Rosie

Rosie

The HomeRoutines app makes it simple for you to keep track of your regular household chores and routines - and adds a bit of fun with gold stars and the world's most triumphant music at the end of the 15 minute timer! And at the end of the day, you can look at your Accomplishments list and say "Go me!"

Housework systems: The Whole SHEBang

On The Whole Shebang, SHE stands for Self, Home, Endeavors – a broader, more positive definition of SHE than the Flylady’s “Sidetracked Home Executives.” It was created by Krista, a professional organizer, who is sharing her beautifully designed resources and plans with all of us.

The basics of her plan are on her SheBang 101 page:

  • Creating your own Morning, Afternoon and Evening routines (we like routines 🙂 Krista’s example routines are great too.
  • Creating a special SHE spot of your own in your house – a cozy chair where you can sit and relax with a book for a bit, without looking at the washing basket!
  • And jaunty, informative signs to print out to stick on your baskets and boxes as you declutter – that is, creating your “SHE itt kit” (I see what she did there!)

Her concise Maintaining the SheBang page has great advice on monthly tasks to keep you on track, especially a ritual of reviewing and revising your routines.  I find that with little kids, a routine that used to work no longer does, as naptimes and playtimes shift – and as small boys become ever more enthusiastic to climb into an open dishwasher. (Unloading dishwasher now must occur when he is in his highchair!)

I’m looking forward to her further SHEBang projects – the first one is decluttering the closet. There’s the full-on version with printable resources and checklists – and the fast version where you pick out 5 ugly shirts to donate. Either way – excellent advice, and I’m certainly subscribing to her blog to keep up with the new projects as they come out.

Housework Systems: HouseHoncho

I just discovered HouseHoncho this afternoon and I am delighted!

If you sign up (for free) you’ll get one email a day, which gives you nine home tasks: three easy ones, three medium ones, and three “advanced” ones.

Here’s an example of today’s email message:

Good evening! Tomorrow we are focusing on the living room/family room with this list! Remember, don’t put pressure on yourself to get it all done. If you pick 3 items–in any combination–you will make a difference in your home today.

Calendar Alert: Spring is March 20th.

SIMPLE TASKS:
1. Clutter bust for 5 minutes.
2. Straighten a bookshelf.
3. Dust the television.

INTERMEDIATE TASKS:
1. Clean the floor.
2. Clean the inside of the windows.
3. Vacuum the lampshades.

CHALLENGING TASKS:
1. Organize (ie, purge) entertainment such as CDs and DVDs.
2. Thoroughly clean tables (such as a side or coffee table).
3. Spring Clean-athon Task: Dust the ceiling using a broom and soft cloth.

Check out the blog to read the words that haunt me from a high school teacher.

Keep it simple!
Your HouseHoncho Team

Isn’t that beautiful and simple?

HouseHoncho moves through the areas/zones in the house, one per day of the week, like this: (I couldn’t resist putting it into HomeRoutines to see how it fits!)

House Honcho schedule

There’s some great housekeeping advice on their Kitchen Table blog, and their Daily 5 routine list is sensible too.

House Honcho also has a page on Facebook.

If you sometimes need a little inspiration on where to start, HouseHoncho looks like a fantastic service. With 9 little missions per day to pick from, there’s bound to be three jobs that suit your home and your available time and energy. Plus: it’s just one email!

App Appeal

As you have probably heard, last week there was a devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Wunderbear Software, developers of HomeRoutines, have banded together with other app developers from New Zealand to help the city recover, with the App Appeal project. 

As a participating developer, we will be giving all our proceeds from the sale of our app between the 26th of February and the 5th of March to the New Zealand Red Cross.  Buy any of the apps featured at App  Appeal and support the victims of #eqnz

Please have a look at the other apps available at AppAppeal.co.nz; there are some very interesting ones that I am looking forward to downloading! They range from games (educational, fun, and both!) to productivity apps, photo-uploaders and peaceful calming sounds to help us fall asleep.

Whether you chose to give directly to the New Zealand Red Cross, buy an app or two, or send positive thoughts or prayers our way – thank you.

Decluttering in February

I think the universe is sending me a message: three of my favourite sites are focussing on Decluttering this month.  And I’ll keep telling myself that I’m not behind – I’ll just jump in where I am!

FlyLady

The FlyLady‘s monthly habit is decluttering for 15 minutes a day.  She has some good instructions on how to declutter and some different fun ways to get motivated.

