As busy moms, we can benefit from a simple home management system to help with the many hats we wear. From chef, cleaner, accountant, and childcare professional to party planner, personal assistant, and chauffeur, raising a family sure can be exhausting!
Often it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to tackle our mounting lists of tasks. But don’t despair—we’re here to show you how adopting sensible home management routines will restore order to your household.
What is a home management system?
A smart home management system will put you firmly in the driving seat of your household, so you have control over your budgeting, laundry, cleaning, meal planning, and more. Your system will ditch the chaos and introduce organization, so you know exactly how to get through your to-do list.
And most importantly, you’ll learn how to juggle these tasks alongside raising your little ones.
What are the benefits of using home management routines?
Be honest: do you run your home, or do you feel like it runs you? This Gallup report finds that married working mothers with children younger than 18 struggle to find the time and energy to manage the home. And it can definitely be tough! But when you incorporate home management routines into your daily schedule, you’ll enjoy the following benefits.
Getting out of the house with your kids can be so stressful. Do you ever get caught up with misplaced shoes, forgotten homework, or even negotiations about whether Dolly and Teddy can come too?
The situation can be extra stressful if you’re rushing because you don’t want to be late for school, need to catch the bus, or must arrive at daycare promptly.
If your little ones aren’t fast-moving, a simple home management system will slash the time it takes to get out of the house in the morning. With everything you need!
80% of people living with a partner argue about housework, with 20% of these admitting they disagree often. The results of this Yelp survey revealed the most common disputes were about when to do the housework (53%), how to do it (50%), and who should do it (48%).
These stats are a good case for introducing a straightforward home management routine so everyone in your household knows exactly how they’ll contribute.
The cost of living increase has put quite a squeeze on household budgets, so now’s the perfect time to get a tighter grip on where you’re spending your money.
Along with budgeting to save money, even the act of being more organized will stretch your dollars further. Why? You won’t order food in because you didn’t have time to plan tonight’s dinner. And you won’t panic-buy expensive Christmas presents for your family because you didn’t grab a bargain months earlier.
Pass on great habits to your kids
Home management is just one of the essential life skills you’ll pass on to your children before they leave the nest to create their own homes. But how involved your children are with your home management system will depend on their age.
Younger kids can help you load the washing machine or change the toilet paper roll, while older kids may be able to take the trash out or vacuum your home.
More free time
One of the main aims of creating home routines is to win back more free time. Maybe you’ll have half an hour to spare for a home workout, more time to spend with family and friends, or simply unwind in front of your favorite Netflix show.
Or, if you want to put your bonus free time to even better use, you could start a side hustle from the comfort of your own home. Selling handcrafted goods on Etsy, upcycling fashion items to flip on eBay, or picking up projects as a freelance virtual assistant, are fantastic ways to earn extra income.
What are the types of home management?
Now you have a good grasp of the benefits of using a home management system, we’ll take a closer look at these six main categories, complete with examples of how you’ll make them work in your home.
Keeping your home clean and tidy is a work in progress for many of us with little ones. No sooner have you tidied a room than your kids have come and ‘undone’ it again for you. Here are some ideas when it comes to getting your hands dirty!
Clean alongside your kids
Complete some cleaning tasks while watching your children. For example, scrub the toilet, wipe down the sinks, and mop the bathroom floor while your kids are in the bath. Or if they’re quietly eating their lunch, give the countertops a quick wipe-down before they finish.
Load your dishwasher gradually throughout the day
Leave your dishwasher to run after dinner and then turn it off again before bed. Empty your dishes first thing in the morning to reset you for the day.
Automate your vacuuming with a Roomba
You’ll leave your robotic vacuum running, and it’ll clean and mop your floors, mapping out your rooms, so it knows where to go. Link your Roomba to Alexa to command it to clean messes on the spot.
Dedicate one power hour each day to cleaning
One hour should be enough for most households to stay presentable. But how will you use the time? Try tackling single jobs in one hit, like cleaning all the mirrors and windows in your home or mopping and vacuuming all your floors.
Alternatively, you might prefer to reset a single room in your home for each day of the week.
Example: Mondays = bathrooms, Tuesdays = living room/den, Wednesdays = bedrooms, Thursdays = porch and hallways, Friday = kitchen, Saturday and Sunday = rest days.
