The Order Of Things | Giftie Etcetera: The Order Of Things

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Order Of Things

Imagine yourself taking a shower. (Alone. Imagine yourself alone. This is not THAT kind of blog!) Do you bask in the warm stream of water, soap up, shave your legs, and then wash and condition your hair? If so, you are doing it all wrong.

Okay, I'll admit that I'm a Mrs. Bossy Pants today. I have a cold and The Loki stuck a Lucky Charm up his nose last night, so we were at Urgent Care at 11 p.m. No, it was not a Magic Rainbow marshmallow. It was the boring cereal part that nobody wants anyway, which is probably why he stuck it up his nose. That kid is smart for a five year old! (The VERY CUTE doctor denied The Loki the privilege of a sticker or a sucker, telling him, "I don't want you to think you get rewarded for sticking cereal up your nose." I might have swooned.)

But Mrs. Bossy Pants aside, you are still doing it wrong. :)

You see, the order of things matters. I wash my hair first, leave the conditioner in while I soap up, rinse my hair, and then shave my legs. It's more efficient because the time spent waiting for the conditioner to work is used soaping up and the time spent shaving my legs lets my hair start to air dry, so blow drying it doesn't take as long. 

(As an aside, I am such a lying liar. I am way too lazy to shave my legs and hide my Cajun sasquatch limbs under long pants all winter long.)

I got the idea to do things more efficiently from reading Cheaper by the Dozen as a child. There are tons of things that I do in a certain order so that they are more efficient.

When I cook, I put water on the hot stove to begin boiling for potatoes or pasta before chopping my veggies. The water starts boiling at some point while I'm busy doing other things, and when I need the boiling pot of water, I just throw in the pasta. (Iron Chef America uses my pre-boil technique. I'm not saying they got the idea from me. I'm just saying that I had the idea first!) I also wipe down the kitchen counters, load or unload dishes, or clean the microwave or toaster oven while waiting for food that has to be watched closely to cook.

When I run errands, I often number the errands in my planner in the most efficient order to plan around where I will already be.

Before numbering errands:

After numbering errands more efficiently (the pink numbers, with toy store first, then lab work because it's in the same area of town as the toy store, then produce stand and grocery store near the end of the list to minimize melting of ice cream and frozen foods, and finally the library since it's a quick stop on my way home):

For some routines, I actually write out the most efficient way to do them and keep them in the notes section of my planner until I learn them. For example, in the morning:

1. I wake the kids,

2. I get dressed (while the kids are dressing themselves),

3. I start my coffee brewing then make breakfast (while the kids are brushing teeth and hair), and

4. I grab the snacks, my breakfast (to eat in the car), and fill the water bottles and coffee mug (while the kids eat breakfast).

We've tried other orders in the mornings, but with this one, because the kids know I have to do things while they are getting ready, they leave me alone to do them. Before, when they were eating breakfast first, it was a struggle getting them dressed in the morning.

I am currently planning to have Thanksgiving at my house. In my projects section of my planner, I will list the order of getting the house and food ready. The order matters more than usual for Thanksgiving because I can't prep all the food in one day. A few days before, I'll start defrosting the turkey. Perhaps the day before, I will cut the potatoes, bake the pies and cakes, and get all the food out and on the counter, grouped according to the recipes. On the day of Thanksgiving, I will have a very specific schedule of what to cook when. For example, sweet potato pie can cook early as it stays warm in the casserole dish, but the mac and cheese needs to go in at the last minute so it is perfect and bubbly at dinnertime.

When I fold laundry, I place it in stacks that mirror my dresser drawers. Divided up by family member, with underthings, then socks, then pjs, and then tank tops. That way, when I put away clothes, it only takes seconds and they go in the drawers right in order. This technique saves me tons of time, something that is really evident when my husband folds the clothes in a random stack and I am running around putting the older kid's socks in his middle drawer, then my tank top in another room in another drawer, then The Loki's pjs in another drawer in the other room, then a tank see the problem?

Ever notice that if you put a load of laundry in first thing in the morning, load the dishes and run the dishwasher, take out supper to defrost, and spend 15 minutes cleaning, your day goes much better?

Ever notice that spending a few moments after school going through schoolbags or a few minutes after nighttime prayer putting things in a tote bag for tomorrow's errands makes your day easier

The order of things does matter.

