As the ones who primarily take care of the home, tricks to help homemakers save time are as valuable as a gold nugget. We often wonder how on earth we are going to manage a home within the time limits we have.
Homemaking often seems as if it is a full-time profession. Whether we stay at home or work in an office, we still have cleaning, cooking, laundry and more to do in order to maintain our home. And our time is all too often limited.
At best, it can be busy. At worse, it can be downright hectic, and many things begin to fall through the cracks. We wonder if we can ever just get the laundry done – forget keeping a spotless house.
Let’s Address the Elephant in the Room
As you know, elephants are massive in size. And if they ever get the urge, that pile would take quite a while to clean up.
Our homes often feel as if we live with an elephant. The clutter is the beast – the mail and schoolbooks on the table, the dishes in the sink, and the baskets of dirty clothes are the mess.
We feel that if our home isn’t perfect in every way – organized, clutter-free, spotless – we are failing as a homemaker. The truth is it just makes you human.
Let me give you permission (if you really need it) to accept – and even embrace – the fact that your home doesn’t have to be perfect. Unless you can afford a team of housekeepers to maintain your home every single day, it won’t be.
And for you to attempt to make it that way is only going to increase your stress and anxiety level. You will also be too busy to relax and enjoy life. You will miss out on picnics, visits with friends, family time, and even the much-needed personal time for Afternoon Tea.
Think about it. Is a perfect house really worth losing all of that? No, it is not.
But there are some ways you can minimize the clutter, keep things relatively clean, and create a happy home life that is manageable by using these four tips to help homemakers save time:
Help Homemakers Save Time by Creating a Plan
How many of you buy a planner at the end of each year with the goal of filling it up and keeping your time organized? And then, how many of you go to clean a room in June, and find it sitting – still in the bag – in a pile of things you plan on going through ‘when you have a spare hour or two’?
Some of us start out strong. We have January and February planned down to the very last minute. And the next thing you know, we get busy, time passes, we start slipping, and our planners are only half-way done.
But if we want to get our time organized and stay organized, on of the best tips that will help homemakers save time, is to take the time to fill out your planner.
The beauty of keeping a planner is that we not only keep our time organized, but we also are better able to keep important activities from slipping through the cracks. No one wants to miss out on a school play because they were too busy and forgot about it!
Another bonus of keeping a planner is we can quickly see when we are over-scheduling ourselves. When that happens, it may be time to look at what you have coming up, and determine which ones fit within your priorities better, and where you can eliminate activities which are time consuming and unnecessary.
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One of the best tips to help homemakers save time is to set daily/weekly/monthly cleaning schedules. Not only will you save time, but your home will also stay cleaner.
Before you set up your schedule, it does help to do a thorough cleaning first. Take a day to do all the heavy cleaning – laundry, floors, dusting, changing sheets, and scrubbing bathrooms. Once that is done, it is easy to set up a few cleaning schedules.
Each morning, clean your home by doing a routine walk through. When you clean your home using a daily walk through, within 30 to 45 minutes (or less) your weekly chores will be all but done (not including laundry, but that should almost be ready to fold and put away). All you have left to do is to consult your planner and enjoy the rest of your day.
To read more about cleaning schedules, be sure to read Facets of Homemaking #1 – Clean your Home.
One of the biggest time wasters is having to decide what to cook for dinner. Not only do you have to decide what you want to prepare, you also have to search the pantry and refrigerator for ingredients.
Having a meal plan cuts down on all of that. Just look at your meal plan and start cooking. It may also help to write down your meal plans in your planner at the top of each day – or in the note section of each week.
To learn how to create a meal plan, these posts may help:
Help Homemakers Save Time by Creating Space
Having enough space is one of the most important things in managing a household. However, it is rarely thought of in conjunction with saving time.
By creating the space for various activities within the home, it actually does help homemakers save time. Instead of having to move and shift things around to make room, the space you create is already there.
But space is also the one thing that comes as a premium. Not many of us live in mansions with dedicated rooms for each activity.
So, we have to make the best use of the space we have for some of the activities within the home – office space, homework space, family space and devotion space, just to name a few.
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If you have a built-in desk space in your kitchen, this is a perfect place to set up your home office. Some of us have extra bedrooms that can double as an office and a guest room.
But if neither of these options are available, you can easily create an ‘office’ using your kitchen table and a crate or two. One crate can be designated for your supplies – pens, financial notebook, envelopes, stamps, etc. The other crate would hold your file folders.
By using the crate system, you can store your office in a closet. When its time to pay bills, just pull them out, stack them on the floor by the table and start working.
If you have children, a dedicated space to do homework is necessary. If there is room, provide a desk in their bedroom. This gives them a quiet place to work.
If not, then the kitchen table is an ideal space to study. This also allows you to be nearby. While they are working on homework, you can be preparing dinner. This way you are close enough to help when needed.
If necessary, you can have a separate Homework Crate. Fill it with paper, pens, pencils, calculators, erasers, and any other school supplies your kids may need. Have it sitting beside or on the kitchen table each afternoon and assign the last one finished with their homework to return it to the closet.
