One thing I’ve been doing is reframing chores and tasks around the home as Care Tasks. This makes them morally neutral. There is no shame, no guilt. These are tasks we do to take care of our home and our family. Thanks to KC Davis (You may know her as Domestic Blisters on TikTok, her website is Struggle Care).
Sometimes I do these tasks on Saturday, but usually, I do it Sunday morning all the kids are watching cartoons or playing video games. It takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours, but I find that carving out a little bit of time could really help frame the start of the week in a positive light.
- Go through the kitchen inventory (pantry/fridge/freezer) to meal plan. Chop vegetables, make a salad, make food for adult lunches. Our produce comes on Mondays, but usually by late Saturday or early Sunday I still have stuff that needs to be used up. In that case, I roast a tray of veggies or make up a quick salad, or if I don’t think we’re gonna be able to eat right away, I will prep them for the freezer. I try to meal plan around the food that will expire or go bad first. Meaning that we tend to have green salads first, then followed by other foods.
- I repack the snack box for the week. I buy larger snack/lunch food for the kids and fill the snack box. I have a “secret” (at least to the kids) location where I store large boxes of snacks. This is the kids from devouring all of the snacks quickly.
- I update the family calendar as needed. We have a wall calendar in the kitchen that I update weekly/as needed when there are things the kids need to know are happening. I also update the calendar in my bathroom on the vanity, and both kids have wall calendars in their bedrooms with events/holidays they need to know about.
- I make sure all the laundry is put away: I hate doing laundry, it’s my least favorite chore. So usually Saturday night after the kids are in bed or on Sunday I will make sure that all of the laundry that has been washed over the past few days is dried, folded, and put away on Monday morning, I don’t have to hear the screams of, “I don’t have anything to wear! “
- Take out the trash. Also not a favorite task (it’s heavy and I have tendonitis in my right elbow so carrying is tough), but getting it done helps the week feel a little easier to get started.
- Clean out/repack the kid’s backpacks. This includes plugging iPads to charge, checking folders for anything that needs signatures, refilling water bottles, and checking lunch bags for any mystery food left from the last week.
- Update my care task list for the upcoming week. It is in the notes section of my phone, and it’s a checklist that I can easily check off completed items.
If I don’t get everything done at one time, I break down them into what needs to be done. Kids need clothes for school, charged iPads, and food/snacks. Everything else can wait until I have more energy or some help.
There is no shame in asking for or hiring help (if that is available to you). If you find yourself in need of some care or gentle coaching on how to organize and clean while you are feeling stressed, I recommend KC Davis’ Book, How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing.
Starting fresh means different things to different friends. For some, it’s New Years Resolutions to Eat Better, Lose Weight, Get Organized, Spend more time on Self-Care. Whatever Starting Fresh means to you, I’m here to help.
For me, Starting Fresh means grabbing new calendars for the kitchen, kid’s rooms, and my room (I have a bulletin board next to my vanity with a wall calendar so I can review each day while I brush my teeth in the morning). I update the calendars each month with appointments, days off school, birthdays, etc. I usually get free calendars in the mail towards the end of the year and use those. For the kitchen, I get a Holiday a Day calendar and use that- It’s a great way to include silly “national” days into the meal plan or weekend plans. Like National Pizza Day (it’s in February) or National Bake Cookies Day (that was yesterday- we’re celebrating today).
Other Ways I Start Fresh Each Year (and keep it going through the year):
- Inventory my Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry (and donate/share any unwanted still-in-date food). You can buy my inventory sheets here on Etsy.
- Deep Clean/ Organize one area of the house each week. Start small. I start with the front coat closet.
- Clean my car out. If you are a parent, you know. I take a laundry basket and a trash bag down to the car, and once the trash is out, and the stuff that needs to go into the house is in the basket (and back upstairs), I take my car to the carwash and pay $20 to have someone else wash and vacuum the car (and clean the windows inside and out).
- Get rid of stuff that no longer serves you. I like to start in my closet. It’s a great chance to weed out clothes that no longer fit or serve me, and I can donate or share them. I tend to do one area a month. I work on it for 10-20 minutes a few times a week, so it is not a mental burden.
- In the same vein, do a toiletry/beauty/makeup purge. Travel-sized/sample-sized toiletries can be donated to homeless or domestic abuse shelters or local rehab/inpatient centers. Makeup and personal care items do expire (check out this article from Insider for more deets). If it smells weird or has a strange texture- toss it!
- Space out Appointments or other “Adulting” tasks. As someone who had two mental/behavioral health appointments, an IEP Meeting, and a doctor’s appointment last week, I can assure you I was mentally and physically exhausted. As it was the end of the year, provider time was limited, so I didn’t have much of a choice, but going forward, I’m limiting myself to 1-2 “Adulting”/appointments per week. Otherwise, it is overwhelming and everything else, like tasks of daily living, gets pushed aside (shower, what’s that?).
- Spend time Doing Stuff I Like. Yeah, seems weird? Spend a little time doing something that makes you happy. Play a game on your phone for 10 minutes, read, do a craft, work on a project, play Legos with your kids, go for a walk.
A content creator I really like, Rayna Cohen put it simply, ” Allow yourself to enjoy the new energy of the new year.”
My kid’s school sent out a Kindness Calendar for January. I plan on incorporating some of these RAOK throughout January and beyond.
Talk Back: I’d love to hear about how you are Starting Fresh for 2022!