|Number 7: Don't hold yourself up to unrealistic expectations!|
1) Purge, Purge, Purge: One of the biggest reasons that it can seem so hard to manage a household is that we just have too much stuff! So I really encourage people to simplify their lives by purging the stuff that you don't need. Do you really need more than 2 bedsheets per bed? Do you really need 20 plates for a family of 4? Do you really need so many towels? Consider paring down and only keeping the things you absolutely need and use on a daily basis. Also, if it is broken, just get it out of your house. Don't keep it around by telling yourself you are going to fix it one of these days. Because you won't! If you haven't used something for the past six months, it is likely something that you don't need to have around. So purge the stuff. Donate the stuff to someone who really does NEED it.
2) Deep Clean Periodically and then spend the rest of the time just maintaining: If possible, have someone take the kids out of the house some weekend and spend the entire time deep cleaning your house. Get it to a nice super clean state. Then just focus your time during the week to maintaining it. Once you notice your house getting totally out of control again, then schedule another "deep cleaning" appointment with yourself.
3) Have a Place for Everything and Everything in its place- Make a rule that if something comes into your house, it needs to have a set place. If you don't have a place for it, then you need to make a place. If you aren't able to make or find a place than you shouldn't have it in your house. Also, you shouldn't be the only one who knows about "the place" and is able to put it in. If your organization system is so complicated that only you can figure it out, than only you will ever be able to put it away. If no one but you knows where the proper place for something is, than guess what? You will be the only one who knows where to put it. I know that sounds simplistic, but this really is a common problem with a lot of homemakers.
4) Never let things get too bad- Sure your house is not always going to stay crystal clean. If you are going to have a fun, active, comfortable house that people actually live in, there are going to be messes. That is part of life. However, try your best not to let the messes get too out of control. Try to keep on top of certain tasks that tend to pile up EVERY DAY. (Like dishes and laundry for example.) Do a little bit every day so that the tasks doesn't become this huge, overwhelming thing.
5) Enlist the help of your family- Accept that you are never going to be able to get it all done yourself. You are not the only one creating the mess, so you shouldn't be the only one cleaning the mess. It is OK to ask and expect help around the house. Even very little kids can help with getting the house picked up and it teaches them some valuable skills that they can use as an adult.
6) Schedule a "Quick Clean" at least once a day: At least once a day (maybe several times a day if you need it) get everyone together to participate in a "Quick Clean". This is just a quick clean where everyone does what they can to quickly straighten the house. I have found it helpful to give everyone a specific job to do during the "Quick Clean". For example, one child might help pick up toys, another one might put books back on the shelf, mom might really quickly load up the dishwasher, etc. We will sometimes play a really FAST song on it and everyone will run around as quickly as they can cleaning. This makes it a bit more fun for everyone involved. This is also related to item number 4 on the list, as it keeps the house from ever getting REALLY bad. (And if it does get REALLY bad again, it is time to schedule another deep clean. See number 2!)
7) Don't hold yourself up to these unrealistic standards. Too many woman hold themselves up to these completely unrealistic expectations and then feel like a failure when they fail to meet those expectations. Don't do this to yourself. Have realistic expectations for what is going to be acceptably "clean and orderly" in your house.
8) Use Lists to stay organized- Don't try just to remember everything that needs to be done. Make lists, make a lot of them, and make them for everything. Just writing something down instead of trying to remember it will help free up your mind to concentrate on other things. It can be downright exhausting trying to mentally remember all of the things that need to be done. You may not even know that you are mentally exhausted until you finally get everything down. Sure making a list takes time, but I promise you it is going to help you get more done in a shorter amount of time, stay better organized, and you aren't as likely to forget all of those things you need to do.
(Need a list? Check out The Attached Mama's Printable Chore lists here.)
9) Learn to associate certain daily chores with activities that you do every day- I have found that if I associate a chore with something I naturally do most days I am more likely to get it done. So make it a point to wipe down the bathroom counters every time you put your toddler in the bath. Make it a point to unload the dishwasher before you make breakfast. That type of thing.
10) Meal Plan: Chance are that at the end of the day you are going to be feeling exhausted and the last thing you want to think about is throwing a meal together. Learn the art of meal planning. It will save you a lot of money at the grocery store; It will possibly SAVE your family dinner time; It will probably be a lot healthier for your family; but most importantly, it will make your life easier. So set a time aside each week (or month) where you plan out your meals.
This is Part 2 in my series on Household Chores:
1) Part 1: Printable Chore Lists
2) Part 2: Top Ten Tips for Tackling Chores (You are here)