Learning how to improve your home management skills takes a lot of hands on, on the job training.
Improving your home management skills will more than likely cause you to adjust as your family’s needs change.
It’s very easy as a homemaker to struggle or feel frustrated as you work to maintain a clean and organized home, keep up with laundry, meal plan and more.
If your method is to imitate someone else’s’ home management system that will only complicate things even more.
The secret is creating a home management system that works best for your family.
Home management can not be a list of tasks to check off for the day. But a daily fresh perspective that we are caring for and serving our family.
Successful home management is far from perfection.
Managing our homes is about a clear understanding that creating a nurturing home life environment, building healthy relationships, all while making it easier for us to meet the needs of our household is the goal we’re striving for.
So to be completely honest, this process could take weeks, months but more than likely years to master!
I would definitely tell my younger self and anyone new to the journey of home management to be extremely patient with yourself and learn early to embrace this life long process.
The sooner you can begin to implement better home making skills, the sooner you can be a less stressful parent. You will feel more organized, more prepared and able to enjoy your home and the people in it more!
WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF HOME MANAGEMENT?
As a stay home mom of over 11 years I have learned to categorize home management into 7 areas.
The challenge is finding balance between them all.
Which may not always be possible 24/7 but totally worth striving for the most we are able.
KEY PRINCIPLES OF HOME MANAGEMENT:
- Routines / planning / schedules
- Gratitude / Patience
- Creativity / Resourceful
MAKING HOME MAINTENANCE EASIER: SIMPLICITY
Using the simplicity approach, gives you the ability to have less stuff to manage to begin with.
As much as I love to collect things, have multiples of the same item, and if I could I would buy my kids every beautifully designed children’s book on the market.
But the reality is, I had to learn to let go of the excess and keep what matters most.
Of course there are always exception this rule. But generally speaking I had to learn to purge a lot.
I had to learn to view the space in my home as precious real-estate.
No matter how small the space even if it’s a tiny corner a bedroom. I had to ask myself, did I want to leave that space free and clear or did I want to cram more stuff to store?
Not to mention how frustrating I used to feel when it was time to do laundry because we had so many clothes to wash.
That was a defining moment when I realized I had to purge the kid’s clothes because there were just too many.
It is much easier to keep a tidy home when you are able to lower the amount of things in your home that need constant maintenance.
TIPS ON ORGANIZING
Another strategy for successful home management is utilizing organization.
For small and large items alike, having things organized will help a lot.
Having items organized in small places like drawers for example, helps you to find what you’re looking for much faster.
Even if you decide to opt out of using drawer organizers, at least keeping similar items together in one place will help you stay organized.
When it comes to organization bins and baskets will become your friends!
Using bins for un-filed paperwork.
Separate laundry baskets for each child’s laundry.
Sorting and storing toys into labeled bins.
Shelved hygiene products, art supplies, and more can all be creatively stored away to help your home feel clean and organized.
If your storage containers begin to feel like they are no longer able to hold your things you may have to ask yourself do you want to buy bigger storage and purge and declutter.
Deciding the latter is not always an easy decision because let’s face it, we do like our stuff.
But when our stuff is taking up more residence than we have room for we have to think realistically.
Trying to find the perfect life balance between the amount of stuff we keep in our homes and what’s comfortable for use to maintain is definitely a personally preference.
But we should consider how stressful the upkeep with certain items.
Are we constantly annoyed with putting certain items back in their place?
Is it better to keep smaller amounts of some items on hand and just buy more when we need them?
You have to decide what’s best for your and your family.
As you are deciding your home’s organization systems using pretty or appealing storage containers can make organization feel less overwhelming.
You can be as creative as you like as you recreate and organize parts of your home.
Long gone are the days of only using clear bins (although these are still some of my favorites).
You can use things from vases, stone boxes, fabric bins, tin cans, mason jars and more to keep items organized in your home.
I feel much more motived to keep things organized when I know the finished results will be a pretty space in my home for me to look at while still being extremely functional!
IMPROVED HOMEMAKING WILL IMPROVE YOUR HOME MANAGEMENT SKILLS: CREATIVITY/RESOURCEFUL
I actually love the word homemaking because it is so diverse, artistic, creative and fun.
Thinking of ways to make your home work for you is my definition of homemaking.
That’s one reason why it’s so important to not copy how other people manage their home. But rather get ideas, get inspired and create the home life that works for you.
