Taking care of your home can quickly become overwhelming, and the amount of work it requires grows exponentially with each household member. Follow these home management strategies to make your life a little easier on a daily basis.
Do the dishes right after you finish dinner
It’s very easy — and tempting — to leave the dishes in the sink after dinner so you can decompress before your next task. It is equally easy for the pots, pans, dishes and utensils to unwittingly pile up over a day or two. Make a conscious effort to rinse off dishes and load the dishwasher once you have finished eating – your future self will thank you. PS: you should still feel free to let some of the larger vessels soak overnight if helpful.
Maintain a filing system
One of these days you’ll need to retrieve your original birth certificate or your passport, and an efficient filing system will make that a breeze. A full filing cabinet is not necessary, especially in small spaces. Keep different folders for original documents, bills, financials, insurance, work and school documentation for each member of the family. Label the folders accordingly and file them away in a desk mailbox, cubbies or even just a box you happen to have around the house.
Whether you keep a physical calendar in the house or color-code a digital calendar on your phone, keeping track of everyone’s appointments and activities will help you feel more organized. Better yet, ask each person in your household to add their responsibilities to the shared calendar so that each person takes ownership of their own schedule.
Keep a list of daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning routines
Here’s a sample chore schedule:
- Make the bed in the morning
- File away any paperwork that came in the mail
- Wash dishes
- Vacuum, especially if you have pets
- Wipe down the kitchen counters
- Pick up anything that can be put away in two minutes or less: shoes by the door, a coat on a kitchen chair, a glass of water on the nightstand
- Sweep and mop the floors
- Change and wash bedding and towels
- Clean the toilets, showers, tubs and bathroom vanities
- Dust your blinds and hard-to-reach places
- Deep-clean your appliances and carpeting to prevent buildup and tough stains
Depending on your schedule and preference, laundry could either be a daily or weekly chore. Whichever you choose, be sure to commit to it, as forgetting to do the laundry can quickly leave you without clean clothes in the morning — on little notice.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Meal planning will make your life infinitely easier. Gone are the days of worrying about what you will make for dinner or making quick trips to the store because you were out of a key ingredient. Make a list of all of the meals you would like to eat that week, and then do a large grocery shopping trip to buy all of the ingredients you still need for the week. If you want to take it a step further, you can prepare your meals for the week so that you are only responsible for a quick reheating every day thereafter.
Take advantage of storage solutions
You don’t need to buy fancy storage bins or cute labels in order to organize effectively. If you have a leftover box from a recent delivery, find where the box will fit in the house, and then find which items can fit in that box. Keeping an old box might feel like you’re holding on to clutter, but it can work wonders on keeping actual clutter contained within that box rather than letting it expand around the house.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk the items you use the most, like toilet paper, paper towels, non-perishable foods and diapers, will save you time, money and stress in the long run. Bulk items are often discounted — both at warehouse and retail stores — and you won’t have to worry about repurchasing them nearly as often.
Find a home for everything
The left kitchen drawer is for silverware; the drawer on the right is for coupons and takeout menus. The extra paper towels and toilet paper go in the hall closet. Bills and receipts go in their respective filing folder. Organizing will go by much more quickly when you immediately know where an item should go.
Get gas once you notice you’re running low
Rather than waiting until you’re empty or telling yourself that you’ll remember next time, stop at the gas station once you’re roughly below half a tank. As much as possible, remove this potential stressor from your life before it gets in the way of school drop-offs, urgent appointments or a long road trip.
Some of these home management tips may require a bit of work upfront, but they will prove to make your daily life much easier and more enjoyable.
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