When you became a stay at home mom, did you feel equipped to run a household like a manager?
If you were, that’s awesome! My guess is that someone blessed you by preparing you well, or that you really took the time to invest in learning!
But most moms I’ve known and met have, for the most part, been in the same boat: excited about being a mama, but not really sure how to run a household.
In fact, many moms I’ve talked to and whose comments I’ve read in stay at home mom Facebook groups have actually expressed similar things regarding being home managers + raising kids:
How do you raise kids, homeschool them, and manage your home? Without complete and utter overwhelm, with a side of anxiety and a drizzle of depression?
To be honest, I can’t honestly say that I really understood home managing until after my fourth son was born and it all of a sudden hit me:
Oh my goodness, I need to be thinking like a manager.
It was during a week where I hadn’t meal planned and we were paying for it with trips to the sore every day. At that point, I had a few other home management systems/routines here and there, but for the most part, every day was kinda like putting out fires.
But little by little, I started learning and dedicating some time to creating systems, adjusting things after trial and error, and daily working out different daily routines and systems.
And I can honestly say that today, although my home is far from perfect and there are days when life happens, both our home and my kids’ daily life is far more organized than it was, and almost every category of home management is streamlined.
And that’s why I want to share with YOU nine things I personally implemented that can help you run a more organized household:
Organize your home
In my opinion, the number #1 way to run an organized household as a stay at home mom is to dedicate some time to starting an organizing project on your home. With everything I’ve tried, I’ve honestly not found a better way to lay the foundation of an organized home than by doing this.
When you spend time organizing, what you’re basically doing is giving everything in your home a place to “live”. When everything is in its place, it’s not only easy for you to put things away, but it’s easy for your kids, your husband, anyone else who lives with you, or a babysitter to put things away.
Because honestly there’s just something so calming about walking into your bathroom, or your kitchen, or your kids room (!) and everything has a place and is in its place.
And there’s also something so not calming about walking into your home and there’s constant clutter because things don’t have a specific place to be kept or a bin to be put in. But you know this already.
Did you know there’s actually been research done on the mental and emotional benefits of decluttering, which includes potentially reducing stress and anxiety? There’s definitely a connection between mental health and cleanliness. But as a mom whose whole life is at home, you know this already too.
Right now, I’m in the middle of a house-wide organizing project. I’ve started in our master bathroom and have worked my way into our bedroom, my youngest kids’ room, and the front closet. It has made a HUGE difference already in the way our home runs.
But I know what you might be thinking.
You’re either thinking: a) Yeah, but when am I ever going to get around to this? b) I have so much stuff I don’t even know where to start! or c) Yes, I need to get organized and I’m gonna start today!
For those of you wondering when you’ll ever get around to this, the answer is to just start. You already know that both time and your kids are not going to stop to give you a chance to collect your thoughts on the matter.
To be honest, if I’ve realized anything as a stay at home mom, it’s that things don’t wait for me to get around to them. I have to make things happen around here with wisdom and good strategies, otherwise the tyranny of the urgent will overtake my life!
Even with the current project I have going on, there are honestly days I’m not feeling it. But I just start by picking something up, or going to the store to pick up some bins, etc. and before I know it, I’ve organized another small area.
If you’re wondering how to even start, you may want to start by getting inspired. Here is a really good YouTube channel from an organizer I follow (and another one here). You’re bound to find some good tips you can apply to your home!
Embrace a minimalist mindset
To keep and maintain a decently organized household, it’s beneficial to embrace a minimalist mindset.
Minimalism is about owning fewer things, but things that really matter. It’s about doing less things, but the things that really matter (I have some products in the works for both of these areas just for stay at home/homeschooling moms-stay tuned!).
Because if we understand anything as stay at home + homeschooling moms, it’s that we simply can’t do everything. Honestly, nobody can.
As far as daily activities, do less things, but make those things meaningful. As far as belongings, keep less. As far as deep cleaning, tidying, laundry, meal planning, etc-streamline all of these things (more on this later).
Know what you’re in charge of
On the management side of running a home, it’s much easier to run an organized household when you know exactly what you’re in charge of.
What are the different areas of home managing? Well, there’s meal planning, deep cleaning, tidying, organizing, the calendar, the car, something I call personal admin, budgeting (I throw this in there), etc. I talk about all of them in my Busy Mom’s Simple Guide to Home Management, along with how to create systems for each of area.
Once you’ve identified every area, you’ll want to start creating systems for each area, one at a time, and you’ll start to really see your home life running smoothly.
Here’s an example of one of my systems:
I set aside an hour to meal plan every Sunday afternoon. I plan for 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, and I give myself enough time to browse healthy food blogs and make a shopping list.
Then, I use my WalMart app and order everything on there and select a time to pick up my groceries.
I’ll write out or print out my meal plan for the week using these printables, and then I’ll post the meal plan on the fridge or pantry door.
Once we pick up the groceries and bring them home, my older girls and I clean out the pantry and the fridge and neatly arrange the food. And voila! We’re ready for the week, and everyone knows what’s on the menu.
This has really helped because I don’t know about your kids, but if I were to let them, my kids would eat all the food we have non-stop. But with a meal plan posted up, they know what they’re allowed to eat for snacks and what’s off limits.
Does this plan work perfectly, 100% of the time? No, because life sometimes gets in the way. But I have a system in place, so even if I get thrown off for whatever reason, I always have something to come back to.
Have a system and process for everything
Another way to run an organized household is to create a system and process for everything.
