Tag Archives: 28 Days to Hope for Your Home

Happy SIMPLE Habits

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*Knock. Knock. Knock.*

*Wrestle past the barking dogs to open the door.*

“Hello! And Welcome! Come on in!”

Okay, so maybe you’re not quite feeling this way when someone shows up unexpectedly at your home, but perhaps you are feeling so much better than you used to. I hope so. I know I’m feeling much more hope about the state of my house. Doing the dishes makes that happen.

I’ve noticed another benefit too of a cleaner kitchen. I have more mental energy to mess it up again. 🙂

Common Grace Brownies

Those are Common Grace Brownies with Double-Stuff Chocolate and Mint Oreos. I stashed most of them in the freezer so we don’t eat them all in one day.

Have you done your habits yet today? I aim to tackle mine after the kids are in bed each evening. Sometimes it takes the will power of swimming through mud.

The Habits:

  • Do the dishes. All of them.
  • Sweep the kitchen. Yes, every single day.
  • Check the bathrooms for clutter. You don’t want your kid’s undies on the floor when a guest needs to use the loo.
  • Do a five-minute pick-up. Don’t waste your breath telling me that can’t make a difference. Just do it. What are you scared of?

Are you still struggling with these four things? Yeah, me too. So does Nony.

It’s okay. Just do it anyway. If you don’t believe you have the time, then just start with the dishes.

You know what I like most about Nony’s system? It’s simple! I’ve tried other methods, and I end up despairing and trying to catch back up by day two, but with 28 Days to Hope for Your Home, I don’t have to catch up or start over. If my house is a disaster, and I’m determined to fix it today, it’s kinda possible to make a real amount of progress by just doing the four habits.

So, what now? Keep doing the habits until they are as thoughtlessly done as brushing your teeth. Enjoy that kitchen smiling at you each morning. Perhaps you can also take some time figuring out when to do laundry or meal plan or clean the bathrooms. Nony has some great checklists for further ideas. You might also benefit from understanding the difference of “cleanies and messies.”

And maybe not. Maybe you just need more time. That’s okay. I didn’t schedule the white glove inspection today anyway. Perhaps tomorrow.

Jump up, right now, complete all four habits on your list, and then come back to tell me how your house feels.

Battling the Laundry Monster

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So, how has the past week been? Are you finding Hope for your Home? Did you fall off the wagon? GO DO YOUR DISHES! We’ll wait.

Time to add a new habit! Guess what that habit is not! Laundry. (Seriously, I could only dream of not doing laundry.)

Nony does talk about this habit on her blog, and I love the idea of only doing laundry once a week. Except for the part of our home drowning in laundry. Maybe it would be different if we had a laundry room instead of a laundry hallway between the kids’ rooms. But we don’t so let’s not beat that poor horse.

It is a war without end, but we must battle anyway! Because people want, no demand, clean clothes to wear. Perhaps it truly is a “need.”

I used to struggle much more with laundry than I do now. I have fabulous laundry ideas pinned, but the first order of business is always the same when serving others.

Smile. You are blessing those you love. They may not thank you enough for clean underwear, but smile anyway.

After that, my biggest struggle with laundry used to be aiming for the bottom of the basket. Every Single Day. Yeah, in a house with five kids under the age of ten, we go from empty to overflowing in 4.5 seconds. It’s about as quick as me saying, “Kids! Pick up your rooms!”

Recently, I learned from my sister that she tries to find the bottom of the basket each weekend and just does a bit throughout the week. So smart, she is.

Somewhere, perhaps on a mom of many blog, I read that you need to do one load of laundry per day for every three people in your house. I round up to three loads a day to account for extra laundry that often comes with little ones and to give me two or three days “off” each week. But I can never let that be two days in a row!

It really helps. Even if I’m so behind on laundry that we need to declare a “Wear A Dirty Bathrobe” day, I know that if I complete three loads we’ll probably all have something to wear the next day. If I do another three loads the next day, we might even have choices in what we wear the day after that. 🙂

Ideally, I fold on my bed while the kids finish after-dinner chores and prepare for bed. Even the three year old puts away her own laundry with a bit of help from her big sister. I listen to podcasts while folding if the kids are too busy to come talk to me.

