Cleaning, Frugal Living, Rituals

Zen Fridays

Fridays used to be busy at our house. Then I changed my thinking. They have a routine that has become joyful.

I get up early every morning because it’s my peaceful, quiet time for coffee and reflection. Then the teenager sits with me for half an hour before we eat breakfast. Breakfast is simple fresh fruit. I stay in my loungewear to take him to school. On the way back I buy fruit and vegetables for the weekend. When I get home I put vegetable soup in the slow cooker and cut up finger vegetables for home and work. This is when I prep for the boys’ meals while I am at work. I make sure there is freshly made bread on Thursdays. I’ll make another bread like tortillas or cornbread too. While I work in the kitchen I listen to an audiobook. While soup and bread are cooking I clean bathrooms and floors. Then I put the soup in Mason jars and let bread cool. After a quiet lunch I shower and put on makeup. My hair is a wash and finger comb with gel so it’s about 30 seconds work. Right before I go to pick up the teen, I make phone calls for appts and reconcile the monthly spreadsheet for expenses to date while I have a cup of tea. My Thursday plan makes it a pleasant day because all I have to do is grab my backpack and food bag to go when we arrive home after school. I’m lucky that I work all of my hours in one go from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.


Embracing Kon Mari

When Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up” came out everyone was reading it and reviewing it. So, as is my nature, I refused to get caught up in the mainstream. I avoided it for a long time thinking that it was another book on decluttering and minimalism so I really didn’t need to read it because all of that is very simple. I couldn’t think of a good enough reason to read more on less.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago, I remembered the Overdrive app. It’s one that lets you use your local library membership to check out ebooks and audiobooks. I was excited to try it and began exploring the app and the books my library had to offer.
There was Marie Kondo’s book available as an audiobook and so I downloaded it to see if I was really missing anything. The audiobook convinced me that I wasn’t wasting my time because I could do other things while I was listening.

I liked it so much that I put a hold on the ebook version and checked out her subsequent book, “Spark Joy” at the library the next time we went. I especially liked Spark Joy because it’s a simple little book that hits the highlights of her tidying method as well as such things as how to fold clothes and what to do with the little things (kondo is what she calls them) that seem to be everywhere.

Suddenly everything about organizing makes sense. Like a crazed woman, I went through the whole house following her methods and finally making order out of our home. It’s not that we have as much as many families. We have enough but we don’t have the massive storage spaces to go through that many families do. I was grateful for that but still, I spent a fair amount of time creating order here. Possibly the most helpful thing she talks about is not having multiple spaces for the same types of items. Store by category, not by convenience. Also, the way she teaches us to fold clothes with love and attention seemed crazy at first but after I put my clothes in order with her suggestions on color and flow, I found the logic. Even when I embraced becoming a minimalist, I never had quite the joy I have now by adapting her insights and methods. Now I see what all the fuss is about.

Will I go back to the way it was before? I can say a resounding no.

Marie Kondo’s methods make putting things back where they belong so easy as well as truly influence me not to keep anything that I don’t truly love. Although that seems unconventional at times, I can say that there are things that I love based purely on the things that they can accomplish for me rather than how they look.

Two pieces of advice on getting her books: If the thought of organizing your home seems overwhelming to you, then start with Spark Joy. It tells you just exactly what you need to get started. Then go back and read her first book if you get stuck or you need more details or just for the sheer pleasure of reading it knowing that you are already on your way to a joyful and tidy home.


Zen Cleaning Routine

In every aspect of our lives we have to do what works for ourselves in our own situation. Here’s the cleaning routine that works for me.

I get up at 5am and clean in the silence of the early morning. It’s more like moving mediation.

Wipe down kitchen cabinets
Clean main floor half bath
Sweep kitchen floor
Dust dining table and chairs

Clean upstairs bathrooms
Mop bathroom floors

Change bed sheets
Dust bedroom furniture
Vacuum bedrooms

Dust living room
Vacuum living room
Mop front entry
Clean doors

Clean out refrigerator and wipe down
Sweep and mop kitchen floor

House maintenance
Yard work
Odds and ends

We use:
Baking soda = scrub sinks and pans
Vinegar/Castile soap = all-purpose cleaner
Olive oil = polish
Vinegar= clean windows and mirrors
Castile soap/Water= Most things