Both my grandmothers came from large families and had 5 children themselves. When you have a lot of people in a family to take care of, cook and clean for, you need to be organized and have a system. Many hands make light work and everyone has their tasks so that all the work gets done. So while I don’t have 8 children, I have found it very helpful to use some of these ideas from my grandmothers that were just common sense back then for running a house. I am not a naturally organized person so these are a few that I have tried to start doing since having my twins, when life got crazy and I had a sudden need of organization in my life!
Assigned “days” of the week
When I was younger I remember my maternal grandma talking about how they divided up the tasks of housekeeping to make things easier by giving each day a main task to complete. Laundry day, ironing day, baking day, grocery day, etc.
So maybe I don’t do a lot of ironing (actually never), but I do wash a lot of laundry! And I do buy a lot of groceries. I’m getting back into baking slowly, since it’s something I enjoy and did a lot of before having babies. With all the laundry that I do, I realized early on that I would need some organization unless I wanted to be doing laundry steady. The first few months after the girls were born I did have the laundry going all the time, but I also had my mom helping me out every day, and so I wasn’t the only one around to do it. After I was on my own though, I decided that I would try things grandma’s way (she still has her special days for things, old habits die hard I guess), and picked two days a week to do laundry that made sense for our family. So Mondays and Fridays are wash days around here now and sometimes Tuesday and Saturday I fold and put away if there’s any baskets left over. I usually do about 5 loads on Mondays and 3 or 4 loads on Fridays, with the occasional load on Wednesday if the girls have been sick or just extra dirty from playing outside. This allows me to focus on other stuff and have a break from laundry the off days.
Tuesday is vacuum and bathroom day. Wednesday is town day for groceries. Thursday is bake day and Saturday is vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom. Do I stick to this schedule all the time? No, but I’m working on it. So far I’ve got the laundry days down and I’m trying to get better at the other chores that are easy to procrastinate on, like the bathroom. Or I skip the baking day and just get something store bought, if I’m too tired or busy with other plans. I hope to someday be awesome at it like my grandmas!
A Place for Everything
One of the things that stands out the most when I think of my paternal grandma’s house is that everything has a home. She is good at being organized and having a place for everything. This might seem like a no brainer for some ladies who are naturally organized, but for me, it was something I needed to work on especially once two more people joined the family with all their adorable baby girl stuff. Stuff. Everywhere. So when we moved to our new house when they were 8 months, I decided that I was going to try assign everything a place and that way if it was established early on, it would be easier to keep putting things back where they belonged. So for example, instead of having first-aid items and vitamin bottles scattered around in various cupboards and rooms, I put just vitamins in the kitchen cupboard and first-aid and medicine in the bathroom cupboard. Now my husband can find what he needs and if someone is over helping with the girls, they can easily find the baby medicinal items. This has been a good thing for us because if we know where to find things than it makes everything easier, like just getting out the door is so much faster when you’re not searching all over the house for that ONE shoe or mitten (though that still happens from time to time and I’m suspecting two little munchkins are the culprits!).
Life with twins is pretty crazy at times, well, most of the time..but it made such a difference for me to just implement these few wise ideas that housewives before me have been doing for years, and I hope I can pass them down to my daughters by example, like my mother and grandmother did to me!
Are there any housekeeping tips you have that make your life easier? Please share!