Keeping up with cleaning, organizing, and running a home can be a challenge. These five practical tips will help you to be less stressed, better organized and more productive as a mom and homemaker.
Homemaking used to be a constant struggle…
Clutter, dishes piling up, not being prepared to fix dinner…these things caused me stress and anxiety.
How could I be a LITTLE MORE organized? Or keep the house clean (presentable, at least)?
And was it EVEN POSSIBLE to get a decent meal on the table, on time, (almost) every night?
Well, with patience, perseverance, and a lot of prayer, I have found strategies that have helped me in ALL of these areas. Without them, I would probably still be stuck in that sorry pit of despair. (and uncontrollable messes!)
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1. FIND A ROUTINE THAT WORKS FOR YOU
If a strict schedule doesn’t work for you (raises hand here), try a “routine” instead.
Because routines are flexible, you can easily shift gears if the day doesn’t go as planned. And things often don’t go as planned.
Simply start by making a list of the top priority tasks that need to happen for the day. Include meals, feeding pets, tidying, work at home, etc.
Next, arrange the tasks in the order that they should occur. For some of us, this is enough to keep us on track. If you are working towards a more structured schedule, this is a great place to start!
Having this written “framework” for your day can alleviate the anxiety that happens when you don’t know what to do next.
One thing that helped us A TON was to put a whiteboard in a central area of our home for listing out chores and appointments. This lets everyone knows what is going on and makes is easier for them to get on board.
A whiteboard is also great for quotes, affirmations, and Bible verses to encourage yourself or your family during the day.
Obviously, routines take time to figure out, so be patient with yourself and others as you establish what works.
I promise you. It’s worth the effort and will help to bring peace and calm to your home.
(For more inspiration, visit 7 Encouragements For Struggling Homemakers)
2. PLAN YOUR MEALS
Meal planning used to really intimidate me.
It felt restrictive. Like I could ONLY COOK what was on the list each day.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
A meal plan does not have to be written in stone to work MIRACLES!
In fact, I often change up our meal plan. But having it in writing reminds me that dinner needs to happen each day. And that works for me.
A super simple way is to start by writing down four or five meals that you want to serve for the week. (I like to check my freezer and pantry first, then make a list of what I need to pick up at the store to complete each meal.)
You can make reminders on your meal plan page (aka notebook paper, back of junk mail, etc.) to take things out of the freezer, or to set your Crockpot or Instant Pot on time. I can easily forget if I don’t have those things written down.
Breakfast and lunch are normally ffy (fend for yourself) since my kids are older. And I rarely plan out weekend meals as we often do easy things like pizza or oven nachos if we are home.
If we have perishables or leftovers in the fridge that need to be eaten over the weekend, I will make note of those on the meal plan page so everyone knows what is available. Because refrigerator blindness is a real thing y’all.
3. CLEAN ON THE FLY
I used to think that if I didn’t have time to complete a task to absolute perfection, there was no point in starting it. Honestly, I wouldn’t even wipe the bathroom counter if I didn’t have time to clean the whole bathroom.
Crazy, I know, but that’s how it was. When I figured out that this mindset wasn’t serving me, I adopted a more “cleaning on the fly” strategy.
In our home, cleaning and picking up on the fly means basically just taking care of something when you notice that it needs attention. This can be especially strategic when you don’t have large amounts of time to block out for house cleaning.
For instance, I rarely have to schedule time for cleaning the shower. Once a week, I take microfiber cloths in the shower with me and give it a good cleaning before I get out. DONE!
A few of times a week I clean the toilet right before I get in the shower. Same with the bathroom counter… I just wipe it down as it needs it during the week. It only takes a minute and then it’s done.
You can use this strategy in other areas of your home. It can be a little bit challenging for messies at first. We tend to look beyond the mess in front of us, especially if we have programmed ourselves that way in order to deal with things that are beyond our control.
It helps for me to put sticky notes around to remind myself of tasks until they become habit.
The Chaos Cure and Sink Reflections, both by Marla Cilley a.k.a. “The FlyLady”, are easy reads that contain tons of helpful ideas for getting and keeping things clean and organized. She discusses a similar method of keeping things clean.
Marla is also a messy by nature, and I can relate to her practical advice. Her books have been helpful and encouraging for me.
4. DISCOVER YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE
Learning more about yourself and what makes you (and others) tick is truly LIFE CHANGING in so many ways.
In my life, discovering my personality type has helped me to understand why certain organizational skills elude me. It has helped me to know what approaches will work when it comes to completing tasks and why I was never successful at using planners and schedules designed by other people.
Also, now I know that it’s normal for people with my personality to be overwhelmed by huge to-do lists. And I know what I can do instead.
And the BIG BONUS in studying personalities has been learning to relate to my children AND my husband on a level that I never thought was possible. So things are more peaceable on the home front. And more peace is always welcome in our home!
In fact, my whole family has gotten involved in personality discovery and the impact on our relationships with one another has been amazing!
If you have never taken a personality quiz before, or if it has been awhile (especially if it was high school or college), I would highly recommend it.
You can take this one free at 16personalities.com . Personality tests aren’t always completely accurate, so it’s a good idea to do a little reading, either online or with a good book, to make sure that you have landed on the right one.
This book, Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How we Live, Love, and Work, is a wonderful read and will give you a better understanding of yourself and what makes you tick.
5. MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY
The house is finally still. Even the dog is quietly tucked away. You push “start” on the dishwasher and head to the bedroom where you hesitate before entering.
And, that’s when you hear it…the telltale sound. Either husband is watching Ford vs Ferrari or he is seriously asleep!
You contemplate catching up on cleaning. Starting a DIY project. Shaving your legs. The possibilities are endless!
I think many of us can relate to sacrificing sleep for things like housework, business, or quiet time.
I have certainly done my share of it. There’s just something so lovely about that late night solitude , when everyone else is asleep.
Admittedly, it was hard giving that coveted time to myself in the late night and into the early morning hours, but there are bigger payoffs.
Since changing my sleep schedule and getting to bed at a decent time, I feel better during the day. At night I am tired and fall asleep more easily.
Consequently, I get so much more done, as those morning hours are when I have the most energy.
Best of all, my husband and I are way more connected because we are sharing a similar schedule.
As far as quiet time, I am able to enjoy some solitude in the morning, before everyone else is up for the day.
What habits have you adopted that are crucial for keeping the stress and chaos to a minimum at your house?
Need a boost? Read: 7 Encouragements For When You Are Struggling as a Homemaker