Overwhelmed housekeeping, I know this feeling very, very well. I remember when all of my children were young, and I had no older helpers.
I had five children, ages 7 and under, and it truly felt like I was living every single day inside a tornado.
I had so many different responsibilities, outside of just keeping the children alive, and I just didn’t know where to start.
There never seemed to be a finish line. Life just felt like a continuous whirlwind.
Life is still very much a whirlwind today with nine children. The difference is:
1. I have several older helpers (any time a child passes the age of 8, he/she passes hits a maturity level and suddenly is way more of a helper than a helpee, as long as he has been taught well throughout the years!)
2. I have very strict priorities around my housekeeping tasks. I literally have a list of importance, and I do not move down the list until the top priority is set and running.
Today, I’m going to share my housekeeping priorities list with you so that you are no longer experiencing the overwhelmed housekeeping tornado.
If you will stick to my list, you will slowly start to gain traction in your home. It’s not going to be an overnight success, but really, who has the energy for overnight successes anyway?
Go ahead and download my checklist right here so that you can have it in front of you as we go down the list!
First Things First…YOU!
I am a strong advocate for taking a little time every morning to get yourself ready and feeling good.
You may be thinking I’m absolutely bonkers and off my rocker, I’m not the only person who advocates for putting your personal appearance in order too.
I’m in good company! The Flylady also suggests starting with personal appearance. This is one of her first steps when she tells her followers to get “dressed to the shoes”.
I take things a step further than Flylady, I also go ahead and put on my makeup everyday because it gives me a mental boost.
If you are living in the middle of a tornado, you have my permission not to even think about makeup, but it is important that you take a little bit of time in the morning to get to the point where you are feeling fresh and good about yourself.
A shower, moisturizer, brushed hair and teeth, an outfit that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear to an emergency doctor’s visit, and some shoes. (Bonus points to the mom who takes ten extra seconds to put on a pair of earrings!)
The above steps can be completed in 15 minutes or less (depending on how quick you are in the shower!), and then you will be ready to conquer your day.
Overwhelmed Housekeeping Step Two…Laundry
I’m asking you to focus on your laundry next because laundry has a way of really overwhelming you if it’s left until last.
I’ve always looked at it this way: Even if my home were completely spic and span…
…if I had a few loads of dirty laundry laying around, even if its in hampers…
…my house is not really clean.
What does dirty laundry do?
It’s a reminder that my job is not yet finished, so it’s a bummer.
It means the people living in my house are in danger of being nekkid tomorrow.
Laundry is my number two priority chore, and it’s always where I start, and honestly, it’s where I finish too.
At the end of the evening, before I go to bed, I switch that last load into the dryer.
Overwhelmed Housekeeping Step Three…Meals
Just like laundry, meals are essential. You have to make sure everyone is clothed and fed.
Everything else can be pushed to the back burner, but laundry and meals are non-negotiable.
Meal-planning is a simple exercise that can take as little as five minutes once a week, or can be much more elaborate.
When you feel like you are drowning in housework and childcare, the simpler you keep your meals, the better.
If you enjoy cooking, that’s fantastic, but save the more elaborate cooking for the weekends when your spouse is home. Having someone to watch the kids while you cook will be so much more enjoyable than running around like a chicken with her head cut off.
Freezer meals are an excellent way to approach your weekday meals, and there are several different ways to use them.
You can double up on a few of the meals that you serve, meaning, if you are making lasagna, make two or three, instead of just one, and freeze the extra for another evening or two.
You can also have a dedicated freezer cooking time, and crank out 10 meals in just an hour. This is the option that I like best and used consistently when all of my children were young and I had zero margin in my day.
If this sounds like something you may want to try, sign up for Erin Chase’s FREE workshop to learn how to get started.
It’s totally free, and you will walk away with an excellent gameplan!
Erin has perfected freezer cooking and meal planning and she will teach you how to get 10 delicious freezer meals made in just an hour.
Talk about a HUGE time/lifesaver!!!
Overwhelmed Housekeeping Step Four…Cleaning
Now, if you have your laundry and meals under control (they don’t have to be perfect, they just need to be under control), then you can begin to think about cleaning.
The best way that I have found to clean when there just isn’t any leftover time to clean is through what I call Tiny Task Cleaning.
Lucky, for you, I have a Tiny Task Cleaning checklist, and a blog post to go with it explaining exactly how I keep my house reasonably clean without spending any big chunks of time actually cleaning.
For the busy mom, this method is a total lifesaver. Your house will never be immaculate using this method, but we’re not here for immaculate, we’re here for good enough.
And if I can be totally honest here, having an immaculate house with little children is darn near impossible for any length of time over five minutes.
Download the Tiny Task Checklist with the rest of my FREE survival mode kit below!
Overwhelmed Housekeeping Step Five…Decluttering
Decluttering is one of the last things that you should be thinking about, and just like cleaning, decluttering doesn’t really get it’s own big time slot in my life.
I declutter as I go, day by day, little by little. I try to stick to one room at a time, but if I’m in the kitchen, and all of my kiddos are at the table eating, I may open the cabinet and declutter just a little.
I try to spend about 5 minutes a day of dedicated decluttering, but not any more than that.
The most important thing to remember when you declutter is to get the clutter out of your house. Don’t toss all of your unwanted clutter into a bag or box and then throw it into your closet where it sits for a year.
Our Goodwill is on the way to church, so I make sure that if I have a full bag to drop off, it’s in the van on Saturday evening and we make the drop off on the way home from church.
Get the clutter out, once and for all!
Let’s wrap this up…
Learning to keep your household running when you are feeling overwhelmed by the huge responsibility of mothering little children definitely feels like an uphill battle.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret here…
Housekeeping is a lot like raising children.
You put in the work, day by day.
And it doesn’t feel like you are getting anywhere.
You fight the same battles with your children…
…you wipe off the same counter four times a day.
You potty train one child, then there’s another to train two years later…
…You declutter your nightstand, three months later, you have to do it again.
But I’m telling you, Mama.
One day, you’re going to wakeup, and realize you’ve been at this mothering and housekeeping thing for fourteen years.
And your oldest children are delightful. Really-truly, delightful people to be around. And your home…it’s not perfect, but it’s reasonably well-run!
And you realize, that most of the time, you don’t really feel like you’re drowning anymore. And that’s a great feeling!
You can get there. I promise. You just have to put in the work. Day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year.
Keep on keepin’ on.
Hug your babies. Teach them well. Before you know it, they’ll be really helping you with the laundry, meals, cleaning and decluttering.
And what felt like an insurmountable task when it was just you, suddenly feels doable. And it’s because you have a whole team, specially trained by you!
If you’d like help hashing out your own personalized plan for Overwhelmed Housekeeping, download my FREE kit. You’ll get everything you need!
Additional Perfectly Imperfect Club Housekeeping Resources…