15 Minutes A Day

The other day I was standing in front of my sink, slouching as I stared at the dishes that seemed to be multiplying. I quickly became overwhelmed. Not only was my sink full of dirty dishes, my dishwasher was full with clean plates, bowls, and silverware. Although I was tempted to fall on the floor in a heap over dish duty, my eyes glanced at the clock. “Work on this for fifteen minutes” I told myself as I rolled up my sleeves.

I couldn’t believe it, but not only were all of my dishes put away, but the rest of my kitchen was clean after just 15 minutes.

I heard a great tip from Kathy Tarr, a woman in my church, a few weeks ago, as she taught through Proverbs 6. She challenged us in a very practical way to do something for 15 minutes each day. She suggested things like memorizing Scripture, or reading helpful books. She told us that we would be able to finish 20 books this year if we read for 15 minutes a day. We could be an expert on something if we studied it for 15 minutes a day. We could be the nations expert if we studied 15 minutes a day for 5 years. Crazy huh? I’m going to apply her tip to cleaning.

Set a timer if you need to, but start cleaning for 15 minutes a day and you’ll be amazed at how much you get done. You may not have hours to dedicate to straightening up your house, but I’ll bet you could find 15 minutes somewhere in your day.

Consider Proverbs 6:7-8 which says, “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and her food in harvest.” When it comes to cleaning, I’ve found that if I do a little each day the work gets done.

The goal is to be consistent. Break things down and do it little by little, and then do it. This could look like setting the clothes out the night before, or cleaning out one dirty closet. This could look like vacuuming one room, or scrubbing one toilet.

Try this: plan, prepare, and execute. Set aside 15 minutes a day and you’ll be amazed at how much is accomplished.

Thanks for reading!


Household Management Notebook

Today is such a fun day because I had the opportunity to write my first guest post. I wrote for Jenn’s blog Passenger Seat Perspectives. She is doing a new feature on her blog about actually doing some of the ideas that we see on Pinterest. It is such a fun feature, and I had a great time doing a little project and then writing up a post about it.

My idea for the guest post is all about household management, and I showed how to create a management notebook. I did this this because my house is not perfect (of even close to perfect), but some of these organization ideas are helpful tools to have if you are a messy person like me. Check it out and let me know what you think.

p.s. I’ve been entered into the circle of Mom’s top 25 funny moms for 2012. If you’d like to vote for Pencilled Daydream you can click the icon below. Once on their site, scroll down until you see Owen’s picture, and then click the thumbs up button to vote. You can vote once a day and no registration is required. The contest ends in two weeks.

Thanks to everyone who has already voted! That totally makes my day.

Come Rain Or Shine

Have you ever noticed how your bedroom feels clean if your bed is made? This tip is simple.

Come rain or shine, make your bed. If the house is clean or dirty, make your bed. If you want to or not, make your bed. It will give your room a face-lift and might even make you feel better about your room.

A Mountain Of Dishes

I make giant messes! When I am cooking it seems like before I can blink there is a stack of dishes taller than me. In honor of this problem, I have decided to share a little piece of information that has come to my rescue more than once.

This is simple, but it actually works.The trick is to clean while you go. Put the dirty pan immediately into the dishwasher after you are done with it. Wipe up that little spill quickly. If you do this you will not have a giant mess by the end of dinner. It is possible to have a completely clean kitchen by the time dinner is served. Before I tried this my kitchen was a wreck, and after dinner I felt like licking my plate and sticking it straight into the cupboard, but now I have minimal cleanup after the meal.

(original source unknown)

Christmas Storage Ideas

With Christmas right around the corner, I don’t think it is too early to start planning our attack for cleanup. After all what do you do with fifty different ornaments, and all of that extra wrapping paper? Where do I put my wreath? What about that fake tree? How can I store these things in an organized fashion?

Here is a storage idea that I use and love. I read about this in the book  The Duggars: 20 and Counting by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar.

1. Label your storage box with a number.

2. Write that same number on a note card. Next label where you will be storing this box.

3. On the other side of the notecard write everything that you put in the storage box. I suggest using a pencil so that way you can easily erase an item if you remove it from the box.

4. Put all of your finished notecards into a labeled notecard box. Now instead of digging through twenty boxes next time you need to find something, you can simply flip through a few notecards and go directly to the box you need.

This system will help you find the ornaments, nativity scene, or particular decorations you are looking for next year without having to bring everything down all at once. Enjoy!

A Lifetime Supply Of Toothpaste: My Need To Consolidate

I hate it when I walk into a room and it looks like a tornado just went through. Piles of paper are stacking up to the ceiling. Toothpaste is somehow in the living room. Toys, shoes, clothes, books, computers, and yesterday’s lunch are aggressively taking over the floor and nearly every table in the house. I especially hate when I walk into that kind of room when I know I have to clean it. Where should I even start?

One cleaning tip that has really helped me is to: Learn To Consolidate. Consolidate simply means putting like things together. Here is your mission- if you wish to accept it. Look around your house and begin to gather each of your belonging into groups that are similar.