The more I’ve learned how to take ownership of my role as a homemaker. Expand my homemaking skills. And see the beauty in homemaking. The more I have improved in managing my home.
Whether your are working outside the home, working at home, or a full time stay home parent the sooner you discover how to make your home work for you the sooner you will discover how to manage it better.
A perfect example of this is how we sort our laundry.
It doesn’t work for me to have on one main laundry basket where all the dirty clothes go.
My new way for sorting dirty laundry is for each child to have their own laundry basket. My husband and I have our own laundry basket. The towels and washcloths have their own separate laundry basket. Even the kitchen dishcloths, and kitchen towels have their own separate dirty laundry basket.
It’s easier for me to maintain the laundry when it’s all separated by categories.
To someone else this can easily sound very overwhelming and confusing.
But after much trial and error this method works best for me.
My new laundry sorting system also forced me to come up with clever space saving ways to sort laundry.
But clever and witty ideas is the secret to creating beautiful and personalized homemaking!
Homemaking is more than pretty decor and tidy homes, but transforming your living spaces into beautiful spaces to serve your family needs.
The first priority should always be functional and problem solving. Second, comes style.
Thinking of ways to repurpose items you already have in your home is another great way to creatively make your home more functional.
Frugality and homemaking are a common combination.
In many cases, homemaking involves strategizing ways to stretch the household budget and save money.
This is where the power of home management really shines.
Saving money is a great motivator for deciding the best cost effective way to complete simple home projects or major home renovations.
Evaluating your grocery budget is a great place to begin when looking for areas of your home to save money.
Cutting back on things like eating out, and cooking more at home is not only more nutritional but will also help you save money.
If done correctly, shopping second hand is another easy way to save money without sacrificing quality.
Tracking your family’s expenses, keeping the bills organized, and living within your means are all practical ways to begin budgeting as a home manager.
KEEPING A CLEAN HOME WITH YOUNG KIDS: ADAPTABILITY
It is not true. Just because you have young children does not mean your house has to stay in a constant mess.
You will just have to adapt and adjust your home management strategies.
You can still have pretty things. Maybe you just have to place them up higher.
Plants and flowers? Yes, just teach little ones how to be gentle.
What about the toys? Just keep them to a minimum and create a workable storage solution.
Toy chests, cube storage, bookshelves are some easy ideas to get started with.
I have developed a few absolutes when it comes to managing my home with young children.
- I have learned to lower my expectations
I don’t expect my home to stay perfectly neat all the time.
There are certain times of the day when I tell myself, “it’s okay”.
For example, when I’m in the kitchen cooking (as I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking meals from scratch) I let the kids play.
And I know they’re making a mess.
But to keep the mess from getting totally out of hand I have divided their toys into two categories.
Homeschool learning toys stays downstairs.
While all other toys are kept upstairs in their room.
Having young children is only a season of life.
So for now I make some short sacrifices knowing that these are short permanent decisions.
- Strong, sturdy furniture and storage makes a big difference.
With boys being the youngest of my children I see rough in tough in action everyday.
And the only answer for that is strong and sturdy.
I would rather thrift strong pieces that will hold up then newer modern pieces that won’t stand the test of time.
When considering purchases to help with home management I often consider the daily use of young boys pulling, lifting,
sitting jumping on etc.
Any experienced homemaker will tell you, you will thank yourself now for purchasing items that are sturdy and solid once, instead of having to replace the same items multiple times.
Cute and dainty may have to wait and come a couple years down the road.
Don’t make keeping a clean home with young kids complicated. There’s already plenty of work involved so keep things as easy for yourself as possible.
- Declutter often. Then declutter again.
Clothes, books, toys, shoes, of my top items to declutter when it come to keeping a clean home with young children.
Keeping clothes and shoes decluttered and purged between seasons and laundry will help keep them under control.
Broken toys, missing pieces are all automatics for trash. Donate what your kids no longer play with. Or as new toys come in decide what old toys have to go out.
Not enough space for all the legos? Maybe it’s time to purge some.
- Create easy organization for kid spaces.
Not just for toys but even things like where shoes go. Hanging bath towels. Or even silverware.
Make spaces like this in your home so easy to organize that even a toddler can learn how to use the space.
If your storage solutions for places that your entire family needs to access are so intricate it may be to tedious for little ones (and big ones not as neat as you) in the family to keep up with.
