Written by Kari Patterson
I hesitate to write this post because I know many of you already have this down, and it might even seem silly to you that some of us still struggle with this.
- For example, if you wake up every morning to a clean house, this post isn’t for you.
- If your homeschooling space always looks fresh, organized, and inspiring, this post isn’t for you.
- If you have your home-management systems down flat and your house runs like a well-oiled machine, this post isn’t for you.
- Or, if you truly love messiness, and it doesn’t bother you one bit that stuff is stashed here and there and everywhere and you like never knowing what’s for dinner and you genuinely love flying by the seat of your pants, this might not be for you either.
But if you, like me, have struggled for years trying to successfully manage housekeeping with homeschooling, tune in.
If you, like me, start each year fresh and optimistic, then somehow devolve into disorganization and discouragement, hang with me. If you, like me, sometimes think, “If I just don’t mention the word ‘dinner’ maybe they won’t remember…”–there’s hope for you here.
If you try to tell yourself, “This is just happy chaos!” but deep down you really long for a little order and maybe even a clean kitchen–pull up a chair. So glad you’re here.
It wasn’t until this year that I realized this simple truth: We simply aren’t at our educational best when things are messy and disordered.
A clean, organized space actually aids education.
It aids relationships.
It aids my emotional health.
It aids my ability to serve others.
It aids our efforts to spend quality time with our kids.
As we consider how to HOME-SCHOOL, most often we talk about the school component, and not the home. The truth is, the state of my home hugely impacts the quality of our education.
Several months ago we hit a crossroads as a family where I cried out for help in the area of cleaning and organization. Most of the messages I had heard on this topic were, “Just relax. It’s a season. Don’t worry about it.”
And I get that. I’m not talking about Pinterest-perfect house. I’m not trying to keep up with anyone or impress anyone. I have no Instagram image to keep up.
But the truth is, having a messy, disorganized home is stressful. At least for me. Mess equals stress and stress never puts us at our best.
Not knowing where the tape is, or the pencils are, or what we’re having for dinner, or when I’m trying to fold laundry while teaching fractions–That is stressful to me. And, at least for me, the solution wasn’t to throw up my hands and say, “Oh well, that’s life!”
For us, the solution was that as a family we decided to follow the FlyLady app and commit to doing whatever she told us to do, no questions asked.
I’m not exaggerating: It’s changed our life dramatically.
The first 11 days we followed her, each doing the simple habits outlined in her app, every single night we were able to have 1.5-2 hours of family time together after putting the baby to bed, all because our house was already tidied and clean and we were ready for the following day.
(After that we had summer fun and family visiting, but the routines remained the same.)
My husband keeps saying, “You’re so HAPPY all the time!”
Yes, I’m happy! I can physically feel the difference in my body. So much less stress. Because we know where things are, we are ready to host or serve or do whatever because our home is reasonably clean and ordered. We know what’s for dinner.
We have time to play games and relax and tell stories at night because our routines are done and things are in place. I actually spend much less time keeping up our home because of our routines and systems.
And again, I’m aware that this might come easy for many of you, but honestly somewhere along the line I wish someone had said: You’re trying all these different tricks and tips for educating your children, but what will help you most is simply committing to keeping a clean house.
Maybe that’s what one of you precious people needs to hear today, too? It might seem like the last thing that matters, but it might make all the difference.
De-cluttering. Doing without. Simplifying. Sticking to simple routines, day in and day out. Requiring daily follow-through every single time, even when I’d so much rather slack or let it slide.
So this may not be the most inspiring back-to-school blog post, but if it strikes a chord with you, perhaps our one goal this year is simply: To keep a clean home in order to aid education.
To carry out the simple habits that I know help us in our homeschool. To shine my sink each night and make my bed each morning, and quickly swish and swipe those bathrooms, and take ten minutes to clear my hot-spots and set my launch-pad for the next day. To teach my children the healthy habits that will help them their whole life long.
There are lots of systems out there. Personally, FlyLady is the only one that’s worked for us–she’s helped well over a million people find freedom from chaos, so it might be worth a try! But whatever system you choose, I just want you to know you’re not alone if this has been an area of struggle. I
f the chaos and mess is causing stress in your life, you don’t just have to shrug your shoulders and pretend it isn’t stressful. Let FlyLady, or someone else, help you. You are worth it!
Your health and mental well-being is worth it. Your children’s education is worth it. I’m cheering you on.
Your turn: What housekeeping system has worked well for you? Please share!