You may want to do more than basic housework. But if your daily schedule is filled with work and family busyness, there’s just no time. Here’s how to embrace the basics and carve out time for more around your home.
Standing in my kitchen last night, I smiled. My countertops were clean. My sink was empty. Even all of the receipts, lists and artwork were off of my refrigerator door.
This was really weird. Especially because the rest of my house was just as clean – and company wasn’t even coming over.
In my fleeting moment of victory, I realized a sad truth. Even though my house was spic and span, this clean was not sustainable. Everything was put together because I spent hours working at it.
Once a normally busy school year routine sneaks back in and I juggle homeschooling and working from home, I simply won’t have hours to devote to making sure every room is neat and tidy. And I won’t have the time to do all of the things I’d like to do just for fun, like bake homemade bread or spend time gardening or play a board game with my kids.
It’s simply impossible.
An ugly cycle of housekeeping guilt
As a homemaker, though, it’s equally impossible to not deal with the guilt that comes with a lack of housekeeping. Even if you’re OK with living in a messy house, a niggling feeling of not doing enough crops up.
Somehow, you’re drawn into an ugly cycle of wanting to do more, not being able to do more, and trying to do more.
When I’m in the middle of that cycle, I’m faced with dissatisfaction, frustration, then exhaustion as I try to make everything work.
The daily struggle of wanting to do more than the basics
Along with the cycle of homemaking frustration, you also might be caught in the frustration of wanting to do so much more in your home than just maintaining a home.
Maybe you want to tackle a huge decluttering project. Or maybe you’d like to dive into cook or bake more from scratch. Maybe you’d like to grow your own food. Or learn how to knit or sew. Yet all the demands of your day – work and caring for children and investing in other relationships – leave you absolutely spent. As much as you’d like to focus on something worthwhile in your home, you just can’t.
To find some sort of balance in knowing what you want to do, knowing what you can do, and actually doing it in your home, I’ve found that four steps can help maintain sanity and manage things well in a home.
4 Steps to Accomplish More than Basic Housework
1. Decide your priorities.
When you think about your priorities, decide what you absolutely need to do each day. Realize what is required of you – like time you need to work or time you need to spend with your family. Then think about three or four non-negotiable daily chores – household jobs that will help your daily life run easier.
(If it helps you brainstorm ideas for your own home, my non-negotiable daily chores are washing dishes after each meal, washing one load of laundry a day, and picking up the house every afternoon or night.)
Also think about what non-essential things you’d like to do. You may not be able to do what you’d like to do every single day, but you can look for pockets of time throughout the week to pursue what interests you the most.
2. Carve out time to focus on your priorities.
Once you know what you need and want to do, figure out when you’re going to accomplish everything. Decide when you can do everything you’ve prioritized. Write out your plan, if you need to – or set digital reminders to keep you on track.
3. Work on your priorities.
Now that you know what you want and need to do and now that you know exactly when you can work on everything, get to work. In the words of Nike, Just Do It.
Eventually, as you settle into a rhythm, you’ll find yourself in a routine. (That’s a good thing!)
4. Find contentment with imperfection.
You simply may not have enough time to do everything. And you may never think everything’s perfect.
It’s OK. Things never will be perfect. But as you focus on working through your priorities, you’ll discover what works well and what needs tweaked. Keep working at it until you find a way to accomplish more than basic housework in your week. And find contentment in the process.
As you experience your own fleeting moments of victory around your house, be sure to smile. You can break your ugly cycle of housekeeping guilt and actually do more than basic housework in your home.
What works for you? I’d love to know how you manage to do more than basic housework!
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