Stick with easy and low maintenance.
PRIORITIZED FAMILY TIME
As much as homemaking can easily turn into an creative outlet we must remember that the people inside our homes are our first responsibility above all.
So with that comes the need to prioritize family time.
There are some days when very little housework get done because your spouse and children may really need your undivided attention, some extra nurturing, or maybe you just need rest.
Whatever the reason, as homemakers we have to know when the people inside our home must come first.
As much as I love to have my kitchen sparkling clean after dinner, some nights it just doesn’t happen.
After a long days work the only thing I want to do is bath the kids and read to them.
There are also times during dinner I would like to rush off to something else but my teenager is in the middle of detailed conversation and I make myself available to hear her heart’s concern.
And some nights, whether it’s an official date night or just a drive to the store all I want to do in ride in the car with my husband with no kids around.
It all just depends on what’s needed at the time.
It’s important to remember that home management, organization and planning is to help free up time so as a family you can play games, watch a movie, go for a walk or just sit around and have meaningful conversation with each other.
During those times, nothing else takes precedence. And you give yourself permission to fully be in that moment and enjoy it.
A key part of home management is for building quality relationships with those we live with.
Plan it on your calendar if you need to or carve out times of the day when you “to do” is family.
LEARNING HOW TO CLEAN WITH LESS CHEMICALS
As you consider how much time you spend in your home, the air quality of your home becomes really important.
Bringing in more indoor plants has been one way you can work towards a more natural approach to keeping your home clean.
there are limitless recipes for d.i.y. cleaning recipes to skip the use of so many chemicals.
Some of my favorite are:
- Vinegar and water mixture for counters, mirrors, windows, table tops, and even adding to each load of laundry.
- Fresh lemon juice is a wonderful cleaner for kitchen sinks and greasy pans.
- Baking soda is great for freshening up rugs, carpet and bed mattresses.
- For times when I feel like I want a stronger cleaner or disinfectant Seventh Generation cleaning products are my favorite products.
I try to stay away from bleach as much as possible and only use when absolutely necessary.
PLANNING, SCHEDULES & ROUTINES
Proper planning, schedules and routines are the working mechanics of successful home management.
After you spend time to gain a new and fresh perspective about homemaking and managing your home it’s time to take action.
I am a firm believer of slow and steady wins the race when it comes to homemaking.
Don’t try to tackle all the things you want to improve in your home in a weekend.
You can start putting your ideas into action and on paper with this free printable: Home Prep Organization Planner Worksheets to help you begin to plan out how to create the organized home you desire to help you manage your home easier.
Think about all the things you would love to do if only you had the time to get it done.
When you take the time to plan you get a head start on taking control of your time and how you want to use your day.
We all know there will be plenty of interruptions outside of our plans, but at least we have a blueprint of ideally how our day should look.
Some homemakers shy away from planning for fear of failing. I’ve been there and understand what that feels like.
But planning is more of a map to follow for your day.
Not a homemakers badge of honor.
If you steer off course at least you know where to pick back up next time to get back on track.
And sometimes priorities and needs changes throughout the day.
So be gracious with yourself and makes the necessary changes as needed.
Many homemakers are always looking for ways to create or adjust what their daily schedule should look like.
Here’s the perfect answer.
You have to create a custom schedule that works best for you.
As a mom with children of multiple ages, some are homeschooled some are not.
Team sports, tutoring, appointment etc. it’s very difficult for me to have one constant schedule that I follow every single day.
But, I do have some key points in the day when I plan to either start or finish parts of our day.
For example, between 8:30pm – 10:00pm the younger children are put to bed.
Dinner is scheduled for 6:00pm
Between noon and 2pm the youngest child naps.
On days when my son does not meet with his tutor, homeschool ends much earlier.
And so forth.
What I want to highlight is my schedule is very loose.
And I focus more on major transitions of our day.
You have to think about what are the tasks throughout a typical day that are most important to you.
What will become more stressful if not completed by a certain time.
Or, what do you want completed most so you can transition into something else.
Finding the schedule that will work best for you is all about your priorities, joys and absolutes.
Whether we are aware of it or not we all have some sort of routine.
Simply put, a routine is a usual way and order of doing something.
Taking a deep look at your daily routine may give you a good idea of where to implement time markers to help you create a better schedule for managing your home.