Babies and toddlers go through so many clothes, with the average American family completing eight to ten loads of laundry each week. Yikes, that’s a lot! The trick to keeping on top of your laundry is to do at least one load each day of the week. Here are some tricks you should know:
Use separate laundry hampers
If you have a catch-all approach to laundry and wash everything at once, it’s much harder to sort and distribute back to the correct rooms in the house. Instead, give each of your kids their own laundry hamper and tackle a single load each day. Some fun laundry hamper ideas include
Load and go
Save time by loading the washing machine before you go out. You’ll then switch it to your dryer as soon as you get back. Depending on how long you plan to be out, set the timer on your washing machine (if you have this feature) so your laundry is fresh and ready to transfer as soon as you return.
Use a mesh bag for socks
Fed up with looking for odd socks? Put your socks and delicates in a mesh laundry bag, so they all stay together in the wash. If you’re super organized, you can place a mesh bag inside each separate laundry hamper and encourage your kids to use it for their socks. But otherwise, gather all the loose socks up before placing them in the washing machine.
Sorting and folding clothes
Although you can reduce the amount of sorting required by doing an individual load of laundry per person, you’ll still need to fold and put it all back at the end. Work this into your day by grabbing a load of laundry to sort while your kids are playing or watching a quick episode of their favorite show. This shirt folding board will make it easier to fold your clothes neatly away. When the kids are a little older, they’ll love getting involved too.
We all want our family to eat healthy, nutritious meals. But it can be time-consuming and expensive to prepare these dinners without a home management system. The worst feeling in the world is getting to 4 pm when the kids are feeling hungry, but you don’t know what to feed them for dinner. So, your food system will include:
Setting aside time to plan
Stay in control of your weekly meal plan by knowing exactly what you’ll be eating on each day of the week. This means picking a day, perhaps a Sunday evening, to sit down and put your thinking cap on.
Choosing your meals
Grab your recipe books, load your favorite cooking apps and pick out some favorite meals that the whole family will enjoy. Not sure what they’d prefer? Ask them!
Remember to note down the ingredients you’ll need to make these meals—either take your list to the store or buy them online for a home grocery delivery. Save money by working out which ingredients can be used across multiple meals to minimize waste. For example, if you know you’ll have extra veggies left over, make a vegetable stock to freeze for later. Leftover chicken is great for salads, chicken risotto, or even soups.
Make some cheat meals
Busy moms are strapped for time, so have some easy meals up your sleeve when time’s tight, and you’re exhausted. Use a couple of hours at the weekend to batch cook some frozen lasagnas, sauces, or casserole dishes. Heat them on the day, and your no-fuss family dinner will be ready in a matter of minutes.
Alternatively, food prep boxes like HelloFresh, SunBasket, Blue Apron, or EveryPlate provide you with ingredients and meal cards so you can quickly throw a super tasty meal together.
Slow cook your meals
Invest in a programmable slow cooker that automatically switches to warm so your meals will be ready (but not overdone) if you go out for the day and are home later than expected.
This is ideal for working moms, but even if you stay home during the day, you’ll quickly toss in your ingredients, and leave dinner to cook for a few hours. This is such a stress-free way to prepare a delicious meal for your family.
4. Financial management
Running a household is expensive – from keeping on top of the grocery shopping to paying for childcare, it can feel like your outgoing expenses are neverending. Some of these costs are fixed, whereas others (like your shopping) are variable. In both cases, budgeting should be the core of your financial management–don’t forget to check in each month to make sure you’re still on track.
Choose a budgeting day
Setting aside time to focus on your budget is job one. If this is your first time taking control of your finances, gather all relevant information about your income, tax calculations, outgoing expenses, and upcoming bills to pay.
Crunch the numbers, create financial goals and work out a viable plan to get you there.
Use budgeting tools
Use these essential budget binder printables, which cover everything from budgeting and saving to tracking expenses and paying off debt. If you have a car loan, credit card, or other debt to pay off, these templates will manage these.
Include your partner
Do you use a joint account? Be aware your financial management system will only work with full cooperation from your partner. On budgeting day, take the time to sit down together and commit to shared financial goals – whether that means putting a little extra into savings or sacrificing your morning takeout coffee to pay down your debt faster.
What does your household admin look like? Is it a mess of bills, statements, and forms piling up on the kitchen counter? Are your appointments logged in a mish-mash of places – a handful in your wall calendar, others on your phone, and many more in your head? Stay on track with this basic system.
Choose a central place to host your family calendar, share this location with your family (especially your partner) and then stick to it. A physical family planner hanging in your kitchen is a great visual aid for your kids, but you’ll need to commit to updating it so it remains accurate.
