It wasn’t until my seventh year as a stay at home mom that I realized that there was more to managing my household than just planning meals, keeping the house clean, and doing (endless) laundry. I realized that I was actually a manager, and that I needed to think like one.
But that begged the question: how do I manage my home? More specifically, how do I manage my home as a stay at home mom whose kids are home all the time…and do I even have home management skills?
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I spent quite a bit of time revamping my mindset about home management, reading informative and eye-opening home management books like The Family Manager Takes Charge that inspired me with new ways of doing things, and brainstorming realistic strategies.
Now years later, I’ve been able to hone my strategies down to simple tasks to keep a manageable home with little time investment. I’ve know what works and what doesn’t, and I have plenty of practical tips to share! Here are the seven best home management tips I have to help you get your house under control:
Have a clear home management approach
Have you ever asked yourself what you believe about managing your home?
I believe that as stay at home moms, we’re the appointed mangers of the home. Some moms may disagree to this, but I base this on Titus 2:5 where Paul instructs women to be “makers of a home [where God is honored]”.
One of the major lessons I learned as a stay at home mom was that the home was the place that needed to be managed just like any business would. Because we were growing our family and our lives were now based at home, I could no longer be haphazard in my approach to how I managed our home-I had to be strategic and clear to make sure everything that needed to get done, got done.
Now while I believe that mamas are the primary managers of the home, I certainly don’t believe that we need to actually do all the tasks of home managing ourselves. Rather, we moms create systems, strategies, and routines that help all family members in the home see their part in caring for the home (and outsource responsibilities when needed).
Personally, I have a whole family-approach to household management. In other words, although I take responsibility for creating systems and methods for how to manage the home, my whole family is responsible for the home’s cleanliness and upkeep, both through their personal habits and delegated responsibilities.
Knowing your home management approach is important for a few reasons:
First, as moms, we can easily to fall into the trap of doing more than we need to. Sure, when our children are babies, we do a lot for them. But as they get older, it’s important for them to see their role in the bigger picture of family function and household operation and do age-appropriate chores.
This is where it becomes more necessary to be clear about who is going to take care of certain responsibilities around the home with your spouse, your children, and anyone else who may live in the home.
Second, children will adjust to what you allow them to do. So if you don’t require them to help and paint a vision in their minds of how their contribution is a blessing to the bigger picture, they will develop habits of uncleanliness and disorganization that will make everything harder, not only on you, but on family life in general.
Understand the responsibilities of a home manager
The second tip I have is to understand your responsibilities (or areas of jurisdiction) as a home manager. Because isn’t it so much easier to manage your home when when you know what you’re in charge of?
While this may vary slightly from home to home, the list is pretty much the same for every modern-day stay at home mom. For instance, when our family lived in an apartment complex, we didn’t have to concern ourselves with the upkeep of our yard or keep track of things that needed to be replaced-the complex did that for us.
Now that we live in a home, it’s us or no one!
I have whittled home management jurisdictions down to 14 areas. This list addresses every aspect of your home, and then some:
- Organizing & decluttering: keeping all belongings in a delegated place, with labels if needed. Done as one-time projects and maintained with simple habits.
- Cleaning & tidying: keeping every part of the home cleaned regularly
- Meal planning: planning, shopping, cleaning out pantry & fridge, and writing meals in a place where they can be seen
- Laundry: washing, drying, putting away; dry cleaning & ironing if need be
- Yard work: attending to the needs of the yard, including gardening, watering, cutting grass, trimming, etc.
- Budgeting: technically not part of the home, but I like to throw it in there…knowing your income, giving, budgeting for needs, doing what’s necessary to keep costs low, income goals, income streams, etc.
- . Master to do list: your catch-all list of all the tasks that need to get done outside of these things I’m listing-for instance, making/cancelling appointments, applying for insurance, singing a child up for dance class, etc.
- Repairing/Replacing: keeping a running list of things in the home that need to be repaired/replaced
- Decor: how you want your home to look/feel for your family and guests; keeping running lists of ideas and items to buy
- Cars: Again, not technically part of the home, but helps to include…cleaning the inside & outside of cars, and keeping up with maintenance
- Mail: dealing with mail right away so it doesn’t pile up!
