Routines as a Thing to Catch Up To

Routines as the Thing to Catch Up To at

Before we begin, allow me to address all current/former English teachers/grammar nerds. I was one of you. I have purposely chosen to use artistic license in the title of this post. “Routines as the Things Up to Which I Catch” doesn’t have the same ring to it. And now I’m questioning the pluralization of “routines.” See how it never ends? 

I’m getting back into the routine of things.

School has been going for almost two weeks, and we’re getting used to it. Summer Survival Mode has ended (though now we’re figuring out Book Writing Survival Mode).

As I ran an extra load of dishes here and there last week to try to catch up from the off-routine days of summer, it hit me how much it helps to have something to catch up to.

Pre-blog (pre-any-understanding-whatsoever-of-the-importance-or-impact-of-routines), I felt behind all the time. ALL the time.

This vague concept of “catching up” meant getting the house perfect. Since getting the house perfect never happened (and still never happens), I never caught up.

Knowing I’d never “catch up” zapped all hope and desire to even try.

Now, I’m not trying to catch up to what the house looked like in my head before we actually bought it and moved our stuff into it.

I’m catching up to a routine, because I have a routine to catch up to.

Knowing that my goal is a routine, I can identify and tackle the things that will make the routine easier.

Like the baking sheets filling the right side of the sink in the picture above.

We need to order a replacement part for my beloved dishwasher. The adjustable top rack isn’t adjusting, so we can’t put tall items in the bottom rack right now. Baking sheets are tall, and over the summer as the kids (fine. the kids and I . . .) depended on frozen stuff for lunches (fine. lunches and dinners . . .), these baking sheets were used A LOT.

But they couldn’t go in the dishwasher.

Which meant they got piled in the sink and washed as needed.

Not a happy truth, but the real truth.

Also, the annoying truth. Because no kitchen will ever look “clean” when there are bigger-than-the-sink baking sheets piled up on one side, no matter how clear and clean the sink’s other side may be.

As my Summer Brain Fog cleared, I was excited to tackle this not-a-project-at-all-but-totally-feels-like-a-project.

Excited, y’all. Not because I can’t stand to see a mess (I have a special gift for not seeing it), and not because I was going to get my house cleaned up once and for all (I now know that isn’t even a thing).

I was excited because I have a routine. Even when I’ve gotten off of it, I still have it. I know exactly what to do to get back on track and start seeing real progress.

My routine is my motivation to catch up. The routine is the thing I’m catching up to.

Once all those big-and-awkward baking sheets are clean and out of the way, my routine makes a DAILY VISUAL IMPACT. So when I took the amazingly short time necessary to do one day’s worth of kitchen work Monday morning, it made an impact. And that impact impacted my mood.

A Maintainable Kitchen at

So that’s my goal. I’m not catching up on a perfect kitchen, I’m catching up on the routines that enable me to maintain a livable kitchen.

Yay for routines.



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--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    Great job! I am getting better and better at realizing that every little bit helps and to celebrate every improvement, even when other things aren’t close to perfect.

  2. 2

    Love the way you put this! When I don’t know where to start, and I feel overwhelm, it brings peace to know I can just “go with what I know”: dishes and laundry, then surfaces = daily visual impact!

  3. 3

    Let me give you a little hint with the cookie sheets – you really only need one or two. When cooking something on your cookie sheet put aluminum foil over it and most times it will not need to be washed after use:-)

    • 4

      And so as to get the most bang for your buck when you pull up the foil crumple it into a fall and use it to scrape the weird goo off the bottom of the oven.

  4. 5

    Just as a hint to make clean up ever so much easier, use parchment paper on the baking dishes. Nothing goes through it and when you’re done cooking you just crumple the paper and throw it away. Baking dish goes away with no clean up necessary! A life changer for me!

  5. 6

    I second the foil over cookie sheets! My chef hubby showed me that and I thought it was awesome!! Less dishes=happy mama ????

  6. 7

    New routine for me: emptying the dish rack before going to bed. I always plan to empty it in the morning, but my toddler often has other plans. If it’s full, then I pile fresh clean stuff atop the already dry stuff and it’s a terrible cycle. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. 8

    I love what you said about routines. I’m not there yet, but I’m working at it. Just after reading your post I read the next thing in my inbox: a weekly post from It’s about different ways to make habits. Some useful information here.

  8. 9

    wow- I need to get back to routines- it took me 3 DAYS to finish a load of laundry (oops)

  9. 10

    Your honesty is very refreshing! I’ve been pretty overwhelmed by my disorganized house lately, but reading this gives me hope. Thank you!

  10. 11

    Well, as a nerd generally you could just go with it is Yoda inspired grammar. There is no correct or not correct, only poetic licence. 😉

  11. 12

    Parchment paper and aluminium foil on top of baking sheets – poof, no need to wash…

  12. 13

    So interesting…just the other day, I realized I have been putting this formerly foreign ‘routine’ approach into practice, because I have been reading your blog for a month or so. You have literally uncomplicated what my brain usually complicates when I look at a mess (aka my kitchen table on a regular basis). Now, I just start putting the easy stuff away, without feeling overwhelmed…and before I know it, there is hardly anything left!? I have a routine!!!
    I was then able to call a neighbor and casually invite him over for brunch…freedom!
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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