The best part? I'm staying on top of it. There are little things here and there that I haven't been able to bring myself to do. But for the most part, it's looking good.
Here's what I do every day before work:
- Make my bed
- After my shower, grab my washcloth and swipe the dirtiest surface in the bathroom before I toss it in the hamper
- Empty the dishwasher, which should be full of sparkly, clean dishes from the previous evening's delightful game of Crack The Whip Over Your Teens Who Hate You and Know You Are Out To Get Them. If I lost that game, then I load the dishwasher instead of emptying it.
When I get home from work:
- Spend 2 minutes (timed, yo) on a crap magnet. This is a surface in my house that just magnetizes crap. For some, it's their kitchen counter. For others, it's the desk. We have an abundance of crap-magnets in our house; some aren't even horizontal (yes, the fridge).
- Process ONE load of laundry. I don't care about wrinkles, so I let laundry sit in the dryer once it's done. So for this task, I fold yesterday's clean clothes right out of the dryer, throw the clothes sitting in the washer into the dryer, and then throw a load into the washer from the waiting basket. Then my load is done for the day, and I can forget about it.
- Open and process the mail. I don't let myself get up from the desk until the mail is filed, tossed, set in the shredder pile, or schedule (and filed)
- 15 minutes on my current declutter project (currently the craft room)
That's my basic routine. On different days, I like to add other things in. For example, I'm about to start a project to relocate a major piece of furniture (white Ikea 5x5 Expedit bookcase) from the living room to the library. I'm very excited about it. I'll post before and after pictures next week (hopefully). So today I have a task to spend 15 minutes moving books from one room to the other.
Family Planning (but not like that)
Mark and I have also scheduled a weekly 30 - 45 minutes to synchronize our calendars and double check the budget. Mark is the calendar nerd, and I'm the budget nerd. We set the timer for 15 minutes and review the calendar for that long. He's really good about writing EVERYTHING down, so this generally is his chance to make sure my calendar is up to date. We also plan who will pick up the kids from different activities. This week we had to figure out how to work around Mark's scheduled surgery. He's having a hernia repaired.
After 15 minutes, we reset the time and spend another 15 looking at the budget, evaluate whether we have any unplanned expenses coming up for the week and try to figure out how to pay for them. Once that's over, if we have any more energy and haven't started arguing, we wrap up any loose ends.
Overall, we're beginning to really get a handle on things around here. Our goal for February (financially) is to recover to the point that we have our Baby Emergency Fund back in place. In order to really do that, we'll need to stay on top of everything else.
And Now for Something Completely Different
Most everyone has heard that Obama proposed spending caps over the next few years, and to be honest I think he's right to do so. Unfortunately, in his budget proposal released today, he proposed canceling my bread and butter outright: NASA's Constellation Program. For now, I'm still employed, but that might not last until September. Our goal now is to fund our emergency fully before the pink slip comes. Thank goodness this bill has to get through Congress first. And that our work has a 30-day stop-work notification clause.