Inside: These Simple Home Management Systems will help you clean, organize, and meal plan like a pro. If you’re tired of being disorganized, and constantly wondering how to “get it all done” – this plan will put you on the right track.
On a scale of 1-10, how much do you loathe the phrase “do it all” – ? Like as in: “how does she do it all?
That’s a 10 on the scale, right?
In reality, NOBODY “does it all” – everybody sacrifices something.
It’s so important to remind ourselves, especially in 2020 (!!), that while Instagram and Pinterest make it seem as though some moms actually are getting it all done (and looking fabulous while doing it), this often isn’t the case.
Everybody sacrifices something. Nobody can take care of a baby and toddler, clean the house to perfection, cook the food, plan the things, AND have perfect makeup while doing it. If there’s a secret I’m missing here, please let me know.
Instead of striving to “do it all” or “get it all done”, what we really need here is a mindset shift.
We don’t need one more thing to do.
What we need are home management systems that work for us. So when your friend comes over and wonders how your house is clean, bills are paid, AND there’s healthy food on the table, you can proudly say (in your week-old, stained leggings), you follow home management systems.
Hey, something’s gotta give, right?
So, what exactly is a Home Management System?
I want you to take a second and close your eyes.
Think about all the “open” things in your life right now that need to get done. In your mind, this may look like a million tangled wires, just waiting to be untangled one-by-one.
- Bills to pay.
- Vet appointment to make.
- Follow-up pediatrician visit.
- This week’s meal plan.
The list is never-ending.
You may have heard this referred to as “the mental load” – and yes, the mental load is very real. And the more on your plate, the heavier in feels.
Think of a home organization or management system as a way to lighten that load, and untangle all the various wires in your mind.
Yes, it can be done. And yes, it will feel amazing to have your home operate like a well-oiled machine. Lots of metaphors here, I know, but stick with me 🙂
Alright, are you ready to dive in? Organization is one of my *favorite* topics, so yes, I am beyond excited to share this information with you today.
How to Set Up Your Home Management System
Step 1: Get a Planner
- It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but it should be one you enjoy using. I personally love my Happy Planner (pictured below). You can get these here on Amazon, or at Michael’s. I like to wait until they are either on sale at Michael’s or there’s a good coupon available.
- You want your planner to be something portable you can throw in your mom-bag and take with you on-the-go. I do not recommend using your phone for this task. Phones have this fun way of becoming a distraction rather than a system for being productive. Trust me on this one. Go old school, and get yourself a good planner.
Step 2: Take a Time Out
- Yes, a mommy time out. Whether there is cold wine or hot coffee involved is totally up to you. Think of a time of day when you feel the most productive. For me, this is in the morning (because after the kids go to sleep I just fail to function).
- But choose a time of day that works for you, where you can schedule a solid 1-2 hours by yourself. Have your hubby take the kids, or if they attend preschool or daycare, do it then.
- Take this time and make a list of all the things you need to get organized. Whether it’s grocery shopping, making appointments or cleaning the floors, anything that’s “on your plate” should get written down.
Now it’s time to take all of these variables, and create a system for them. Yes, it’s actually this simple.
Please note: These systems can work whether you stay at home with your kids, work outside of the home, or any combination. The point is that: you can make these systems work for you.
Step 3: Create Your System
- My husband and I have a running joke that my “to-do lists have to-do lists” – I think sometimes I get overambitious and try to take on too many things, especially around the holidays. BUT – I always have my home management systems in place as my fail-safe. So even when my to-do lists become crazy, I know I can make it work.
- When planning out my “systems”, I like to think in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Naturally, some things need to be done every day (dishes), while others are done once or twice a month (bills).
- Please remember this is what works for me, based on my schedule and availability. Make your home management system work for you by adjusting days to fit with your life.
To give you a better idea, here is a basic overview of my week (which for planning purposes, I like to use Sunday as the start)
- Meal Prep (see more on this in my Instagram Stories)
- Plan out meals for the upcoming week
- Clean out car (my car collects A LOT of things throughout the week – socks, cheddar bunnies, books, crayons, etc.)
- BIG laundry day (kitchen & bath towels, sheets if needed, clothes)
Related: My Secret For Easy Meal Planning
Monday-Friday Daily Tasks
- If the dishwasher isn’t emptied from the night before, we empty it first thing in the morning – I find this puts the kitchen in the right flow for the rest of the day
- Run a load of necessary laundry – I have one “big” laundry day a week, and that’s on Sunday. Throughout the week, I mostly run smaller loads of very stained clothes, potty accidents, or anything that needs to be washed immediately.
- Pack lunches – this is something I do every night, after the kids are asleep. Do you need help with packing lunches? Grab my make-ahead lunch guide, here.
- Empty trash bin and recycling cans (usually at night)
- Wipe down bathroom counters and mirrors (my good friend Kate taught me this trick – while your kids are taking a bath, you can keep an eye on them AND get the bathroom clean at the same time – everything except the bathtub!) I do this once a week.
