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Dawn Gilmore
02-07-2012, 07:13 PM
I'd like to start this thread, as encouragement, first of all to recognize that NOBODY can do it ALL, EVERY DAY.... :no: You have to set realistic expectation for yourself, because you have a long road of motherhood/homeschooling/homemaking ahead of you... and there will be time to live in a magazine spread showplace when the kids are grown and gone...

But secondly to share some of what has worked for you... Not necessarily how to get it all done, but how to make it so you can live with it...


I'll start...

The best system we ever had was when my children were young, and dh worked a 9-5 job (he has only worked M-F, 9-5 for about 4 years of the 22 years we've been married)...

What I did was to figure out what needed to be done, in each room of the house. Some things I figured needed to be done daily, some things could be done weekly(or maybe twice weekly), some once a month, and some seasonally... I made up cards detailing what each rooms chore list was, and laminated them. These I hung up in each room. From these, I made a master list, and divvied the chores up between myself and the kids and my DH.

Then I set up routine chore pocket charts for each of my kids (and myself)... they had a "before breakfast" routine and an "after breakfast" routine, and as they did each of their chores, a little card with that chore got moved from the "to do" to the "done" pocket. We had the same thing for before and after each meal. This broke the chores into manageable little chunks, that allowed us to have a few hours of school between "chore sessions, and keep the house under control and STILL get some schoolwork done. In the evening, before dh got home, we'd do a quick pick-up of the living room and vacuum the living room and dining room floor, which helped it to look neat. It kept things manageable. Not perfect, but livable.

I read a couple of different books/systems... Managers of Their Homes & Fly Lady... and came to the understanding that routine was the important thing. Not having to spend a lot of time and energy every day in making decisions about what to do next, freed up that time to actually get things done.

ShayChristie
02-08-2012, 08:29 AM
Dawn, what a great idea! I really wanted a gem to share because it seems this thread is getting viewing traffic and not a lot of posts, but I am in one of the roller coaster pits in this area right now. :D Obviously with many others as well. ;)

I will try to think of what has worked well in the past, and for myself, I'll figure out why I'm not doing that now! Although your post did point out to me that the when I was doing best in this area was when dh had a regular schedule. :lol:

Robin in Colorado
02-08-2012, 08:59 AM
plastic clothespins.

When socks are not on your feet, they should be clipped together with plastic clothespins. They can go through the washer and dryer that way. It's a little thing but sorting socks is a huge time waster, and plastic clothespins eliminates that.

Gitel in nj
02-08-2012, 10:02 AM
When you can't do it all...remember there is always tomorrow and quit beating yourself up :group:


(now if only I would listen to my own advice :blush: )

Paige P
02-08-2012, 12:59 PM
Great thread, Dawn (and I'm sorry more people aren't posting ideas ;) )

I'll be the FIRST to exclaim that I cannot get it all done :no: In fact, I made that comment to a hsing friend the other day, and she exclaimed, "I'm so glad someone is willing to CONFESS that!!! I cannot get it all done, either." Truly, if my house is clean, laundry is caught up, and supper's on the table, we've had a BAD day of school :perplex: If supper's on the table, and we've had a great day of school, the house is probably a disaster ;) I've figured out (over the last 6 years) that I can typically do 2 "majors" well, but no more than that. That's just the reality.

Anyway, I've had different seasons/experimenting that have worked (may not be implemented at the moment, but they worked for a time ;) ):

* I try to do at least one load of laundry every day during the week. Sometimes I'll start one on Sunday but won't get it folded until Monday. My "folding station" is the guest bed ;) I may fold four loads before we actually put them away, but at least they're washed, dried, and folded. If I don't do at least one load a day, I'm behind for the week, and it helps me feel like at least that much is in control. BTW, I have a friend who does the Large Family Logistics model and does ALL (100%) of her laundry on Monday. They school around laundry on Mondays, and it's frantic, but it's one day. She likes it that way. (See, what works for one..... )

* The best two school years I've ever had are the years when I spent the summer getting ALL of my entire year planned out, made copies of anything and everything I might want to use, filed them away, and then just pulled the week out and got busy. This year I'm trying to do it the weekend before, and it's just not as effective (so now I know ;) ). That's what's worked for ME!

