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Planning for a Tidy Home

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that life is messy. Whether you have kids or not, the emotional mess of life can be overwhelming to the point where sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Now that kids are in the mix, the mess extends into a whole new level and keeping up with it all, between the other demands of life, can be exhausting. 

I grew up knowing that when Saturday rolled around, it was time to clean house. My mom would have everything ready to go after breakfast, and there was no play-time unless chores were done. Even at a young age I had chores. I was responsible for cleaning my room, bringing my laundry down, waxing + windexing the living room tables, and vacuuming the living room. I suppose the chores didn’t start until I was around 6 or so, but you can imagine all I wanted to do when I woke up on the weekend was get outdoors and play!

I spent my adulthood thinking/doing the same thing, and scheduled most of my Saturday mornings, into early afternoon, for cleaning and grocery shopping. Thankfully, the past few years have taught me that weekends don’t only have to be for cleaning. I know, it sounds ludicrous, but trust me when I say it’s true. If you’re spending your weekends doing a majority of your house cleaning—whether you work out of the home, or stay home with your kids—you’re missing out on tons of weekend fun!

I can attest, as someone who lives with 3 small children, that maintaining a home is loads of work. Literally. The loads of laundry that we do weekly are endless, never mind the laundry that comes with a household sickness. Yuck! And laundry aside, there are still a bazillion other things that we need to tend to in our home on a weekly basis. So, as with most things in our life I have a plan—a schedule, rather.

This schedule has been adjusted to adapt to our current season and general schedule, but the things that we need to get done each week are relatively the same no matter what. There are a few reasons I love having this schedule for our family and keeping it in our family binder: 

  1. I no longer have to think about what I need to tackle that day. I’ve done a brain dump and created the schedule so I just have to look at what I need to do, and do it.
  2. Having it printed and in our family binder means that it’s not only in my brain. A past area of tension in our family/my marriage was expecting help from my husband, while also expecting him to read my mind. Sound familiar?? Having this on paper and in a place where my husband has access means no more arguing over what needs to be done and when.  
  3. When our life/season changes it’s easy to reevaluate and adjust without taking too much time and effort; I don’t need to recreate the wheel!

Here’s what a typical week looks like for me (not including play dates, outings, school/sport commitments/etc.):

While this exact schedule may not work for you, the idea of it should. Knowing your schedule in advance is obviously the first place you’ll want to start. And think about what days/times you are currently do these things. Do they work for you? Do you think they would work better on a different day/time? Tailor it to YOU!

Lastly, one big thing to note is that this list does not include the items that I keep up with daily. You can find that list/schedule here.

A few other tips:

  • DISHES: pair them down. If you’re not much a cook, then go through your utensils, cooking/baking gear and remove things you’re not using. You don’t have to toss or donate your items, but get a box together you can access during the holidays when you might need those few extra items. 
  • DISHES (PT. 2):You can either (1) embrace the use of paper plates or (2) pair down to your absolute necessities so that it forces you to wash your plates/cups immediately after use instead of being able to reach for a new one at your next meal time. This will keep your sink free of random dishes that might get used throughout the day for meals/snacks. *If you have little kids, this one will be tough when sickness hits—so keep spares readily available for when this happens. You won’t have time to keep up with it, and you’ll want your dishwasher to really disinfect your kitchenware for the day.
  • DELEGATE:if you have old enough kids, delegate some chores to them. When they’re young, they like to help! My 4 year old loves helping unload the dishwasher and my 3 year old loves wiping down tables—we make it part of our “fun” together. Whatever works, right?
  • BE FLEXIBLE: this is a guide, not a MUST. If you don’t get to something on your list for the day it’s ok! You should never feel shame for not getting to something on your to-do list. We are notorious for overscheduling ourselves on all fronts, but when it comes to your housekeeping…this is one area of life where self-criticism should not be found. You’re doing great!
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