Getting Back On Track

No matter how well we manage our home there are things that will come up in life to throw us off track. Usually these things are unexpected or we have a combo of unexpected and expected things happen at the same time… as in the old saying, “When it rains it pours”. Just getting my home back together on a Monday morning after a busy weekend can be a job.

I am discussing this topic because this last month for me has had many different activities going on and things in my home have gotten a bit off track. I have been spending extra time with my children in their school work in order to be as prepared as possible for our ‘end of year’ testing. We had 25 new baby chicks arrive and we spent time making preparations for them, as well as the birth of new baby goats and getting back into a milking schedule with our doe. On top of this several of my children and I caught a nasty cold.

We did recover from the colds and with my families help we spent one Saturday getting the house back in shape. This is one benefit that can be experienced from a well managed home; it only took one Saturday to accomplish this chore! I remember in years gone by that it would have taken me a week to get the house in order, because there was very little order before I got off track, so it was a huge job getting back on track.

I believe it is very normal for life to get like this at times, and in between these times I think there are things we can do to help make that recovery period as quick and smooth as possible. So one of the things we can think of when we work on managing a home is how we can structure our methods so that we can easily and quickly jump back into them when we have had things throw us off for a time.

I have always found that when life gets off kilter , the family still wants to eat, laundry still piles up, the house still gets cluttered, etc…. So I wanted to touch on a few areas of home management this month that will help us to have systems that will turn that recovery period from a whole week to a day instead.

I can’t go into everyone’s home and pinpoint the things that would help and suggest types of things for each situation. So what I share here are methods that I use and that I share with other moms who I chat with that are trying to work through different needs in their home. But most of them are basic and they seem to me to be the areas that suffer the most.

The first area I think of is meals. It is not an easy job to throw ‘something’ together for a large family. Even if you do not have a large family it may not be convenient to cook for one reason or another. So having something ready to go for these times is a good plan. I like having extra items in my pantry and having food in the freezer. These things will be a huge help. Besides having fully finished meals such as lasagna or stew in the freezer, meal starts can help too. Things like packages of cooked hamburger, cooked chopped chicken, cooked beans, rice and even things like mashed potatoes can be used in combination or with other pantry items to make soups or casseroles. I always keep several bags of spaghetti sauce ready to defrost, heat and serve over noodles. I rely heavily on my crock pot for busy times too. Getting all the meal preps done and out of the way in the morning means I don’t have to focus on this until serving time. Another thing I do is have a list of fast and/or easy to cook meals that my family likes. For us it is things like baked chicken legs and baked potatoes. I can throw these things in the oven an hour and half before meal time, throw a salad together or open a can of veggies and eat. Other meals can be bean soups that can be put together around lunch time and be ready for dinner. This can be served with bread, tortilla chips or even crackers. These are just a few of my quick stand-by’s that don’t require a lot of thought.

Keeping the clutter in your home under control is the next item. I can say that clutter comes and goes like waves in my house. Things get laid here or there, more is added, then there is a pile of it. Then I call for a helper to come and deal with it, only to have the process repeat itself again… LOL.. The more often we deal with it, the smaller the piles. I try and have my children pick up the clutter a couple of times or more during each day. But regardless of how often we need to repeat this process, I think it is important to keep up on. The more often you do “clutter control” in your house the nicer your house will look and the more comfortable it will feel. The added benefit is that when you do get off track and the clutter builds up, it won’t be building up on top of an already existing mountain!

The next area that seems to suffer is laundry. The baskets fill up, everyone is running out of clothes and the laundry room or area is so full you can’t see the washing machine! The best method I have for laundry is to wash on a schedule. Everyone as soon as they are old enough is to be responsible for their own laundry. My children begin to take this responsibility on about 8 to 10 years of age. However, at 4 and 5 they help me start their laundry, move it into the dryer, fold it and help put it away. If you have older children and younger children you could assign an older child to assist a younger child with their laundry and give them both the same regular day of the week to get this done. Now how does this method help during these times?? First they all have their own laundry baskets that stay in their bedroom in a corner or a closet and do not bring laundry to the laundry room until it is time to wash. This way we can always find the washer :). Next if we are staying on a schedule and we miss a day or two or even three, only the people who missed their laundry day are suffering, not the whole household. Then we just add the extra loads over the next day or so and we are easily caught up without the depressing sight of piles of dirty laundry. I think it is important to do things that prevent us from feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. I can feel overwhelmed and discouraged by piles of dirty laundry everywhere.

Just focusing on these areas will help a home to function more efficiently. One of the biggest areas of our responsibility as wives and mothers is in managing our homes so that they run smoothly and that there is order and a sense of warmth and love. This is a tall order, but one that as women we can embrace and set as our goal. Proverbs 31 is a beautiful look at a woman who has control over her God given domain. She is dealing with all the areas of her life that are involved in managing her home. I can see as I read this chapter that these activities occupied much of her time and were vital to the life of her family. Verse 27 says, “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness”. An end result of this activity was that she was known by her efforts, verse 31 says “…… and let her own works praise her in the gates”. I like to think of this as encouragement to stay on top of the “ways” of my household; keeping the functioning and management of my home as a priority. Not to mention the value and importance of using my time wisely in this goal. Not only will this help us when we are getting back on track but will also be a wonderful blessing to our families.


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