You can click on the play button here and listen to Flylady talking about decluttering in February.

I’m feeling a bit guilty now because she keeps talking about how you should put boxes of decluttered stuff in the car straight away, and I’ve had boxes sitting on my bedroom floor for a couple of weeks.

Must deliver those and stop thinking that the op-shop lady is going to be all judgmental.

(Flylady is watching me procrastinate)

Life With Flylady

Life with FlyLady ButtonMaaike from Life With FlyLady is running a decluttering challenge with some great instructions and week-by-week steps.  She also links to some excellent decluttering advice from Leo Babauta at ZenHabits, one of my favourite inspirations for a simpler life.

You can follow along with Maaike on her Life With Flylady page on Facebook too.

The Organised Housewife

The Organised Housewife

Katrina from The Organised Housewife is running a February year-long, weekly decluttering challenge. She calls it “52 things in 52 weeks” but those Things are big things.  Not, like, one Happy Meal toy per week – this week, she is focusing on clearing out your closet.

I’m going to unload some birthday supplies from the car now so I can fit those op-shop boxes in there and get going. How about you?

Great new App from Moms With Apps

HomeRoutines is a proud member of Moms With Apps, a collective of independent app developers who also happen to be parents. Today the offical Moms With Apps app is available on the App Store. It’s free, and it’s a fantastic catalog of interesting apps that are of special interest to parents and their kids.

Here I’ve cross-posted the official announcement from Lorraine at Moms With Apps.

App Friday: Moms With Apps Goes LIVE on iTunes!

We are in a celebratory mood this App Friday. Our first collective effort to organize family-friendly apps throughout our membership has just been released on the iTunes App Store, for FREE. The Moms With Apps APP is a catalog to help parents browse apps by educational category. Looking for math, spelling, or science apps? Now you can see these choices organized in a bright display on your iPhone or iPad. Over the next several months we will be adding and refining these categories in hopes of making this THE ideal tool for finding apps for your family, and it’s YOUR feedback and participation that will help us meet that goal.

 

What is your app about? The Moms With App mobile app is a new tool to help parents find apps sorted by specific educational categories. It was developed by Andrew at BabyBinks, and represents over 600 apps throughout the Moms With Apps membership. Features include easier app discovery, adding apps to your wishlist, browsing by new release, and sharing great finds with friends. We will be releasing consistent updates over the next several months to further expand and refine our selection. We hope you like it, and welcome your review on iTunes.

Why is it special? We think it’s the first tool of its kind to give an organized voice for family-friendly apps, and we intend to be the best and most committed resource to help make your iDevice an educational tool for families.

What’s in it for me? Download it for FREE, to your iPhone or iPad – ANYTIME!

HomeRoutines is One! (Appy Birthday!)

I can hardly believe it, but it’s now  a whole year since HomeRoutines was first for sale in the App Store.

To celebrate, we’re holding a weekend sale on HomeRoutines and HomeRoutines for iPad.  We’ll keep it going for three days as it’s a long weekend here (Auckland Anniversary Day!)

It’s been a busy year, while we talked with you and listened to your requests and ideas, and put them in place to make the app better.  Since we released that first version (HomeRoutines 1.0!) we’ve kept the updates coming.

Look at all these features that weren’t in the app when it was first released!

Apart from the separate iPad version, all those features were free upgrades, and we have even more upgrade awesomeness coming this year!

Another blast from the past is the old HomeRoutine icon:

It’s a front-loading washing machine. I know, right?

We made some early users sad when we changed it, but I’m pleased with our gold star icon.

It’s more colourful, that checkmark is like the Internationally Recognised Symbol for “This is a productivity app”, and the gold stars are what HomeRoutines is all about.

And here’s our “Before and After view of the home screen:

Thank you so much for all your feedback and kind reviews, and all your mentions on Twitter and your blogs. They’ve helped us keep developing the app and making it even better.

We have some tremendously awesome plans for the app this year, so keep watching that update screen!

Thanks again!

Rosie and Tim

HomeRoutines.com

HomeRoutines 1.81 Update

We have just submitted a small update to the App Store.

Thank you for your support, feedback and your kind reviews on the app store. We appreciate it – especially when you update your reviews with a new version 🙂

What’s New for iPhone in HomeRoutines 1.81

This is a minor update to HomeRoutines to fix some bugs, but we have some awesome new features coming soon!

