easy ways of Household management that won’t stress you out
What manner of household management is behind every well-run house you enter? Is it a woman madly in love with cleaning and organizing (rare)? Someone who is dashing around doing all the things with a big grin on her face (doubtful)?
What about a family eager to help out (even more unlikely in my experience)? Or is it a Mom who has finally figured out which systems to manage your household work the best for her (ding-ding-ding!)?
Don’t you wish a fairy godmother would come and hand you a guidebook when you have your first or second child (not for how to raise them) but for tips on the shortcuts and systems that would make your life easier? Perhaps it would be seen as interfering at this stage because you are still suffering under the illusion you can do it all yourself with no help.
Eventually, you will reach a point when you are so tired of trying to will yourself through the all of the jobs for the day, you actually will ask for help. Hopefully you are reading this BEFORE your household has gotten too out of hand. Here are some systems that have worked for me as a wife and mother of three girls and maybe these systems will help you too.
By no means am I claiming to be an expert in all of these areas, rather I realize I’m not an expert and leave it to those who are to tell me the secrets of doing it well.
household management systems that support busy moms
Family Calendars and Planning
Google Calendar – Electronic calendar for taking notes at home, on the road, or at various doctor/dentist appointments. Most everyone has used Google Calendar at some point in their lives. It is very simple to use and great for checking your availability or others as well. Many programs and emails will automatically populate Google Calendar when you make reservations (like flight plans or hotel arrangements). You can color code events in a way that makes sense to you. You can print out your calendar for the month. Cost – Free!
Planners – Living Well Spending Less Planner – I have used a lot of planners in my lifetime. This one is great for keeping track of everything going on with our family. It even includes a place each day for what we are having to eat, a monthly budget area for tracking expenses and income, a yearly, quarterly and monthly goals section, as well as detailed project and goal planning for each month. In addition you also have the traditional monthly and weekly calendar formats for keeping track of where you need to be each day. Cost – $49 (undated – so can be started at any time)
Managing Your Money
Quicken – is a personal finance management tool and computer program for your PC. Quicken is a very robust program for tracking your entire financial situation. You can track your spending, manage your budget, view and pay bills, plan financially for retirement and track your investments. You can download information from your bank and then categorize your spending which saves you a lot of time entering data. Cost – 35.00 per year for the basic version
Mint – is a personal finance management tool as well for your PC, but it also has an app for your smartphone. You connect your bank accounts directly to their software to have the spending and budget categories updated automatically. You can easily keep track of your overall financial picture and receive warnings when you are low on funds. Cost – Free to begin. Although the free version is not as robust as Quicken, it is a good place to start if you haven’t tracked your spending before.
Online or App Banking with Your Bank – This is another easy way to stay on top of your finances at least in terms of your bank balances. Login to your bank frequently to verify everything is as it should be. Checking your accounts daily is a good goal to shoot for so you can quickly nip any problems in the bud (potential overdrafts or charges you know are not yours).
Keeping Everyone Healthy
You know you are going to have to keep track of everyone’s health information as well as when they are due for their various checkups. Keep track of what needs done per year in an app like Trello (see below) and add a note when you make the appointment. You can then add the appointment to your calendar when you are at the respective office.
Health Appointments – Doctor, Dentist, and Eye appointments times the number of family members you have per year. So in my family, that would mean a minimum of 25 appointments per year – just for the basic stuff! (Doctor – 2 times a year, Dentist – 2 times a year, Eye – 1 time per year times 5 people) and this is not counting any specialists, follow-up appointments, etc.
Health Records – Vaccinations, basic information, medications, allergy records and plans need to be kept somewhere you can find them as you need to report this information to the school. Also, you will want to keep all receipts for flex spending accounts so you can get reimbursed.
Education and practices
School work – Designating a space for school essentials for each child – water bottle, lunch bag, backpack, sports bags, computers, etc. And, add any school corporation dates to the main Google calendar.
