Arms full of love and laundry

Anita Nakou — №15 with Mårten Mickos

I’m constantly on the move: from upstairs to downstairs, from inside to outside, ever following my busy little people. This forward motion of activity can leave behind a wake of disorganization. Among the list of kid clutter: Toys played with, markers, drawn on papers left at the kitchen table, books spilled off shelves, used sippy cups, etc. My husband and I are guilty of amassing items also: Laundry in the hallway waiting to be folded and put away, mail on the counter, makeup and shaving gear left by the sink, an unmade bed. If not dealt with efficiently, keeping a house tidy can quickly become insurmountable.

Lessons from a breakfast diner

While working at a breakfast diner in my teens, I garnished a pearl of wisdom from a veteran waitress. She saw me making trips from the kitchen, to the dining area, to the cashiers till carrying little or no items at all. My seasoned colleague scolded me, “Always have your hands full.” Bringing plates of food to a table, removing empty dishes from another table and then returning to the kitchen saved me time and allowed for more efficient service to my customers (better tips).

Getting the house in order — in one sweep

This philosophy easily translates to maintaining an organized home and avoiding parental burnout. If you’re running up to your child’s bedroom to grab another shirt, scoop up the laundry, spend a few minutes putting away the clothes and then make your bed. Passing by the washroom you can make a quick detour to store makeup and shaving gear in the correct drawers. Before grabbing the shirt, stack the books on the shelf that were left on the bedroom floor. On the way downstairs carry the three toy cars that were left on the stairs to the play box in the living room. The sippy cup can then be picked up from the play area and taken to the kitchen sink. A minute to sort through today’s mail, and 30 seconds to put away the markers and papers and voila! You’ve sorted and tidied your whole home in one circulation and in less than 10 minutes!

You have to be intentional and alert

From a solitary task of getting a shirt, you completed eight other tasks along the way. Having your eyes alert to additional minor details as you move about your home makes each step as productive and efficient as possible. Less energy spent on menial tasks makes for more time and attention to enjoy the special things in life, because face it, we live hectic lives as it is.

Photo: Flickr / emily.bluestar CC BY-NC 2.0

Anita nakou

Anita Nakou

Anita Nakou works full time for three individual employers who keep her busy day-in and day-out: Her three preschool daughters. She is a certified teacher, and the editor of the newsletter Multiple Moments geared towards parents of multiples. Aside from the business of parenting, Anita engages the body and mind through jogging, hiking and soccer.

Anita's blog entry on The Huffington Post