A few weeks ago I happened upon this podcast about understanding complex concepts through doodling. Hm, I thought, if I had to somehow map out “homemaking”, what would that look like? I ended up with something that reminded me of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I set my scribbly piece of paper on my kitchen counter, but somehow felt compelled to cycle through it every time I start to feel overwhelmed or lost about housework. It’s kind of becoming a compass in our often chaotic home. I’ve been refining it a little here and there, and it’s really helping me keep our home a lot more organized!
Tour the pyramid with me, won’t you?
Let’s start at the bottom:
What’s on the calendar?
I put this at the bottom of my pyramid. When I cycle through, I start here. If I do everything else, but forget an appointment or an important birthday, it doesn’t matter how tidy the house is–I’m not going to feel at peace.
Next, how are we doing on our budget?
Basically, I’m taking a peek at our bank account online, and updating our budget spreadsheet with any necessary changes. (Both these things can be quickly done from my phone.) If we’re coming close to the next payday, I might double check our grocery cash envelope to make sure I know how much we have to work with. I chose to put this next, because if we end up over-drafting, or if we end up taking money out of the emergency fund for non-emergencies, I don’t have peace, no matter how shiny my sinks are. This may or may not be applicable to you if you aren’t the primary budgetier of your home, but even if you’re just the one that shops for groceries, it’s good to take a quick glance at where you stand.
What’s for breakfast/lunch/supper?
I don’t need to have the meal cooked, I just need to have decided what I’ll feed the family over the next 24 hours. That’s long enough to pull something out of the freezer to thaw if necessary, or if I know I need to hit the grocery store soon, this is where I make a list and do a little long term planning. If I’ve tackled two weeks worth of laundry, but it’s 6:30 and I don’t know how I’m going to pull together supper… That’s not a peaceful household!
Are the dishes clean?
The wonderfully FlyLady has been teaching us to keep a shiny sink for years! It’s awfully hard to cook when the kitchen’s a wreck. And no meal is quite as appetizing when it’s served on tupperware lids because the plates are all dirty. (Come on! I know some of you have pulled that trick, too!) There’s nothing more depressing then when you’re feeling a little worn, and your kitchen counters greet you with armloads of dirty dishes. Let’s nip that mess in the bud!
You know what’s on the calendar, you’ve got a handle on the budget. You know what you’re having for lunch, and supper, and breakfast. The kitchen is ready for cooking. But you’ve got time before dinner. Cycle that laundry! I don’t feel like I have to have everything done, but when I’m concentrating on housework, I like to know that all our laundry is ready to keep cycling. That means dirty laundry is sorted, clean laundry is folded, and both machines are running every day. I do have a confession, here. I have three laundry baskets, and I wait until all three are filled with clean loads before I bring them up from the basement for folding. This is simply because it takes less time for me to fold and put away in larger batches. Your system might be different.
And finally, tidy up!
With all the other items in place, NOW I can put the toys back in the toy room, make sure my craft stuff is stowed the way it should be, fluff the sofa pillows, maybe even make a bed or two. This stuff is a breeze, because the dishes are done, the laundry is done, and I know what’s for dinner. This is where I get to break out a home fragrance, put on some relaxing music, and just enjoy straightening up our little home.
Obviously, my little pyramid doesn’t encompass everything. What about parenting responsibilities, or detail cleaning, or sorting coupons, or whatever else… But it covers essential housework pretty well, and it’s really helped me out! Let me know in the comments if you end up trying out my little map, or share a link if you end up doodling one of your own! And if you think I’m totally crazy for having to doodle a whole chart about housework… you’re probably born organized, and I envy you! LOL