Managing your home when you’re busy, tired, mentally ill or have a disorder, can be difficult.
But it’s not impossible!
I use all kinds of systems, tools and techniques to keep my home clean(ish), looking nice, organised – and most important of all, comfortable.
I used to think some of the ways I managed my home were silly.
But then I discovered a saying in the military: “If it’s stupid, but it works, it’s not stupid.”
Try some of these tips below and see how you get on. Yes, some are “silly” but they work for me and other people, so they might work for you too!
Have large boxes of assorted toys
This goes against most Pinterest organising tips, which tell you to organise toys by type.
If you can show me a kid who is both willing and capable of putting their toys away and correctly categorising them, I will give you 100 bacon cupcakes.
It takes too long and it’s a challenge to get most kids to just put anything away, let alone put them in the right boxes. Having a large box of “misc” toys (I can’t spell miscellaneous either) means you can just chuck everything in one box at tidy up time, and go and do something else.
The exception to this rule is if you have something like Lego or a train set, or another toy where all the bits fit together.
Make your bed
This is the quickest, easiest and one of the most satisfying of all household chores.
As I tell my son, if you make your bed every morning, no matter what happens in the day, at least one thing has gone right. One thing is organised. One thing is tidy. And one thing is done for your “future self” – you have a nice bed to get in at the end of the day.
How you make your bed is up to you, but all I do is straighten the pillows and fold back the duvet. It’s quick, it looks nice, and it airs the bed.
Spray furniture polish in the air
Not near the kids, obvs.
It doesn’t do anything apart from make your house smell clean, and while you are very clever, there are parts of your brain that are not, and the clean smell will fool at least part of it into thinking that your house actually is clean.
This is more of a psychological thing obviously, but it might be enough to motivate you into doing something else.
Master the one-pot meal
You still need to eat, but washing up can take almost as long as cooking – and sometimes even longer.
Master the art of cooking in one saucepan, frying pan or oven tray, and you will spend a lot less time washing up. You probably won’t want to cook every meal like you’re doing it in a pot over an open fire, but for those times when you really can’t be bothered, it’s a lifesaver – and will save you from an unhealthy and expensive takeaway.
My favourite one pot meals are mostly rice-based – you can chuck anything in rice and it tastes nice.
No-one said you had to do anything. And if they did, they’re wrong. Even if that person was you. Especially if that person was you!
Even very young children are capable of helping you tidy up, fetching and carrying, and taking their plate to the kitchen. Older children can help load the dishwasher, sweep up, put the laundry on, and so on. Grown-ups can do their share (yes, even if they’re visitors – if you’ve got a newborn baby or a health condition, the usual hosting rules don’t apply).
And if you’ve got the money, hiring someone to help you out can be a lifesaver. The most common home help is a cleaner, but gardeners, handymen, mother’s help, au pairs etc can also take some of the weight off your shoulders. I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but if you’ve got the money, it’s worth doing to keep your sanity.
How do you manage your home when you feel like you can’t do anything? Tell me.