Mating Socks

Often lately, I’ve been folding laundry after everyone but me has hit the hay. (Hubby works late. He only wishes he was sleeping too.) So I fold on the kitchen table, and laundry must be put away before breakfast. I don’t like this system as much, but it works for this season. We plan to move next Spring, and a laundry room is on the wish list. I hope to build or have someone else build a few of these. It’s also about time to teach my oldest two to help with laundry more. I need to deliberately do some training in that area. Perhaps we’ll start with coloring this page and feeling thankful for a washer and dryer.

I nearly never iron and rarely hand wash. I just don’t ever get to it. So we go for clothes that don’t need such extra care. We also attempt to keep clothes decluttered. Going through kids’ clothes regularly poses a huge challenge for me. Kudos to you moms who do a seasonal clothing switch! I never do. I also aim not to store clothes that won’t be used within two years aside from really special items. Someone else can benefit.

So that’s the method of my madness at the moment. How do you handle laundry at your house?

*Disclaimer: We have never declared “Wear A Dirty Bathrobe” Day. Not everyone in my home actually owns a robe. 😀

Sometimes You Can Give Yourself a Break

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So, I totally flaked out on you all last week with the whole Hope for Your Home Series. Did you miss me?

You see, I’m saying to you and to myself that I’m only going to work on changing one thing at a time, but truthfully life keeps marching on with all it’s life stuff.

Every single night, people in my home want dinner again. Do things work that way at your house?

Also, I’m trying to blog consistently, and I keep changing my mind on what that looks like. I have two goals.

  1. Make a million dollars from blogging
  2. Record important happenings within my family

Not impossible, right?

***(In case you want to buy me chocolate, I tend to buy myself the Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint. The little squares are a perfect pat on the back for finishing the dishes, and the company follows high standards of ethics.)***

So, last week I was feeling a little overwhelmed, and I had to do some stern but loving self-talk. I cannot give this blog enough time to make an immediate living wage, and homeschool, and chase littles, and tend a home, and enjoy my micro-gardening, and smile at people even when I’m tired, and plan and do the shopping, and play with the budget for the thirteenth time that payday, and . . .

Let’s everybody take a minute to breathe! Very slowly now. Feel your chest expand. Good. Now let it all out and relax all the way down to your toes. God’s got this. Be available to Him.

So, what I really want to do with my writing time is write five blog posts a week bare minimum, publish four, and bank one for the future. I also want to send out one submission a week to a paying market, write up a haiku every day, write a Shakespearean sonnet every week, write two handwritten letters to whoever I feel needs it each week, write love letters to my immediate family each week, work at least an hour each on blog improvement, a bigger writing project, . . . .

Okay, I think we need to breath again.

Yeah, I tend to bounce between extremes. I believe that for the moment I’m going to aim for two blog posts a week. One about my current project or habit I’m working on, and one that journals about things I want to remember. The days pass slowly, but the years fly quietly by. I don’t want to forget these moments. I want to be thankful. I want to love on others with this gift of words. I don’t want to be chained to a blogging schedule that’s choking the life out of me. I’ve done that before.

Confession: I didn’t finish all my dishes last night, but I did run the dishwasher, and I washed a few of the hand-wash only items.

I also did a little freezer cooking yesterday. This is shredded chicken cooked in sweet and sour sauce. Plastic lizard not required.

Shredded Sweet and Sour Chicken


  • Cook up several meals worth of meat in the crock pot and then freeze them into meal-size portions. I do this with chicken, sausage, and ground beef.
  • To save green and be green, use freezer-safe, reusable containers. I like pyrex in the one and two cup sizes, and I’ve been increasing my stash a little at a time.

And I harvested and dried more basil yesterday.

I really wish you could smell this.
I really wish you could smell this.
It still smells awesome.
It still smells awesome.

Wooohoooo! I won’t be buying any more weak basil from the store. Actually, I think I’ll have more than enough soon. I’m considering selling the extra. I need to explore those options.

The day was not lost, and my kitchen was not a total disaster when I dropped into bed. It has truly been worse.

So how is your journey of finding Hope for Your Home coming along? Is it maybe taking you a bit longer than twenty-eight days? That’s okay. Me too. You might master all the habits for a year and then feel blindsided by illness or tragedy. Don’t give up. Just go do your dishes.

