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Category:  Jobs

Managing My Household

By Jennifer Tarzian

As a work-at-home mom of one very active toddler, I recently acknowledged that my household was quickly spinning out of control. The housework was piling up higher each day and I NEVER felt like I was even catching up, let alone getting ahead. So, it was time for a makeover – an organizational makeover, that is!

When I was in the workforce, the only way I knew to get things done by their deadlines was to make a list and keep working on that list until I checked everything off. This was my first step in re-organizing my household. I know there are a lot of great scheduling software programs, but I find a paper day planner works the best for me. I write down absolutely EVERYTHING in this planner. I even schedule my shower! Why? I need to see a complete layout of my day and how long each item is going to take. If I’ve got an extra-packed day, I need to schedule that wake-up call a little earlier.

The other benefit of writing everything down is that at the end of the day, I have visible proof of all I’ve accomplished. One of the hardest things for me to deal with on a daily basis is the overwhelming sense that I haven’t accomplished anything. The house most often looks just as messy at 7:00 pm as it did at 7:00 am that same day. So if I can look at that list and see “laundry”, “dishes”, “clean bathroom” and “run to the bank” all crossed off, I will be rewarded with the reality of all the hard work I did in addition to the other daily essentials of diapers, meal preparations, etc.

Once I established my list, I did my best to prioritize the items on it. There are the obvious things that HAVE to be done. Then there are those “would really like to get them done but the world won’t come to an end if I don’t” tasks. This gave me a good starting point to work from.

Please learn from my biggest organizational mistake: Have REASONABLE expectations. When the weekend comes and I know I’ve got my husband around for the full 48 hours, my mind runs wild with all the million and one projects we can tackle. Then I’m hit with terrible disappointment on Sunday night when I realize we only finished 1 of those many items. The truth of the matter is I should be happy we got the one project finished – that’s one more than was completed 2 days before, right?

Another very important piece to this organizational puzzle is the contributing help from other family members. No one person should have to carry the entire weight of maintaining a home and family by him/herself. My husband is great at chipping in whenever he can. When my son is older, I will expect him to contribute as well. For more on this topic, I highly recommend you read “Family Management tip #1: Getting Your Family to Pitch In” by Saro Saravanan.

Most importantly, don’t forget to schedule the fun! I try to take a few hours each week and treat myself to time spent only on me. It usually consists of an hour to myself a few nights a week reading a good book. It gives me a break, but at the same time I don’t feel guilty for neglecting my other household duties.


What other people are reading:

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Category:  Jobs

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