Here are some things I try to do to make every day stuff a little easier:
1. Start a load of laundry first thing in the morning. Something about hearing the washer going that early helps me get motivated!
2. Also with laundry, I (almost) always make sure there are no clean clothes sitting in a basket before I go to bed. I got in to a BAD habit of just sticking baskets of clean clothes in my room and it was just chaos! Now, I take the extra 5 minutes to fold them and put them away. During the day I also know that if I do not just do it real quick I will have to do it at bed time.
3. Use the same sippy cups for both boys throughout the day. Once they finish a drink I just rinse the cup in hot water and it is ready for the next snack or meal. Now I do not have a gazillion cups with pieces all over the place. And this keeps the cups from getting all that gunk lodged in the little parts because it is cleaned out after each use.
4. After I wash the sippy cups at night I go ahead and fill them for breakfast. I do not know why, but something about having this done in the morning when I am trying to get breakfast fixed makes me happy!
5. Do a regular purge. Every couple weeks (or more) I go through the toys and quickly pull out broken or super cheap ones to toss or put in the yard sale pile. Likewise with the rest of the house. I do a QUICK look through a drawer, cabinet, closet or whatever and try to find 3 things that I do not need, use or want.
6. I set up a "shoe center" at our kitchen door. This is the door we used the most and it is easy to come in and take shoes and coats off right away. This helps me from chasing down shoes when we need to get out the door.
7. Toys! We are blessed with so many, but the boys did not really know what they had. I just kept on tub of toddler toys for the living room and put the rest in the basement. Likewise, with the big boys toys, only a few sets of toys will stay in the bedroom- the rest will also go to the basement. I plan on getting a system down there where they can see what they have and then play with them on a rotational type basis. This is still a work in progress. For now, though, toys are not ALL over the place.
8. Cancelled cable. Wowser. Neither Jeff or I watch a lot of cable TV (I have come a long way since my quasi addiction to HGTV!). But we did watch a lot of PBS and Disney. Not only is this move saving us money, Sean hardly asks about his shows and he is playing even more than before. This also frees up our evenings to do other more productive things.
9. I made a list of the 5 most important chores I need to keep up with in order for my home to feel clean and organized (or "company ready"). I scheduled how these could get done regulary and stick to it. All other things that have to be done are fit in as time allows. More to come on this because I have some details to work out. It just really freed me from my expectations of always having a perfect home.
10. Early time with God. Boy, this one is tough because I love my sleep! I have found my day to be so much more purposeful and focused on God's plan when I do this. My kids need some time, as well, even if it is a short prayer and Bible reading. I'd like to write out some more on this one, as well.
Now, do I do ALL of these ALL the time? Nope... sometimes life happens and I am not ready for it or am just plain lazy. But with an idea of what works for me, I can jump back in and not feel too behind.