WHY DEVELOPING ROUTINES CAN MAKE YOUR LIFE SIMPLER AND YOUR HOME EASIER TO MANAGE
We all need to do housework from time to time, but I don’t think we should be thinking about it all the time! Setting up routines for your home will free up your time and energy for other things. Check out this post on why developing routines can make your life simpler and your home easier to manage. It’s a practical, intentional step to creating a life that supports you!
WHAT ARE ROUTINES?
Routines are things that you do regularly – daily, weekly, monthly or even less often. It may take perseverance and training to remember them and find what works for you, but once embedded into the flow of your day, you start to do them as automatically as habitual things like brushing your teeth.
I believe that setting up routines to keep your home clean, tidy and running smoothly can save you so much time and effort.
Read on and I’ll explain why I believe household routines are a vital step to a simpler life and some examples of routines which you could try for yourself.
WHY ROUTINES MAKES THINGS EASIER
- How many times have you reached for clean clothes only to find that they’re still dirty in the laundry basket?
- Do you regularly open the fridge door to find all the milk or eggs are gone and there’s nothing for dinner?
- Do you come home from work at the end of the day and realise that you’ve still left out the breakfast bowls and there’s cereal all over the kitchen counter?
- Do you end up running late in the morning because you’ve forgotten to make the packed lunches the night before?
- If your mother-in-law called to say she’s popping over in ten minutes, would you frantically try to clean and tidy the house before she notices the stale biscuits squashed into the sofa?
Setting up routines at home means things are done before they need to be done, you can anticipate problems and deal with them.
You can do things on a regular basis to maintain your home, 10 or 20 minutes here or there, rather than hours to keep your home running smoothly. And, if for any reason something happens to disrupt your routine, such as illness (or a fun day out on a whim) then it’s no big deal because you’re generally on top of everything and one break in routine isn’t going to cause catastrophe.
Most importantly, I believe that setting up routines for your home is a vital practical step to an intentional life.
It’s not about the process of setting up the routines or whether the dishes and laundry get done, but it IS about taking an intentional step to free up your time and energy for other things in life which are most important to you…
Instead of thinking about the next bit of housework you need to do, think about the next book you’ll read or the next place you want to visit…
EXAMPLES OF HOUSEHOLD ROUTINES
Once you’ve eaten your meal or snack, get into the habit of washing the dishes, glasses and cutlery then and there. It will take 5-10 minutes instead of piling it all up in the sink throughout the day for you to do in the evening. There are plenty of things that you can do in the evening instead of washing up! If you have a dishwasher then perhaps do what I do – load it all up during the day after every meal, switch it on to finish before you go to bed and unload it first thing in the morning.
#2 Tidy up
Tidy up the house throughout the day. Don’t let the toys build up on the floor. After the kids have played with them and before they move onto something else, make sure all the toys are put away. Straighten the cushions. Grab a laundry basket before every meal time and walk around the house. Put everything in it that doesn’t belong in each particular room and return the items to where they should go.
#3 Clean up after snacks and mealtimes
Wipe down the surfaces during your cooking, clean the table after you’ve eaten, sweep or hoover under the table after each mealtime. Five minutes spent like this can save you hours later on.
I prefer to do housework little and often, instead of a single long deep clean session. I’ve worked out how many rooms are in my home, what needs to be cleaned in each of them and how often and I’ve made a rota to ensure each bit is cleaned as often as is necessary – daily, weekly, monthly, 6-monthly etc. I tackle a little bit each day, maybe 20 minutes or so. This means that my home never really gets the chance to become dirty. I’m not overwhelmed at the prospect of a day’s housework just to cut through the dust and grime. Visitors can arrive unannounced and I’m not embarrassed by how dirty my home is and, if I miss a day because I didn’t have time, wasn’t well enough or just had something more exciting to do, it wouldn’t matter because the general level of cleanliness is good enough.
#5 Teach your children how to do chores
Your kids can do many chores to help you around the home and save you time as long as they’re appropriate for their age, and you’re willing to relinquish some control! Let them sort and fold their own clean clothes and put them away in the drawers. The folding might not be as perfect as yours but they’ve got to start somewhere and it’s a life skill that will empower them for the future. Check out my post on kids and chores for ideas for age-appropriate chores and you’ll be surprised at what your children can actually do. Make it fun for them and be persistent so it becomes a regular routine for them too.
#6 Wipe down the bathroom
Get into the habit of wiping down the bathroom surfaces whenever you walk past the bathroom. That way it will always be presentable, without smears of toothpaste, soap and worse, should a guest arrive by surprise.
#7 Meal planning and grocery shopping
Every weekend I do a plan of the meals that our family will need for that coming week. I look at who’s going to be around for which meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks. Then I do my online grocery shop for the food to be delivered to my door every Monday. I’ve set an alert on my phone to remind me every Sunday evening to place the order in case I forget. This way my fridge and cupboards never run completely empty, I can calculate how much milk, bread and other stuff I need for the week and I don’t have to dream up nutritious, exciting meals that suit all the family when I have no ingredients and only ten minutes to get it on the table. At the end of the day when I’ve been on the go and making decisions all day, I really don’t feel like cooking and would rather reach for the takeaway menu or frozen chicken nuggets. Nothing wrong with nuggets but perhaps not seven days a week! Check out my post on meal planning and meal prep made simple.
Work out how often you need to do a load of laundry and get into a routine of doing this as regularly as your household requires. I tend to put a wash on every couple of days and I always make sure that the basket of clean clothes is folded, ironed if I have to, and put away before I go to bed that night. This way everyone has a fresh supply of clean clothes, the dirty laundry doesn’t build up and I’m not faced with an early morning frantic rummage through masses of clean, but unsorted clothes looking for a missing sock or school shirt.
The ironing gets done once a week. I keep a separate laundry basket for clean clothes that need to be ironed and do this every weekend.
#10 Develop an evening routine
Get into the routine of laying out clothes the night before so it saves time in the morning. I also make sure that school bags are packed, lunches are prepped and any forms or permission slips are filled out. Check out my blog post on how to set up an evening routine.
#11 Make your bed
My children make their beds every morning. It took a while to get them into the routine of doing so and I can’t recall how many times I said ‘put the four corners of your duvet to the four corners of your bed’ but the persistence paid off and they do it every day. I always make my bed and it’s surprising what a difference it can make to your room if your bed, at least, is neat and tidy.
These are just some of the routines that work for my family and home, but there are plenty of others. Routines can keep your home running smoothly without it being too time-consuming or hard work. It will just be a case of maintenance rather than full on battle.
Your time will be freed up to spend doing things you want to do, rather than what you have to do and you’ll feel much more on top of things even if you’ve had a bad day.
Be persistent with yourself and your family in developing the routines and they’ll eventually become second nature so you do them without thinking and you can use the time and mental space it’s created to do other things.