Nothing helps my home run more efficiently than order. When things are in order, clean and tidy (at least presentably son), I can relax and enjoy my day. The opposite can happen when there is no plan for the day, for meals or cleaning, for that is when things can get piled up, out of control and total chaos can follow!!
Now, I would love to adapt a family schedule that would keep me and my family in total order! But with two teenage sons at school and working jobs and a husband who works a rotating shift, a rigid schedule just won't work for us. Plus I enjoy the freedom of being home and am learning to embrace the interruptions that come into my day as opportunities to give of myself and hopefully bless others. I dont' want to miss out on anything, because my schedule demands that I move on.
The next best thing to a schedule is a routine. A routine is simply doing the same thing at the same time each day with the flexibility to step out of bounds once in a while! A routine can be wrote in the mind instead of on paper and naturally finds the flow that works with the family and is easily adapted to.
Now, there are some good routines and some bad routines! Some 'bad' routines may include:
- a set time to sit on the couch and watch TV for hours!
- planning the dinner meal just as everyone is asking "What's for dinner?"
- doing laundry only once you see the hampers overflowing
- doing the dishes because it is morning and there are no clean bowls for cereal
But, some helpful routines that help the home run more efficiently are simply good habits waiting to be started:
Make A Plan:
- Make an effective morning routine which helps set the tone and pace for the day. Put this plan in place the night before. Be prepared for what will be for breakfast, what will we wear, are the school notes signed, etc.
- Have supper planned for in the morning. Then lay out meat to defrost or any preparations that will make dinner hour easier.
- Train the mind to expect the unexpected. If company suddenly arrives, are there ingredients to make a meal? If sports practice goes longer, what do we do for dinner at home - quick!
- Keep the house tidy! 5 minutes spent several times a day putting things in their proper place goes a long way towards keeping an organized and clean home. Also teach the kids this!
- Do a little laundry each day. There will constantly be dirty clothes added. Don't wait until the hamper is overflowing, but don't do a marathon laundry day...do a few loads each day and keep it manageable.
- Keep bathroom counters as clear as possible and wipe down every other day.
In the Kitchen:
- Clean while you cook. Keep a sink of dishwater ready and wash dishes are they are being used. Makes clean up much easier.
- DO the DISHES AT NIGHT!!! No matter how tired you are, you will feel worse facing a sink of dirty dishes in the morning.
- If there are leftovers, plan how to include them for another meal
- Use time wisely: while on the phone, put dishes away, fold clothes, cook dinner, multi task whenever possible.
- Ask "what can I be doing" through the day. Proverbs encourages us to "Not eat the bread of idleness". There is time for rest and for quiet activities through the day. Take breaks and even short naps when needed. These may be vital to avoid overload. But there is a difference in true resting to renew your strength for later tasks and resting with no plan but to sit for a long while!
- Find creative ways to combine jobs around the house. Avoid overload by tackling big tasks for just a few minutes. Doing a little each day breaks a huge task into manageable pieces. Do pieces of a big job while doing an everyday job - clean out a kitchen drawer while cooking dinner, work on bathroom clutter while you clean the bathroom. Look around with a creative eye!
Routines don't have to be boring, but can be a great source of structure and give order to a home. By seeking out good things to do each day, we can keep the home running without running ourselves down. Routines become a natural part of the day and as we care for our family and home, are a beautiful extension of ourselves. That is the special touch that makes our homes sing!!