Personally, when my household is in shambles, you can bet that I’m not on my A-game. Not that the world relies on me…wait, just kidding, it does! My household TRULY benefits from my presence and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know my worth and value. You are that valuable in your household too. However, this doesn’t come without a price.
Stress and fatigue for women is serious. One major contributor to stress is environment. Studies show a link between clutter and stress. Organization leads to reduced stress. Therefore, I like to armor women with practical tips and tools to help them achieve this. So how do you I organize my home and reduce stress? Here are some easy things you can implement today to start making this change:
- Understand household management and how it reduces stress
- Assess your current home environment and needed changes to improve organization
- Implement a realistic cleaning schedule to maintain an organized home
- PLUS 9 BONUS TIPS
Understand Household Management and How It Reduces Stress
Why Are we So Stressed?
According to the Mental Health America MHA, there are over 44 million American adults with a mental health condition and the rate of youth with mental health concerns is on the rise. We are surrounded by stress, fatigue, screens and packed schedules. It’s no wonder that our households are strained and stressed.
A study done by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) discovered a correlation between depression and clutter when they explored in real-time the relationship between 32 California families and the objects in their homes. A very condensed version is below (see if any of these sounds familiar):
- A link between high cortisol levels in female home owners with a high density of household objects
- Women associate tidy homes with happy and successful families
- Even families who want to reduce clutter are emotionally paralyzed
- Households are statistically overloaded by children’s toys
How Household Management Helps Organize Your Home and Reduce Stress
Something most people are not aware of is that there are two different definitions for household management versus home management. The guru from Household Management 101 helps define the two:
Home management encompasses the necessary actions
to take care of the home you live in, and to keep all the systems within the
home, such as laundry and cleaning, under control and functioning properly.
Household management encompasses the entire home and its inhabitants! This loops in scheduling, budgeting, emotional checks and more.
As she puts it, “Who cares if your home is perfectly managed if the people living inside it are not happy and fulfilled – including you!” I think we can all relate to this.
Implementing household management enables you to achieve an organized home, while maintaining the chores, such as, laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc. Household management will also keep your schedule organized. This helps keep you organized with school activities, sports, etc. The biggest benefit is that household management keeps your mind organized, which is invaluable. When your household, chores, schedules, and mind are thought-out and well organized, you will feel confident and less stressed.
Assess Your Current Home Environment and Needed Changes to Improve Organization
The easiest way to achieve a goal is to assess your current state, outline the desired future state, and then make bite-sized goals that will get you there. The same goes for organizing your home to reduce stress. First, grab some paper and a pen and walk around your house. I recommend starting in the room you spend most of your time, likely the family room and kitchen. List what stresses you out. Maybe it’s cluttered countertops, paperwork/mail piles, kid’s toys, etc. Don’t let your brain wonder to construction or cosmetics. Just aim for quick wins to get you organized fast. Stick to what can be done through cleaning and organization.
Your ideal state should be realistic for where you are in life. Right now, I have a toddler dragging toys from one end of the house to the other. This is just life. I control what I can and let go of what I can’t. Once he’s tucked in, everything has its place and is easily picked up. Boom. I have my house back. Until then, watch your step! Figure out what makes sense for you right now and know this may just be for a season in life.
What Changes are Needed?
As you compare your current assessment to your desired state, you can start to identify what actions need to be taken to help organize your home and reduce stress. Likely, most of what is needed will fall into a 3-step process: purge, clean, organize.
Purging is invaluable to reduce stress. Per the studies, less clutter means less stress. However, purging does not mean a deep clean. In fact, I would recommend against that at this point. Instead, build a small amount of time into your schedule over the next week and purge what you can see. Focus on the surface areas for now (counter tops, shelves, pieces of unused furniture, etc.). Once surface purging is done, then you start with the inside purging, such as, inside of cabinets, the refrigerator, closets, etc.
Implement a Realistic Cleaning Schedule to Maintain an Organized Home
Beyond the physical home, the functioning of the household is another stress trigger. A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research summarizes that it’s not necessarily the time constraints but the way people organize their time that causes the stress. Pause on this. It’s not the time constraints, it’s the use of our time that stresses us out.
What does this mean? The study continues to dive into the ultimate culprit of the stress, which is a lack of strategy to address conflicting schedules (a.k.a. I have a pile of things to do and places to be, the time is closing in and I don’t have a plan). Hence, the need for household management techniques!
Create a Realistic Cleaning Schedule
Though the cleaning and chore tasks that need to be completed are the same from day to day or month to month, your weekly and daily demands are different. This requires some little planning in order to keep days out in front of you versus becoming overwhelmed.
