If you look around your home right now; does it feel untidy, unorganized, overwhelming? Even if your home doesn’t feel that way today, I think it’s safe to say we have all been there in one season or another.
Today on the blog I wanted to take some time to talk about getting into a homemaking routine. it’s something I get asked about fairly often, and I thought it would be beneficial to cover here on the blog. “How do I set a plan in place?” “Where do I start?”
The answers to questions like that honestly are going to vary from person to person, but one key aspect is needed for each person.
WHERE DO I START
The answer to that question is simple, just get started. Honestly, just start somewhere, anywhere. I’ve said it on the blog before. You guys know how much I appreciate Elisabeth Elliot’s wisdom. While this quote of hers has much deeper context and meaning, I truly believe it can be applied to so many areas of our lives. On her program she talked about the death of her first husband, missionary, Jim Elliot. she said this in one episode.
“When I went back to my jungle station after the death of my first husband, Jim Elliot, I was faced with many confusions and uncertainties. I had a good many new roles, besides that of being a single parent and a widow. I was alone on a jungle station that Jim and I had manned together. I had to learn to do all kinds of things, which I was not trained or prepared in any way to do. It was a great help to me simply to do the next thing.”
“It was a great help to me simply to do the next thing”
Elisabeth said she heard those words in a poem and it always stuck with her.
““Do it immediately, do it with prayer, do it reliantly, casting all care. Do it with reverence, tracing His hand who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing, leave all resultings, do the next thing.”
Wherever you find yourself today. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, tired, unsure of where to begin and where to go from here…and maybe all those things are a result of something much larger than keeping up with your home…my encouragement to you is pray, cast all your cares on the Lord, trust Him and His Word and just do the next thing.
I will add, another great place to start is in a space that you’ll be able to quickly see results. Something like your bedroom. A simple wiping down and making of the bed will instantly make the space feel peaceful and will then motivate you to keep going.
Now that we are up and moving…we’ve started somewhere. We may ask ourselves, “How can I stay on track and organize my time in such a way that I can keep this manageable?”
For me, I have always found having daily tasks that I complete every single day helps to keep everything manageable. For example, every day I make the beds, I wash and fold one load of laundry, I sweep up crumbs from the kitchen floor, I run the dishwasher, and I clear/wipe down horizontal surfaces in the main living areas/kitchen. Doing these simple tasks every day makes my “cleaning” days so much easier.
HAVE A DAILY HOME RE-SET
I do this twice a day, before my husband comes home from work and also in the evening before everyone goes to bed. This is easy and everyone can lend a hand. Set the time for 10-15 minutes and tidy up. Return items to their homes, have the kids clean up their stuff. For the nightly re-set it’s a must that the kitchen is all cleaned up and ready for the morning.
HOW DO I FIND A ROUTINE THAT WORKS FOR ME
Everyone is different and every home is different so this may take time. For me, I’ve always found doing the bulk of my cleaning towards the end of the week works best for me. I like to separate my tasks by days so that I’m not overwhelmed with cleaning the entire house in one day. I like to dedicate one day (usually Mondays) to wash all the bedding. Then beginning on Wednesday I start the bulk of my cleaning. I divide the house into “sections” I’ll work on the basement on Wednesday and do everything at once down there, dust, wipe everything down, vacuum, clean the bathroom…etc. Thursdays I focus on the main upstairs living areas. Living room, family room, bedrooms. Fridays are for the bathroom and kitchen. If there was something I wasn’t able to get done on Thursday I’ll try to squeeze it in on Friday. Everyone has different systems so this may not work for you. The key is to try different routines out until you find one that works best for your family/home life. While my routine may look different from yours the take away is that you need to have some kind of routine in place. Have something on paper to keep track of tasks, something you can check off and refer back to. This isn’t something you just should “wing” — structure is best for staying on track. I have a homemaker printable in my etsy shop that includes my daily tasks as well as my daily and weekly cleaning tasks for each room of our home.
HOW DO I STICK TO IT
This is where no matter how many tips or tricks you read about, at the end of the day YOU have to be the one to stick to it. Find things that keep you motivated, maybe it’s music, maybe audio books and podcasts. Maybe you like watching YouTube while you clean. Just find something that motivates you to get moving. If you stay committed to your daily tasks and create a cleaning schedule… every day that you do it is one step closer to it becoming a habit. Another way and this may sound elementary, but reward yourself…maybe it’s another cup of coffee, maybe it’s the chocolate bar hiding in the back of the cupboard, maybe it’s 15 minutes to kick back and read a book. Have something at the end of your cleaning tasks to look forward to. I love, once I’m done my tasks for the day to brew a cup of coffee and sit in my fresh and clean space and just enjoy the stillness. Looking forward to the peace and calm is what motivates me to get the work done.
If you have littles, try working while they nap. I was always able to get my work done while my boys napped in the morning/afternoon. I also always work best first thing in the morning and around 2:00 in the afternoon. So think about the times you have the most energy and try to get your tasks done during those times.
TAKE INVENTORY OFTEN
To avoid becoming overwhelmed with “stuff” take inventory often. What do I mean by that? Well basically, look around, is there constantly stuff laying around on the floors and counters that never seem to have a home? It could be because you haven’t taken the time to find a home for it (you should do that) or it could be that it’s junk and you don’t need it. Every couple of weeks I like to do quick sweep through of rooms and get rid of any excess that may be accumulating. Doing daily sweeps of horizontal surfaces really helps with this, but let’s be honest things accumulate in all the nooks and crannies, especially when there are other people living in your home. Having a clean home and a tidy home are different things. You may have a great system in place for dusting, washing, vacuuming etc…but your house always looks dirty. It is likely because you have too much clutter. It is so crucial that you declutter. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it could very likely be because of excessive stuff.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin, remember… pray and ask the Lord for help and then do the next thing.