On the Bedtime Tidy Up

Tomorrow arrives fresh and full of joy if we are just that little bit willing to go the extra mile to put today to bed in a tidy fashion. Easier said than done? You are right: it is! Following an evening spent slobbing on the sofa, it is nigh on impossible to work up the energy to get busy doing anything even remotely housewifely before climbing the apple and pears to bed, but just one more teeny tiny squeeze of domesticity can make all the difference to a smooth morning thereafter and we all know that smooth mornings make for a smoother ride through the rest of the day right?

Right. So here is what we do. Here, my Darling is your one stop, ten point guide to making your mornings the scrumptious cannon into a gorgeous, creative day that the universe always intended they should be. Do it as routine and it should take no more than ten minutes. There is no need to run around like a headless chicken at this stage: if possible wait until everybody else has gone upstairs, then keeping the lights low, turn off all entertainment and quietly wipe the day away from your house and blow it a kiss goodnight...

1. Never go to bed on a full bin...

Want a stinky kitchen? Last nights dinner festering and moulding in a bin-bag overnight? No I didn't think so. So make it somebody's business to take all the trash right out of the house, then lightly spray the inside of the empty bin with a quick blast of white vinegar, pop in a new bin-bag and you are ready to wake up a freshly scented kitchen and move on to step number two...

2. Open the Washing Machine...

If you are lucky enough to be able to retire to bed with an empty washing machine, always, always, always leave the laundry powder drawer open and the front door of the machine open too. This allows the air to circulate around the machine and prevents that truly ugly black mould from crusting up the remnants of powder in the drawer. Job done, let's move on to step number three...

3. Boil the kettle...

Pour the remainder of the boiling water you have used for your bedtime drink down the sink, add a splash of white vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil and then while you are at the sink re-fill the kettle so you just have to switch it on first thing in the morning...

4. Switch the dishwasher on...

While switching the dishwasher on immediately after the evening meal might make sense in theory, in reality it does leave the very possibility open that supper dishes, glasses and mugs might just accumulate in the aftermath, so waiting to switch the dishwasher on until the very end of the day guarantees you will wake up to a kitchen with empty surfaces and clean dishes. So much better for the soul methinks. On to step number five...

5. Tackle tomorrow's meal times...

If you are on the ball you will have re-set the table for breakfast after the evening meal, so with that already done you can get on with putting any non-perishable breakfast ingredients out on the table or kitchen counter, pop fruit and snacks into lunchboxes, fill water bottles and put them in the fridge and take out anything required for the evening meal from the freezer to defrost in the fridge overnight...

6. Open Your Heart and Home Planner...

And check your list of to-do's for tomorrow so they are fresh in your mind.

7. Hang out a clean dishtowel.

I know. It seems terribly fussy to require a brand new tea towel or two every day. But dish towels are teeny little scraps of faric that barely add to your laundry load, and there is nothing worse or more downright miserable than a crusty musty tea-towel, so make it a ritual to pop a new towel out every evening before you leave the kitchen. Do it as a teeny little gift to yourself, or as an act of faith in the teeny pleasures of homemaking...

8. Grab your take it upstairs basket....

And whizz around every room downstairs grabbing anything that should rightfully be upstairs, then pop the basket at the bottom of the stairs ready to take it upstairs in a moment or two...

7. Put tonight away....

Fold up newspapers and pop them in the recycling basket. Put magazines away. Pop cd's and dvd's back in their cases and pop remote controls back where they can easily be found.

8.Suck it up...

Grab your little hand held vacuum and quickly swoosh up any crumbs or fluff. Don't fuss. Just suck up the obvious from floor, coffee table and upholstery and you should be good to go in seconds.

8. And then puff it up!

Nothing makes a room look untidier than sad, squashed cushions so grab each one in turn and working up as much energy as you can muster at this late hour smack each one in turn and pop it back on the chair, then fold up all your blankets and snugglys and you are good to go...

9. Set your timers...

No, not your alarm clock, but the radiator timers and lamp timers to come on just before the household gets up, so that you can wake up to a house that feels snuggly warm and well lit. Particularly important in the depths of Winter-  this eases your transition into the morning after being huddled cosy in your bed and prevents the kind of body jolt we all too often feel when we try to get the day going in a cold, dark house.

10. And use a wick dipper...

When a room has been gently fragranced by the sweetest of scented candles, the last thing you want to do is waft the stench of smoke into the room by blowing out your votives and tealights in the traditional way as this both shortens the life of your candles and depletes the fragrance pervading your room. So the answer is a wick dipper. Either buy a proper one or use a slim pencil or chopstick to gently push the burning wick into the molten wax to put the flame and then pop it under the wick to stand it straight up again. Et voila, your candle is out, the room smells beautiful and the wick stands to burn evenly for another day.

Finally waft a little anti-bacterial aromatherapy based air freshener into the air, switch out the lights and grab your upstairs basket before you take yourself up to settle your mind, body and soul before sleep-time...

Night Night Sweeties.x

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