As a cleaning expert and mom-to-be, Melissa Homer, Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro, is passionate about keeping a clean and organized home and doing so as efficiently as possible. Love To Know Cleaning sat down with Homer to learn more about how to save time and aggravation by streamlining your morning routine.
Streamlining Your Morning Routine
Are you wondering if changing your morning routine can really make that much of a difference in your life? If so, consider timing yourself to see how long it actually takes you to get ready in the morning. Many of people are under the delusion that they are faster at getting ready for the day than they actually are, especially families with children. If you have difficulty getting out the door in the morning, Homer recommends that parents get completely ready before children (especially young children) wake up and always pad the get-ready time by 15 minutes.
Love To Know (LTK): What do you mean by streamlining the morning routine?
Melissa Homer (MH): It's all about prepping beforehand. The more you can do beforehand or the night before, the less mental energy you have to spend on the next day. You are less likely to forget things. Always have your stuff in there and ready to go so you aren't running around while you are tired trying to do it?
LTK: What about a checklist?
MH: You want to make your preparation routine, something you do every night. A workbag that has everything you need for the office from your cell phone charger to your papers. Your child's backpack with their school papers, everything signed and homework packed. Remember that it takes 60 times to do something to develop a habit.
LTK: What is an effective to-do list?
MH: A fair thing to do for organizing your evening. In the morning, everything should be out and ready. Checklists can help you get started, but if you rely on a checklist rather than motion memory more likely to forget things.
LTK: How long should it take?
MH: Allot at least a half hour, make sure lunches are ready, that workbags and backpacks are packed, all clothes are ready to go. If you have younger kids, you may need more time. Any task expands to the time set aside for it.
LTK: What is the greatest challenge to a morning routine?
MH: The greatest challenge is the unpredictability. Is your child having a good day or a bad day? It's all about the human element. Which is why you want all the decision-making done the night before. Eliminating what you have to think about minimizes distractions.
Preparing for a Streamlined Routine
Clutter and poor organization can stand in the way streamlining your morning routine. Making sure that your refrigerator is organized and that household clutter is kept to a minimum are key ways to lay the groundwork for smooth mornings.
The kitchen is a high traffic area in your home morning, noon and night. If you can't find breakfast items or the things you need to prepare lunch for yourself or your kids, your morning routine will be unnecessarily stressful. Homer offers her tips on how to save time in your kitchen - and get out the door faster in the mornings - by organizing your fridge.
LTK: What recommendations do you start with for organizing your refrigerator?
MH: First and foremost is healthy and safety, checking expiration dates, getting things out that are rotting in the back of the fridge, it will also encourage you to buy healthy produce because you are keeping an eye on what's in there. When it's clean and more inviting, people will go in to get what they have in there. Healthy food looks better in a clean environment. In terms of finances, it will help costs stay down with less food loss. Your fridge will run more efficiently because you won't have it open for 10 minutes at a time looking for items.
LTK: How often should you clean it out?
MH: I recommend a solid fridge clean-out at least every other month (six times a year). And then a spot-checking type of stuff should be done each week before grocery shopping so you can restock. A big thing to do is to plan your food better. Write down what you want to cook, check what's in the fridge to see if you can use what you have and help eliminate waste
LTK: Anywhere else?
MH: Truth be told it should be applied to all shopping process. You should take an inventory, check what you have, what's low, what you need and use what you have. Figure out what's in there and use it up. Put newest in the back, and recycle old forward so nothing hits expiration.
Identifying Declutter Needs
Saving time is about preparing your space. The less time you spend looking for items, the faster you can get ready and the easier your mornings can be. Homer provides ideas on how you can identify your declutter needs and the key differences between housekeeping and housecleaning.
LTK: Where do you start?
MH: Two places I talk about. Where do you start to clean and where do you start to organize? There is a big difference between housecleaning and housekeeping. One is a time to clean, the other is a time to organize. You need to do these activities separately.
First step is organize:
- Go through what you have and get rid of you are not using. If you haven't used it in a year, you probably done' need it. You don't have to invest in the stuff from the organizing stores. Basket of hair and bow ties.
- In terms of cleaning - start in wet cleaning rooms where you need to scrub and bend. When you get tired, you vacuum and dusting.
- When our professionals clean, they start with the kitchen, then bathrooms upstairs, then living areas, then down to the bathrooms and living areas downstairs.
Another quick tip if you have to do both house keeping and house cleaning at the same time, put a laundry basket by door and put stuff in the basket that doesn't belong in the room. This lets you stay in the room and complete the organizing and cleaning in that space.
LTK: What if you have to clean on the fly?
MH: When you are looking at priorities - high traffic are the kitchen and bathrooms. Make a regular time for those. Making cleaning parting of what you are doing, take the time to clean behind yourself so it doesn't build up. Disinfecting bathroom wipes in the bathroom, wipe down tub, toilet seat and tub so you can keep it down. If you clean as you go, then that half hour goes a lot further.
Making These Tips Work for You
Everything is about routines and forming habits. It takes 21 days to begin developing habit and 66 days to form it. Where kids are concerned, always send them back to finish what they have left undone. It can be tiring, but repetition and praise are the key to developing the habits needed to streamline your routine. Love To Know Cleaning would like to thank Melissa Homer for taking the time to chat with us and wishes her and MaidPro continued success!