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Keeping it Simple – Lessons in Household Management

on August 5, 2014 by Jami Balmet 0 comments

While I love adding a flourish to everyday life – sipping out of cute tea cups, decorating my house, working on cute craft projects, etc. – I have also learned that in order to survive (and thrive) within my home, I need to keep some things simple! It’s my key to living a productive life.

While I love adding a flourish to everyday life - sipping out of cute tea cups, decorating my house, working on cute craft projects, etc. - I have also learned that in order to survive (and thrive) within my home, I need to keep some things simple! It's my key to living a productive life.

Welcome to the next part of our online book study of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. It’s not too late to jump in and join the fun! You can read the introduction and see the full schedule of topics for the next 10 weeks. Or jump in with today’s discussion!

Keeping things simple means learning that I don’t have to have a fancy dinner on the meal each night complete with dessert and matching napkins. On occasion, this is fun and adds excitement to our dinner routine. But a simple, delicious crock pot dinner is perfect for most nights.

Keeping things simple means throwing out the clutter, keeping only what you need, and learning to live on less. It’s amazing how much we feel that we need and how little we can actually survive on.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

A huge lesson that I’ve had to learn in my homemaking, is that my house and how I do things, isn’t going to look like anyone else. Back at the beginning of this series, we took a look at creating a personal priorities list for your life and homemaking. And while I think it can be helpful to gain inspiration from looking at other people’s lists, ultimately, you have create a list that works for your family, your home, and your homemaking style and personality.

It’s the same with how you run and manage your home. It’s too easy to look at someone else’s home and feel that you kitchen isn’t always as clean as theirs. It’s easy to see someone who runs a small business out of their home and feel like a failure because you can’t seem to stay on top of your laundry (I’ve felt all of this comparison). I love this example from the book:

“Growing up, my mom had us dust the baseboards and wipe down the plant leaves with cotton balls on a monthly basis. We assumed that everyone else did this too. One day, though, we discovered that wasn’t the case. A friend was visiting while one of us was in the midst of the cotton-ball-plant-cleaning routine. This friend was shocked and told us she’d never even considered cleaning in such detail.

“After this revelation I decided to dial back dusting the baseboards, and I can’t remember the last time I dusted our plants. I’m okay with that. Give yourself grace to let some stuff go and keep it simple. Figure out the level of orderliness and cleanliness that works for you and your family, and don’t worry if it’s not the same as someone’s else’s.” – Crystal Paine, pg 132-133 (Emphasis added)

As Lisa Jacobson from Club 31 Women puts it: I was born a Messy. A messy, distracted daydreamer. Um….Yep. That’s pretty much my life. I’m a very creative, free thinker, and I work better amidst piles of papers, coffee cups, and a bit of clutter than I do in an ultra-clean, sterile environment.

As a homemaker, I’ve had to learn how to balance and nurture the creative side of me and how to get down to business, discipline myself and keep the house clean (at least to an acceptable level). My house will never be spotless or always deep cleaned. There is a time and place to dust the baseboards (though for me, it’s definitely not once a month and I don’t think you would ever catch me dusting my plants).

But I love what Crystal says, “Figure out the level of orderliness and cleanliness that works for you and your family, and don’t worry if it’s not the same as someone’s else’s”. This takes conversation with your husband, mine’s okay with an acceptable level of mess if it means working on my blog, spending quality time with the children, or bonding with him. But every husband – and family – will be different.

I don’t dust our plants because it’s simply not important to me. I don’t notice if the floor boards are dusty or if my desk where I do all my blogging looks like a bomb exploded. Our living room and kitchen on the other hand is always (as much as possible) left clutter free and mostly clean because that is very important to my husband.

Figure out what is important to your family, do that, and move on, not worrying about what other homemaker’s do in their house. 

Keeping it Simple: The Kitchen

I love cooking. If I had the time and resources, I would make four course meals, complete with home baked bread, a hot dessert, and matching tableware. I have a passion and excitement for that.

But I have to be realistic. As a busy wife, mom, and homemaker with twinadoes of energy running under my feet (AKA my 19-month-old twin boys) I simply don’t have the time for this. Before we had kids I had more time, and maybe one day in my life, when my kids are grown, I’ll have more time again.

But if you are like me and can’t find the time for this, or hate cooking in the first place – take heart! You don’t have to create fancy dinner parties each night.

Getting your {healthy} kitchen under control with freezer cooking!

Crock Pot Meals

Crock pot meals are my secret weapon. Our stove has been out of commission for  a week and a half while we wait for the repairman to come out and fix it, but it’s not been that big of a deal at all. I’ve been using my two crock pots to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner and my routine has been so simply! Here are some resources for crock pot meals:

A quick, simple meal doesn’t have to mean unhealthy. You don’t have to resort to fast food meals in order to simplify your kitchen.

Freezer Cooking

Before we had kids and I was working full time, freezer cooking literally changed my life. And while our eating habits have evolved since I began freezer cooking (i.e. we largely have cut out sugar, processed foods, etc.), it has continued to free up my time and help me to simplify my kitchen without sacrificing one of my priorities as a homemaker: healthy, home cooked meals every day. Here are some resources for freezer cooking to get you started:

Follow my Pinterest board of Freezer cooking meals or follow all of my boards HERE.

Follow Jami Balmet | Young Wife’s Guide’s board Freezer Cooking on Pinterest.

Keeping it Simple: Household Routines

On Thursday, we are going to jump in and tackle how to start decluttering your home so I don’t want to cover it in depth here. But I did want to share this quote to you from Crystal. I really think you need to pick up a copy of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode because she really gives some great advice, but here’s a little bit:

“Cleanliness is next to godliness’. Whoever said that probably didn’t have any children, a demanding job, a packed schedule, or a kitchen floor that refused to stay clean. Still, there is just something about keeping a clean and tidy environment that makes you feel better overall.

“As usual, I like to stick with the basics. In our house, if we have clean laundry, sufficiently picked up rooms, clean bathrooms, clean dishes, and relatively clean floors, I consider things to be in pretty good shape. It’s never perfect, but it’s usually forty-five minutes to ‘company ready’…I’m satisfied with that at this point in my life”. – Crystal Paine, pg 138 – 139

Does your life have to look like this? Of course not, Crystal doesn’t have toddlers. Or babies. Or a house full of teenagers. I hope this biggest thing you take away from this article, is that your household routine doesn’t have to look like any one else and you should establish one that works for your family. 

I have messy toddlers who insist on feeding themselves,  who can’t get through one cup of milk without spilling (even in spill proof sippy cups), and who make messes as they roam through the house. My floors are never company ready and I’m okay with that. We have a routine that works well for us, and best of all, my husband and I are on the same page about it.

Read More In This Series:

5 Keys to Planning a Successful Day 

Free PDF Guide & Training Video! 

If you want to take this concept further and jump into how you can plan for a successful day (and what that even means), then I want to invite you to sign up for my FREE video and PDF guide 5 Keys to Planning a Successful Day

Sign up and you can start going through it right away! Join me to chat about how, with a few simple tips, we can start living with more intention. It might seem overwhelming to work on being more intentional and purposeful in your schedules and to-do list. But in reality, it takes just a few minutes to begin transforming your routines with 5 simple steps…

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