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When you’re a mom, the basic day-to-day tasks of running your home can be overwhelming. There’s always so much to do. To help you tame the chaos, here are 15 home management tips for busy moms.
I used to have a house that stayed somewhat in order without much hassle.
And then I started homeschooling.
And my family grew…and grew…and grew!
Then I decided to start a business.
And before I knew it, my house was chaotic and I was constantly overwhelmed. There were piles of clean laundry on the table that stayed there for days.
Of course, they got more food on them when the kids tried to actually eat their dinner at the table and inevitably spilled something. So the laundry got thrown back into the hamper instead of making it into a drawer.
And that never-ending cycle was just for laundry. When you add in the dishes, the dust, and the toys…it’s no wonder that moms feel like they’re constantly cleaning and never making any progress.
But then I learned some home management tips that helped me tame the chaos. And now, my house is much more orderly, and I don’t feel so overwhelmed.
If you’re struggling with keeping your house in order, I hope these home management tips will help you get things under control as well.
Let’s get started!
1.Put Things on Auto-Pilot
The only thing worse than a mess is not knowing how to tackle the mess because your brain is so bogged down with decision-making that you can’t do one more thing.
If you’re in that situation, it’s much easier just to ignore the mess and go binge-watch some NCIS or whatever your viewing pleasure is rather than try to figure out where to start.
To avoid that situation, put things on auto-pilot as much as possible.
In my house, I do that in a couple of ways. Each day, we have:
- Morning Chores
- Table Chores
- A 15-Minute Cleanup (or two or three…)
- Laundry Duty
I assign the chores once a year, in July. Then I spend time each summer teaching my kids how to do their chores. By the time we start school again in mid-to-late August, things are getting done pretty well.
And I don’t have to try to keep track of who is supposed to do the dishes today or who’s turn it is to vacuum. It’s all on auto-pilot.
I’ve previously also had afternoon chores, where we spent about 15 minute each afternoon (before snack – they’re motivated to get done that way!) working on one area of the house.
Life has been crazy these last couple of years with missionary deputation and living in a tiny temporary house that I let that practice slide. But once we get moved into our other home, this practice will be coming back. It helps keep everything looking so much nicer!
To read more about how I put cleaning on auto-pilot, read these posts:
2) Set A Timer
I used to think that setting a timer for cleaning was silly. I mean, who needs a timer to know when they’re done?
But then I realized that my issue wasn’t necessarily knowing when I was done, it was that I didn’t want to start.
So setting a timer helped me get started because all I had to commit to was the amount of time on the timer. Not necessarily getting the whole room clean.
And once I got started, I usually kept going until the room was clean or at least much cleaner than it was before.
Even if you stop when the timer beeps, it’s amazing how much you can get done in only 15 minutes. So if your house is in a state that’s driving you bonkers, have everyone stop what they’re doing and gather in a central spot.
Then explain that you’re going to set the timer for 15 minutes and everyone is going to clean until the timer beeps.
3) Do the Home Management Tips that Work For You
I tackle a little of my house each day. That works for my family.
I know others who spend a couple of hours one day a week deep-cleaning everything. That might work better for you.
Or you might prefer to have each family member responsible for cleaning a specific area of the house every day.
Whatever you do, make sure it works for your family. And that everyone is on board with the plan. Because if even one person isn’t cooperating, it can make the whole system fall apart.
So don’t feel like you have to stick to MY schedule. Instead, experiment a bit and do what works for you. Tweak what isn’t working until it’s right for you.
If you have too much stuff, it’s going to be hard to keep your house clean.
I’m not saying your house has to be spartan or anything. But if you don’t have a dedicated place for everything where it fits well, it’s going to be more difficult to keep things tidy.
We declutter regularly in our house. At least a couple of times a year. It’s amazing how much easier it is to keep things clean when there’s less stuff around.
And it doesn’t have to be an all-day affair either. You can declutter in small chunks of time. Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and get started.
Need some help? Read this post:
5) Tackle Laundry Regularly
Laundry can pile up so quickly that it becomes an overwhelming monster in your life. Especially if you have a bunch of kids like I do…
The ONLY way I’ve found to successfully keep this laundry monster at bay is to make sure laundry happens regularly. And by happens I mean:
- Put away
As I mentioned early, I used to just leave our laundry on the kitchen table when it came out of the washer. Then, I had everyone help me fold it and put it away after quiet time.
It was constantly getting knocked onto the floor or getting food spilled onto it before we got around to folding it. That meant instead of going to someone’s drawer or closet, it went right back into the dirty laundry pile.
