Since it’s just the two of us, I’ve found that I tend to be a little more lax about keeping up with chores than I want to be when I have kids. Now that we’re truly in the mindset to have children, I want to begin living life the way we will when we do have them. Although I don’t intend to work once we have kids (right now I work full time), I’m trying to improve my homemaking with a busy schedule.
This means my main goal is efficiency. I have to get the most out of my time.
Determine your priorities.
I know we all want a clean house that looks like it would fit on the cover of a magazine, but let’s face it; that’s unnecessary. Unless you’ve got the time to really clean up and have your family trained to constantly pick up after themselves, that ideal is just going to stress you out.
Before you get started with any cleaning, you need to prioritize and make a plan. What does your family need most to live happy, healthy lives?
In my book, that’s food on the table, clean clothes, and to live someplace that isn’t hazardous.
Don’t worry about perfection.
Ideally, you’d be able to feed your family healthy, 100% nourishing meals. In the real world, when you’ve just finished a full day of work, it can be difficult to handle much more than a Hamburger Helper or crock pot meal. Anything you make at home is better than fast food, though, so don’t get too hung up on the specifics.
In our house, every Wednesday is pizza night. After trying multiple different recipes for homemade pizza, I decided that it was more efficient for my household if we just stick with buying regular Digiorno pizzas. It’s not as healthy, but it saves me time and it tastes better, so it’s worth it to me.
Research things that will make life easier for you.
Are there chores that you find yourself dreading every week? Whether it’s laundry, or dishes, or cleaning the bathroom, it’s pretty normal for everyone to have one thing that they just don’t want to do.
For me, that thing is doing the dishes. We have a dishwasher in our apartment, but we don’t use it (I get into the reasoning behind that here). Instead, I wash all of our dishes by hand every week. After a few days, the pile gets big and scary. Every time I started my task, I felt overwhelmed by everything from there not being enough counter space to dry everything, to the plates being too heavy.
After a few months of struggling through the chore, I started looking up tips on how to deal with dishes in a small apartment. As dumb as it sounds, I needed to research the best way to wash dishes. Isn’t it crazy how difficult something becomes once you get used to a machine doing it automatically? Anyway, after going through those tips (I’ll post about those later, I promise!), I finally stopped feeling stressed when I did the dishes. In fact, once I get started, I almost enjoy doing it! You know, until you touch that random bit of food in the water. Blech!
The point is, if something seems to be a huge struggle for you, ask what other people are doing to get past the problem. Everyone has to deal with basic chores. Between the 300 million people in America alone, I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone with an idea that works for you.
Stick with what works.
Once you’ve found a method that works for an extended period of time, stop looking!
For instance, I’ve tried a lot of different methods of paying my bills and I always end up writing everything down in a notebook. Being able to hold the physical list of what I need to do feels more real and urgent to me than receiving another notification on my phone. I still use Mint to track my spending and so that I can see all of my account balances on one page, but I know that the bill pay service is not something that will work for me.
But my methods shouldn’t be anything more than an alternate idea for you. Don’t pay any attention to what the latest trends on Pinterest or Instagram are. If you try it and you find that it doesn’t work for you, then it’s not efficient and it’s not worth your time.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for running an efficient household?