The Busy Girl’s Guide to Keeping the Home

You CAN be a great homemaker–even when life is moving in the fast lane! Here are 5 practical ways to maintain your home in the midst of busy seasons.Get list of practical ideas for maintaining the home--even in busy seasons! You can be a great homemaker, even when life is moving in the fast lane(:

It’s a pity that some people feel shamed for being busy.

I’ve come to realise that busyness is not, in fact, a sin. As much as I value living life in the slow lane and learning to let go of things that crowd our schedules, I also know that sometimes life brings busy seasons.

I’m busy right now, actually. Every day is full as I get ready to launch my book, Your Simple Home Handbook, and as I prepare for taking a maternity leave when our son arrives. But being temporarily quite busy doesn’t mean I have to be unhappy or feel guilty.

And neither do you. No matter how busy you are right now, you can still–right now–enjoy a fulfilling, abundant, even peaceful life. You don’t have to wait for life and schedules to slow down in order to enjoy God’s blessings. Blessings are not on hold, waiting for you to become a little more perfect in order to experience them. They’re all around you!

When I’m in a busy season, sometimes I get very stressed out in my homemaking–and being stressed doesn’t lend itself well to noticing God’s blessings, or to living abundantly. As I said in The Busy Girl’s Guide to Staying Healthy, I’ve found that doing simple, ongoing maintenance is key to staying afloat during hectic times. The day may come when you have time to do a deep spring cleaning, but in the trenches of the everyday you need to keep things simple!

Here are 5 practical ways to keep your home, even when you’re a busy woman:

Simple Salmon Supper

1. Prioritize food over housework

If you have to choose between vacuuming the floor and cooking a meal, pick the latter. Your family will forgive all kinds of untidiness if  their bellies are full and they’re not scrounging around for something to eat.

Sometimes I have trouble prioritizing my to-do list. The need to prep dinner vies with cleaning the bathroom and doing dishes and folding laundry. It all seems so important to accomplish nowbut it’s my own expectations that have elevated these tasks to urgency level. In fact, cleaning the bathroom can usually wait another day, but we can’t skip supper. Postponing housework doesn’t cost anything, but getting takeout out of desperation or running to the grocery store for supper does!

To make it easier on yourself to provide ready meals for your family, keep your pantry and fridge stocked with real food staples. If you have time on the weekend, prep some make-ahead breakfast freezer meals. Keep your meal planning simple, and at the very least, take a couple minutes after breakfast each day to decide what you’ll make for supper that night. Having a freezer/fridge inventory on hand can help you to see at glance what ingredients are available.

One chore per day

2. Pick one housework chore per day

Instead of being sporadic about when you accomplish household chores, set a rhythm that you can follow and easily maintain each week. What are five basic chores that, if accomplished each week, will keep your home generally clean and well-maintained? Assign one of these chores for each weekday, and every week follow the same schedule. Set a timer for yourself to do the chore, if that makes you more efficient.

My housework maintenance plan looks something like this:

  • Monday: Clean the bathroom
  • Tuesday: Dust the furniture
  • Wednesday: Clean the kitchen sink
  • Thursday: Sweep the porch
  • Friday: Vacuum the floor

Ideally, on Saturday I’ll pick one “special project” to do, like cleaning out the car, simplifying an area, wiping down appliances, etc. Lately, my cleaning schedule looks a bit different (Eric vacuums the floors now, as that’s become a more challenging task for me as my due date approaches). But this is just to give you an idea!

Do all your laundry in one day

3. Do laundry just once per week

The once-per-week laundry method has simplified my life so much! We usually do all our laundry on Sunday, so we can start the week with clean clothes. I don’t want to feel like laundry is never-ending and always needing to be done–and this is how I would feel if we spread out this chore throughout the week. If you happen to love doing laundry every single day of your life, at least put a load in first thing in the morning and get it taken care of right away! 

Now, I know that having a baby can change things! Since we plan to cloth diaper, I will likely do a couple of diaper-only loads per week. However, the bulk of our laundry I still plan on doing just once a week.

