Home management for beginners can be a daunting subject. For those of us who either grew up not being taught how to properly run and care for our homes. Or the lessons we did learn just didn’t seem to stick. In my case, my mom worked outside of the home and while she taught me how to do some chores, I was clueless when it came to running my own home! I could literally walk into HER house and clean it top to bottom, prepare meals, etc… but my home? I was clueless!
Home Management for Beginners
I didn’t understand why I felt so confident cleaning my mom’s house, but not my own. I felt so defeated, especially when I would visit other moms’ homes and they seemed like they all had it so together. Though I knew how to do many things to keep a home, what I didn’t know about was the processes and systems that I needed for success to manage everything as a whole.
Little by little I gleaned helpful tips and tricks. Things like learning how to meal plan and instituting a schedule for my household. Then I heard about making a Home Management binder and how to keep track of all the things I normally would lose or forget about. Things like medical records and clothing sizes and Christmas lists.
It’s been a journey for me through the years as I’ve honed in on the systems and processes and schedules that work best for our family and our lifestyle. I’ve had to learn when to be flexible, like during times of sickness and grieving and when not to be, like not allowing interruptions to our bible times and homeschool times.
As God has helped me in these areas, I’ve also been able to bring in traditions and seasonal activities that help cultivate our home culture and bring about the vision that I hope will nourish our family and provide positive experiences and lasting memories.
So today, I’d like to share the three most important tools I learned when beginning to manage my home well. They may not seem like much, but I promise you if you can develop these three tools for your lifestyle, home management will become so much easier.
Home Management for Beginners Tool # 1: Schedule your days according to your priorities
This was the first tool the Lord showed me to use when I asked Him to show me how to manage my home well. I was a young mom with 3 rambunctious boys and another on the way and I was OVERWHELMED. I was saying yes to things I shouldn’t be saying yes to and was forced to say no to things I knew were important because of all the things I kept saying yes to.
In a prayer session, I was crying out to God for clarity as to what I should do. I was drowning in housework, the kids were unruly, I hadn’t read my bible in days and I was busy all day long but felt I didn’t have anything to show for it at the end of the day.
What are your priorities, really?
Suddenly, I felt God say to me, “Schedule your day according to your priorities.” What a concept! Of course, this caused me to begin to think about what my priorities truly were. I’m ashamed to say that upon reflection, I concluded that my actions on a daily basis revealed that pleasing other people were on the top of my priority list!
I was active in many things and ministry at that time, and I spent a good portion of my days running around doing things for other people that I struggled to say no to. When I was home, I didn’t know how to say no to visitors, phone calls, or emails. Before I knew it, it was dinnertime and I didn’t know what to make, the laundry was overflowing and the house was a wreck! My priorities were out of order and needed to be adjusted!
Here’s the bottom line: People spend their time on what they value. If you want to know what you value, look at how you spend your time. If you don’t like what you are seeing, it may be time to make some changes!
Ask God what your priorities should be!
So the very first thing I did was ask God what my priorities should be. I believe this was the smartest thing I could have done because I knew I couldn’t trust myself to decide on my own priorities. I clearly was not doing well in this area! God was faithful and led me to some key scriptures that were instrumental in helping me to define what my priorities should be as a woman, wife, home-keeper, and mother in the Lord.
Also, in order to decide what your priorities should be, it’s important to consider what your goals are. Again, using the example above, my ultimate goal in life is to live the way God wants me to. I want to be a faith-filled, spirit-led woman who produces fruit for the kingdom of God. The very most important thing I can do to make that happen is to know the Word of God and spend time with my heavenly Father.
Once I knew what my priorities were, then it was time to downsize my obligations.
This was hard for me to do, but I knew it was the right thing for me to do. This was important because I lacked the necessary boundaries I needed to live the life I knew God was calling me to. The truth is, we can’t do everything all at the same time. In order to build a life we are happy with and that God will be pleased with, we need to choose which things to spend time on in each season of our lives.
