I don’t function when my house isn’t clean, when my glasses aren’t on, or when things are disorganized. Literally, I don’t function. It has become abundantly clear that a retirement requirement of a daily routine be established.
What I have found is that initial retirement created a lack of push to keep things in order. After all I have all day to get things done.
Let me explain. When I had a “job” I got up in the morning, checked my email, caught up on the overnight news and got my house in order before leaving for work. What I miss now is coming home at the end of the day to a totally clean and organized house. I loved being greeted by my home when I opened the front door at the end of a work day…organized and inviting.
That never happens anymore. We are living and working at home and it seems in constant motion, seldom totally together. It reminds me of the cluttered weekends during my last life. Tolerated but short lived, after all, it was only 2 days.
Over these past months I have instituted a new procedure. Please understand, this is separate from “cleaning the house”. These are the daily routines I perform to keep my home clean and in order. I also have weekly, monthly, and yearly routines, but discussing those is for another time.
This is the beginning of my new operating rules in the first phase of my retirement requirement:
- Make the bed. As soon as you get up and before you leave the bedroom. We have a rule at our house…last man out makes the bed. Secretly, sometimes I actually get up before I am ready, just so that I don’t have to make the bed. This one thing in and of itself, puts the day in order and provides a sense of accomplishment.
- Empty the dishwasher if it ran overnight. Put everything in its place.
- Squeegee the shower and wipe out the sinks.
- Put clothes away. Hang them up as soon as you take them off. This includes all clothing, coats, and shoes. Everything in its place. If it needs to go into the laundry…put it there.
- Do a load of laundry as soon as there is enough to make a full load. Dry it, fold it, and put it away. Each of us is responsible for putting our own things away. By the way, I used to put everything away. Not anymore. I do fold the clothes, but then I put them into a bin to be put away.
- Amass things in baskets, drawers, and bins. A place for everything, even if it is unread mail and magazines. Nothing is allowed to “lay around”. Except maybe the adults in front of the TV.
- DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. Put things away immediately. Put things where they belong…immediately. Pick up and clean up as you go.
- NEVER Leave a dirty kitchen at night before you go to bed.
- Don’t waste trips. I have 3 floors in my home as well as a garage and carriage house. If I traveled up and down the stairs for each individual task I would be exhausted by midday. By gathering things that need to be transported to other areas I avoid multiple trips. Each time one of us goes up or down stairs or to the garage or carriage house we transport the collected items to that area.
- Develop a routine. Form a weekly plan with tasks for each day and do those tasks on that day. Each day should have a basic outline, without forgetting to take a day off.
- Incorporate the weekly meal plan into each day and know in advance that you have all of your ingredients. I normally multi task with meal prep and overall home maintenance.
Incorporating this basic outline of tasks has brought the much needed order to our daily living.
There is still one overriding problem that I have not solved. Paper, Paper, Paper…Mail, Mail, More Mail. This may be my demise. I hate the clutter it causes and the lack of organization it exhales. Paper may be the death of me. The ‘Ole Buckeye has several bad habits but what causes me the most stress is his trail of paper. The mail comes in and is deposited on the kitchen counter. Once it is opened it is either relocated to a table beside his favorite chair in the den, left on the counter, or deposited into a stack on his desk. His desk is black, but if I took a picture any day of the week it would appear to be white. This one thing has been a bone of contention over the many years we have been married. HOWEVER, I have learned not to touch. If one single piece of paper is “rearranged” it soon becomes “my fault”, if he can’t locate what he is looking for. I cannot count the times that he has spent hours looking for something that he “put away.” I refuse to be caught in the trap of loosing something for him! I don’t want to hear him ask the age old question, “Where did you put my…”. You would think with all of our current technology, paper would no longer be an issue, especially when I see how much we shred and recycle.
The paper issue aside, the induction of this retirement requirement has provided more relaxed living for me. Hopefully a future post will be titled, Retirement Requirement, Conquering Paper. (in my dreams!)
Routine provides structure and familiarity. It also provides time. Although it should not rule our lives, by following general routines we develop good habits. By continually “keeping up” we allow ourselves to relax and enjoy our home. If the door bell rings we don’t have to panic about the appearance of our home. There is no need to scramble, just to issue a welcome “come in”.