If you’re looking at making new year resolutions of any kind, chances are that you have some changes you’d like to make to your house keeping routines.
It seems like it should be possible to keep a decent and orderly home, doesn’t it? Is that wish simply impossible, especially if you have young children?
Yes and no.
Think about what you mean by “clean house” when you use that phrase to yourself. Picture what you want. Look around at your current reality; yes, even your post-Christmas reality. If you tell yourself “clean house” and that conjures up pictures of completely empty counters, decorated bookshelves, never smudged windows, and floors that never even need to be mopped, then you are setting yourself up for frustration and failure.
If “clean house” means “functioning house,” however, then we’re onto a useful definition.
Our homes are tools to be used for the real goal of loving our families and serving the people God brings through our doors and the people we meet when we go out the doors. The goal is not to have a home that is clean for its own sake. A home that is clean but is serving no one is a barren waste.
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
But a dirty, chaotic home is not a useful tool, either. If we can never find what we need, if our bathrooms can’t welcome a visitor, if no one has clean clothes to wear out of the house, then we aren’t stewarding our resources to anywhere near their potential. An orderly home and a prepared manager are of great service to the family and the world at large.
And it all begins with basic routines.
You need three basic routines to keep the ship upright and running:
Whether you do a little laundry every day or dedicate an entire morning to getting it all done in one fell swoop, you need a laundry strategy. Everyone in the house needs clean clothes, the kitchen needs clean towels, and bathrooms require clean towels. Much of the order and work of the home depends upon clean laundry. Find a laundry routine that works for you.
Everyone needs to eat, and the kitchen is where that work is done. That means it generates a lot of mess! Not only do you need a meal strategy, but you also need a kitchen cleaning plan. A good place to begin is with washing all the dishes and wiping down the counters every evening.
EHAP stands for Everything Has A Place. The implication is that everything should be in its place.
It’s our family code word for tidying up, and usually refers to our daily afternoon pick-up time. This one routine has helped the general state of our house so much, that I now consider it an essential. If nothing else happens, I try to make sure we get in an EHAP to keep the chaos at bay.
Of course there’s much more work to be done to keep a reasonably clean house, but if you start with these three, maintain these three, you’ll be in good shape and better able to add in the others. These three are the best ones to begin with and to ensure you have learned well.
For more about creating home routines that work for you, rather than you for them, see my ebook, Habits of Productivity for Mom, which will walk you through six basic steps to get clarity and calm control in your head and home.