If you lived according to your priorities, what would your day look like? What does your current schedule say that your priorities are? What do you need to say NO to in order to say YES to your priorities?
After I stepped down from all my activities, I got out a notebook and began to scratch out possible schedules to ensure that each one of my priorities- God, family, home, and homeschooling the kids would be covered each day in my schedule. I also made a plan to eliminate distractions so that I would not be tempted to drop my priorities.
For example, I made a commitment to read my bible and pray each day before I did anything else. I simply would not allow myself to do anything until that one thing was accomplished. In order to eliminate distractions, I turned the ringer off of our house phone and set our answering machine to take messages.
I informed everyone I knew that I would no longer be taking phone calls until 12 pm each day, and I might not call them back until the following day or even longer. Then, I put together a basket of coloring books, notebooks and crayons, and small toys so that if my children woke up before I was done with my bible time, they could occupy themselves until I was finished.
I continued to schedule my day according to my priorities in that fashion until I had a complete schedule that looked something like this:
- Wake up, make a cup of coffee, spend time in prayer and the Word
- Make breakfast, review memory verses with kids, clean up the table, and set up for homeschool lessons
- Husband’s laundry, check on his work snacks and meals, replenish if necessary
- Do school lessons until 11 am
- House chore time
- 12 pm- check messages, return any urgent calls or emails- 20 minutes tops!
- Make lunch, finish up any school lessons by 2 pm
- Kids’ quiet time, mom’s work time (this is when I usually caught up on deeper cleaning projects, ministry projects, writing, etc…)
- 3 pm, quiet time over, outside or free time playtime for the kids
- 4 pm- household cleanup, begin making dinner
- 5 pm- dinner, family time, bath time, and bedtime routines
- 8 pm kids bedtime, time to spend with hubby
- 9 pm bedtime
Deciding what my priorities were and then scheduling them into each of my days in order of priority was life-changing and life-giving for me. I went to sleep each night with such peace in my heart and mind because I knew I was giving quality attention to the things that mattered most. The guilt was GONE and a sense of satisfaction and contentment began to blossom in my heart. And something else happened: progress!
My home started looking better, my marriage improved, my children began to behave better, I was definitely in a better mood on a daily basis, and our homeschooling lesson time was less stressful and more fruitful. THIS was the life I has been dreaming of having, it was happening!
Home Management for Beginners Tool # 2: Design Processes to Manage those Priorities Well
A process is a conceptual sequence of events that enables people to do what they do. As you can see from above, each one of my priorities was covered in the schedule. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, this was the beginning of my learning how to design processes and systems to support my priorities and lifestyle.
My priorities were as follows:
- Relationship with Lord
- Relationship with Husband
- Relationship with Children
- Duties at Home
But my PROCESS for each was going to be:
- To develop a close relationship with the Lord
- To cultivate a fruitful relationship with my husband and be a godly wife
- To be a godly mom, care well for them, and cultivate a good relationship with each of my children
- To cultivate a loving home and fruitful atmosphere, to have a clean and orderly house, to manage our finances well, and improve the quality of the home over time
- To consistently teach the children what they need to know for life and education and in the Word
- To do the ministry I am called to do
A process is like a priority with an end goal attached.
Defining a process enables me to do what I do by allowing me to see where I am heading. For each one of those priorities, a process needed to be developed for the management of it. I needed conceptualized sequences in place. For example: In order to maintain my spiritual walk with God, I knew that time with Him and in my bible needed to happen each day. Because it is my top priority, I needed that time to happen in the first part of my day. This is how I would daily “process” my relationship with God and reach a close relationship with Him by following a sequence of events every day to do it.
For my relationship with my husband, I knew that I wanted to support him by praying for him every day, doing what I could as a godly wife to support him as the provider for our family and I wanted uninterrupted time each evening to spend with him to show that he was a priority to me.