Alternatively, create a family calendar on Google or iCloud and share it with your family. If your kids are old enough to own phones or iPads, sync their devices too. As soon as you get a text, email, or phone call confirming an appointment, add it to your digital family calendar for all to see.
Is your head filled with errands you need to run, people you need to respond to, and events you need to book? A brain dump is an effective strategy to get it all out of your head. Use the Ivy Lee method to power through your to-do list, which works as follows:
- After your kids are in bed, write out the six most important tasks you need to accomplish tomorrow. Don’t choose more than six.
- Prioritize them in order of importance.
- The next day, work through your tasks in order of priority and don’t start task two until you’ve finished task one.
- Move through your list, never starting a new task until you’ve finished the previous one.
- At the end of the day, move any unfinished tasks onto tomorrow’s list and repeat.
First up, remember you don’t need to keep absolutely everything. Use a paper shredder to destroy anything displaying your confidential information. Separate your piles of papers into keep, maybe keep and destroy. Your keep pile can be filed into an expandable file folder. Your maybe keep pile can be uploaded digitally until you’re ready to delete entirely— destroy the original at this point.
If your inbox is flooded with statements and confirmations, create a sensible folder structure in your email system, Google Drive, or similar, and move important documents there. Delete anything you don’t need to see again, and aim to achieve Inbox Zero, so you stay on top of your admin.
6. Project planning
From birthday parties to saving for family vacations and planning for Christmas, moms have huge projects to plan throughout the year. Budget is an important part of your planning, but you’ll also need to research, book, purchase, and communicate during these projects.
For projects that reoccur annually, try to plan ahead of time. A pen and paper approach will map out everything you need. Alternatively, use project management software like Asana or Trello to share the progress of each project with your partner.
How do you apply management in your home?
Now you understand the areas to focus on in your home management system, how will you get started?
1. Create a list
Before you begin introducing home management routines, conduct an honest assessment of how well you’re coping at the moment. Maybe you’re already on top of laundry and meal planning but have no idea how much you’re spending on expenses each month?
Make a list of areas you need to improve, so you know where to start.
2. Work with your routine
The beauty of a home management plan is it can be adapted to your specific needs. Each family is made up of different people, of different ages, with varying work and social commitments. So what works brilliantly for one family may not be best for another.
Use the ideas in this article and adjust them to your family. For example, if you work nights or you’ve just had a baby, your routine will look quite different to a set of parents who both work remotely and are raising teenagers.
The point is to find a home management solution that’s the right fit for you!
3. Learn how to prioritize
If you’re short on time, it may be challenging to cover all areas of your home management every single week. In this case, you’ll need to prioritize.
Is it more important to vacuum and mop your floors this week, or more important that your kids eat a hearty meal each evening?
Should folding your towels into the closet take priority over sitting down to plug the hole in your monthly budget?
A home management system will win back vital hours for you, but know how to use your time to best support your family.
If junk fills your home, you’re wasting time tidying and rearranging belongings that don’t need to be there. It’s much easier to keep your household under control once it’s clutter-free.
Marie Kondo’s Kon Mari method of decluttering focuses on clearing out categories of possessions in one hit. For example, you’ll sort through all the clothes in your home before moving on to books. The idea is you’ll keep essential items and those that spark joy before discarding the rest.
Other methods focus on decluttering room by room – you might clear out a bedroom before moving into your office. Whichever you choose, be sure to declutter first, then introduce systems second. Use storage containers to tidy toys or miscellaneous items away, a shoe storage unit in your hallway, or a color-coded binder for your papers.
5. Working around your kids
Ah yes, the kids. Trying to juggle the home alongside raising your kids is challenging. But it will become 100% easier as they get older, so embrace the chaos while it lasts!
If you find it difficult to get things done with your kids around, try strategies to keep them entertained while you’re busy, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Include strategic screentime as downtime in their day. This usually works best in the afternoon when they’re tired after a morning activity or after completing their homework.
Alternatively, try setting up several activity stations in one space to give you a power hour of uninterrupted home management time. Short bursts of activities like this can be a real lifeline throughout the day.
Adopt a smart home management system
You’re equipped with all the tips and tricks you need, so there’s only one thing left to do—get started today! We’re confident you’ll find it much easier to run your household when you put an effective and customized home management system in place. You’ll feel calmer and more in control of your day.