Tuesday and/or Thursday
- Important tasks: phone calls, appointments, paperwork: anything that requires my undivided attention. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, *both* of my kids are at a preschool program for the morning, so this is my selected time for these tasks.
Note: I bet no one told you part of your job description as a mom would be as a part-time secretary, right?
But alas, it comes with the territory. Adding on to that, have you ever tried to make an important phone call with a toddler around? They could be happily playing independently and the second you pick up the phone, BAM, it’s absolute chaos.
Save yourself the stress and pick a time of day for important tasks. Whether it’s naptime, when your partner is around, or when your kids are at school, set aside “office hours” for yourself, you deserve it!
- Sweep the floors (aka life with dogs) – I should definitely sweep the floors every day, but I do not have time for that. The middle of the week seems to be the perfect day to quickly sweep the floors. I try to do this while my kids are watching TV or playing upstairs.
- Grocery shopping (this day rotates, and sometimes Monday is my grocery day – it really just depends on how empty the fridge is)
- Empty all the trashcans in the house (bathroom and kitchen)
- Clean the toilets (I do this every Saturday morning as I find it’s the time I actually remember to do it)
- Big clean: AKA vacuuming the carpets and wet-mopping the floors and maybe, just maybe, sweeping under the couch.
- Write a monthly budget and pay bills – this is something I do right at the beginning of the month. Adjust this to fit with your household’s pay schedule. I use a Google Spreadsheet (in Google Drive) to keep track of our budget and bills.
- Check/Update Subscribe & Save (see below)
As I said at the beginning, something’s gotta give. No one is perfect, and not one of us is “doing it all”.
That being said, even sometimes doing the very minimum just to get by can feel like doing it all, and I think that, by definition, is being a mom. Taking care of kids is a full-time job, and on top of that, we also have 813.5 other jobs to attend to.
Here are my best tips for lightening the load when it all seems like too much:
- Take the night off: order takeout, go out to eat, or make a frozen pizza. Everyone will be happier for it and your budget will survive.
- Use screen-time as a tool: There is no babysitter quite like the TV. We follow a screen-time routine with our two girls, so there is an expected time of day when they know they’re allowed to watch TV. I use this to my advantage to cook dinner, sweep the floors, or fold laundry and when I really just can’t – I sit and watch with them.
- Hire out help: One of the best gifts I ever received is the gift of a clean house (and I didn’t have to lift a finger). Some tasks are just too great. We live in a two story house with lots of carpet, hard floors, cabinets, toilets, etc. I just cannot keep it all clean, all the time. Sure I can do the upkeep, but at least once a year, it’s amazing to have a professional service come and clean for you.
- Split the responsibilities: My husband and I have an almost unspoken agreement of the household chores. Anything in the garage or outside is really his domain: watering the lawn, mowing the grass, fixing/repairing things, and doing general “dad” stuff. We also share in the daily household tasks of dishes and laundry (and he may or may not fold laundry much better than me).
- Amazon Subscribe & Save: Water filters, air filters, soap refills, dog food, and the list goes on. I use Amazon Subscribe & Save for pretty much everything. I’ve found that this really helps lighten the mental load for me. I don’t have to remember to reorder these things or pick them up at the store. Amazon remembers for me, and of course, you can’t beat the discounts.
In order to provide you with the maximum amount of information in this post, I asked my real-life mom-friends to share their best home management tips with you:
What Home Management Looks Like for 4 Different Moms
1.) Natalie, mom of 15 month old girl
- Do a light clean/pick-up of toys
- Run a load of dishes and laundry
- Clear off counters/tables of random things: receipts, mail, bags, etc.
- Clean bathrooms every other weekend
- Vacuum once a week
- Clean out fridge
- Clean mirrors/windows and baseboards (as needed)
Natalie’s Mom-to-Mom Tips:
- Shop the farmer’s market as a family on Saturdays – cheaper produce and family time!
- Make extra for dinner to serve as lunches throughout the work week
2.) Erin, mom of 3 & 4 year old boys
Easiest Meal Planning Tip:
- Use small post-it tabs to mark off recipes that look good (put these tabs at the top of the page and write a short description)
Erin says: “When I try a recipe and I really like it or want to try it again, I will move the tab to the side of the page so I can remember which ones I’ve tried and really liked. I always forget where the good ones are, so if I move the tab, I don’t forget!”
See her system in action:
3.) Kate, mom of 4 year old girl:
One & Done:
- At the beginning of the month, refill all the soap bottles in the whole house (hand soap and dish soap)
Using refills is actually much less expensive than buying new bottles every time and is of course more eco-friendly! By doing this task all at once, you’ll save yourself the time and energy of refilling each and every bottle as needed.
This is the brand of hand soap refill we use in my house.
4.) Brenna, mom of 6 year old boy, 4 year old girl, and 10 month old baby girl
Number 1 Laundry Rule:
- Run a load of laundry every single morning. The End.
By starting a load every morning (or every day when you get home), you’ve created an easy laundry system. You can then put away the laundry while your kids take a nap. Repeat as needed.
I also love this hack for simplifying laundry from Live Simply.