So, from that, I got up each morning to make him breakfast before he left for work and spoke life to him as he walked out the door, made sure I spent some time praying for him and his job in my prayer time, took care of his work laundry for him as needed and pre-made snacks and lunches for him to take to work. We also had about an hour together in the evenings to visit and watch a favorite show or something before bed.
Designing processes for each priority of our lives helps us to keep our goals in focus and to define the steps we to take to get there.
Now, this was the process that I wanted to design as a way to honor and support my husband as his partner in life on a daily basis that aligned with our marriage goals. It may look different for someone else. The point was that I wanted to ensure that each day I was doing something to sow into our marriage as his wife. This is how I would “process” or handle my marriage on a daily basis to cultivate a fruitful relationship with my husband.
Home Management for Beginners Tool # 3 Put Systems in place to carry out the Processes that you’ve designed.
Developing and implementing systems were the next step to making sure that I was managing life and home well. This is usually the part of home management that becomes overwhelming for most women and it isn’t something that should be done hastily. Get a notebook dedicated to this purpose and write down your systems.
Systems are what are used to execute the process.
I like to think of systems as empowering steps to get us where we need to be. Lots of systems become systems within other larger systems, so it is important to take your time and walk through the steps you need to take for each one. I have checklists for each one of my systems.
Systems can also be programs or applications that help you manage certain things, like Gmail for email. Gmail is an email system that helps you manage online communications, I have checklists that I run through on a weekly basis to manage this system. Online banking systems help you manage your finances, but a monthly checklist system might help to manage your bills more effectively.
When you think about it, you have systems for how you manage everything. The big question to ask is are your systems supporting your goals and lifestyle well, or are they hindering them? Are your systems aligned with the processes you’ve designed for your life?
Let’s say your home is a disaster like mine was. I spent years developing cleaning systems that never quite tamed the messy house I so desperately wanted to be cleaned and orderly. After lots of frustration, I realized that I didn’t have a system to deal with all of our excess stuff. Having too many things hindered our cleaning process. We often “cleaned” by moving stuff around to different places. This was counterproductive and only ended in defeat.
I needed a system to declutter the house so that I could regularly eliminate the things that we no longer used, that were broken, outgrown, etc… This way, as we got rid of things, cleaning would become easier
So, decluttering got added to the weekly schedule as part of my process to manage my home. I wrote down a step-by-step checklist list (system) for decluttering that I would follow each time so that I was clear about how I would make progress.
This ‘systemized’ the task of decluttering so that I could successfully execute the process.
It looked something like this:
- gather declutter supplies: sharpie, garbage bags, totes, masking tape
- set up an activity to occupy the kids
- fill up a water bottle, put on some music
- go to room or section of choice, set timer for 15 minutes
- sort through items: broken/trash; donate; put away box
- take a 5-minute break when the timer goes off, reset the timer if you need more time, and begin again
- upon finishing, take the trash bag out to the garbage immediately.
- Take the donation box out to your car trunk, schedule a trip to the donation location or a pickup
- Take the Put Away tote and put things back where they belong or take the time to decide where an item’s permanent home will be and put it there.
- Clean up declutter supplies and celebrate a job well done
Scheduling and defining my decluttering system helped me to stick with it and improve my overall cleaning system.
Other systems that are helpful to create for home management:
- Meal planning and prep
- Running errands
- Daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual Chore time and tasks
- evening, morning, and afternoon routines
- Holidays and traditions
Clearly defined priorities make home management easier.
Learning to manage your home begins with defining priorities and goals. Then, create a process for how you will develop those areas of your life and home. Zoning in on your processes and systems will empower you to accomplish and maintain them. Home management is also lifestyle management and should support the lifestyle you are striving to live.
Once you master these three tools, you’ll be able to execute your plan. Remember, you can make the home you want and reach the home management goals you have. You only need to think through what you want, what God wants for you, and a plan!