I feel like I need to share a disclaimer at the beginning of this blog post, because I'm definitely not writing it to make anyone feel bad. Your children are unlikely to care if your home is a mess. They probably don't mind having porridge for dinner once in a while. Most children will prefer to have you present with them, than stressing out about getting fresh sheets on the bed. If this season of your life is making it feel hard to keep on top of your home, that doesn't make you a bad parent. It makes you a normal parent.
Honestly, until Bean was 5 years old, she wasn't sleeping through the night. I was chronically sleep deprived, unhappy and stressed out by our home. We were living amongst so much clutter, that I felt completely suffocated.
I've only managed to get on top of managing our home after YEARS of hard work, and it's only now that I'm having some child-free time, that it feels manageable. Until then, Bean used to undo any of my cleaning and tidying efforts! So, I wanted to take the time to share with you a few tips that I have found life changing for me...
Declutter and Simplify
Decluttering and simplifying our space has been a game changer. The less we have, the less I have to manage. It hasn't happened overnight. I've been chipping away at it for years, and I'm still working hard to reduce our belongings. Every bag of stuff that leaves our home makes me feel lighter. It's become as addictive to me as shopping used to be!
You can read about our journey from overwhelm to calm in this blog post.
If you're interested in learning how to reduce, refine, organise and present toys to facilitate creative, open ended play, you may enjoy my self-directed online course, The Simple Art of Toy Rotation. It's on sale, with 25% off, for the next couple of days.
I know, it's boring, and I still find it boring even after many years of religiously doing it, but it really does take the stress out of food preparation for the week. It saves you money and reduces food waste too. I try to make a plan for the week ahead on a Sunday night, as Monday is our food shopping day. I invite Bean to make suggestions, and I look at recipes for inspiration. I try to make one new thing each week, and then cook meals that I feel confident cooking for the other days.
We have a fortnightly Gousto box at the moment (we change our subscription from weekly to fortnightly to monthly, or even cancel it, to suit our mood or schedule), which gives me a break from the dull meal planning once in a while. If you want to give it a try, you can use our referral code here for 65% off your first box.
Make a Housework Plan
This has got to be the most boring blog post I've ever written, ha ha! Anyway, I've found that having a housework plan really helps me to keep on top of cleaning etc. Obviously, some stuff happens every day, like washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen counters, giving the toilet a quick scrub. Having a focus for each day means that I'm not trying to do it all. If I'm not able to get to something for one reason or another, then it comes around again the following week.
I've shared my housework plan below, so you can get a sense of what yours could look like. It's very simple. You'll probably need to jig things around a bit to suit your weekly rhythm. I recently switched our floor cleaning day to Tuesday, so that they're all clean for my crawling babies on a Wednesday.
Schedule in Home Days
This is going to sound ridiculous, because you probably spend plenty of time at home, but us home educators can be really bad at scheduling in time to simply BE at home. I try to plan at least two days a month when we have no visitors, no places to be, no plans for home education, just a day to reset. An empty day, my favourite.
And those are my top tips! Do you have any to share with the wider community? Please let me know and I'll be sure to share them on your behalf.
This blog post contains affiliate links. If you do click through, Bean and I will receive a small amount of commission which will contribute to new books and resources for her home education. You can, however, find all of these resources elsewhere, including other online retailers, second hand selling pages and your local library.