Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Homemaking Systems I Use for My BIG Family

Welcome back, friends!

As I started working on this post, I found that my outline was getting more detailed. Which means that this article could get waaay too long in short order. (That's never happened before here, has it?! HA!)

And, so, I thought I'd use this post to give you the outline of the five systems overall, and then I will break down each one into more specifics in a new blog post each week. 

This is going to be so fun!

1) Tidying

First of all, I like to "Tidy Up" whatever area I will be working in. This makes me feel more successful in my day, and even helps the kids function better. No one-- not even squirrelly children-- truly functions well in chaos. I am a creative-type person, so I know from experience that messes are made in the midst of inspiration, but it is easier for me to get inspired once a place has been "tidied."

Tidying, by my definition, is not making things pristine. It does not mean that you deep clean to create an immaculate place where your neighbors are going to come and do dust inspections.


Tidying means clearing away trash, consolidating piles of papers into stacks (papers are my personal Kryptonite), putting away the most egregiously out-of-place items, and doing a quick sweep and wipe-down/brush off of obvious surfaces.

It means stacking dishes in the sink so they don't look like a bottomless cesspool, and putting small pans inside larger ones to take up less room on the counter top.

2) Cleaning

This word means exactly what you think it means. I define "Cleaning" as the scrubbing, wiping, washing, shining that needs to happen in order for a home to feel welcoming and comfortable.

And so people don't get deathly ill.

I have a few methods I use that make cleaning in this house full of people MUCH easier for all of us. I will cover those in depth in my upcoming post on Cleaning.

3) Deep Cleaning

I have a confession to make here. If you've been following my blog for many years, you will know that I move a lot. No, I mean, a LOT! 

I once compared the numbers of our moves with a guy who grew up in a military family, and we had moved twice as much as him.

It's pathetic, actually.

When we move, I deep-- I mean DEEP, clean. But then, there are other times we should be deep cleaning, as well. Not everyone is as crazy about moving as I must be!

There are times and seasons I schedule for this, one area at a time. It makes what can be an overwhelming task easier to manage well.

4) Maintaining

One thing that really is different between homeschooling moms and moms who send their kids to school, is that homeschooling moms never really have hours of time to clean each day. I think that is the most frequent comment I get from other moms: "When do you get time to CLEAN?"

I have a couple of witty answers to this question, but to be brief, let's first just say that my standards of clean may not be as high as some.


Secondly, in the case of my family, the cause is also the cure.

Yes, folks, we resort to child labor around here. This mama of thirteen is not equipped to clean up after thirteen people alone! If anyone is outnumbered in this arena, it's mothers-of-many. And so we make our minions contribute. 

It's good for them!

5) Beautifying

Once a young man, a friend of one of my sons, walked into our house and declared "Your house looks like a Grandma's House."

Even though his tone of voice was not complimentary, I could have kissed him.

Yes, that is what I am going for, son! Comfort. Sentimentality. All the feels.

When it's YOUR home, you should make it a place you never want to leave. The Joneses don't figure into this area of the Homemaking Arts, and neither should we worry about being Pinterest-Perfect.

Homes should be places where our families feel loved and content. They should be a haven from the storms of life, not photos that belong in magazine pages.

I am really looking forward to sharing more of my thoughts on the subject of Beautifying, as well as all the other systems I use.

I'd love to hear more about YOUR tips for homemaking, so please share them in the comments below.

Here's to creating the homes that make family life sweet!

Love, Mama Rachel


  1. We have approximately the same systems! And I vividly remember those days of homeschooling when home felt like a 24/7 Walmart with no downtime in which to deep clean. I incorporated subjects like Domestic Arts and Horticulture to take care of the house and yard with all of our slaves, er, um, I mean children! We actually had some really fun times together and they all know how to clean and take care of a home now that they are adults and on their own. The days seem long, but the years fly by and somehow the infrequent paydays add up to real joy.

  2. I wonder if we have moved as much as you and moving is still in our future. So I know what you mean by that sort of deep cleaning. It's the moving everything out of the cupboards, the washing of the walls and the doors, the moving every bed, and taking every thing off from the shelves to wash and to dust. And because I move a lot, I try to do it often enough so when moving time comes, it's not hard or disgusting.

    I think I am pretty good at making things clean. Our surfaces are dust free and the bathrooms are pretty much always shining. The kitchen gets washed and swept 3 times a day. The floors get washed and scrubbed every week. Vacuuming is everyday. The blinds and sealing fans get a weekly dusting. Vacuuming is daily. I even wash the kitchen cupboards as needed with a deep clean twice a month. But I live with a man that has stuff and he likes his stuff to be out and piled. For peace, I had to give him surfaces to toss his things. I tried for 10 years to organize him and he hated it. My kids put things on the book shelves everyday. I am not a good decorated. Since we homeschool and mostly on the floor, the living room floor has books and papers, pillows and blankets piled on it for 6 hours a day. My house is not beautiful. I have never had the budget for it nor do I have natural taste. Decorating is work for me. My home is plain. I would like it to be beautiful. I would like every surface to be virtually empty. I always say someday. But after nearly 20 years of somedays, I doubt I will ever have a beautiful home. I am not sure if I should just satisfy myself with clean, cluttered, and dull, or try harder.

  3. I will enjoy your posts on this subject. I think it is an important one. While raising my children I had them do chores and then when I had to work for a while; they really did a good job of helping out. We had a tidy home but not always a home that was deep cleaned. Like you we moved a lot. We moved 22 times so it helped to keep at bay clutter and just stuff we would collect. I did try to do the fall and spring deep clean. Now my dear husband helps me a lot and we manage to keep things tidy while we are out and about doing our missionary work. Blessings for doing this one!

  4. I know that the time will come someday where I'm a better homemaker than I am now. My oldest is 5, then a 2-year-old, and a 2-month-old. The 5-year-old is learning to do chores, as well as the 2-year-old, but the deep cleaning and basically the cleaning in general is up to my husband and me. And he's in a rigorous school program right now (vet med) so it's me. But I love getting tips and advise from larger and more seasoned families! My,goal is to have q warm, comfy "grandma" home as well!


Old Fashioned Motherhood will not approve any comments that are rude, negative, or disrespectful. Thanks for being civil! :-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...