* My kids LOVED the year that I had a Man. of Their Homes type schedule -- literally every hour/half hour scheduled out for the day for everyone (and dh liked to see it. I'm still fairly scheduled (have a daily routine), just don't have it posted, and they BEG me to post a schedule.

* I clean house on Thursday. We take several hours and scrub -- clean bathrooms, vaccuum, mop, dust (if needed), put all laundry away, iron what's needed, etc. I may do touch-ups during the week, but we CLEAN on Thursdays. That way, it's clean going into the weekend, and dh doesn't feel like he has to spend inordinate amounts of time helping get things clean (yes, we've had those times, too, and I feel guilty). Based on the 1st comment I made, you then know that Thursdays aren't GRAND school days :perplex: Sad, but true, but we have a clean house for the weekend.

* This may not fit in here, but it's always been a huge helper to me. We have quiet time for an hour every day. Ben still naps for longer than an hour, but everyone else goes to separate rooms/spaces for an hour, typically from 1-2 every day. They crave alone-time, and it gives me down time, too. Sometimes I start supper during this time, sometimes I'm on FIAR, sometimes I'm making phone calls, sometimes I nap, etc. Everyone comes away from quiet time refreshed and ready to be together again and do our FIAR (we do this when Ben's asleep) and anything else fun we want to do :)


Those are a few things that have worked for me :)

Anyone else?!?!?

Michelle B.
02-08-2012, 01:23 PM
I agree with Paige about quiet time. While my kids are resting/ reading I try to do things like clean floors so that I have time for them to dry before people walk on them. I REALLY need that time to regroup for the afternoon.

I super clean bathrooms on Mon/ Friday and just do a quick wipe down the rest of the days.

My best thing for me is to pick up as I go. It's much easier for me to put things away after using them. Fold laundry as I get it out of the dryer, wash dishes as I cook...I don't like going back to the mess:)

Also, I have bags ready to go. Now that's really just extra clothes/ cup for my 4yo. And then a bag for my classes I teach at co op and a different bag for at church. I used to keep an extra backpack ready so we had fun stuff to do at the dr. And a bag of fun stuff for outside at the ballpark.

Tracy-chi
02-08-2012, 01:31 PM
great amazing thread! It would be really cool, after open posting for a while- to group like suggestions together (ie bathroom or dividing chores etc) & stick it!

The biggest thing that has helped around here- a dry erase board in the kitchen. affectionately called the "Ocd board" it serves as a mental release for me- i might be thinking- pick up 2 bday gifts or pick up boots/get new books etc. I write it on the board Now DH can see what is going on in my head & help take some of the chores/jobs. The board was actually a suggestion from his men's group at church. Through the years, i have learned time & time again, DH is very willing to help but 1. isn't a mind reader 2. needs specific directions (if i am particular about how a job is accomplished 3. He really doesn't SEE the pile of stuff on the stairs. -it's not that he is leaving it for me, he just doesn't even see it. Whereas, the pile on the stairs- taunts me every time i go up & down- it mocks me! LOL


as far as chores- each person has own laundry basket, I wash all colors & darks together (for that individual person) wash then dry- all done! clothes put away. Saves time on color sorting & sorting each person's laundry back to their room.
Sheet sets get rolled up, um i folded, into a pillow case (placed back in closet.
HTH! Looking forward to hearing others suggestions.

Paige P
02-08-2012, 02:27 PM
Ooohhhhhh, I thought of something else -- I love to make "doubles or triples " of some meals. We eat one, then freeze the others. I pull it out when I know were going to have a busy day or when I don't feel great or when we've had a great day of school but a poor day of planning food ;). I know some people love to freezer cook for a month at a time, but that doesn't work s well for me as just cooking extras along and along

Cari
02-08-2012, 02:37 PM
I would echo the idea of routine. Even if there is only a small portion of the day that is consistent, it makes a HUGE difference.