Extra Curricular Activities – You will want a bulletin board or other place for carpool names and numbers, as well as information on items for each activity – sports, band, and other club calendars. These would all be added to the main Google calendar and shared with all family members.
Productivity Aids for household management
Trello – Trello is a great free resource for planning projects around the house and keeping everyone on the same page (computer and app). Cost – Free
Free Printables – Pinterest has a ton of links to printables on just about any subject you can imagine. Just search for the subject and then add printable behind it. Example – Cleaning Printable. Cost – Free
Meal Planning – because they want to eat (all the time)
One of the easiest ways to stay on top of all the meals you need to provide for your growing family, is a service like Emeals. I have used this system for years and love it. You can select your meal plan times the number of people in your family. You can use it on the computer or on your phone.
The service provides you a new list each week of meals for your plan (dinner, lunch, breakfast – each separately charged so you only get what you need). You select the items you want to prepare and add it to the list. The app then generates a shopping list of ingredients that you can send to a service like Clicklist. For a more in depth review of how this works, please see the following:
- Emeals – Make Your Life Easier with Meal Planning – step by step explanation with photos
- Meal Planning – How and Why to Do It to Save Time and Money
Grocery Pickup or Clicklist
Any of the services offered by your local grocery store will work, this is just the one I’m most familiar with using on a weekly basis. As stated above, once you select the items you already have, you send your list to a service like Clicklist or Pickup and load your cart.
You check out on the app or online and then set a pick up or delivery time. You now have at least a week’s worth of meals in your home. This saves you time, money and the headaches of shopping in person!
Basics of household management – dishes, Cleaning and Laundry
This is probably everyone’s least fun area. But, let’s face the facts that it requires a lot of time to maintain a household with all of the moving parts this entails. The more people you have in your family – the more complex it is. Houses get dirty and need cleaned, same with clothes, and dishes. Here are some ideas on ways to make it less of a chore for you.
There are some great free resources (again on Pinterest) where you can print out sheets for keeping track of cleaning tasks by rooms, chore charts for kids, etc. If you want to create a system for ensuring these tasks get done, you need to add them to your calendar, planner or Trello boards so they stay top of mind.
Work out whatever works best for – do your dishes as you go, once a day, etc. Just come up with a system you can all live with and still have dishes ready to be used so you can eat at home and not have to use paper plates.
Whether you prefer a load every day or the once a week method, having the supplies to get the job done and a manner for getting the clothes folded and where they belong is key.
Everyone’s list will be different and not everything will need to be cleaned once a week. Determine what your cleaning schedule will be for each and what you can happily live with. Definitely recommend creating and using the home binder described above to keep track of your schedules and cross them off as you go.
- Living Room
- Common areas
Hot Mess to Home Success – Busy Budgeter created this home management system you can take as a course. It does require some time to go through the course and it isn’t free. However, you will more than make up that time and money on the back end. Highly recommend this course if you want a cheat sheet (or actually multiple cheat sheets) for getting ahead in all of the areas of household management.
Shopping Resources for everything else
Even when you are done shopping for groceries, you still aren’t really done are you? You still need the items to actually run the house (toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, dog food, soap, toothpaste, light bulbs, paper and toner for the printer, etc.). The best tools to get this done are to shop for them as infrequently as possible and to stock your pantry so you don’t have to constantly run out for one more thing. The agony! (tongue firmly in cheek here)
Hip2Save – This a great site for finding deals on a variety of items – clothes, household goods, toiletries, etc.
Amazon – In case you haven’t heard of it, ha! They have just about everything under the sun available next day for prime members. Walmart and Target also offer a lot of the same products and some can be picked up the same day at your local store.
Social – Don’t forget to schedule in some fun for the household as well. Regular time with family and friends, especially in this digital age, is time well spent.
And, there you have it. A brief article on the benefits of household management to help the Moms out there retain their sanity in a sea of clutter.
Please comment below if you have a tip or a trick to make it easier for all of us as we are all in this together.