Parenthood can be especially hard for type-A women — those people who pretreat every stain, who use special boards to fold their t-shirts, and who alphabetize their cleaning supplies. Kids truly make keeping a tidy home next to impossible. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Sort of.
We took a hard look at how messy people live, and although many of their habits aren’t ones the organized moms among us would care to emulate (eating over the sink to avoid dirtying a dish just sounds miserable), there are a few tips even the most obsessive-compulsive moms can use to make life a little easier.
Leave Things Out.
Tidy, organized people will often tell you that “everything has its place” and that, at the end of each day, everything should be put away. But that shouldn’t always be the case. Some items that you use multiple times a day might serve you better if left out in plain sight. Don’t keep tucking your comfy cardigan in the dresser — just leave it on the nursing chair so it’s right there the next time it gets a little chilly. Quit folding up the stroller and shoving it in the hall closet. If there’s room, leave it by the front door, ready to go the next time you want to take a walk.
Wait To Clean Up Until You’re Done.
Any efficient cook swears by cleaning up as they go — no sense in saving all the dishes until after the meal, right? Sure, but when you’re doing a craft with your kids and you have a desire to sweep up while the glue is still drying midway through their project, resist the urge. You’ll have a lot more fun — and you might even see more creativity spark up — if you keep your focus on the activity itself.
Allow for junk drawers.
We dont mean a chaotic drawer of dried-up markers, paper clips, errant sticks of gum, and recipe cards here. For your kids’ belongings, don’t waste time sorting their books from their building blocks every time you — or they! — put things back in the toy chest. It’s OK if the Legos aren’t all back in the Lego bin or the coloring books back in the desk drawer at the end of the day. The key is that they are getting good use of the items, and they might actually be more apt to pick up a book while rummaging through their dolls if it already happens to be there.
Own multiples . . . and scatter them all over the place.
You might think it’s wasteful to have two half-used bottles of shampoo in the bathroom or six iPhone chargers, but before you streamline your cord collection and keep just one for the house and one for the office, try a week where there’s one plugged into an outlet in every main room of your home. It might seem like clutter, but never again will you be stuck with a phone hovering around 4-percent battery life or leave it charging down the hall only to miss 17 text messages from your partner at the grocery store. The same goes for diaper change materials for new moms in big houses. No sense in climbing a flight of stairs with a fussy newborn every time she has a “poopsplosion.” Instead, create a mini changing station on every floor.
A mother’s job is never done, and once your kids are in bed, you likely have the tendency to break out your to-do list and get to work. That’s why type-A moms should include one important item on their daily task list: relax. Carve out an hour each night where you sit back and watch TV or read a magazine without interruption.
November 2, 2016 KATE SCHWEITZER