Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s said that 80 percent of unfocused time produces 20 percent of the effort needed to accomplish something (like keeping your home clean and organized). On the flip side, 20 percent of focused time can accomplish 80 percent of the work that needs to be done. The lesson here? We probably don’t need to become time-management experts, but by spending a few moments considering how best to accomplish the tasks before us, we can make better use of our precious time—and that leaves us more time for doing the things we like best. Here are eight time-saving tips that will keep your home humming and you and your family happier.
1. Start by setting up a few house rules, such as “put it away right away,” or “keep it in the room where it lives.” Help teach your young ones to corral their messes and put them away. (Same goes for the grown-ups in the family!) Your home may need a good vacuuming or dusting, but if things are picked up and dirty dishes aren’t piled high in the sink, you’ll feel more in control of your day.
2. Haven’t been following a list of house rules yet? It could be that chaos is an unwanted guest, and the thought of getting your home shipshape is daunting. Instead of being put off by the amount of work that needs to be done, spend just five minutes each day organizing and de-cluttering your home. Before you know it, you will be enjoying an organized, peaceful home.
3. Become a list maker. You can do it the old-fashioned way (on paper), but if you have a smartphone, you can keep yourself organized using its Notes feature. Make shopping and to-do lists. Your phone is usually with you, so you can easily add something important right when you think of it. Use your phone’s calendar feature to add alerts for upcoming events and birthdays. Lists help to keep you organized so you don’t find yourself scrambling at the last minute to buy a gift or secure a babysitter for that special evening out.
4. Stay on top of the dishes. Everyone has to eat, and you’ll save money and eat healthier by cooking and eating at home most of the time. But a home-cooked meal means dirty dishes. Make a habit of cleaning the kitchen promptly after your meal. Few things are more disheartening than dirty dishes cluttering up your sink and countertops when it’s time to cook the next meal.
5. Don’t have time in your day for a thorough housecleaning? Instead, set a timer for 10 minutes and whirlwind clean. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in that short amount of time! And if you get your family working alongside you, the improvement will be noticeable.
6. Keep your cleaning supplies handy. Staying organized is so much easier when you don’t have to waste time hunting up the supplies you need to get a job done. Use a caddy with a sturdy handle and you can simply grab and go.
7. Color-coded bags, baskets, or boxes are great to keep near the front door. Use a different color for each family member. Fill them with items people need to remember to take with them when they leave the house in the morning, such as homework, permission slips, and other notes; jackets, hats, or gloves; and lunches.
8. Establish a daily routine and work hard to not deviate from the plan. Everyone will thrive when they know what to expect. You may have to stick to the new routine for several weeks before it becomes habit, but everyone will eventually settle in.
A new year is upon us—it’s the perfect time to get organized and make positive changes in your home-management routine. So go out and make 2015 your best year yet!
Blessings to you and yours!
Georgia Varozza, author of the popular Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook (nearly 60,000 copies sold), enjoys teaching people how to prepare and preserve healthy foods, live simply, and get the most from what they have. She works in publishing and lives in a small Oregon community.
Get more home-management tips in this post by beloved author Elizabeth George.