Home life can feel overwhelming sometimes. There is laundry to do, groceries to get, meals to plan and make. You want a clean home and a sense of life balance. Honing your home management skills is key if you’re to make sense of it all.
Good home management involves organizing the stuff of family life in a way that suits your family’s needs and personalities in the season that you’re in. It will help you feel more with-it and in control.
Follow these simple home management tips to get your home running smoothly for maximum enjoyment.
If you’re a mom, you know that there are lots of aspects of life that will thrive under your care and attention: marriage, parenting, housework, finances, your children’s education, your family’s social life (with each other and with other people)…. the list goes on.
But, sometimes all these different “spheres” of life can be overwhelming. Where do you even start? Managing a home? What does that even mean?
Good household management is more than just getting food on the table and paying the bills, though those are really important.
Successful home management is organizing all these areas in a way that fits your family’s values, needs, and personalities.
What is home management?
Simply put, home management is taking care of all the things that need doing and helping the people in the home do the things that need doing. While it may sometimes be looked at simply as bill paying, meal planning, cooking, and cleaning, it’s so much more than that, at least when it’s a family home, because a family lives there.
Family complicates life, but it also makes it richer.
Since much of my days are spent at home, and have been for the last 20+ years, I often ask myself how I can make my family’s life at home the best it can be.
How I manage our home has a direct impact on their well-being and making this a soft place to land when life outside goes off the rails.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
Prioritize People over Things
Good home management involves relationships, first and foremost. My husband and children are more important than whether or not the dishes get washed and put away promptly after every meal. My attitude towards my people has a bigger impact than if we have neat and tidy kitchen cupboards.
- If a family member or friend has an emergency, then caring for them trumps teaching a math lesson or cleaning my toilets.
- If a child wants to help with the baking, whenever possible, include them.
- If someone needs to talk through a problem, then that’s more important than his or her getting chores done on time.
People are more important than things.
Put Order into Chaos
If I’ve got chaos everywhere I turn, I can’t think straight and am tempted to be impatient; all this puts a strain on my relationships. See point #1.
Having things in order, establishing a home management system, and getting the family on board all work together to make home life much more enjoyable — for everyone.
When the kids are keeping up with their schoolwork and regularly tackling their chores, when I have my head on straight or at least have a meal plan, when I spend time keeping our home organized, we all do better.
What are typical home management tasks?
- meal planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation
- laundry and clothes shopping
- household chores (such as cleaning bathrooms and bedrooms, washing dishes, general maintenance and upkeep as well as spring cleaning)
- teaching and delegating chores to other members of the household
- childcare, educational support, and transportation to activities
- running errands (shopping, school drop-off, etc.)
- stocking household supplies and equipment
- paying the bills and managing the budget
All that, plus any hobbies and personal pursuits can feel overwhelming. Managing it means putting it in order and developing systems that work for you.
If you’re the family organizer, then you need to keep all this information in one place. It might be a bulletin board command center or something easily portable like a binder.
A home management binder or personal planner can be invaluable in tracking all the things, especially when it comes to managing a household of many children and all the different schedules.
Be sure to read about creating your own planner to get ideas as well as some free printables.
Play the long game.
Good home management requires having a vision for how you want things to be in the future as well as the here and now. Most good things take some planning and prioritizing. Some things you can change today, others, like teaching kids certain cleaning routines, take a little finessing over time.
I use my Print & Go Planner to help me assess my vision for my life and my household. The front section lists goals and the different areas of my life in order of importance so that I can see at a glance what I want to improve. Then each month, I assess how I can live those things out through projects or systems to implement.
Make Daily Planning a Habit.
Good home management takes some daily planning. Time management is your friend in running a home, especially if you work or homeschool full time. So think about having a list of some sort to work from. Writing it down can help you to remember what needs doing.
I grab action items or systems I’m working on from the monthly list to the weekly list, and then each day, I create a small to do list, pulling a few items from the weekly list of tasks and projects.
Not all of life happens on paper, of course, but I’ve found that different lists help me keep track of the different things I need to manage in my home.
Always Keep Learning
If you want an organized home with a family, you need to be ready to pivot. The seasons of life will take you in different directions. Your meal planning system that worked like clockwork when the kids were little may likely need some tweaking as they get older.
Your methods of managing your time and scheduling your day will need to shift as your family life evolves. Be ready to try new things.
Kids grow and change, as do their habits, skills, and personalities. Develop their household management skills as you grow your own. Give them responsibilities and be willing to learn from them as well as from other adults.
Some great household management books I’ve benefited from include:
Tools to Use
Whether you have a full fledged household management binder or use a little of this or a little of that, there are plenty of easy tools and simple tips you can use to organize home stuff.
- The Motivated Moms app helps in organizing cleaning tasks and help gets the family on a cleaning routine.
- I use Google Docs to prepare a schedule for the kids of daily house chores and kitchen jobs.
- I use Quicken to track our spending to see if we’re on budget and these worksheets to communicate finances with my husband.
- As a working mom, I use Amazon Subscribe & Save to make sure we don’t run out of the necessities, like toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
These systems help me manage my home in a way that doesn’t stress me out and allows me time for work and leisure as well.
This post was originally published on May 12, 2008. It has been updated for content and clarity.