Even though you may have multiple littles at home, you can work to having all of your systems streamlined and flowing easily by creating sytems and processes.
I’ve already shared my meal planning system, but I’ll share one with you that’s in the works right now, which is our deep cleaning routine.
So I’m in the process of creating room-cleaning checklists for each room (which will be part of my cleaning + organizing printable set I’ll be releasing this summer!). Once I finish and laminate them, me, my husband, and my older girls will each take a couple rooms each Sunday to deep clean (it would take us a max of one hour each), and that’s how I deep cleaning will run in our home.
But wait…didn’t you say that you meal plan on Sunday too?
Yep! And the reason I’m putting deep cleaning on this day as well is because for us, Saturday is a Sabbath (we try to do chores and no cooking). Also, Sunday is the day I’m most likely to be successful at getting this and other home management tasks done (another good principle to know!).
However, in the future, I’d like to be able to have the funds to hire a cleaning company to come out every couple weeks and whisk that responsibility out of my hands.
Build clear and consistent daily routines
We all know kids thrive off of daily routines, but sometimes it’s easier said than done when it comes to actually creating one (especially with multiple children).
And there are so many bits and pieces of information out there on what you should be doing everyday with your kiddos, like…
They need to spend time outside. They need to be read to. They need independent play time, and they also need to help with the chores. Make sure you’re consistent with their schoolwork and that they get a bath every night. And for goodness sakes, do NOT allow them to look at a screen for more than an hour!
But I can tell you that there is a way to create a daily routine that actually works for you and your family, and it starts with identifying what YOUR priorities are for you and your children.
For instance, it’s important for me to spend time with the Lord every day in prayer and worship, and for me to take time to teach my kids about Him as well.
So how do I put this into a routine? Well, I think about when I’ll be the most successful at this, and what else I need to do to get it done.
For instance, I’ve realized that if I read a children’s Bible to them during breakfast (we use this one and we love it!), we’re already all sitting down (minus my two-year old, who is sometimes in and out). They can hear the story, see the big beautiful pictures, and we can have a short discussion.
For me to spend time with the Lord, I’m the most successful at this early in the morning before anyone is awake. So that means I need to be in bed early.
Lately, I’ve been moving my bedtime up so I can be awake at 5 am and still have had between 7.5-8 hours of sleep. When I do this and I’m able to not only spend time with God but workout before the kiddos wake up, it’s AMAZING.
Sometimes it takes a bit of tweaking to figure out a daily flow that works for everyone in your family, including you, and when you’ll be the most successful at getting certain things done. I go into greater detail on how to do this in The Busy Mom’s Simple Guide to Daily Schedules & Routines if you want help creating some for yourself!
Also, stay tuned, as I’ll be opening the doors for Motherhood Mentorship coaching later this year! I’ll help you ditch the overwhelm for good and streamline your home systems and daily routines. Good bye, brain clutter!
Teach your kids the habit of cleaning up after themselves
Around here, the #1 reason our home gets messy is because peeps don’t put things back after they use them (including me sometimes).
On top of keeping your home organized and periodically deep cleaned, it’s important to take time to develop the habit of tidiness.
In our homes, we’re dedicating two months to building this habit, which basically looks like this:
- Practice putting things back where they belong after you use them (much easier once the organizing project is finished!)
- Clean up what you mess up
It may take a while to develop this habit and a lot of reminding, but that’s just what happens when you’re trying to build new habits.
Also, building this habit will not only be a blessing to our home, but my kids will learn how to be tidy people, which will be a blessing to them in the future (they’ll thank me later!).
Remember that you’re running your home, not someone elses’s
Another thing that will help you run an organized household is to keep in mind that you’re running your home and not someone elses’.
Well duh. But why is this important?
Because every mom is in a unique place of growth and in learning how to manager her home and raise her kids. As you learn, you will apply things in ways that fit your season of life and current situations.
And sometimes, I’ve found that well-meaning people give advice that doesn’t work for you (because maybe they have one child and you have three, for instance) and you can feel guilty if you’re not able to pull it off.
And without knowing it, you can have this internal, invisible list of “things you should be doing” piling up inside of you, accusing you and putting pressure on you.
It’s important to understand that you are unique, and that you will do things uniquely. That’s why I love that the most important thing to the Lord is that we walk in love with one another, and not that we follow a bunch of checklists.
As you read advice from other moms (including me!) or even just see what other moms are doing on Pinterest and Insta, practice getting ideas without feeling guilty or less than.
And the next time you start feeling overwhelmed, stop, take a deep breath, and give yourself permission to be exactly where you are, toys all over the floor and all.
Keep a home management binder
Because why keep all your home management info in your head?
With a home management binder, you can keep track of everything in one place for not only you, but anyone else who lives with you and anyone who watches your kids.
Take time to learn
Lastly, take time to learn strategies from moms who have done all the trial and error leg work to find out principles that work and ones that don’t (just like you’re doing now!).
I remember being at home with just two small babies and asking my husband continually, “Why is this so hard? Is it supposed to be this hard?”
What I really wanted to have at that time was a mom mentor. I wanted someone who had not only been where I was, but would, in a non-judgmental way, allow me to share my frustrations and lead me to the light.
I eventually found someone I really admired as as mom, and she really helped me out. But I also realized that I could read books written by women like Elizabeth George whom I could learn from as well.
Taking time to learn and make improvements will get you on the path to running a more organized home. And remember, my mentorship program will be open in a few months, and I’d be glad to help you get your home + day to day more organized!