I hate tacking numbers on to a post as if its the magic number that will cure everything wrong in your life. However, I love having something simple and broken down for you so that you can have bite size steps to overcoming your obstacles. So, please bare with me, and I hope this post is helpful for you.
A few weeks ago I was at a clients house, cleaning. She had this fabulous dry erase wall. She picked up a roll from the local store (I found this on Amazon if you are looking for one!) and stuck it to one of the door jams so she could write all the notes down that she needed to keep track of. I loved it! We got to talking about how planners were not working for her, but this did. It led to me trying to find a solution how to make planners work for her, when it hit me, planners don’t HAVE to work for her. She found a system that did! Even more genius was when she told me she use to keep a 3×5 card in her pocket that she would write notes on throughout the day and then do what was on them at the end of the day or whatever needed to be handled at that point. It was almost too simple. But really, shouldn’t it be like that? Shouldn’t simplicity be the key? We have so much to do that the basic thing, the boiled down idea, is that we need a way to keep track of all we have to do so that we don’t forget something important.
This is my no. 1 tip: whether it’s a 3×5 card, notes to yourself on the phone, a wall with dry erase pasted on it, a pad of paper with a dump list, an Erin Condren planner, or whatever. You need something to help keep track instead of trying to keep it all in your head.
I like my Erin Condren, the stickers are eye catching to me and it helps me break up the to-do list and focus solely on the time sensitive things: such as, ballet tuition, doctor’s appointment, client home to clean. Etc. It is how my brain works best. I don’t always have pockets to carry around notes and I am NOT phone savvy enough for notes and whatnot, nor do I want to learn. That works for me. And when I am consistent and take the 20 minutes each Sunday, that it takes me to set everything in motion and easy to add to, and plan out my week, everything goes much more smoothly. So whatever you choose, think about how you work and plan with that
Tip No. 2
“Wherever you are, be all there…” Maybe a far fetched statement since it was Jim Elliot who was a missionary and was talking about God’s will. However, I like to use this idea to keep on top of things. If I am in the kitchen making dinner, I am doing the things that need to be done in the kitchen: cleaning, decluttering, refilling containers with oats, flour, and etc., making a menu plan, cleaning out the fridge, and more. You don’t need to wait for a good block of time to do it all. While I do that as well, there is always the little things that you can get done that help give you more time in the long run. One of my “favorite” (might be too strong of a word) to do is when I am in the restroom, to wipe it all down. I am already in there, and it has NEVER taken me longer than 75 seconds to do the basic stuff. I keep rags in a box under the sink and a container of lysol wipes to just sanitize everything with. 75 seconds– max. Wipe the toilet. Poor some bleach or cleaner in the bowl. Let it sit while you wipe down the faucet (with a fresh wipe 😉 ) and sink, scrub the bowl. Done. In the shower, spray it down and use an old sponge wipe it down. In the laundry room, take the 5 minutes to just fold everything as you pull it out of the dryer. Place them in the laundry baskets and do a load. THe laundry basket then has the clothes all ready to put away. At that point, you don’t want them to become all undone and its easier to just put away. Wherever you are, be all there.
Tip No. 3. Have some kind of Menu plan.
Whether it’s a weekly plan, monthly plan, or just a list of ingredients you always keep on hand for certain meals, having some kind of menu plan is really helpful and saves you time and money. I have 2 kinds, I have a list of ingredients that I keep handy for quick meals like spaghetti, 30 minute Enchilada One-Pan-Dish, and Tuna cakes. Those are easy pantry ingredients and I always have some kind of ground beef or turkey already ground up and easy to throw in for a meal. I do this the day after or the hour after I get home from grocery shopping. It takes 10ish minutes to ground up a lb of ground meet and then its all ready for a last minute meal. Goes in the freezer and it’s just easy. I also have a list of 30 meals or recipes that we love and I usually just use these on rotation for our meal planning. I don’t have to look up recipes on Pinterest if I don’t have the time. I don’t have to do much other than see what meat is on sale to work around these recipes we love. Lunches are more difficult but seriously, just keep it SIMPLE. There is something freeing about not having to think about dinner. You have already planned, shopped and somewhat prepared for it.
And finally, Tip No. 4. All of these tips are ones that I have gleaned from watching what I call “successful homemakers” (women that seem to be able to run their home smoothly) do in their homes. I implemented these within my own home to have it run more smoothly and these 4 have worked well for me for the past year or 2. This last tip is kind of two-fold, because it depends on how you look at it, and that tip is to ask, or accept, help. I work as a house-cleaner for several clients and one thing that does seem to give them a more successful house management is having the extra help. I, personally, do not hire a housekeeper, and some people can’t afford one. But has anyone ever offered to help you? Have you ever offered to help others, and mean it? Do you have family in town that would be happy to take the kids for an hour or 3, so you can catch a breath, or in my case, catch up on house keeping? Can you afford a baby sitting once or twice a month? Can you reach out for help? I realize it is humbling, but why do we think we should and can do it all? I really don’t think we were meant too and as we try to train our children to help, we still need “professional” (term loosely used) help now and then.
I started this post by saying that I dislike a certain number that promises life-changing magic. However, these are tips that I have gleaned from watching a number of mama’s and have implemented in my own life. This is by no means an exhaustive list. I just wanted it simple and a place to start. It will change your life, but it won’t happen all at once. Tomorrow you are not going to wake up and have all your ducks in a row. If you start tomorrow and keep it going consistently, over time the habit you have taken on begins to grow and grow. And I am sure by the time we have all this down, we’ll start all over again as empty nesters. But these basic four tips can be used over the course of many different seasons of life. So I hope they are useful to you.
Need more help? I found these books to be valuable in creating a smooth running (I just cracked up at that, not every day goes smoothly) household, or in my case, homestead.