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Personally, when my household is in shambles, you can bet that I’m not on my 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. Because of this, I like to armor women and families with practical tools to keep their households in check. For starters, understanding and implementing household management.
Defining Household Management
Did you know that household management and home management are different? Me neither! 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.
Why household management is needed
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 sound familiar!
- there is 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
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!
Implement these quick household management tips to help you and your family.
“A constant drip hallows the stone.”unknown
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 ever 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.
1) Control your environment. What kind of environment does your household create?
When we think about the ideal state for our household, I want you to let go of the pictures on Instagram with beautifully decorated homes that are perfectly on trend and flawlessly cleaned. Let go of that right now 🙂 Do NOT get hung up on someone else’s staged and edited snapshot in time. I love following @jennyremold on Instagram. She’s always posting immaculate photos of her home. It’s perfection. However, she will also post videos walking through the messes in various rooms and trails of toys left behind by her children. This is real life.
Your ideal state should be realistic for where you are in life. Right now, I have a soon to be 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. Here are two simple practices that help me in this area:
- A minimalistic approach to decorating (or lack of). 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.
- Regular purging. If I have few minutes, I open a cabinet/closet to play pitch (or put in the donate pile, depending on item). Just a few minutes can make a big change. Also, I can’t handle taking a on a huge project so I do bite-size pieces frequently. I’m talking, a cabinet at a time. The thought of cleaning out and organizing all cabinets/closets makes me want to hid. Think back to our quote. Drip, drip, drip.
2) Turn your household into a smooth running operation.
Unless you have a live in maid and chef, you are likely going to need to execute tasks based on priorities each day. I find that having a general schedule or anticipation of what the week will look like really helps keep me stay organized and feeling in control of my days. Again, this is in general because life demands you to be agile. Here are some simple practices that keep me in front of my days:
- Meal plan and schedule a grocery pick up. Planning my meals ahead of time arms me 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!
- I love a good cleaning list and feel like I’ve tried them all. I’ve posted mine if you’d like to download and use. There are extra spaces so you can personalize for your use. Keeping a list in front of me allows me to check things off when I have time and know that everything is getting done.
3) 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.
- Finally, help yourself out and create a household binder. I’ll dive into this deeper in another article but, 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!
Give yourself some help!
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 are a lady well-loved.