So now, we fold each batch as it comes out of the dryer. It’s way less overwhelming to tackle one load instead of a pile of four or five loads. And, it only takes a few minutes to get the job done.
A couple of years ago, we bought several clothes folders like they use in stores. We tried a few different brands and ended up really liking how the BoxLegend brand functioned (and held up!). We have a kid-sized one and an adult-sized one and my kids literally fight about who gets to use it to fold the laundry.
Now, everything looks so much nicer going into their drawers. So if you don’t have a folder, consider getting one. It’s been a game-changer around here!
Also, speaking of laundry…teach your kids how to do it!
My 13-year-old son is great at keeping laundry cycled throughout the day. He knows how to do each step of the process, which has been a huge help. My 12-year-old daughter isn’t far behind.
Between the three of us, it isn’t often that the laundry piles up too high.
6) Meal Plan
Home management isn’t only about cleaning, even though many of my home management tips thus far have been about that topic.
It’s also about taking care of your family.
But, other aspects are important too. Let’s talk meal planning for a second.
Meal planning has been a lifesaver for me. It takes the guesswork out of what’s for dinner and keeps me from spending too much time staring into cupboards and trying to Google what to cook with the ingredients I have on hand.
Until my fifth child was born, I never used to meal plan. I just winged it. And this was back when I was teaching, so I left for a good chunk of each day. I don’t know what I was thinking! No wonder meals used to stress me out so much.
When baby five came along, my level of overwhelm grew exponentially. And I knew something had to change! So I finally started meal planning. Except, most of the methods I tried didn’t work for me.
So I started experimenting. And eventually, I tried to create an annual meal plan. It worked so well! And we’ve been doing it ever since.
Each summer, I work with the kids to create an annual meal plan for the upcoming school year using a revolving schedule. I also make a master shopping list.
I love this meal planning style and can’t imagine switching to anything else! It’s been working for us for almost a decade now!
My kids help me pick the breakfast, lunch, and snack for each day of the week. Then this rotates each week. So this year, here’s what Monday’s meal plan looks like:
Breakfast: Biscuits & Gravy
Lunch: Pepperoni & Cheese quesadillas
Snack: Garlic pretzels
Every Monday, that’s what we eat.
Dinner is a little different. We pick themes for each night and rotate through four or five dinner options each month. That provides a bit more variety.
So Monday night is American night. We’ll have hamburgers, meatloaf, Salisbury steak, or chicken nuggets. We also have a list of sides we rotate based on our main dish. So we might pair mashed potatoes and gravy and a steamed veggie with the Salisbury steak, or french fries, honey carrots, and a salad with the chicken nuggets.
You might think this sounds boring, but my kids (or my husband) haven’t once complained about the level of repetition. Everyone knows what to expect! I no longer have to field questions about what we’re eating.
Now, I don’t have to think about meals. Or worry about running out of ingredients since I buy most of what we need on my first shopping trip each month and just fill in with quick trips to the store each week after that. This style of meal planning works well for us!
For more details and to grab a free downloadable meal planner, read this post:
7) Keep a Schedule
A big part of home management is keeping your family on some sort of a routine or schedule. When everyone knows what’s expected, things tend to run more smoothly. And time management is so important for busy moms.
I have tried to do a strict schedule, and it flopped hardcore. I’d get behind because life happened, and before I knew it, I was spending more time trying to fix my time-based schedule than I was doing the stuff on the list.
It was terrible for my busy lifestyle. So, I ditched it. And went to a flexible block schedule instead. You can read more about it in this post:
Basically, I broke our day up into different chunks. Then, I taught my kids what the expectations for each chunk were.
So, if it is a morning chore chunk, everyone works on their individual chores. If it’s a meal chunk, we gather together to eat and then move straight into table chores.
Once everyone had the basic gist of each block, the flexible part of this schedule began. Now, I can rearrange our day as needed, and we keep making progress. I just let the kids know that something came up, so we’re shifting the blocks around and take a minute to explain the new plan.
When you keep everyone on the same page, it really helps you work as a team!
8) Write Stuff Down
How much information is trapped in your brain right now? If you’re anything like me, it’s a lot.
The problem is that when things are only in your brain, it’s easy to forget them. Which means you might drop the ball on something important.
You need a system for capturing all of the ideas, tasks, and thoughts floating around in your head so you can put them in a logical order and work on them one at a time.
I use a Clever Fox planner to help me get everything out of my brain and onto paper. The calendar portion works well for helping me keep track of upcoming deadlines, appointments, and other engagements.
The dot portion in the back is perfect for brain dumps. I literally take a couple of minutes to write down everything that’s in my brain. Then I can go through my scribbled notes and set some priorities based on them.
