Editor’s Note: Happy New Year! Have you ever looked at an organized woman and thought, “How does she do that!” The Together Blog is here to answer that question in our 3-part productivity series, which ends today. We’ve asked some of our most organized, efficient ladies to share their secrets with us so that we can invest the moments God gives us as wisely as possible. We hope you’ve gleaned some great ideas from these articles!
We all live somewhere. We inhabit a space, whether it be a small apartment, a large home, or something in between. This is the space God has given us for shelter and enjoyment, and we should take care of it. When we work hard and do this well, we honor God, and in the process, we also benefit. Our personal benefit in keeping a clean and orderly home is a more peaceful space, increased productivity, and when accomplished as a family, a sense of stewardship of what God has given us.
My husband and I have three girls, ages 9, 11, and 12. From the time they were little, we looked for opportunities to involve them in our household tasks. In this process, they learn how to cook and clean, but even more importantly, we create an environment where discipleship takes place, in that they view even these mundane tasks as a way to bring glory to God.
Here are some practical methods I have found helpful in organizing and running our home:
Cleaning the house
We have a specific time during the week that we all clean together. For our family, this is done on Saturday mornings. We sleep a little later than usual, have a big breakfast, and then take two hours to clean the house together. Everyone has a list of chores that they do every week: clean your room (vacuum, dust, change sheets, etc.), clean a bathroom (the youngest mops the kitchen instead), vacuum and dust the main living areas. By working together, my girls know that they aren’t just “helping mom,” but rather, striving as a family to keep things clean and organized. When the children were little and I was first teaching them to clean, it did take more time to teach them than to do it myself. But, just like so many other areas in parenting, it has been worth the time invested.
As little girls, my daughters naturally had a desire to help when I was making food, and from an early age, we allowed them to help cut veggies and be involved in the kitchen. Soon this developed into teaching each of my girls how to cook one specific meal, which would become “her” meal. Turning it into a sort of game, we began with Level 1: you watch me cook and help me a little bit. After a few times of this, they graduated to Level 2: you cook the meal with my help. Soon followed Level 3: you cook, I just watch; and Level 4: you cook while I’m not in the kitchen. They each now have one or two meals that I can ask them to make, knowing they can make completely on their own. Of course, I chose meals that were age-appropriate (the youngest’s meal is tacos), but they are very proud to have made dinner all by themselves.
I’ve found that I thrive when our schedules are organized. Between sports and musical interests, church meetings and family gatherings, doctors’ appointments and other must-do’s, a calendar can get hectic. For my husband and me, Sunday night is “calendar night.” We have been doing this from early on in our marriage when we realized that unless we discussed the upcoming week on Sunday night, we each had different expectations of what would be happening, and conflict would ensue. So, when the kids go to bed on Sunday night, we pull out our planners and discuss the following week, then look at the month as a whole and maybe even longer-term events like possible trips, holiday plans, hospitality, etc. I know some people love electronic calendars which sync automatically; for us, the in-person conversation that we have every Sunday night is a way of connecting beyond just two calendars looking the same. We have found “Sunday night calendar time” to be invaluable. After we have made the plan of who needs to be where when, and how we will get everyone to the correct places, I transfer those dates to our 2-month whiteboard calendar which hangs on the wall. On the practical side, this allows the kids to have an idea of the month’s events and develops their sense of organization as well.
These are practical methods we use in our home to keep things running smoothly. I hope these tips are helpful as you seek to honor God in how you organize your home and your schedule.