To keep a successful homemaking routine and have ongoing peace in your home, there are three chores you’ll want to do first, before managing the smaller tasks.
My daughter was getting married soon, so my husband generously paid someone to come in and clean our house for a few hours. I was so grateful. When the cleaning lady arrived on my doorstep, do you know what I asked her to do? I’m embarrassed to say it out loud.
I asked her to scour all of my window tracks. It took her the full two hours, and she wasn’t even able to finish all of them.
And yes, I’m sure all of my guests who came to town were amazed at the clean window tracks.
It was ridiculous, but you need to understand how I always started with the minute, not-so-important tasks and worked my way out to the biggies. That meant the biggies usually didn’t get done, and I lived in a constant state of homemaking failure.
It’s an obsessive personality thing, and I imagine there’s a big chunk of you out there who totally get me.
But you’ll listen to me, I hope, when I tell you that my whole life (and I do mean whole) was transformed when I learned to focus first and with all my energy on what I’m calling the Big Three. Let me tell you what they are.
Number one is laundry.
Every day put some energy into making clean laundry appear for your family. The other day I called my mom, and she told me that on her way into the house from work she started a load of laundry. Before she took off her coat, before she got into comfy shoes, and before she sat down in a cozy chair to relax, she filled the washer and pushed start.
You don’t have to go start-to-finish on all of the laundry but do something.
My husband and I are empty nesters now, and I still tackle some laundry every day. If not, people have unfortunate crises of no clean underwear, and that always feels like a fail.
Number two is dishes.
You’ll have to read my book if you want the story on my complete lack of discipline in doing dishes, but I have made strides forward, my friends. Huge strides forward! The trick here is the same as in doing laundry. You don’t have to go into the kitchen and clean every inch, but if you’ll at least tackle the pile for 10 minutes or so, a few times a day, you can have a pretty clean kitchen.
Go into the kitchen and empty the dishwasher or load it. Or at least stack all of the dishes that are sitting around, and put the gross pans to soak in the sink. Do something.
Laundry and dishes should be approached every day. Every single day. If not, they will literally tower over you and seem completely impossible to manage.
Number three is to plan a menu every week.
Plan seven meals, six if you have a Little Caesar’s Thursday like we do at our house.
I don’t know why, but this always seemed like Mount Everest of a task to me. But now that I make a menu every week, the ripple effects of happiness just don’t stop. Do you know how good it feels to have the food on hand to make dinner every night? What a budget saver it is? How happy your people are when there are actually leftovers in the fridge?
You have to plan a menu. Think of six meals (sloppy Joe’s count!) Write them on a sticky note and put the list on the side of the fridge. Then write on your grocery list what supplies you need for the meals. I make myself do this every Saturday, and it takes 10 minutes.
So the Big Three come first, got it? Let those window tracks come last, girls. It’ll be okay.
Much love from Montana,