Declutter! Not that I'm necessarily all that skilled in this area (see decluttering thread :lol:) but every item that's NOT in your house (whether it is given away, thrown away or walks away on it's own) is one less thing that has to be taken care of.

Delegate. Even DD7 can do a load of wash with a couple of reminders. Teens do their own. Oh, and a decluttered home is easier for even the youngest helper to work with (see above).

Ask your DH what HIS top priorities are. Chances are you might be surprised. And there may be things on your list that just don't matter.

Keep it simple. I think that applies to just about everything!

And remember that life comes in seasons. There will be a time for all those things you never quite get to, but this precious time with our little (and not so little) ones goes by so fast. I just blinked and my first baby girl is graduating high school!!

JennyO
02-08-2012, 02:45 PM
Love this! Can't wait to read:D

ShayChristie
02-08-2012, 02:52 PM
The biggest thing that has helped around here- a dry erase board in the kitchen. affectionately called the "Ocd board" it serves as a mental release for me- i might be thinking- pick up 2 bday gifts or pick up boots/get new books etc. I write it on the board Now DH can see what is going on in my head & help take some of the chores/jobs. The board was actually a suggestion from his men's group at church. Through the years, i have learned time & time again, DH is very willing to help but 1. isn't a mind reader 2. needs specific directions (if i am particular about how a job is accomplished 3. He really doesn't SEE the pile of stuff on the stairs. -it's not that he is leaving it for me, he just doesn't even see it. Whereas, the pile on the stairs- taunts me every time i go up & down- it mocks me! LOL


I am making this a priority in our new home! I was reading the prayer threads to the Anon(I think it was that one) about the "to do" list so you are not nagging dh, but he sees what needs doing. In the morning, if I make a list for dh, he will try really hard to get as much done as possible. I have been reluctant to make him a list each day though because I hate "telling him what to do". I know I get irritated when he calls me to give me list that may mess up my plans, so I hate giving him a list. BUT a "neutral ground" board means we can both write things down that need doing and we can both tackle it as we're able. :D

Keep'em coming, ladies! And I'll try to think of something that works for me, although if you could see my house right now, you'd know those things are scarce! :lol:

Debbie W
02-08-2012, 03:14 PM
Not much help, but here is something I've learned over the years. The crockpot is your friend and casseroles can keep you sane and your family fed.

We have a three section clothes sorter. It would work if people would use it. Seems weird I guess, but what I've found that works best for us is to have a small hamper and when it's full the clothes get washed. It works better for me than a large hamper that holds several days worth. A small hamper means I do laundry more often, but it's in managable amounts.

I also only run our clothes through the dryer long enough to get the wrinkles out. Then I hanf them on hangers and put them over the shower rod or hang them in the doorways overnight to dry. I also use a drying rack. I no longer bother with traipsing out to the clothesline to hang up clothes, so weather is not a factor for me.

I've also went to two sets of sheets per bed. We only use one set though. We take sheets off launder them and put them back on, so no folding. The extra set is for if one of the kids gets sick or wets the bed and soils the sheets.

I don't fold three three y/o's socks. I just throw them all in a ziplock baggie and put it in her drawer.

No matter how crazy it may make you let your kids learn to sweep, mop and vaccum at an early age and don't redo what they've done. They'll soon get the hang of it and should be a pro by ten or even sooner if you leave them alone. I admit I have a problem letting go in this area.

Getting kids to help without constant reminding is easier if they have a partner. Either an older sibling or you. It helps if you are the one to be teaching them how you want and expect a chore done from the beginning. Don't automatically think a child knows how something is done no matter how simple.

My dil has a great idea that I like. She keeps a plastic bag from the grocery store on her front doorknob with essential things her kids need if she has to run somewhere. It beats trying to gather things up at the last minute. She just grabs it and goes.

