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How to Be Lazy and Still Be Organised

One thing people always say about me is that I am very organised. (Hopefully that won’t be what they write on my headstone). “Where do you find the time?” is a question I am often asked by colleagues and friends. My standard answer to date has been “Eh, I dunno”. Lately I started to take a closer look at my life to identify why I have time where others don’t seem to and I came to a couple of conclusions. The main ones are that
a. I am lazy about things I don’t enjoy
b. I work efficiently on the things that have to be done in order to allow myself time for the things I really enjoy.

Anyone who knows me a bit will have read a. above and will now be thinking to themselves “Liar. She is anything but lazy”. Anyone who knows me really well (The Bavarian, for example) will be thinking “Spot on”. I’ll give you a few examples to highlight what I mean. Our bathroom get cleaned when it is borderline filthy or when visitors are coming to stay overnight. Our floors get washed so little, that it almost has novelty value. My middle son has a toy sweeping brush. The only explanation I can find for him wanting to have one is that he thinks it is something you only take out on special occasions and hence must be very precious.

Here are my top tips for efficient running of the household:

Use separate laundry baskets for the different washes
I don’t mind putting a load into the washing machine but I detest rooting through dirty washing to separate colours, darks and whites. Since having children and discovering the joy of wee’d in jammies, pooed on undies and milk encrusted muslins I hate this task even more. So I put a stop to it. Our bathroom now boasts no fewer than three pop-up net laundry baskets – one white, one black and one blue. It is a quick, cheap and fool-proof way to organise your laundry and cut out unnecessary sorting. When the kids undress for bed, they know that vests go in the white basket, dark trousers in the black one and anything colourful in the blue one. At one glance I can see which basket is the fullest and know then which wash needs to be done next.

Use the night
I try to let the night work for me. From using the timer on washing machine to letting yeast dough prove overnight in the fridge, I arrange for all manner of things to be ready when I get up. Often I will set the table at night. Within the last five minutes before going to bed, I grab the plates, bowls, spoons, knives, glasses and cups and plonk them into the middle of the table. Then the breadboard, bread (covered), jam and cereal jar are placed beside them. Out with the light and off to bed I go.
The coffee machine wakes at 6.45 am, providing me with a nice hot brew when I drag myself downstairs at five to seven. The table is pretty much set. I just have to grab butter, milk and yogurt from the fridge before yelling up the stairs “Breakfast is ready”.
Once breakfast is done, I can unload the washing machine, having filled it the evening before and set the timer for the wash to be finished at 7.30 am.

At weekends I quite often make a sweet yeast dough after dinner. This takes ten minutes all in all. The dough rises overnight in the fridge. In the morning it can be turned into a plaited bread, raisin rolls or cinnamon twists within an hour of getting up.

Keep sports / hobby bags packed
We go swimming quite a bit, so we have one big swimming bag for the whole family. It contains a couple of €2 coins for the lockers, a hairbrush, a couple of nappies and swimming nappies for Number 3, water wings for Number 2, suncream (for the outdoor pool in summer), swimming togs for me, The Bavarian, Number 1 and Number 2 as well as five towels. After a visit to the pool, all the togs and towels go straight to the washing machine. After drying, they get put straight back in the bag.
We came up with this plan after spending several Sunday mornings searching for everything we need and ending up in foul humour when we were finally ready to leave the house. Now we use the same ready-packed bag principle for Number 1’s football gear and Number 2’s music class bag.

Forget about keeping the place clean
I am not naturally a person who keeps order and I feel that quite keenly since I live in Germany. I used to try to keep the house tidy and clean, but eventually I realised that I was just putting undue pressure on myself and irritating the family.  There would be cries of “You tidied away the Lego I was building with” and “Where is the Star Wars battle I set up yesterday?” from the boys. The Bavarian could never find his sunglasses or work bag because I would move them from the highly unsuitable place he’d put them.
For the past couple of years I have been operating on the principle of cleaning up messes and only messes. Untidiness gets ignored. The level of satisfaction I get from taking a room from the looks-like-a-bomb-hit-it state to the did-we-hire-a cleaner? state is incredible. So mostly our house looks like this:

And very occasionally like this:

Mums' Days


29 thoughts on “How to Be Lazy and Still Be Organised

  1. I loved reading this – our bathroom reached borderline filthy today, I had to pause mid-shower to clean it. People often ask me how I have the time to do things too. Sadly, unlike you the answer is not because I'm efficient, it is that I don't sleep. I'm going to try being efficient instead!

  2. These are great ideas. I'm lazy but not organised, so I'm going to try a few of these. I might start with the swimming bag as this drives me crazy and we have really early swim lessons.

  3. Good advice! I tend to avoid hoovering as much as possible, only doing it when it gets really bad, or if we have guests. same with the bathroom too! I'd much rather spend time playing with Zoe or snuggling on the sofa with my hubby than running around like a mad thing cleaning everything!!
    Nice to find a new blog through #TwinklyTuesday linky 🙂
    Anna x

  4. Some good tips here. I like the one about doing things at night. Leaving dough to prove overnight is such a good idea. I need to try it! As for tidying the house, I always clean before visitors and my husband always says if it wasn't for the visitors the house wouldnt get cleaned! lol.

  5. The dough trick is fantastic Weronika. I bake with yeast so much more now since I discovered the overnight proving a few years ago. I definitely recommend it.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  6. This post is brilliant! We should definitely use our time more wisely with the washing machine at the weekend (we don't have time to hang it up in the weekday mornings!). Also, we only clean when absolute necessary – and then within minutes the little one has made it dirty! Thanks for sharing this great post on #twinklytuesday – I feel I'll be coming back to it for reference!

  7. Thank you very much, Fionnuala, for the great advices in your post. I will definately try some.
    Especially the trick with the dough. Since yeast and me are not very special friends and easter is close. My kids are already scared about trying my traditional selfmade easter bread: “Mommy, it was hard like concrete! Please buy one this year!!”
    Maybe i can surprise them 😉

  8. Enjoyed this post thanks, your sister posted a link on a facebook group I'm in. I've only a 1.5yo little girl as of yet so it's all ahead of me – I'll definitely pass on some of your ideas to my brother with 3 kids. Great tips, especially about keeping the bags packed 🙂

  9. Thanks Olivia! These tip are such time savers for me. They may not work for everyone, but they are food for thought. Thanks for popping over for a read 🙂

  10. Love the laundry sorting idea, thank you!! And the swimming bag, so simple, but I've never thought to be proactive about it. Thanks !

  11. Wow, can we be friends?! I could tell from the title that this is EXACTLY my kind of thing – I have grand ideas of being organised but am ultimately very lazy!! Or as I like to put it, busy doing other things. This is a great post! Thanks for linking up xxx #TheList

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