The to-do list portion is perfect for helping me keep track of what I need to do each day. I don’t put too many tasks here, otherwise, it’s not realistic. And then I just move things to the next day if I don’t finish them.
This simple act of writing everything down has helped me take control of my time and my life! It’s one of those home management tips that can really make a difference.
9) Let Your Kids Help
Or maybe this home management tip should say, “Make Your Kids Help.”
Chores are good for kids. They help them learn responsibility and a strong work ethic. And more importantly, they ensure that when your kid heads out into the “real world” as an adult, they don’t think their home will magically get cleaned by little fairies while they sleep or are at work.
So if your kids aren’t yet doing chores, it’s time to start sharing some cleaning duties with them. After all, they live here too.
If your kids are really young, they aren’t going to be a lot of help right now. But, it’s the perfect age to have them start. After all, as you train them now, they’ll be loads of help in the future. They grow so fast!
So, what are some age-appropriate chores for kids? Here’s a list to get you started:
- Toddlers: Picking up toys, putting away clothes, helping with laundry (mine love to put the wet laundry into the dryer. They stand next to the dryer, I fish stuff out of the washer and hand it to them, and they toss it in.
- Elementary-Aged Kids: Making the bed, doing dishes, sweeping/mopping floors (we use a Swiffer, so there’s no wringing out a heavy mop or anything), taking out the trash, folding laundry, feeding pets
- Older Kids/Teens: All of the above plus cooking meals, mowing the lawn, and washing/cycling the laundry
The key is to start small. Don’t overwhelm your kids (or yourself) by trying to get them to do too much at once. Give them a chore or two to start with, and add to that once they can do them well. It’ll take time, but it’s time well spent.
10) Outsource What You Can
I used to try to do it all without asking for help. But, I realized that was just hurting me. I was so stressed out and overwhelmed, and I wasn’t enjoying my life.
Now, I’ve learned to outsource what I can.
Some things just don’t need to be done by me. For example, I don’t need to be the one creating beautiful Pinterest images for each of my blog posts.
I’d much rather do things I love, like writing or spending time with my kids. So, I’ve outsourced some of the tasks I don’t enjoy to people who can do them better than me.
This has freed up so much of my time! I now have time to focus on things that are important to me, and I’m not wasting time doing something I don’t enjoy.
Don’t feel like outsourcing should only be limited to your business. If there are things around the house that you can’t stand doing, those are worth paying someone to do for you (if your budget can swing it!)
11) Set Aside Time for Yourself
You can not manage your home effectively if you’ve burned your candle at both ends and no longer have any energy. You need time for yourself to relax and recharge your batteries.
It’s important to set aside some “me” time every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. During this time, you can do something that makes you happy and relaxed. This might be reading, taking a bath, going for a walk, or anything else that helps you relax.
You can learn more about how I integrate self-care into my routine in this post:
12) Eliminate Bottlenecks
Sometimes, we’re so overwhelmed that we continue doing things that waste time without realizing it.
Take time to look for bottlenecks in your routine and do what you can to make that time more effective. I’ve found my kids are good at pinpointing the wasted time and often have brilliant ideas about tweaks we can implement to help the day go more smoothly.
Often, the simplest changes can make the biggest difference.
13) Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination is the enemy of efficiency! If you have something to do, do it ASAP. Don’t wait until later. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to forget about it or put it off even further.
I know the tasks I tend to procrastinate on are the ones that don’t take that much time in the grand scheme of things. So take a few minutes a few times a day to knock out those tasks.
Once they’re no longer hanging over your head, you’ll feel so much lighter!
14) Let Things Go
This is a tough one for me, but it’s one of my top home management tips.
There are going to be times when things don’t go as planned. The house will get messy, the kids will fight, and you’ll feel like you’re losing your mind.
Try to take a step back and let those things go. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Remember, your kids will only be little for a short time. So try to enjoy the chaos while it lasts! Someday, you will miss it…
15) Reevaluate Regularly
You’re never going to finish learning how to manage your home effectively. There will always be new tips and tricks to learn. So, make sure you’re regularly taking the time to reevaluate your system and see what changes you can make.
I like to do this at the beginning of each season. I take a look at our schedule and our routines and see what’s working and what’s not. Then, I make the necessary changes.
It’s an ongoing process, but it’s so worth it!
Home Management Tips for Busy Moms
I hope these home management tips have helped you on your journey to becoming a more organized and efficient mom! If you need more help, please get in touch. I offer coaching services and can help you create a system that works for you and your family.