The one drawback to using the kitchen table is if homework isn’t’ completed by dinner time. If this is often the case, you may want to find another area for homework to be done.
If you do have an extra room in the house that is already dedicated as an office, consider setting up an extra desk there. This is also a quiet space but has less distractions than a bedroom or the kitchen table.
Having a dedicated space to spend time with your family is one of the most important places within the home. When you are together, you don’t want clutter, or lack of seating space to make it uncomfortable.
Many of us have dens or living rooms in our homes. This is where we gather as a family to watch television, talk, or entertain guests. The best way to use this as family space is to keep it as neat as possible.
Try not to leave piles of unfolded laundry on the couch. Don’t overload the tables with knick-knacks or piles of books; and make sure any unused toys are put away.
I love throw pillows on my couch. But too many aren’t suitable for a family room. You either have to squeeze between them to sit down, toss them into other chairs, or put them on the floor. Consider using two – no more than three.
There are also other options. The kitchen table is one of the best places to gather as a family. There is room to play games, work puzzles, or just sit down for a visit.
One family space that is often forgotten is an outdoor space. This can be as small as a bistro set or chairs on a balcony, or a picnic table in the backyard. Just as with the kitchen table, this is a place with few distractions.
A tip about family time: It may help to schedule one evening of the week to spend time with your family. Unless you are having a movie night, turn off the television. Grab a game, a deck of cards or a jigsaw puzzle. Then settle in for an enjoyable time with your family!
We all need a place where we can escape the busyness of life. The best place would be somewhere tucked in a corner of a room that has a door that can be closed. A simple chair, small table and a lamp would be perfect.
This personal space can help homemakers save time. It gives us a chance to relax, breathe, and slow down for a moment. Getting too busy without a break can cause us to overlook things that need to be done, make us too tired to complete items on our To Do lists, which just means those things have to be moved to another day.
A personal space can also double as a place to have a one-on-one conversation with a family member, spend time on a devotional, or just as a place to relax after a particularly busy day.
Help Homemakers Save Time by Creating Calm
A sense of calm just seems to help everything move smoothly. And having a calm home can help homemakers save time.
By keeping your home organized, a homemaker spends less time searching for a lost item or trying to find a place to store things. Learn the art of cleaning up and clearing out your home before clutter can take over.
To learn more about getting your home organized, be sure to read Clear the Clutter – How to Get Rid of all that STUFF!
Have you ever experienced a battle between two children? I have. And when it erupted, I had to stop what I was doing and take the time to referee. Depending on the situation, that could mean a few minutes or more.
One of the first rules you can establish to help keep calm in the household is to refrain from yelling at each other. Screaming and yelling will not help the situation, and all too often just makes it worse.
Yes, you are going to have disagreements. But helping your children learn to talk things out reasonably can go a long way towards keeping your household calm.
When my kids were young, there were quite a few disagreements between them. Often, these arguments became personal. I struggled with a way to help them learn how to get along better.
One day, I confess – I had enough. Rather than sending them to their rooms to fume about it, I changed my tactics. I set them both next to each other on the couch. They had to hold hands and face each other.
For five minutes, each one had to say something nice about the other one. Nothing could be repeated, and there could only be a time lapse of a few seconds.
I have to admit – I had to go to the bathroom once, close the door and bury my face in a towel to keep them from hearing me laugh at some of the ‘compliments’ they came up with.
But for the next few weeks, there was calm in our household. From that point on, if the beginning of a fight broke out, I just had to ask them if they needed couch time. When the answer was no, I had them each tell their side and helped them to work out a solution, or at the very least, a compromise.
It may be an unorthodox method of discipline, but I think it worked. During her last visit, I heard my daughter ask her children if they needed some couch time…
Help Homemakers Save Time by Creating Time
One of the best ways to help homemakers save time is by creating time. No, we cannot add minutes or hours to our day. Instead, we can make the best use of the time we have.
Delegation is a perfect time saver. Instead of doing all the household chores yourself, give your family members a list of chores to do each day.
For young children, have them learn to put toys in the toybox. As they grow older and more capable, add on other chores such as taking the trash out, emptying the dishwasher, or being responsible for sweeping floors, cooking a meal one night a week, or cleaning the kitchen after a meal.
Delegating the responsibilities of keeping a home not only saves you time, but also prepares your children for a home and family of their own. In a quiet way, it also gives each person a sense of being a vital part of the family.
Learn to create time for other important things as well. Family time is crucial to help keep the bonds strong and secure. Personal time, whether for just for a moment of quiet or for devotionals helps to clear our minds and refresh our bodies. Setting aside time for our communities helps us by knowing the importance of doing for others.
Be sure to create time for fun, relaxation and enjoyment, instead of becoming burned out by doing nothing but work.
Make Your House a Home
It takes effort to help homemakers save time, but by using these tips you can well be on your way to creating a home that is warm, comfortable, and welcoming. Once you have learned these tips, then get ready to spend all that time you saved doing something you really enjoy!