In her book, Smart Organizing, Sandra Felton gives a great list to help us think of things to consolidate. Some groups in your house may be:

  • “Important papers, bills
  • Craft supplies
  • Hats and Caps
  • Music items, such as CD’s, tapes, electronic equiptment
  •  Cleaning products
  • Make up
  • Books, magazines” (38).
  • Etc…

When I started consolidating into piles like this list suggests, I was shocked to find ten tubes of toothpaste in our bathroom. Because we were so unorganized, we kept buying the same things over and over again. It has been three years since I discovered we were hording toothpaste, and we have just recently purchased our first “actually needed” tube of toothpaste.

As you consolidate, you will find duplications, junk you want to discard, as well as the valuable things you’d like to keep. Don’t be alarmed if your house appears messier than it did before while you are in the process of consolidating. This is totally normal. Just remember this will help you stay organized in the long run. If this feels overwhelming, start with a desk, a small closet, or a single room. Don’t try to tackle the whole house in one day.

Once you have successfully consolidated, you are ready to containerize. I’ll talk more about that in future posts. Until then enjoy the jump start consolidating will give to your house.

Do You Have A Paper Problem?

In college, Mark and I were drowning in paper. We had stacks of mail that were piling up so high I thought they might one day reach the ceiling. Junk mail was popping out of the woodwork. Important notices were disappearing behind letters and invitations. Let’s just say we had a major paper problem.

I could have blamed the people in offices all over the country who were sending me advertisements, notices, bills, etc.. but I needed to figure out how to organize my paper, because people are still sitting in offices somewhere plotting to send me more “junk mail.”

(Photo Source)

Here’s what I learned about mail:

  1. Deal with your mail once.
  2. As soon as you check your mailbox start walking to the trash can. Discard of all junk mail immediately. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your mail pile goes down.
  3. Create a “bills” folder, drawer, or box. Immediately place the bills in this designated folder so you will always know where they are. You will be able to keep track of them and create a system for paying them on time if they are all in one spot.
  4. File other important papers right away.
  5. Create a drawer, box, or folder for personal letters you wish to keep. If you don’t want to keep them, throw them away with your other junk mail.
  6. Write down the information you receive from an invitation in your planner so that you don’t have to hold onto several different pieces of paper.

For more tips on dealing with paper you can read chapter 10 of Smart Organizing by Sandra Felton.

Spring Cleaning

Mark and I recently did some spring cleaning. Here is a storage idea that we use and love. I read about this in the book  The Duggars: 20 and Counting by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar.

1. Label your storage box with a number.

2. Write that same number on a note card. Next label where you will be storing this box.

3. On the other side of the notecard write everything that you put in the storage box. I suggest using a pencil so that way you can easily erase an item if you remove it from the box.

4. Put all of your finished notecards into a labeled notecard box. Now instead of digging through twenty boxes next time you need to find something, you can simply flip through a few notecards and go directly to the box you need.

The Honeymoon is Over

The honeymoon is over! The reality of a dirty house has set it, and I’ve decided now that I’ve been married for almost three years,  my house is not allowed to be out of control anymore.

As I was thinking about my house and its current condition (messy), I tried to figure out how it got that way. The answer: I had Elias a few short months after moving into the house. Mark and I  had time to put away our boxes and then all of our attention went to learning how to be parents. I never really had time to figure out how to run a house between feeding the baby and trying to find one hour of peaceful sleep. Our old apartment was easy. Simply pick up the 1 square foot of mess. Our new house is not the same.  So I decided to try something new. I’ve put together a notebook to run my house. Here is the cover.


I love to organize, and I like charts. I know this will probably drive some people crazy, but it is how my mind works. So I systematically thought through every room in my house and made a giant list of what needed to be done.  Next I divided up the chores for different days so I don’t feel like I’m cleaning all day everyday. Here is an example of a weekly chart.   

Besides cleaning one of the reason my house is out of control is because I hate cooking. If we have had ramen noodles for three dinners in a row that is enough to make anybody crazy.

 If I was rich the first thing I would do is fire myself and hire a cook. Since that isn’t an option I have asked myself, “Why is making dinner so hard?” The answer is partially due to the fact that I don’t know what to make.

Therefore I have made a menu for all of 2011. I am hoping cooking won’t be so bad if I already know what I’m going to prepare.  I also have weekly shopping lists that go with the menu, so we’ll actually have food in our house. Here is an example page.

 I added inspirational pictures of wives serving their husbands and Scripture verses like Proverbs 31:11-12 which says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” This verse is obviously talking about more than preparing meals, but this is one small way I can do my husband good.

There are five sections to my notebook: Meals, Chores, Marriage and Family, Finances, and Personal Goals. I am hoping that by having a strategy for change, I will learn some new habits that will help my family. I do however know that I am human and that in my own strength I can not be a better wife or mother.

 So instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I am praying Proverbs 31:10-25 and asking God to make these verses a reality in my life. He is the only one who can change me into a better wife and a better mother. Yes, I have come up with strategies to form better habits, but in the end God is going to have to move in my heart so that I can become a true servant to my family.

If you want to join me, I would encourage you to pray through a Scripture that applies to you. God can help us in this new year,  “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6