I love making our home a relaxing, peaceful place. It's been so nice settling down in San Diego with Wes. It's hard to believe we've been here 6 months! We live in a 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath apartment in San Diego, but it's feels house-like because it's two stories (P.S. We want visitors!). It's so fun, my dream really, to feel like we have our own household. While I'm no expert, I wanted to share some tricks and ideas that I've found help the household run more smoothly.
1. Pre-vacation cleaning is so worth it! Before going on a trip or vacation, whether it be for two days or two weeks, take 1 hour to clean your house, take out the trash, and put clean sheets on the bed before you leave. It will subconsciously help you feel more centered while you're away. You don't want to feel like there is a massive to-do list waiting for you at home.
2. Create a drop-station at your front door. We didn't have this for the first 5 months in San Diego, and let me tell you, I REALLY wish I would have done this sooner. There wasn't enough wall space for a console table, so we went vertical! We took a 78" tall wrought iron, corner shelving unit from Hobby Lobby ($60) and put it at our entry. I added a mirrored tray for car keys and fabric-lined wire baskets for mail, sunglasses, doggy bags, and Bentley's leash/harness. Let me tell you how happy I am to not have our kitchen table covered in clutter. So worth it!
3. Have a 1-week rule for paper piles. It's so easy to let mail, magazines, catalogs, promotional flyers, coupons, and receipts pile up on the counter. We plan to "look at it later" but "later" becomes "never" and pretty soon we have a bunch of old, stale mail and receipts for $1 McDonald's ice cream cones to sift through. It really helps to clear your paper items out weekly.
4. Combine puppy-washing day and shower-cleaning day. We don't have a dog-washing station or garden hose at our apartment complex, so our puppychild, Bentley, gets the bathtub. In the morning I'll wash Bentley, and then I'll immediately follow with doing a heavy-duty deep cleaning of our shower. It's a great way to stay on schedule for both puppy-washing and shower-cleaning.
5. Fix stains and resew loose buttons as SOON as you see them. There are so many times where we will come across a shirt or item of clothing and wonder why we haven't worn it in the last 6 months. Then we realize there is a stain or a loose button that needs a repair. I've learned to never put the item back in the closet until it's fixed.
6. Make lunches the night before. I love making my husbands lunch for him every day. I love baking the bread, making the sandwiches, and throwing in surprises for him. Sometimes I'll add notes to lift his spirit and let him know I appreciate and support him. Since he is in the military he gets up around 5am every morning, so it really helps me sleep peacefully knowing that I've done something to make him smile the next day.
7. Always have a box of pretty blank cards on hand. You'll never know when you need a card to say "thank you", "I love you", "You got this", "I miss you" or "I'm sorry". Blank cards are a great way to go. I like to have a couple of varieties on hand, one more feminine and one more gender-neutral. It will save you a trip to CVS!
8. Refrigerate fresh flowers overnight and/or while you're at work. It makes your flowers last 5x longer than they would if you left them out all day and night. I swear by this trick. Once I got some flowers from my husband to last 3 weeks! It's like they weren't real.
9. Send sponges and scrubbers through the dishwasher once a week. Sponges are easy to forget about. They sit there. They do their job. But sponges are the dirtiest cleaning device we could use. It's like dousing our dirty sneakers with Lysol and trying to clean the floor. Bad analogy, but you get the idea. Just sent them through the dishwasher and you're set.
10. Create a filing system. I grew up in a house that had a huge filing cabinet. My mom liked to print a hard copy of everything. We can call her kill-a-tree-Kathy. Hehe kidding. I love you, mom. Everyone has their own method of managing important documents, right? Currently all of our important documents fit into one locked fireproof file box, but we will soon outgrow that. There isn't one "right" way to organize important documents, but I think the important thing is that 1) You go through the files at least once a year to clear out irrelevant items, like oil-change receipts from your first car, 2) You know where each document is located, and 3) Sensitive information is well protected. Happy organizing!
Mrs. Dylan Jahraus
, by Dylan Jahraus