I feel like all I do is clean and pick up. I work so hard, but my house never seems to look peaceful and neat. Do you ever feel like that – – like you can never catch up? I decided to get back on a housekeeping schedule, which forces me to address specifics such as dusting – – something easily overlooked. Last year, I created a home management binder, and my house was so much neater, and my life was well-organized. I fell off the binder-wagon, and my house spiraled into chaos. Because I couldn’t walk the past couple of months, very bad things have happened to my homes’ organization. Can you imagine not being able to walk around your house to pick things up? I just resumed being subject to a schedule, and it really does work. There is accountability in creating a list of expectations. Not only do I use this binder to house my homekeeping schedule, but also a weekly meals list, my calendar, and other important information.
I also suggest breaking your chores like sewing, baking, and laundry into time frames when you can specifically focus on that chore. For instance, if I don’t have specific laundry days, I end up leaving clothes in the washer or dryer damp, because I forget about them. If this is laundry day, I will be loading laundry in, and taking it out, one load after another. Also, with baking – – if I already have the ingredients out and have the oven going, why not make a loaf of bread, granola bars, pumpkin bread and the like? I clean up one floury mess and only have to get the ingredients in and out once.
You might wonder why I include sewing on my chore list, and you might consider this rather old-fashioned. However, fixing buttons on clothing, turning dresses into skirts, and making clothing are all things that save us money. If I don’t put sewing on the list, it won’t get done because I consider sewing fun, so it almost feels like I’m engaging in recreation when I should be cleaning.
My home management binder has several sections:
A Calendar: This is an obvious one. I am like the Absent Minded Professor. If it’s not written down, I’ll forget it. Having things written down also allows me to look at my schedule and assess my current time commitments.
Cleaning Schedule Section: I divide my cleaning into four days, leaving one day open for a field trip, or just a day to relax with my girls. This section also includes recipes for my homemade cleaners. Here is how I divide my cleaning schedule: Monday – laundry, change bed sheets, dusting, mopping. Tuesday – bathrooms, coupon organizing, baking, meal planning, clean fridge. Wednesday – grocery shopping, sewing, organizing, deep clean something – anything! Thursday – bleach kitchen sink and countertops, mopping, vacuum whole house, laundry. And of course, every day I must do lots of dishes, make beds, and vacuum the kitchen, not to mention all the cooking an preserving I do. Oh, and I homeschool. I’m a busy girl.
Meal Planning Section: Weekly Meal Planner, Recipes to Try list, recipes I’m using for the week, and blank recipe cards.
Budget Section: Here, I keep a “Weekly Deals Roundup” sheet handy, where I chronicle the best grocery prices of the week. I also have a pocket folder with unorganized coupons and a Price Book page, which I can take to different stores and write down prices for comparison. Before you think I’m totally nuts, I have only used it so far for Costco. I am not frantically in every store jotting down prices – – it just helps for staples like oil, sugar, flour, etc . . . I also have a financial goals worksheet which I haven’t used yet.
School Section: Here I can keep permission slip requests and homeschool ideas.
Miscellaneous: Prayer idea cards, craft and gardening ideas.
There are so many other categories I want to add, like a to-do list section which includes birthday information of family members, and an exercise log.
What should be in your home management binder? The answer is, anything will help you manage your family’s life. I print many of these free sheets from www.lifeyourway.net. There are printables for everything from Christmas card organizing sheets, exercise logs, weekly meal planners to pantry inventory sheets. I am trying to operate my home like a business, trying to be wise with money and keep things running smoothly. If you don’t have time to keep your house as you would like, and constantly feel stressed, maybe it’s time to cut out other commitments and get your house in order. Having a well-run house allows you to increase family time, and enjoy being in a clean home where everyone feels comfy and relaxed. Right here, I’m preaching to myself.