I try to always make sure we take along a sack in the truck to put trash in. Then once we're home we can throw it away and the trash stays out of the truck. Great thing as long as I remember to do it.

Keep a pencil holder in your glovebox with tape, notepaper, pens, envelopes, stamps, address labels, small scissors, bandaides, wipes and headache medicine. A few dollars worth of quarters doesn't hurt either just in case you need them for tolls.

Throw your shower curtain liner in with your towels to clean it. I always do this when it needs cleaning and then take it out of the washer and rehang it.

The kids red wagon is a great tool. I use it in the garden, to carry feed and firewood and expecially to unload groceries in a couple fell swoops.

Cut down on clutter by having less magazines. If there is an online version you can read then go that route. Less to deal with in your home. Declutter regularly. I actually do this at least four times a year and it stills seems we have clutter that builds up.

I also try to buy appliances that can be used for many different uses. Like a mixer that has attachements for a blender, food processor, bread mixer etc.

Guess that's about it. Had more that I thought I did. Funny how I still feel like I don't have enough hours in the day. Hope someone finds something useful in all this.

I actually did something I found on pinterest the other day. I lined my fridge shelves with press and seal plastic wrap. That is one thing I am excited about. The next time someone spills something I won't have to clean the shelf, just remove the plastic wrap and reline with new!

Julie Y
02-08-2012, 03:32 PM
I feel kinda guilty about admitting this but, during this very busy season of my life (non-stop driving kids to sports practices every night of the week), I very rarely feed my children dinner :blush:. They are all quite capable (from necessity) of foraging food for themselves. I always keep cooked ground beef in containers in the fridge, and cut-up raw chicken or pork. Here are some of the things they can all make themselves:

macaroni with hamburger and peas
scrambled eggs
pancakes
stir-fried meat and veggies
tacos, taco salad
tuna casserold (using pasta roni)
rice with chili
cheese bagel
frozen convenience foods (hot pockets, etc)

My youngest is 9 but she's been able to take care of herself, foodwise, for at least three years.

I know the standard wisdom is for a good mom to make nourishing casseroles and dinners in the crockpot but, whenever I go to the trouble to do that, it remains untouched and ignored while everyone forages their own preferred meals. If I'm out and about chauffeuring, then I can't be here to remind them to eat what I've fixed. So I don't bother anymore. :unsure:

Soooo, these days, I cook a meal on Sundays. Well, technically I don't even cook all of that since my husband usually barbecues the main dish. And then the school kids make themselves lunches from the leftovers for the next few days. Oh yeah -- I rarely fix the kids lunch anymore. Or breakfast. :perplex:

Debbie W
02-08-2012, 03:42 PM
I feel kinda guilty about admitting this but, during this very busy season of my life (non-stop driving kids to sports practices every night of the week), I very rarely feed my children dinner :blush:. They are all quite capable (from necessity) of foraging food for themselves. I always keep cooked ground beef in containers in the fridge, and cut-up raw chicken or pork. Here are some of the things they can all make themselves:

macaroni with hamburger and peas
scrambled eggs
pancakes
stir-fried meat and veggies
tacos, taco salad
tuna casserold (using pasta roni)
rice with chili
cheese bagel
frozen convenience foods (hot pockets, etc)

My youngest is 9 but she's been able to take care of herself, foodwise, for at least three years.

I know the standard wisdom is for a good mom to make nourishing casseroles and dinners in the crockpot but, whenever I go to the trouble to do that, it remains untouched and ignored while everyone forages their own preferred meals. If I'm out and about chauffeuring, then I can't be here to remind them to eat what I've fixed. So I don't bother anymore. :unsure:

Soooo, these days, I cook a meal on Sundays. Well, technically I don't even cook all of that since my husband usually barbecues the main dish. And then the school kids make themselves lunches from the leftovers for the next few days. Oh yeah -- I rarely fix the kids lunch anymore. Or breakfast. :perplex:

Okay Julie confession time. I feed myself and the kids sandwichs almost nonstop when Fred is working nights. It's just easier. I also cook mostly one dish meals when I cook. I have been known to call popcorn a meal. My kids love chef boyardee spagetti and meatballs in a can.