You’re doing awesome!

The Morning After

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So, how has the past week been? Are you finding Hope for your Home? Did you fall off the wagon? GO DO YOUR DISHES! We’ll wait.

Confession: I am struggling. We had a birthday party over the weekend, and I did some desperate slam-bam cleaning of the whole house. Huge progress but not perfection. More than one night saw me drop into bed with dishes undone.

But! All is not lost! Mondays mean new beginnings every single week. I marched with determination into my kitchen after putting the kids to bed last night. I looked around, told myself it could be worse, that it has definitely been worse, but my determination deflated anyway. So, I tried an old trick of setting the timer for fifteen minutes and told myself I could quit afterward.

It’s amazing what fifteen minutes can do! It reminded me of a post I originally published on my old blog, Communicate Creativity, way back in 2010 when my oldest was in kindergarten, and nearly all dish-washing duty fell on my shoulders. (Sorry, that blog is gone now except for parts of it on the Wayback Machine.)

Originally Published September of 2010:

I struggle to keep my house somewhat clean, and I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with the same challenge out there in the whole wide world. So, in an effort to be totally honest and hopefully encouraging to someone, I’m going to invite you into my kitchen and dining room the Monday after a birthday party weekend.

We woke up Monday morning without a clean cereal bowl to eat out of . . .

Kitchen After a Party

Or a place to set those cereal bowls to fuel up for the day. Doesn’t the dog look pitiful?

Dining Room After a Party

Now, there have been plenty of times as a hopeless-feeling clutterbug that I would have washed only what was absolutely necessary, shoved a few things out of the way, and told the rest, “Tend you later!” Later would never come, and dinner time would arrive with me still having a kitchen too messy to actually cook in.

That did not happen this time because I know the power of fifteen minutes.

*Note: Oftentimes, when I tell myself that I only have to “give it fifteen” I feel like giving more once the timer releases me. I stuck with the fifteen minutes though for the most part for the purpose of this post.*

*Second Note: This is all done without the use of a dishwasher. I have a dishwasher, but I rarely use it. It makes things too easy for me to put stuff off until I have a catastrophe in my kitchen. I also have many non-dishwasher safe dishes.*

So, I gave fifteen minutes to the kitchen. I didn’t finish everything or even close to everything, but I cleaned more than we were about to dirty. Progress! I started with emptying the trash, and getting rid of those pizza boxes. I also pulled out a previously assembled frozen meal for that night’s dinner so I wouldn’t have to stress about it later. My daughter put away the dinosaur floor puzzle that I used to decorate the kitchen island for the party.

Kitchen Improving

With enough dishes to eat breakfast with and a little extra clean, I turned to the dining room so we would have a place to eat. Fifteen minutes later, I found my table! (Again.)

Functional Dining Room Table

After the fifteen minutes I just pushed in the table leaves and turned the table back to where I want it, and we ate breakfast.

Back to the kitchen! Clearing the table had added a few more dishes, including the cookie sheet the cake had sat on for the party and painting supplies that needed cleaned up before being put away. Plus, we had eaten breakfast. So I had to clean our cereal bowls and high chair tray before tackling the mess that was already there. I still made progress.

Wow! The Mess is a Kitchen!

We ate leftovers for lunch. (Read: No extra pots or pans to wash.) I gave the kitchen another fifteen minutes. At this point it was becoming increasingly difficult to not just finish the job. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I wanted to reach it. For you, my Dear Readers, I held off.

Somehow I managed to miss taking a picture after my after-lunch fifteen minute session.

While dinner cooked, I leisurely dried and put away clean dishes that had been piling up all day. I also played with my kids, cut out coupons, and puttered around in general with my distracted self. (Fifteen minute timers give focus!)

Fifteen minutes after dinner, and I’m practically done with dishes!

Almost Clean Kitchen

I didn’t want to, but I kept reminding myself that I was doing it for you, and I left those last items overnight.

After breakfast on Tuesday, I finished the dishes!

Smiling Kitchen

A clean kitchen is the way to start your dayAfter lunch, because I only had a few plates, silverware, and the high chair tray to clean, I was able to wipe down all the counters and sweep part of the floor before my timer beeped and released me.

