Your house needs cleaning, your spouse needs attention and your kids need training. And everyone needs to eat.
Your schedule consists of sporting activities, music lessons, volunteer commitments and much more. Since responsibilities can pile up, using lists as visual tools is a life saver. I simply can not keep everything organized in my head without them. Cooking and cleaning are necessary, but let’s be honest, we don’t want to spend much time thinking about meal planning and housework.
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For years, I grocery shopped every Friday evening. I would spend Thursday evenings preparing coupons, writing a grocery list and developing an order in which to shop the next day.
When we moved outside of town I had to re-think my weekly shopping trips. Each week I was driving 30 minutes into town to get to the area of stores I preferred. Then I’d drive store to store to find deals. Finally driving home 3 hours later.
The closest grocery store to our home (that I don’t even like) is 20 minutes away.
That may not sound far, but when you have to drop what you’re doing and take 4 kids, as sweet as they may be, into the grocery store, it’s taxing and time consuming. Running to the grocery store to pick something up was annoying.
stay home and shop online instead here
I have used a monthly meal plan for years. Yes, I said monthly. I have a super-cute printable monthly meal plan calendar that I created and laminated. I use a ultra fine dry erase marker to write what we will eat every day of the month. When the month is over, I erase it and start again. get super-cute meal calendar here
Looking into the month to come allows you to get a handle on hectic nights ahead of time. Monthly meal planning gives me the power to look at our busy Wednesday evenings and say, “we will be having left overs every Wednesday night, for the foreseeable future!”
Since our move, I have switched to monthly grocery shopping.
Ya, it takes a long time. However, it doesn’t take much longer to get all I need for a whole month than it does to get what I need for a week. The obvious difference is, I only have to do it once. Monthly shopping goes well with monthly meal planning. It’s one big day of shopping, in order to not have to think about it again for a whole month!
Produce obviously can’t last a month, so while we are in town for other things, it’s much easier to swing in a store (for just a few minutes) and pick up a few things, knowing that the majority of things I need are already at home.
Another way lists serve me is with cleaning.
I get complimented a lot on how clean my house is. Want to know my secret? Ok, come close, I have to whisper so no one else knows just how simple this really is…. You ready? I don’t have a lot of stuff.
My kitchen counter top doesn’t display appliances and gadgets. Those things have a home in the cupboard. My office desk doesn’t have a paper stack. My shelves hold a few of my favorite things and nothing more. Finally, whatever we don’t use regularly, we get rid of!
As much as I’d like to take credit for our minimalist approach to keeping a clean home, it’s my husband who has slowly molded me over the years. He has no use for things that aren’t regularly used, while I like to hold on to things. It’s really no wonder that embracing his way of thinking has been beneficial, he’s a pretty smart guy!
While we keep stuff to a minimum around here, there are still 6 of us. Truth be told, I am not the great multi-tasker most women are. My brain is more of the, “do one thing and do it as close to perfect as you can get” type.
Enter the cleaning schedule.
There are thousands of printable cleaning schedules online. Many of them are beautifully designed. Many of them are also unrealistic. What I like most about my cleaning schedule is that it is doable. And if you miss a task or even a whole day, it will be there next week, still on the list, reminding you it needs to be done. get my cleaning schedule here
Some tasks must be done every day, others once a week, some every month and a handful, once or twice a year. Frequency varies on your lifestyle and geographical location. This is not rocket science. The trick is prioritizing and setting yourself up for success, so the list helps you instead of haunts you.
I have one last piece of wisdom.
It’s a secret I didn’t share previously. This secret is my favorite, however it’s really no secret at all. I will be the first to say that my children are a major factor in how our home stays so inviting. We are a team. We work together. My kids, of which there are 4, do a lot. Many of the things you’ll see on the printable cleaning list, are done by them on a daily or weekly basis.
For those of you who love to clean, by all means, keep on cleaning. Clean everything all by yourself. If not…
Read here for more info about all your kids are capable of.
After you’ve printed your tools, laminate them so you can use them over and over with a dry erase marker. Get the affordable laminator I have, here.
“A house full of teenagers, a working mom, a disabled dad, and frankly we just all gave up on the house. It was always a mess and it depressed me! I printed off your house cleaning schedule. We are one week into it and I am happy to report I have a clean house!! No one has complained about the shared work and maintaining is easier. Thank you for making something so simple but so life changing!!
~ Stacey, TN (mother of 3 teenagers)