weekend cleaning and organizing, we seem to do okay during the following week. But if there are already dishes in the sink (even if it’s just, like, a couple of glasses) or already a few things hanging out on the kitchen island, it snowballs and, by Thursday, is just a mess. So, I’m working at the moment on trying to figure out where the tipping points are. For example, if the bathroom isn’t organized, it doesn’t spiral out of control – it just stays mildly disorganized. But if the kitchen (or the baby’s closet) aren’t clean by Sunday night, they’re war zones by Thursday.

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Leah February 8, 2011 at 5:56 am

OMG Brett! Debris! What an awesome way to describe it! Where DOES that come from anyway?

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Olivia February 8, 2011 at 9:00 am

I’ve mentioned before that the mail is a trouble spot for me. I just told my husband last night to be confident and throw out the junk, and if I go through it at least twice a week and I think that will help. Otherwise, it general clutter. Not very much counter space in the kitchen means it feels cluttered all the time. And, constantly trying to put things out of the toddler’s reach means the dining table is always cluttered. Another spot that always has stuff on it that I would like to clear and keep clear is the dryer. It’s right by the door so it becomes a landing spot, but I hate reaching over junk when I need to turn it on.

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Maman A Droit February 8, 2011 at 9:46 am

I’ve never heard of this FlyLady, but other commenters have mentioned timers & shiny sinks which makes me laugh. I’m lucky to get one dish clean at a time-my 18 month old has figured out that bashing his head repeatedly on a wall brings mama running, and I’m genuinely afraid he’s going to injure himself. So I can only clean in short enough increments he doesn’t feel ignored!

I hear it’s easier when you have more than one kid, ’cause they’ll entertain each other. I hope that’s true.

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rakovank February 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about this dishes everywhere thing, and I think I reluctantly came up with my solution. And I don’t like it one bit. But solution it still seems to be, so I’m going to try it this week and see what happens. Handwashing dishes whenever the dishwasher is full. I know – Gasp! Scoff! I might decide that dishes everywhere aren’t so bad when compared to the solution. We’ll see . . . . .

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carolyn February 8, 2011 at 10:24 am

I will need to check out this fly lady! :) Sounds like there are some good tips there? My biggest challenge is that I’m a clean perfectionist and my husband is unable to clean to my standards…….if I can get him to clean at all. So housework tends to land mainly on my shoulders. If I do want him to do something it usually requires me asking 2 or 3 times and then I’m just a nag. Working outside of the home full time and having this “cleaning ocd” can lead to some stressful moments.

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Alison Alfredson February 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

I’m a SAHM with three girls 15 mos, nearly 3 and 7. Dishes for sure are an issue especially since my dishwasher broke about 9 mos ago. We just haven’t figured out how to pay for a new one yet. So with a family of 5 the dishes are everywhere all the time. Also, we have toys in bedrooms and in a playroom, but the kids insist on being right around me all the time so the kids’ stuff ends up in the living room, kitchen and dining room. I always say it looks like a bomb went off. Every room is scattered with stuff and I could walk in circles in my home all day and continually be putting stuff away…which I do. Saving it all till the end of the day would be just too much and I’d probably just not do it.

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Ashley Colagross February 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Clutter, clutter, clutter how I hate thee!

My biggest battle is staying on top of the daily clutter that comes in the house (ex.mail) and forms from toys migrating from one room to another.

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