Elephant Stew

ElephantYears ago when I was dealing with more in my life and home then I could handle, my fiance (I’ve been married for 38 years so that tells you how long ago it was) asked me “How do you eat an elephant?” I naturally thought that was an outrageous and stupid question, but replied sweetly (;-)) “I don’t know, How DO you eat an elephant?” His reply – “One bite at a time!!”

We can be pretty overwhelmed by the clutter and problems we face in our homes and  in our lives. We look at everything that isn’t quite right in every area – our weight, the clutter, our jobs, our kids, our spouse, the house, national politics, and on and on, and we feel defeated and discouraged.
Instead, look around you and find one thing that you can do quickly and simply. Even when you are totally worn out do just one thing and then quit if you need to.
For years I had a box of things that needed repair stuck in a corner of one of my disaster areas. One day I set aside a FULL DAY to deal with ALL THAT STUFF. I got out glue and needle and thread and my ironing board and that iron-on patching tape and set to work. THIRTY MINUTES LATER!!!! everything was fixed. There were things there that ever time I had looked at broken and damaged hurt my heart. It was so unnecessary. Now I keep needle and thread ready and glue close at hand and take care of things quickly. (It only took a few years to figure that one out!)

Please remember that it took me years to figure this out and even  more years to make myself take consistent action but if you will begin to deal with your challenges, from missing buttons to broken music boxes, I promise it will get easier. Do I smell elephant stew on the stove?

imageThe Area of Focus from Monday to Wednesday is The Front Porch, Entry, and Dining Room. These rooms have more importance this week because you may be welcoming Family and friends to celebrate the many ways we are blessed by God. On Friday our Area of Focus is the Family Bathroom(s) for the last days of the month.

The Weekly Overview, Thursday is Thanksgiving so shift your Thursday task (Floor Day) to Friday because if you are doing a lot of cooking, your floor will get dirty:

Each Monday

  • Pull your home back together after the weekend
  • Clean all your toilets
  • Check your bathrooms for any needed supplies—personal, paper, and cleaning and add them to your shopping list

Each Tuesday—Duster Dance Day—Draft any little helpers in your home to help you. Grab some fun dusters, and put on some happy music and dance that dust right out of your home.

Each Wednesday

  • Pay your bills
  • Take care of any personal and family business—Cards to send? Phone calls to make? Emails or letters to send?
  • File any papers you need in a way that you will be able to locate them, if needed. Don’t clutter your life with papers you will never look at again. Toss them!

Each Friday—Wrap up your week—

  • Clean out your car—don’t forget to take in trash and personal belongings each time you arrive home but Friday is the day you give your car some extra TLC
  • Clean out your purse, backpack, diaper bag, tote, or computer case.  I straighten the contents of my purse regularly but Friday is the day I make sure everything is in order and I am not carrying a lot of weight I don’t need.
  • Vacuum the traffic areas in your home.

Saturday is Family Fun Day –whether you work or play together, make it fun. Create memories.

Sunday is the ring on your week that signifies your love relationship with the Lord—take time to worship. Then plan your week with your husband and children.

Anticipate the needs of each day ahead of time—for activities, games, concerts. Will food be needed? Special clothes or uniforms? Write it down now and work out the details calmly instead in a last minute panic.

My Daily Routine

 Note:  Involve your family.   You are not doing your children a favor if they are not learning to be good helpers and increasingly more able to take care of their clothes, toys and other possessions. Help them to make their bed in the morning until they are able to do it on their own. Their clothes should be laid out the night before and putting their rooms and toys in order before bedtime should be a regular part of their routine.

In the morning:

  •  Quiet time
  • Breakfast
  • Vitamins/Medications
  • Exercise – a regular short routine is better than a longer  routine you never do

Make laundry and dishes a priority

  • Laundry-I start a load of laundry first thing each morning and make a point of getting it into the dryer and then folded and into the drawers.
  • Dishwasher–Make a point of not leaving clean dishes in the dishwasher.  Unload the dishwasher as soon as the dishes can be handled.  Work to get your family to put their dishes directly into the dishwasher instead of leaving them on the counter or in the sink.  Start a load as soon as it is fairly full.

At the end of the day

  • Gather and Empty Trash
  • Lay Out  Tomorrow’s Clothes
  • Before Bedtime Walk Through

The 20 minute Walk Through—You Can Put Your Home in Order in Under 20 Minutes a Day

Develop the habit of picking up after yourself. There will be less to do during your walk through.

Your Bedroom–Under 7 minutes each day:

  • Make your bed either before or after your morning shower. (2 minutes)
  • Pick up and put away any clothes, shoes, or jewelry (4 minutes)
  • Straighten your surfaces (night stand and dresser) (under 1 minute)

Your Bathroom–Under 2 minutes each day

  • Wipe out the sink (30 seconds) I keep a stack of white washcloths under the sink and use them to wipe out the sink and wipe down the counters each time I use the sink. I noticed after some time that my husband has adopted this habit, too!
  • Wipe off the toilet seat and rim (20 seconds)
  • Swish the toilet bowl with a toilet brush (20 seconds)
  • Polish the mirror and faucet (20 seconds)
  • Keep a squeegee in the shower and squeegee the surfaces immediately after your shower or use a shower spray (20 seconds)

 Your Kitchen – Under 5 minutes each day

While the coffee is brewing:

  • Wipe down the sink (30 seconds)
  • Wipe off the stove (30 seconds)
  • Wipe down the counters (1 minute)
  • Sweep or Swiffer the floor (2 minutes)

Your Living Room—7  minutes each day

  • Use a mini vac to pick up crumbs (2 minutes) (If you don’t have a mini vac use a whisk broom and  small dust pan)
  • Straighten pillows on the couch and chairs and fold throws (2 minutes)
  • Spot clean end tables, coffee table and entertainment center – wipe off any fingerprints or other marks. (1 minute)
  • Put away CD’s and DVD’s. Straighten books and magazines. Discard newspapers (2 minutes)

Make a tote or totes for each area with any cleaning supplies you will need for your quick cleaning.

Cleaning principles:

  • Clean from the clean area into the dirtier area to avoid spreading the dirt around.
  • Work from the top to bottom to knock dust down.
  • Either work from the furthest corner to the door or work around the room in a single direction.
  • Vacuum after you dust.



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