There are two things that I love. Waking up to a clean kitchen and climbing in to a made bed. After countless years spent waiting for someone else to make this happen I realized that this was a simple gift that I could give myself. With just a few minutes at the start and end of my day I could give myself these small pleasures.
Cleaning the Kitchen
I'm sure anyone with small children can relate, what takes you 10 minutes to do alone will surely multiply by three with kids in tow. They are my number one distraction. They want to help. They want a snack. They need some love. Yes, Wells identifies her need for your undivided attention, as loving. Momma, can you give me some love is always hard to turn down. You see, they've already distracted me and they're not even in the room.
I like the ritual of making my coffee in the morning. My kids like the ritual of me fixing them breakfast and getting them situated into the day. Once we're up we are going in a million directions and that will only increase as the kids get older. Starting the morning off with a clean slate makes all the difference. I also make an effort to empty the dishwasher while I drink my coffee. Leaving those clean dished in there too long sets off a pattern of mess. I'm much more likely to keep the sink clean if our dirty dishes can go immediately into the dishwasher.
Walking into a mess puts me in a bad mood so I've started staying up a few minutes later at night and cleaning the kitchen. I make sure every pot is clean and dried and put away. I run the dishwasher. I clean off the counter tops. This sounds so obvious but you wouldn't believe the number of times I used to go to bed with dishes in the sink only to start my day off on the wrong foot when I see them the next day.
I also try to wash pans, knives, and the cutting boards right after I use them throughout the day. This keeps the nighttime cleaning to just a few minutes. If I don't want to wash a dirty pan immediately after I enjoyed eating the meal it produced than I am sure as heck not going to enjoy washing it the next day when I'm hungry again.
Making the Bed
There is nothing better than climbing in to a bed that's made. Tucking yourself into clean sheets and soft pillows lined up properly is always worth the extra four minutes in the morning. After a long and exhausting day chasing after my two and three year old I don't want to wrangle messy linens off the floor in a sloppy attempt to relax.
this or this. My idea of a perfectly made bed involves several rows of pillows at the top, a pretty sheet folded down over the top blanket, and, a down comforter folded neatly at the end. But you know what? Those last two steps takes an extra two minutes that I don't have. It's one more step of effort that keeps me from bothering to make my bed at all. I even tried a look like this which helped but still took just a bit too much effort.
So you know what I did? I started placing my down comforter underneath my top blanket instead of on top. It doesn't affect how it feels while I'm sleeping. And it leaves me with just one giant sheet to straighten. Everything gets tucked under the pillows. Sheets and down comforter and blanket. Simple. Clean. Not perfect. But perfect for me.
What are your simple steps? Are there any cleaning rituals you preform every day as a gift to yourself? I've noticed that when I change my attitude about these tasks, they feel less like a chore. Now if only I could learn to feel that way about putting away folded laundry.