As you go through your day today, think about the order of things. Is there something you can do more efficiently, just by swapping or planning the order? If so, why not do it? It'll save you more time for fun!




Trina said...

I don't know where my comment went but here it goes again lol It read:

Gosh your tips always make me want to do better! I look forward to them. I had to ask myself why am I so drawn to your blog and videos, its because you're normal and you plan like a normal mom and I can relate. I would love to hear your thoughts on time management in the school aspect. In addition to being a mom and wife with a home to care for, I am a college senior and sometimes I struggle with which tasks to tackle first and how to plan them out so that they make sense and still maximize productivity. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Again, thanks for sharing your tips and keep them coming. ~Trina

Giftie Etcetera said...

Although I wish I had my children earlier (I was thirty when I got pregnant with my firstborn), I'm glad I got through school first. You are doing a miracle, in my humble opinion, by doing both! :) I admire that so much.

I think you just have to treat school as your job. When you study, you are "at work." When you are mom, you don't study unless the kids are otherwise occupied.

Probably my biggest tip is, as soon as possible, teach the kids to fend for themselves. It's not child abuse! :) It's giving them survival skills.

I'm about to give my 7 year old some survival skills with the dishes, right now!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I really love your blog!

As this topic was 'the order of things', I have two suggestions - not meant to be picky, just helpful :)

1. Can't the kids brush their teeth after breakfast, to maximise the effectiveness of the toothpaste and all? (Or have you tried that already and are they eating rushing out the door?)

2. Do you have a timer on your dishwasher and washing machine and set them the night before to be ready in the hour before you wake?(Using cheaper power on low peak night rates).

I'm a fellow lawyer who's tried teaching by the way. Went back to law - for me, way easier!

Giftie Etcetera said...

we actually do run the dishwasher overnight. In the morning, I unload it and load leftover dishes, because I cook enough that we have two loads a day. The washing machine thing never works for us, though. I think it's because I have a front-loader, but it gets stinky. I love the way you are thinking, though.

As far as brushing teeth after, that's what we used to do. It was horrible. The boys see breakfast as the reward, so that works. When they got breakfast before teeth, they took forever and we were always late to school!

Love this conversation, though. This is truly how things need to be thought out in order to make them more efficient!

Anonymous said...

I thought it might be something like that. Everything takes so much longer with kids, doesn't it, especially getting out of the house. Actually, there are some days when my kids leave the house with teeth unbrushed :O They've been obsessed with a Leap Pad dental game recently though so I'm hoping that'll be an encouragement to them in the mornings.

I hear you on the stinky front loader. I never put damp clothes in mine overnight, and I follow the Bosch lady's tip about doing hot white washes regularly to (kind of) sterilise the machine a bit.

Your tip about doing the next day prep after school is for me really worth thinking about. I procrastinate at night when my energy is flat, but maybe I should be more aware of my more energetic times during the day, and scheduling those little 'making life easier' routine tasks in then.

I've been using a chart to tick off the routine stuff in my Malden daily for the last few months, the daily bag pack etc, but it didn't dawn on me to use that feint squared grid paper instead of ruling the columns and rows, as you have suggested in another post. Great idea. (Instead of marking with a tick though,I sometimes try to note how many minutes things take,so I can get better at estimating my time.)

Giftie Etcetera said...

Marking minutes is brilliant. I'm stealing that!

Trina said...

Thanks for your thoughts on school/home balance. I don't have to worry about my son fending for himself, he's 13. He does everything but fully cook his own meals. We're working on playing with fire at the moment(no, really. I'm trying to teach him how not to burn on top of the stove.) lol My issues come because I am being pulled in 50 million different directions. I am taking 6 different classes, 4 of them online, trying to keep my home in order, plus all of the different organizations I belong to. My planner is truly my brain and my lifeline. Without it I don't know if I'm coming or going.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Giftie! You amaze me! I have no kids at home, well, not little kids...

I have two adult children at home, which is fine. They are doing well, but in the midst of changes, so "home" is where they are while they look for new lodgings.

Even when hubby and I were the only ones here, I pretty much followed the same routines you use.

Yes, I also read the book and saw the movie of "Cheaper By The Dozen". Hilarious! But there were a lot of helpful little nuggets and they still work today.

keep up the great job you are doing. I continue to learn and I am often entertained by you.

Thank you!

Dianne in the desert