Hey guys! As some of you may remember, this week my husband and I are off on the missions trio we’re joining in central asia. I didn’t want to leave you without a post for the whole ten days we were gone, so I asked my lovely mom, Susan Oberg, to contribute once more to Living the Sweet Wife! (If you’d like to see her other post, click here). I always grew up in a super clean, organized home. If there’s anyway to make your life easier by organizing, she’s probably already doing it!
Organizing and planning tips and tricks to make your life 10x easier
At a very young age it was quite evident that I had organizational skills. I could probably have been classified as OCD, if that had been popular when I was little. (Now I’m aging myself.) Well, it is how I function on a normal basis, and I have been known to “malfunction” when faced with too much chaos. I know what you are thinking, “Give me a break!” Okay, so God made me this way, and it has actually been helpful in other people’s lives as well. When I accepted my husband’s proposal of marriage, he actually said that he was excited to see my organizational skills at work in his life. Yup, he is sooo romantic! And I love him dearly, even if his disorganization causes me to take a deep breath now and then. My husband and I have five children, two sets of twins and a single. And so not only because my brain works in an organized manner, but also out of necessity have I become creative in my organizing.
I would also like to think that my skills at being systematic have helped to create a peaceful home life for my family. And so that causes me to want to share with you a few ways I have organized my life over the years.
Having five children and being a stay at home mom, who homeschooled for 10 years, made us live on a tight budget. In order to help me food shop efficiently, I came up with a meal plan that provided a system for cooking and shopping. Not every day was carved in stone, but we basically followed this schedule:
- On Mondays we ate a pasta dish for supper.
- On Tuesday we often had chicken.
- Wednesday we were usually at church for Wednesday night supper and kids’ clubs, so you may insert your own idea here. (We like breakfast for supper too!)
- Thursday was a beef dinner.
- Friday was either fish, or pizza.
- Saturday was usually whatever we didn’t have on Friday.
- And Sunday was a larger meal after church like a roast, or pork loin, etc..(whatever was on sale).
So when I went shopping, which was twice a month because that is how my husband is paid, I would make sure I had purchased 2 pasta meals, 2 beef meals, etc.. I am not one who loves to spend hours in the kitchen, so having a pre-made plan for supper was a big help for me.
Another area of housekeeping that I developed a plan for was the area of laundry, and believe me there was a lot of it for seven people! I washed one load of laundry every night switching back and forth between darks and whites.
After supper I would pop a load in the washer.
Before bed I would stick it in the dryer.
In the morning I would fold it and let my children help by putting their laundry away.
When they got older, they were asked to fold their laundry from the basket and put it away. It taught them to help and fold, but it was not the whole basket, so it was not overwhelming. Today they are all successful at doing their own laundry without my help, even my son! (Well, I wonder if I should mention the one daughter that hates to do laundry… nvm).
Over the years I have often made lists for my children, letting them share in the load of housework like dusting, vacuuming, wet mopping, and cleaning bathrooms. Unlike my own mother, who always had me vacuum, and my sister always dust, I’d change it up a bit for my children. If they dusted last time, they vacuumed or mopped the next time. They could clean toilets and sinks, or baths and sinks, and I would clean the other. If a child did two rooms, they were done. As they grew older, they may have done bigger jobs like mowing, or weeding, or washing windows. They always liked the lists I made that had little boxes to place a check in when the chore was completed. We would always clean on Friday so we were all free to enjoy the weekend a little more, including myself. Their involvement taught them to share in the work that needed to be done, gave them a sense of accomplishment, and hopefully instructed them in some life skills. And on occasion I would hear one of them saying “wipe your feet when you come in, I just vacuumed.” That would put a smile on my face.
I am hopeful that I have been successful in passing down to my children some ability in organizing their own lives. They are not all at the point in their lives where they have there own homes and families, but they may still apply these life skills to their daily living. Does anyone remember the old song “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush?” If you have ever sung beyond the first verse, it goes on to tell what cleaning chore should be done on each day of the week. Now I have never really needed an ironing day, much to my mother-in-law’s chagrin, but I do like to bake bread from scratch!! What I mean to say, is that the essentials in your life will dictate those things which need the most organization. The days I practiced being methodical went more smoothly for me, and I might add that being flexible is a lifelong lesson for me. I admire those who can go with the flow even if numbers one and two on the list do not get taken care of in order, or on a certain day.
I encourage you as women of your households, not to pour out your overwhelming days on your husband as soon as you see each other at the end of the work day, even if you both work. There is time later to share the day with your hubby. It sets a sweeter tone to practice an attitude of love and grace. I admit that at times I could have been better at this, but it was my goal to be more pleasing than irritating. Some of us may feel that “men, they work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.” More often than not, I bet your husband would be happy to give a hand when entering a peaceful home rather than a chaotic one. My husband often arrives home after a long hard day asking what he can do to help me, whether calm or crazy! Love him!! Even if I know he is tired and I can easily manage the dinner and baths, I might let him know he was on duty to help with homework or putting the kids to bed. That way he had a little breather, and could even spend some time playing with the kids while I finish the meal. One key to remember here is to have a servant’s heart. I haven’t seen the love of my life all day, so how can I help him. My goals cannot come before love and servanthood. Organization is not the end all, but a tool used to help those I love. I hope some of these ideas have been helpful in making your days go more smoothly.
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