By Anna Christensen, Contributing Writer
When my husband Josh was studying crazy long hours in school, I slipped into a horrible homemaking habit. After caring for the kids and working my online job during the day, the last thing I felt like doing after dinner was cleaning up the kitchen.
So, after dinner, we laid the kids down and then I spent “a few minutes” relaxing with my laptop, while Josh studied. The trouble was, all the time I had this nagging feeling that I ought to have cleaned up the kitchen first. But I really didn’t want to. So the minutes slipped past far faster than I thought possible and before I knew it I’d wasted an hour online while the dishes crusted over.
Sometimes, I just went to bed and left them till the morning. But that only made matters worse. Now I had to start the day with a pile of dirty dishes. Plus, we lived in the South, which means we had roaches. Roaches like it when you leave dirty dishes out overnight.
That nagging feeling of “work before play” coupled with a terror of spotting a roach helped me overcome my bad habit. I made a new rule for myself: I couldn’t relax (or even open my laptop) after dinner until the kitchen was clean. The difference was phenomenal.
Over the past few years, I have discovered five habits that make a world of difference in my home.
5 Helpful Habits for Peaceful Homemaking
1) Clean the kitchen up before bed
Few habits have made as big of a difference in my life as cleaning up the kitchen before bed. It really doesn’t take that long to clear the table, wipe down the counters and table, wash the dishes (or load them into the dishwasher) and sweep the floor, especially if you get your kids involved. Plus, procrastination only makes it take longer.
There’s something so peaceful about going to bed with a clean kitchen and waking up to a fresh start (and knowing there is nothing to tempt roaches.)
2) Plan the dinner menu by breakfast time
I’ve used a menu for years, but for some reason still had a disconnect between having a written menu for the week and actually having thought of what I needed to do to get dinner ready before six o’clock. The key is simple: make sure you know what’s for dinner by breakfast time.
So simple, but so transforming!
3) Spend 20 minutes a day cleaning
Cleaning once a week worked well at one point in my distant homemaking past. Back before homeschooling and four kids who love to play outside and traipse mud everywhere. Now, if I let the cleaning pile up till a set cleaning day it’s overwhelming. Plus, all moms of littles know how long it actually takes to clean a whole house when you’re interrupted every few minutes for a more pressing need.
By making a short list of pressing priorities, setting a timer, involving the kids, and attacking the cleaning for just 20 minutes a day, I’m never faced with an overwhelming amount to do. Plus, I get to enjoy a (mostly) clean home all week long.
4) Keep the basics stocked
My husband holds to a simple theory: if we use an item regularly and it doesn’t go bad, we ought to keep it well-stocked. It’s a really good theory. When we first got married there were so many days when I had to drop everything and run to the store because we were on the last diaper or roll of toilet paper. Now, I try to keep at least a month’s worth of these items on hand all the time. This has saved so many rushed shopping trips.
I’ve also slowly worked to fill the pantry and freezer so we never (or almost never) run out of staples like oil or oatmeal. As I’ve shopped around and experimented, I’ve found these 20 items to be worth buying in bulk. For the rest of our staples, I use a simple restocking method: keep one in the cupboard/fridge and a back up (or two) in the pantry. When the one in the cupboard runs out, restock from the pantry, and add it to the shopping list. I’m still working on it, but urgent, last-minute trips to the story are about 90% less frequent now.
5) Tidy regularly
With four sweet and busy kids in the home, messes pile up faster than traffic on a Monday morning. That’s why regular tidy sessions come in so handy. Having the entire home tidied once (or twice, or three times!) makes me a much happier mama.
Though it’s not always possible, I also try to leave the home tidy before running errands or going to fun events (that don’t have a set start time, since we’re usually running late!) A tidy home is so much more welcoming to return to.
Helpful homemaking habits
Going to bed with a clean kitchen, planning ahead for dinner, attacking the cleaning a few minutes each day, keeping essentials stocked, and tidying regularly are super simple habits.
But each of them have helped me inch forward to my goal of a peaceful joyful home.
Exploring Simple Homemaking Routines
Jami here: I just wanted to pop in share about one of my very favorite resources for simple and effective homemaking! It’s called the Make Over Your Mornings eCourse from Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom and it ROCKS!
Crystal’s grace-filled and simple approach to forming daily routines and rituals is a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t have to take a huge amount of time to transform your homemaking – in fact, if you can commit just 10 minutes a day, you can see a HUGE improvement in your homemaking. Check out the course today!
P.S. Crystal offers a 100% money back guarantee in case the course isn’t what you expected or wasn’t helpful. Now you literally have no reason not to go check it out!