There are those of you that are going to read this and think, “Ugh! I never let my kitchen get that bad!” More power to you! This post isn’t for you.

This post is for you. You know who you are. You look around your home and beat yourself up because you can’t keep up. You look in the mirror and realize you haven’t brushed your teeth today, and you can’t remember when you last combed your hair. I’ve been there. Life throws too many punches sometimes.

Get up. Go spend five minutes on you. You have time for that. Brush your teeth. Fix your hair. Wash your face. Put on some bright red lipstick if it makes you feel good. Take thirty seconds to decide what needs attention in your home the most and go give that area fifteen minutes. You have time for that. More than likely, the kitchen begs for attention. Kitchens are often the heart of the home. So if you can’t decide in thirty seconds what to tackle, go to the kitchen. Just do it! Then holler, “Nike!” loud enough that your crazy neighbors will think you’re crazy. Nike means victory, and you have won at something.

When things get bad at my house, and my old friend the “To-Do” List threatens to be a year long, I start with a new piece of paper, and take thirty seconds to write down three things. Three and no more. I have to cross something off before I allow myself to write down another. Don’t write something that will take hours like, “Clean Kitchen.” Use the power of fifteen minutes and write, “Kitchen 15.” You have time for that.

You, My Friend, are beautiful. You are intelligent. You are strong. You are capable.

Yell it with me now, “Nike!”


Wow, I want to go back and hug that mother of three that used to be me. Now, with five kids, I must admit, I still struggle with some of the same things, but other things are SO MUCH BETTER. I really am changing these habits with long-term effects.

Confession: I totally use the dishwasher now. I’ve eliminated many plastic stuff that can’t hold up. Plus my 7 and 9 year olds take turns with kitchen duty after each meal. So, my kitchen rarely reaches such a disaster status that I cannot find the kitchen to cook.

How about you? I truly hope you’re finding Hope for Your Home. My first fifteen minute session last night didn’t finish my dishes, but I gave myself a little writing break and then set the timer again. The second fifteen minutes finished the dishes, wiped down stove and counters, and grabbed a head-start on this week’s new habit. Woohooo!

Hugs! Now go do your dishes.

Mildly Disorganized? You Shall Not Pass!

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Desperate for help and change?

Hi! Why don’t you come in? Kick off your shoes and stay awhile. Let’s chat.

Kick Off Your Shoes

One of my crazy goals for 2014 is to completely clean and declutter every room in the house one room at a time.

It’s a big goal to shoot for but reach for the stars and all that. 🙂

If you’ve been to my house you know I am not a master housekeeper. I wish I was. I always thought I would be. (Don’t ask me for the logic behind that.) I do strive to not apologize for the state of my home so visitors don’t have to look around and say, “Oh, it’s not that bad. I love what you’ve done with that empty corner.”

My cousin and I discussed our families going on vacation without us so we could stay home and clean. Sadly, I have daydreamed about that possibility. Can the pets leave too?

But! The family would return and so would the mess even if I achieved show-home perfection for a tiny moment.

And honestly? Much of the mess starts with me. So I’m focusing on simple habits while I reach for big miracles.

Hi, Nony! Have you met this woman? I love her so much I want to buy her every creation twice so she’ll keep blogging through her mess.

Um, I haven’t done that yet, but this little book is the perfect month-long pep-talk for me about creating good cleaning habits. I came up with the cash to buy 28 Days to Hope for Your Home as soon as Nony published it.

Should you buy it too? Why, yes, because I love Nony, and I can’t support her by myself. 🙂

Will this book help you too?

  • Would leaving a sink full of dirty dishes keep you awake at night?
  • Do you invite company over without a second thought to the condition of your bathroom?
  • Would you consider eating off your kitchen floor?

If you answered yes to those questions you DON’T need this book!

Nony named this book 28 Days to HOPE for Your Home with good reason. It is not 28 Days to a Perfect Home. Let’s jump in the kiddie pool and start swimming lessons.

Spoiler: Nony wants you to do the dishes. All of them. Every single day. Get started.

More thoughts next week!

Do you easily keep up with your dishes?