My house runs on systems, but it wasn't always this way. Picture a zoo with all of the animals let loose – and the mess that would bring – and then you've got a pretty accurate image of what I feel my home used to be like. (Have I ever told you about the time that a gaggle of my daughter's friends dropped by unannounced at 8am the day after we returned home from a trip? There was dog food, road trip snack wrappers, Dora the Explorer undies, and worse ALL OVER the living room…and our entry way…and pretty much everywhere. That was pretty embarrassing).
Now, don't get my wrong – as I'm typing this, there are some toys in my living room, dishes in the sink, and some yard work that needs to be done. Stay with me here, though, because there are a few key differences between my house now and that crazy zoo time:
- My house has been recently cleaned, so there isn't a mess that's been piling up…and up…and up.
- I purposefully did not do the yard work or the dishes today. I am not stressed that I didn't get to those things, because I didn't plan to do them – I have a specific plan to tackle those items, so it doesn't bother me that they aren't done.
I have a list of systems that have helped me to know what to do, and when…and also what NOT to do, and what can be saved for later. I've taught my kids how to follow along with most of these routines, and we are all benefiting from being disciplined with our time. This is just a quick list of systems and routines that I think every mom would benefit from!
- Morning Routine – Having a plan each morning helps my entire day to go more smoothly, helps me to get more done, and helps us to avoid 95% of that chaos I described at the beginning of this post.
- Evening Routine – Having a plan for each evening makes the mornings go more smoothly. Having two simple systems that work together creates a cycle of more peaceful days.
- Meal Planning – Now, you probably know that I actually enjoy meal planning, and I have a boatload of meal plans and menus here for you if you need them. But maybe you want to eat something different, or need to use up some ingredients. Whatever situation you're in, having a meal plan in place saves time, money, and stress – I HIGHLY recommend that every mom have a meal planning system in place.
- Cleaning – We've all been there – company's coming, and you've got 15 minutes to clean everything. If you have had a regular cleaning routine in place, you can easily do the 15 minutes and get everything picked up. You won't need to be scrubbing, because you'll have done that recently enough that you can get by with a quick clean up in each room. My favorite cleaning resources are: Cleaning Routines from CleanMama.netFlyLady.NetAnd even with a cleaning routine, this is one of my most-used lists:25 Household Chores You Can Do in 5 Minutes or Less
I also have some free cleaning printables here at WorkingatHomeschool.com that we use all the time.
- Laundry – Separate from cleaning in general, a system for getting the laundry done is a must. Mainly because if you don't, your toddler will be wearing a Sofia the First dress-up gown, tie-dye leggings, and mismatched shoes to the grocery store. Don't ask me how I know this. Actually, now that I think about it, my toddler has done that even when her drawers are full of clean clothes, so that may not be the best example. Regardless, having a laundry system in place has made a world of difference for my family. I love the tips from Kim at NotConsumed.com about organizing laundry. We also adhere to the directions in my most favorite book ever, Large Family Logistics, about having a laundry day.
- Homeschool/ Daily Routines – I know that not all of my readers homeschool, but some of these routines will resonate regardless! This is our homeschool routine – if we don't follow it, things just don't. get. done. I'm all about being a relaxed homeschooler, but when I'm not careful, “relaxed” can turn into “lazy” – and that's just not good for anyone! Here are some of the homeschool routines that work best for us.
That's it! Those are my top six – what are your most relied-upon systems?