I wish I was that wonderful mother who loves to cook and provide delish, healthy meals, but I'm not. I'm tired most of the time, running here and there and pressed for time and I hate to cook. I can cook and I can cook pretty well, it's just that I've had to cook for so long to feed people I hate it anymore. I've been cooking for so much a part of my life somewhere along the way it became a chore and not a delight.

Cari
02-08-2012, 03:55 PM
Okay, I am SO glad to hear I'm not the only one with less than stellar meal preparation routines. DH is on the road a LOT and we are a sports family so dinner tends to be neglected. And no one has died yet :lol:.

Cari

Rachel Jane
02-08-2012, 04:13 PM
~ as long as we are baring our souls, my sons are very friendly with the workers at Jersey Mike's. :D

Tracy-chi
02-08-2012, 04:37 PM
Breaks my heart: I love to cook, but am not very good at it :( my mom is a brilliant cook, my sister attended culinary school and my dh is a better cook than I

Cari
02-08-2012, 04:45 PM
~ as long as we are baring our souls, my sons are very friendly with the workers at Jersey Mike's. :D
What is Jersey Mike's ?

Paige P
02-08-2012, 06:13 PM
Tracy, great idea about the board :thumb:


Debbie, I love some of your ideas and have never heard them before. I had no clue you could put the shower liner into the washing machine :confused: Now WHY didn't I think of that?!?!?!?! Plus, the idea of the press and seal wrap on refrigerator shelves is ingenious!!! That might be something that is life-changing for me :clap:

BTW, you all are cracking me up about the food stuff :lol: I will say (as I've said on the boards before) that when dh is out of town or isn't eating supper with is for some reason (like tonight -- he's at a church meeting ;) ), I fix breakfast for supper (and typically, it's the girls who fix it nowadays). When I say that we're having pancakes or cinnamon rolls and eggs for supper, they cheer and jump and exclaim, "Mama, you're the BEST Mama in the whole wide world!!!!" It's a win-win situation. I think it's hysterical, but it's great (and, btw, dh doesn't really like breakfast for supper, so it makes it "our" meal when he's not here).

Paige P
02-08-2012, 06:17 PM
Julie, you know another thing that's a great idea that you do (or USED to do ;) :lol: ) is read to your dc at lunch. I stole that idea LONG ago, and my kids LOVE it. We fix their lunches, and I sit down and read to them. They're blessedly quiet ;) and eat their food and think I'm being so incredibly kind to them by reading to them while they chow down. I then send them outside for "recess" while I eat in silence ;)

BTW, we typically read repeatedly during the day, but, if for some reason, it doesn't get done later, we've at least read at lunchtime. Now, a problem with this, though, is that if dh is ever not eating with us, the kids think I'm supposed to entertain them by reading to them throughout any meal :D I guess that's a GOOD bad habit to get into :)

Rachel Jane
02-08-2012, 07:31 PM
What is Jersey Mike's ?

They make submarine sandwiches. http://www.jerseymikes.com/

Esther-Alabama
02-08-2012, 08:42 PM
Some things that have worked for me...

We eat our main meal at lunchtime. Dh works out of town and is home 24 hrs when he is home, so it frees up our evenings, allows the kids to help me cool more, and i still feel ok about what I'm feeding them. It is soup and sandwiches at night. Fix your own snacks, too.

Chores everyday, for 15 minutes in am and 15 minutes after lunch, and 15 minutes before bed. Chores rotate but they all do them.

Quiet time. A MUST for me.

Long nature walks can "rescue" a bad school day. Take along a notebook and a tree ID book and you can really learn a lot and enjoy it.

Exercise WITH your kids. I gave up getting time alone, so I exercise with them.

Read aloud or music appreciation can be done over snacks or meals.