When you evaluate your current daily routine you can also decide what things to add in or take away to be more productive or maybe slow things down to be more effective at the a specific task you are working on.
When planning your routine and schedule that doesn’t mean your entire day has to be jam packed to accomplish 100 things in one day.
The purpose is not to frantically run around the entire day to see how much you can get done.
Instead, we want to create space and time to properly tend to the task at hand with attention to detail, accuracy, and time to process our thoughts as we move through out our day.
Planning (link to worksheets) with a routine that allows you to manage your home with as much peace as possible is a gift worth slowing down to enjoy!
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU NEED HELP WITH HOUSEWORK: MATURITY
There will come a time in every homemaker’s life regardless of how well you’ve “perfected” your home management that you will need some type of help.
Help with the kids, grocery home delivery options, lawn care services, etc. are all ways to reach out for help when you need it.
A wise homemaker knows that she is not able to do it all, all by herself.
Burnout, unnecessary stress, and anxiety are very real experiences.
Before reaching extreme levels of any of them it is best to reach out for help.
You may first have to start with your family members and let them know what you need help.
Specifically and with details.
Instead of “I need help around the house”. You may want to try, “after dinner can you wash the dishes (and the pots), wipe the counters and sweep?
See the difference? Are clearly communicating what you need help with.
Even when it come to hiring help, you can also very clear with what you want and don’t want.
For example, you may hire someone to do your lawn care and you may say, “can you cut the grass, pull the weeds and lay down the much but don’t plant the flowers”?
Clear instructions allow you to get the help you need with tasks you may not enjoy without taking away the parts of the project you actually enjoy.
Being a successful homemaker does not mean you have to master or enjoy every single task in your home, but you have the skills to manage which in some cases that mean delegating.
That’s what happened when I decided to get help with homeschooling my son with tutoring services.
I am extremely passionate about homeschooling but I came to a point when I realized I needed to get help for my son to further develop some of his academic skills.
And I’m totally fine with that.
Reaching out for help is nothing to feel ashamed about instead pat yourself on the back for finding better ways to meet your family’s needs.
Maintaining healthy relationships depends a lot on healthy communication.
And as it pertains to your family there is no exception.
Communication is the start to getting your family involved with home management.
When we create new storage or organization systems we have to communicate to our family how those systems work.
When there is one central family calendar that you would like everyone to check in with to keep everyone update you have to communicate the new process.
When you begin to make drastic changes happening within your home an explanation as to why can help those changes take place more smoothly. (A recent one for us was getting rid of our microwave).
Letting the kids know your proud of recent accomplishments, telling your spouse you love them and appreciate them all needs to be verbally communicated.
Communication is such a big part of home management and parenting that negative, unclear, or confusing communication can break the entire process.
Or positively it can bring closeness and understanding with just a few minutes of healthy communication each day.
Also, remember to tell your family how it makes you feel when your home is neat and organized which allows you to spend quality time with them in a peaceful and calm environment.
Tell your family how important it is to be able to come home to a clean home after a long day out.
Let your family know that your home is the place where you want to gather and focus on them and not be distracted by piles of clothes and clutter everywhere.
HOMEMAKING TIPS TO ENJOY YOUR HOME: GRATITUDE & PATIENCE
The things we take care of tend to be the things we value most.
Our homes are only this important because this is where we are raising our families.
It’s not the walls, paint colors, or countertops that we are nurturing but it’s our families.
We simply want to enjoy these things with our loved ones. We’re working to create these beautiful environments because they make us happy and as a homemaker we want to provide the best atmosphere for our loved ones that we can.
The smell of baking bread. A sparkling clean mirror. Freshly folded laundry are all ways to help create the picture we have in our minds.
Even if you don’t have your ultimate dream home, that’s still no reason not to transform your home into your family’s safe haven.
Once my heart really took ownership of that concept I began to learn how to appreciate my home in new ways.
I became more creative with learning new ways to use our home to serve our family.
Out of my new place of gratitude I also learned to use my home as a creative outlet for learning new homemaking skills.
No family is perfect, but I grew more thankful for the family I have despite all of our imperfections.
God gave us to each other and our home is the place where we love and grow with each other.
To put in plain words how homes are important places where showing gratitude and being full of patient with our family and ourselves will go a long way.
Being entrusted with home management is a gift we get to share with our families for many years to come.
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