First in a series: Kate Moreland shares some tips for homemaking to ease the burden during challenging times.
I am sure many of you can sympathize with my brain, which has been attempting to shut down for the day at around 10 AM. It then repeats this process every couple of hours until, cajoled by coffee and the unrelenting energy of the rest of the house, it summons enough energy to get through the day and achieve bedtime. Mine, that is. This is the norm for me when pregnant and neither a large cross comparatively to others’, nor unexpected. I like to think that these times of lessened capabilities are times when God is giving us the chance to improve our game in life.
So, with fewer productive hours at my disposal, the daily question becomes how to outsmart the to-do list to make it manageable in the shorter time span. Below are some of the tips and tricks that have helped me, and perhaps they will help you, or at least inspire you with what might actually help you. Sometimes seeing what insanity others do is a wonderful prompt to help us figure out what we actually need to do ourselves.
Tip #1: Simplify the Laundry
This one will make some of you recoil in horror, but this is how we roll in the Moreland House, and it enables me rarely to be more than a load or two behind in laundry despite having seven people in our home.
Reduce wardrobes to about a week’s worth of clothing, plus the necessary odds and ends like extra kid socks, uniforms, and such, and then teach the children how to do their own laundry. More frequent laundry means less build-up to wade through when you get behind. The toddlers help a little, but by four all my boys have managed 80% of their own laundry. My twins share a hamper and dresser, and they know to put their dirties in the hamper and their cleans in the dresser. With prompting, of course, but they mostly understand the concept. When the hamper is at least halfway full (or their favorite truck shirts aren’t clean) they bring it down and load it in the washer.
I do soap and start the machine, for reasons that need no explanation.
When it is washed, they can switch it to the dryer and turn that on; when that is finished, they load their basket and take it upstairs to their dresser. Dry-erase markers work well on metal appliances so you can circle the correct settings for kids to use. I use hot pink as a reminder that it is Mom’s Appliance and they need to be careful with it. I am the only girl in the house, so pink always means Mom. This leads us to …
Tip #2: Don’t Fold Little-Kid Clothes
Cringeworthy, I know. But you would truly be surprised at how decent the kids look in spite of putting their own clothes away and not folding a single item. My caveat is church clothes: those are hung by me, and not touched until Sunday morning to avoid messing them up. Everything else has a drawer and little hands with which to fill it.
Once the hamper is full of clean clothes, the kids can go to their room and unload it into their dresser. I have heard that some people use those two or three-level toy bins instead of dressers, having a section for each type of clothing. When laundry is so simple that a four year old can do it, it is almost impossible to get more than a little behind. Having only a week’s worth of clothing helps too; you either do laundry, or go as the Emperor in his New Clothes. While the kids prefer the latter option, I must insist on the former!
Next month, we'll look at trash cans, bathroom cleaning, daily chores, and keeping a lid on the toy box.
Why not share your best tips for simplifying your home routines in the comments?
Copyright 2023 Kate Moreland
About the Author
Kate Moreland is a graduate of Franciscan University who spends her time homeschooling her five sons. Writing is her way to share her many opinions with someone other than her very patient husband. When not teaching or cleaning up after various people and animals, she enjoys grocery trips alone and frequently-interrupted discussions about family, parenting, and faith. Find her at her LinkTr.ee @kate.more.land.