- Paperwork: how and where you’ll sort and store paper items- important documents, accumulated birthday cards, meaningful schoolwork, etc.
- Calendar: keeping track of everyone’s personal commitments, appointments, upcoming events, and important dates so you’re always as prepared as possible
- Personal admin: checking your personal emails, texts, voicemails, etc
Now again, a home managing mama isn’t responsible for doing all of these things, but for creating a system/routine and a strategy for how to get them done.
Organizing and Decluttering
Organizing and decluttering, in my opinion, is one of the most important, if not THE most important thing about managing your home, and is one of the first things I would do to get things under control. In my opinion, a good decluttering and organizing project on your home will significantly reduce any housekeeping struggles you have.
I’ve always been a pretty organized person, but I realized that I needed to take that to a whole new level when I had more kids and now had lots of toys, homeschool curricula, and random activity books to juggle.
I’m currently working on a house-wide organizing project, one area at a time. If you’re interested on my approach to organizing, check out this home organization post I wrote.
When you have a place for everything in your home, and you know where those places are and what belongs where, its SO. MUCH. EASIER. to keep your home clean (and it’s good for your mental health too!).
Also, this helps you to be a little bit pickier about how much stuff you allow into your home/how many belongings you have. Personally, I believe everyone can benefit from adopting somewhat of a minimalist mindset. Because who wants to do daily life with enormous amounts of stuff everywhere?
Cleaning and Tidying
We mamas know that a clean and tidy home is a blessing to you and everyone else in the house (and a messy home is just the opposite!). However, this is definitely easier said than done.
As I mentioned previously, keeping your home organized and decluttered is one of the most important things you can do…and this makes it MUCH easier to keep a clean home.
The main things you need to do to keep your home clean and tidy are to define who does what, when, and how. You can use cleaning checklists like the ones I’ve included in the Quick SPIN™ System, or create your own!
You also need to find a cleaning plan that works for you. One thing we do in our home, for instance, is to do a full reset after dinner. This means all dishes get washed and put into the dishwasher, counters and table wiped, floor swept and maybe mopped. The older girls help in this, so it makes it go a lot quicker.
Likewise, build the habit of cleanliness and tidiness. Recently, NBC News ran a post about this, where one of the tips in the article was to “put things away, not down.” Habits like this are the foundation of a clean and tidy home!
Meal planning is one of those things that many moms don’t love, but it keeps the wheels of the home running.
I choose to plan meals by the week. Some moms plan them by the month, and some moms do bulk freezer prepping. Whatever style suits your life, getting in the habit of planning meals will save you time and money. For tons of ideas on meal planning, check out The Kitchn!
To keep it basic, the essentials of meal planning include planning, shopping, cleaning out fridge & pantry, stocking, and posting meals. If you need some helpful meal planning printables, check out The Stay at Home Shop.
Create a home management plan
Now that we’ve looked at your home management approach and home management responsibilities, you’ll want to create a home management plan with realistic home management strategies that works for your family and in the season of life you’re in.
However, this is not an overnight overhaul. In fact, it takes a bit of time and effort to create and implement systems that work for you to manage your entire house. In her home management book Clean Mama’s Guide to a Peaceful Home, Becky Rapinchuk says:
In creating a home management plan that works for your family, you’ll start by creating systems or routines for each area. You want a strategy that works for you, in the season of life you’re in.
A system can be defined by how you go about doing something. When do you do it, how do you do it, and what do you need (products, materials) to get it done consistently.
If you really need help in this area, consider getting a copy of the Quick SPIN™Home Management System. In it, I walk you through easy ways to create your own systems and even give you all of my personal systems that will work for any full time at home mom.
Now, I’ve just shared a lot of home management tips. You may know all of these, some of these, or you may be brand new to home management and overwhelmed!
I want to again stress the importance of focusing on the principle of a little bit at a time, with a focus on consistent daily tasks. If you’ll commit to this, a little at a time, you’ll build a solid home management approach that makes it feel like you have your home life handled.
So that’s it! These are my best home management tips for how to manage your home as a stay at home mom. If you apply these things, you should be able to get your house under control in no time!