Tidy the house for 10 minutes each night

4. Have a nightly “ten minute tidy”

Taking just ten minutes to straighten your home at the end of the day can make a huge difference in keeping clutter at bay! If you have kids, they can help with this blitz cleanup, too! Sometime in the evening–around suppertime or before bed–spend ten minutes tidying the house. Fold throws, put away random items that have accumulated on bookshelves, put away toys, take out the recycling, etc. I’ve found that clutter breeds more clutter, but if you keep things generally neat you’ll be less likely to let additional clutter pile up.

Bring Fresh Flowers Indoors

5. Add elements to your home that engage the senses

  • Light a candle in the evening, or for the dinner table
  • Bring flowers indoors and put on the mantle, bathroom counter, bedroom dressers…
  • Put on background music while you work or eat
  • Crack the windows open on a pleasant day
  • Add a few cozy, textured blankets to the couch for chilly evenings

These elements are the custard sauce of homemaking–simple touches that elevate the ordinary and push you across the threshold from house to home.

I hope these 5 practical ideas have encouraged you that you can make it as a homemaker, even when you’re busy! Find the rhythm of your maintenance mode, and in the meantime, stop apologizing for being busy.

Stop waiting for things to “slow down” before you give yourself credit as a homemaker.

Enjoy life where you’re at–even if the current is moving a bit faster than you like.

Want mentoring to help you revitalize your home? Check out the 2017 Homemaking Ministries Online Conference, happening this September! This year’s theme is on finding purpose in your home. There are 23 incredible speakers lined up, with 27 sessions that you can watch live or view on your own time. Learn more about the conference HERE.

Want more “Busy Girl’s Guides”? Check out The Busy Girl’s Guide to Staying Healthy!


  1. Love it Elsie! I always prioritize food…over everything! When my blood sugar gets low I turn into the worst version of myself, so you will never find me cleaning when it is time to get my FOOD ON! LOL

    I also love the quick nightly clean up. It really doesn’t take that long (once the kids are in bed) to get the house looking a bit better. And you feel completely different when you wake up to a home that isn’t totally trashed. Changes your whole outlook for the day.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I like the idea of prioritizing meals. I have “functional twins”(adopted via foster care and only four months apart in age…he was four months olf when she came home as a newborn). They are now 4 years old(and nearly 4yrs) and I have been tryimg to get out of the survival mode that goes with twins. Meals are the area we are struggling in! But it makes such a big difference for my hubby especially!

    Oh, and part of keeping sanity for us is doing one load a day…but the rule is to never start a second load until the first is folded and put away. That way you never have Mt Laundry sitting around waiting to be folded!! It works for us…with he number of people, it gets to be too much if I leave it all week. And if I never start a load before the previous is done…I can actually skip a day on the weekend and it is no big deal!

    Great stuff! Off to find those clean camera tips!lol

    1. Wow, twins! How neat/active!! We might switch to daily laundry eventually…we’ll see how it goes! I love the tip about finishing a complete load before moving on.

      What do you mean about “clean camera tips”? Lol! I’m not sure what you mean!

  3. I was just doing more of prioritizing food or meal prep before my cleaning and other duties. Thanks! I love these ideas. In fact, I’m getting close to my due date as well. It’s interesting to hear about others as well. 🙂

  4. Great tips! Having been a working single mom for over 18 years, here are two habits to help you stay on top of things and sane –
    1. Kitchen must be cleaned up before going to bed. This one thing keeps your life so much more organized. You start each day fresh instead of with yesterday’s undone dishes.
    2. Have a plan for dinner in the morning.

    I’m a load a day laundry person. I don’t have a day to devote to laundry. Since laundry pretty much does itself except for the folding and putting away which only takes minutes – I find it easier to do one at a time.

    I also wipe down the bathroom every night so I don’t have to deal with build up. I would rather spend 2 minutes when it can still be cleaned easily instead of 30 minutes scrubbing.

    Your are right – The nightly pick up is a must. Again, 10 minutes now or 2 hours later…

    I strategically spend spare minutes.

    1. Thank you, I love those suggestions! I had my first baby in April, and housework is definitely more challenging now. I like that idea to wipe down the bathroom nightly. It would be super quick and keep things looking nice longer!

  5. One of my friends told me last night that God gave her a new word. She no longer goes on about how “busy” she is but instead, she says she is being “fruitful.” I love that.

  6. These tips would definitely keep my home tidy with less efforts. I like to see my place clean and smelling fresh, but I don’t have the time to do maintain it often. Therefore I think to follow your instructions for a clean house!

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