  • We’ve improved routine reminders: if you delete or rename a routine, the reminders are immediately deleted or renamed to match.
  • We fixed some bugs that occurred on iOS3 devices:
  • if you tried to copy without selecting something first, it made the app crash
  • if you pasted multiple tasks it caused a bug
  • We’ve improved the app’s performance on older devices, and fixed various other little bugs.

What’s New for iPad in HomeRoutines 1.81

  • You can now edit routines with your iPad in portrait or landscape mode (thanks for your patience with this one, it was very confusing!!!)
  • We improved routine reminders: if you delete or rename a routine, the reminders are immediately deleted or renamed to match.
  • We fixed a bug which meant that the date, daily messages and today’s routines weren’t refreshing properly each morning.
  • And we resolved a crashing bug that happened if you deleted a routine while you were viewing it.

We also fixed some bugs that occurred on iPads running iOS3:

  • if you tried to copy without selecting something first, it made the app crash
  • if you pasted multiple tasks it caused a bug

Choosing a housework “system”: Organized Home

Organized Home by Cynthia Townley Ewer is a comprehensive, well organized reference site, with special sections dedicated to creating a Household Notebook, decluttering, organizing and seasonal tasks. It also offers some nicely designed Printable planner pages and a fab section called SHEs organized – with resources for people following the Sidetracked Home Executives system that was a precursor and inspiration to FlyLady.  I think the HomeRoutines app works really well with the SHE mindset as well!

Organized Home is the first place I came across the Four Box method of decluttering.  It’s a good reminder that you don’t need any special products to declutter.  (Don’t procrastinate thinking you need a set of special baskets to declutter into – a cardboard box from the grocery store will do just fine, and you can put it straight in the car to donate!)

Cynthia has also written a great book called Houseworks, which contains heaps of the wonderful advice on the website.

Extra credit routines help you do the hard jobs

I was thinking about how easy it is for me to make my routines too long, with too many tasks in them. There are things that absolutely have to be done in my morning routine – like changing the nappy on Mr Small and Stinky, breakfast dishes and so on. But then there are things that can slide more easily, like sweeping the floor post-breakfast etc, especially when I get tied up chasing Mr Small and Less Stinky around the house, and you just know he’s going to run through the swept  up piles of sweepings…

Everyone has something that seems like an insurmountable obstacle, even though it doesn’t really take that long, and those are the things that you want to build up a habit of doing.

But you don’t want to leave your regular routines incomplete while you do.  So I had an idea – split those jobs off into an extra credit routine. So I did, and I’m enjoying my completed star for my morning routine, and giving myself a funny encouraging message to do those extra important jobs as well.

It’s 2011! Achievable New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

To celebrate the New Year, HomeRoutines for iPhone and iPad are on special – Just 99c for 2 days only!

Don't do this

It’s very easy to write a list of New Year’s resolutions. It’s much harder to actually follow through with them past about 10:32am on January 1st.  The first step should be to write an achievable list in the first place.

The list I’ve written above…isn’t a sensible list.  (It caused my husband Tim to panic and very nervously ask me if “that list downstairs… is a real list”) Your goals need to be Manageable and Realistic – as well as all the other letters in the SMART Goals acronym

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to organize your house and live in the clean and tidy home you’ve always imagined, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, there’s no instant fix to do that overnight. But if you build up routines gradually, and declutter bit-by-bit, you will get there in the end.  I tell you what, it’s my (real) resolution too; I didn’t design an app for managing housework because cleaning comes naturally to me.  I am not “Born Organized” as they say.

Here’s what I’m doing: starting from the beginning and taking it slowly.

Ideas for building up your routines gently

  • Start small.  Create a morning routine that contains only 4 or 5 tasks that you already always do. Stick with that for a week and enjoy your gold stars.
  • Build up gently. Try another week where you add one task that you “should” do but don’t.  There’s always one that’s disproportionately hard to do: it might be sweeping the floor, folding the laundry, or unloading the dishwasher.  Add that one to your morning routine.
  • Add another task a little while later
  • When you’re mostly completing all the tasks in your morning routine, create an evening routine with the tasks you already do.
  • Build up from there.

If you’re feeling too overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, it can help to have an external guide to follow.  I suggest The Flylady’s baby steps, or following the Nest steps on HabitHacker.com.

Some more good examples of routines