Clean once a week, laundry everyday, they can put in loads, and then it is sorted and the kids put their own up.

Dawn Gilmore
02-08-2012, 08:48 PM
one thing I did YEARS ago, that worked really well was to toss out ALL the socks and buy ONE style of socks. (For us it was Hanes gray bottomed socks) The boys were different sizes, so they each had different colored "hanes" on the toes... and dd had pink or purple (I can't remember)...

Then, when socks came out of the washer, all I had to do was match the right colored toes. If one had a hole in it, it went into the trash, no big deal, because there would be another that would match it!! Every couple of years, I would toss the whole mess and start over, because the sock company would change them enough that they no longer matched the others.

I've gotten away from that over the last few years, now that dd(16) is old enough to want girl socks, instead of white athletic style socks, but she's also old enough to do her own laundry, and does, most of the time. But, it was a great timesaver when the kids were little!!

Also, there is a place to find balance when you have a largish family. When you only have one or two kids, it's almost better to have a laundry day, and do all the laundry once a week, in order to have full loads of laundry. By the time I got to 4 kids, I pretty much ALWAYS had enough laundry for a full-load of something. At that time, I figured our balance point was 2 loads/day. If I did 2 loads every day, it never got out of control. Occasionally, I'd do an extra load of sheets, blankets, sleeping bags, or something like that.

Sherry
02-08-2012, 08:57 PM
I do not fold socks or children's underwear. Each of us has our own brand/style of white socks. It makes sorting easier. Socks are thrown into the correct sock drawer. Since all are white, they all match each other. Children's underwear simply go into the drawer in a pile. The children route through looking for favorites, so after the first day they are crumpled anyway.

Beds are made every day. It makes the room look tidy, even when it really isn't.

Joy in Alabama
02-10-2012, 05:27 PM
When the kids were smaller, we didn't fold washcloths or diapers - just put them in baskets in the linen closets or diapers in the baby's room. We have plastic containers in the underwear drawers to divide up socks and underwear, which are not folded.

I got a lot more schoolwork done when the kids were little by having a schedule for them, especially Thomas. I had a toy schedule: Legos on Monday, Playmobil on Tuesday, etc. And I had different play zones for different times of the day - table time at a certain time with certain activities for that, book time in a chair with a different stack every day, room time with the toy of the day, plus a nap in the afternoon. I had his "school" first before starting anyone else and then he happily went to play. Table time and book time was in the same room with us, but he had to stay in his zone while I had school with someone. He's 12 now and not warped at all, so I guess it was OK. :lol:

It has always helped me to have LA and math only 3 days a week. That lets me off the hook the other days of the week and we can do other subjects or whatever.

I cannot say enough about taking the time to train kids to do things around the house. It's not easy, but, oh, so worth it in the end! Makes you a free woman later on!

It's good to let olders teach youngers. It reinforces what the olders have learned and gives the siblings some time together to become closer. :thumb: My children have happy memories of kindergarten with an older sister.

It's perfectly OK to make everyone keep their towel all week and to only change the sheets every other week. Nobody will die from it.

And life is easier when you buy quantities and make menus so you stay out of the store. Going to Walmart makes me stressed. It is NOT the happiest place on earth! :mad:

Finally, someday the kids will grow up and leave home and it will be just you and your dh. Work on your relationship now so you still have one when that happens. :kiss:

Ginger Lynn
02-10-2012, 06:20 PM
I got a lot more schoolwork done when the kids were little by having a schedule for them, especially Thomas. I had a toy schedule: Legos on Monday, Playmobil on Tuesday, etc. And I had different play zones for different times of the day - table time at a certain time with certain activities for that, book time in a chair with a different stack every day, room time with the toy of the day, plus a nap in the afternoon. I had his "school" first before starting anyone else and then he happily went to play. Table time and book time was in the same room with us, but he had to stay in his zone while I had school with someone. He's 12 now and not warped at all, so I guess it was OK. :lol:



I love this idea! I am so going to give it a try. Thanks!