There are a million versions of cleaning lists available via Pinterest or a Google search. However, I could never find one that I didn’t feel took too much time out of my day. For example, some would rotate cleaning tasks for each week day (bathrooms on Monday, dusting Tuesday, floors Wednesday, etc.). I did try this but never felt like I successfully kept up and spreading out the tasks seemed to spread out the time, which was the opposite of what I was looking for! But that’s just me.
Personalize Your Cleaning Tasks and Schedule
Because I could never find a perfect fit online, I created my own that was realistic for me – a full time, outside of the home worker, mother and wife. This is a very simple list that can be popped into a plastic sleeve and checked off with a marker as the week goes. Or, use this and other’s lists to create your own cleaning. You know what timeframe you have available each day/week.
With this list, I spend about 30 minutes a day picking up each night after my son goes to sleep. This allows me to maximize my time with him, while he’s awake. Then, on the weekend, I’ll spend about 2 hours cleaning the house. This is a schedule that works for me, but again, think through what is realistic for you. The best thing you can do is set yourself up for success. If you would like that list and more information on creating a cleaning schedule, check out this article.
Bonus Tips to Organize Your Home and Reduce Stress
Adapt a minimalistic approach to decorating.
Less ‘things’ means less money spent, less things to dust around, less clutter. Since clutter, clearly, has an impact on our minds, think about some ways you can reduce the clutter in your home. Also, note the savings from purchasing less stuff!
Start planning out meals ahead of time.
Doing this will arm you with quick and easy dinners (think baby holding onto your leg and crying to be held as you move around the kitchen – that’s my life). Quick dinners are a must. Also, having an idea of what meal items I have on hand helps me decide what to prepare, based on the time I have that night.
If you aren’t using grocery pick up – do it!!!
Working moms have very little time with their family as it is. Grocery pickup gives me this time back. Also, I can’t be trusted walking around a store because I fall prey to impulse purchases. Anyone else? Shopping online allows you to see your cart total. Furthermore, this really makes you think about what you actually need. Lots of savings here!
Take it a step at a time.
I love the quote, “A constant drip hallows the stone.” This is such a wise mantra to live by. For me, it’s very similar to ‘progress is perfection’. We can’t flip the page and walk into a perfect existence. But we CAN incorporate healthy and mindful practices into our every day, that will achieve peace within our households and minds. It’s the small nudges every day that moves us in the right direction. Keep thinking about that constant drip.
Keep your family first.
The most important part of a household is your family! What is the ideal state for your family? Calm, peaceful, present, engaged, thriving. These are nice thoughts but there are a lot of things to juggle: schedules, activities, emotions, chores, etc. Therefore, I encourage you to look beyond the busyness of life and really look at your family. What do THEY need? Similarly, what do YOU need? Here is some food for thought.
Tension can rise with too much running or too many activities. As a result, your family may run ragged and lose touch. In contrast, think through what the limits are right now. Saying, “no” is extremely powerful to keeping peace within your mind and home. It doesn’t have to be in a negative way or an indefinite answer but reflect with your family on what makes sense in the current season of life. Sometimes things just need to be simplified for the good of everyone.
Create a household binder.
For a quick overview, a household binder is a centralized place for contacts, schedules, to do’s, budget and anything else you want it to be. This is a lifesaver to keeping your home organized. Above all, you will stay ahead of your days and be put back in control! Check out this detailed article on how to get started.
Delegate where you can!
Something I’ve purchased lately that has made a HUGE difference is a Deebot robot vacuum. We have a dog, which means hair, and a toddler, which means lots of floor time. I’m fine with sweeping the floor but liked the idea of being able to run this, while at work, and knowing that the floors would be clean when we got home. Also, it’s major satisfaction, after my evening routine is done, to sit on the couch catching up on some work and watching the Deebot clean the floors. If you’re interested in something like that, here is the exact model I have. It’s not the $600+ version, but from what I hear, they all have the same lifespan. So I was okay getting an “off” brand for the same result
Remember that progress is perfection.
Household management is a skill not a state of being. Because of this, you will never arrive at perfection, nor should you aim for that. Instead, be intentional and purposeful with your effort. A little proactive work can put you back in control of your days. Each day may not pan out exactly how you planned it but an occasional deviation is a far cry from flying blind each day. Likewise, your family will benefit from a sound-minded momma. After all, we really influence the temperature of our home. Therefore, let’s use our time and skills to make it warm and positive. Remember, YOU