A homemaking routine is your best friend when it comes to home management. Here’s a sample homemaking routine built around theme days, plus how to implement it using your daily planner. This post is sponsored by Homemaker’s Depot, my favourite planner company!
A Simple, Old-Fashioned Homemaking Routine
Do you wish you could make better use of your time?
Do you wish you had a better handle on all the homemaking tasks you need to do, and that you didn’t fall so far behind?
A few years of homemaking and “adulting” quickly taught me that there’s so much more to managing a home than cooking and cleaning! You also have to schedule family activities, run frequent errands, supervise home repairs, sort through mail and papers, and the rest.
Even when you enjoy being a home manager, it can get overwhelming.
No matter how long you’ve been a homemaker, it’s crucial to reevaluate your routine now and then, especially when you start to get that sense that you’re not making the best use of your time. Check that you’re allowing time for everything that needs to get done, and that your routine supports your goals and priorities.
My biggest breakthrough in homemaking this year was adopting a better routine, and using my Daily Planner to implement it.
The routine I use is the “theme day” homemaking routine outlined in Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.* Because it lends itself well to customization, I can see myself following this same routine for years to come.
*Large Family Logistics is now out of print, but you can purchase used copies on Amazon. There is also a new version of the book called Home Management: Plain and Simple, although I have not read that one!
The basic premise is that you assign homemaking themes to each day of the week, and then batch together the tasks that fit under each category. Brenneman suggest the following seven themes, which you can assign to any day of the week (Rest Day is always on Sunday, though):
- Cleaning Day
- Office Day
- Town Day
- Kitchen Day
- Yard Day
- Laundry Day
- Rest Day (Sunday)
I love this homemaking routine because it takes into account all of the different things a homemaker needs to manage. It also makes use of the productive power of time blocking. Instead of trying to daily accomplish one task from each different category (clean the bathroom, do a load of laundry, return a phone call, etc.), you get in the “zone” of one theme and work more efficiently.
The magic happens when you combine this “theme day” routine with the Daily Planner from Homemaker’s Depot. I’ve mentioned before that the Daily Planner is my ideal planner and my homemaking command center, but it works even harder for me now that I’m more intentional with how I use it.
First off, the #1 thing I love about it is that it’s physical. I can have it out on my desk, take it with me to appointments, and write in it at any time. Digital tools have their usefulness, but sometimes the old-fashioned methods are actually better–more practical, more accessible, and more versatile.
The Daily Planner by Sue Hooley has 8 different sections, all of which you’ll put to work with a theme day homemaking routine:
- Year (record year-at-glance dates, plus pages for yearly planning and goal setting)
- Month (2-page month view)
- Week (2-page spread with entries for each day, plus sections for meal planning and tasks lists)
- Tasks (lots of lined but untitled pages for you to customize)
- Projects (more lined pages for planning larger projects and events)
- Info (an address book to jot down short-term contact info)
- Shopping (tear-out shopping lists, plus pages for recording a Master Shopping List you’ll refer to often)
I recommend that you read Sue’s explanation of each section of the planner to help you get the most out of it. (Find it at the bottom of the planner product listing). Your planner will help you keep track of your homemaking routine, manage your schedule, and set–and accomplish!–weekly and monthly goals.
Here’s how the theme day homemaking routine works, plus how to use your planner to implement it.
Theme Day Homemaking Routine (A Weekly Routine for Homemakers)
If possible, plan at least a two-hour time block to accomplish the tasks for each day’s theme. Change the length of the time block depending on the size of your home and your family’s needs. You can use this routine whether you are a stay/work-at-home mom, or even if you work outside the home–just move the time block around to fit your needs. Break it up into chunks if necessary, but keep in mind it works best if you do it all together.
If you have family members who are physically able to help, be sure to recruit them to help with the daily themes! Assign chores on Cleaning Day, or have older children entertain the youngers on Office Day. Everyone who lives in the house should contribute to its upkeep!
On this day, do basic housecleaning tasks such as vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning the bathrooms. Add at least one additional task from your master cleaning list. These can include things like cleaning windowpanes, wiping down bathroom walls, and other tasks that do not need to be done every week. On a daily basis, you’ll want to do 15-minute pick-up sessions, so on Cleaning Day you can get started right away, without first having to clear the clutter!
Using your planner: In the Tasks section, create a “master cleaning list” of jobs that need to be done, although not on a weekly basis. You may also wish to categorize these by monthly tasks and seasonal tasks.
This is the day to work on administrative tasks at your desk or the kitchen table. Here are some things you might choose:
- Returning phone calls
- Writing and mailing thank you notes
- Responding to non-urgent emails
- Scheduling appointments
- Sorting and dealing with non-urgent paper mail
- Paying bills
- Planning menus and shopping lists
- Clipping coupons
- Sorting/tossing old magazines, newspapers, and other subscriptions
- Straightening desk area
Using your planner: You will need to prioritize the most important things first, so in the Week section, write down the top tasks in the box for that day.
This is your day to run errands and go to appointments. This might include:
- Returning items to a store
- Grocery shopping
- Doctor’s appointments
- Random errands
- Extracurricular activities
Depending on your family’s needs, you may not be able to put all of your Town activities in one day. Try to combine what you can, and when you do your weekly planning, look for spots where you can fit the other things in with your schedule.
From past experience as a child who grew up with a Town Day, I recommend building some special treats into this day for your family! The longer and more tiring the day is, the more special the reward! You might want to consider an easy, fun takeout meal for supper that night, packing a special snack for your kids, or visiting a new-to-you park when you’re on a different side of town.
Using your planner: Always bring your planner with you on Town Day! You’ll use it to keep track of your shopping list, record gift ideas you notice while out and about, and track appointments on the Year and Month calendars.
Start as early as possible in the day so you can accomplish the bulk of your family’s washing. If you have a very large family with lots of laundry loads, you may need to have a separate day to wash sheets and towels, perhaps on Saturday or on whichever day typically seems to have a lighter workload for you. Laundry Day is also the easiest day to schedule workmen to come to the house, since you know you’ll be home and you’re already planning on “interruptions” from the washing machine anyway!
Using your planner: Use the customizable Tasks or Projects sections to keep clothing inventories for your family. (This is especially helpful if you use the Rule of 10 for your family’s wardrobes!)
This is the day for doing kitchen tasks–both cleaning and extra cooking! Put on a cute apron and some fun music, and if you have a toddler, give them a special kitchen-themed activity so they can be near you.
Here are some things you can pick from:
- Clean sink, microwave, oven, or fridge as needed
- Do a fridge or freezer inventory and clean out old leftovers or spoiled food
- Straighten pantry
- Do food prep, like cooking meat for recipes later in the week
- Make a freezer meal (here are 10 freezer breakfast ideas!)
- Do bulk baking
- Declutter a cabinet or drawer
- Thoroughly clean backsplash and counters
Using your planner: In the Week section, write down the top tasks in the box for that day. In the Tasks section, keep a list of family favourite recipes, plus the corresponding cookbook page number (or blog URL).
This is your day to do outdoor tasks like gardening, sweeping the porch, and lawn care. Personally, I do not currently have a garden and my husband does most of the lawn care. So I use this day for Home Business Day, when I buckle down to work on larger projects and longterm goals. If you have a home business where you make and sell products, blog, or do direct sales, consider making this one of your theme days. If you can’t cut out Yard Day, perhaps you could fit in a load of laundry every day and then use Laundry Day as Home Business Day instead.
Using your planner: Use the customizable Year, Tasks, or Projects sections to track seasonal tasks.
Sunday is for rest and renewal, not for checking things off your to-do list. You can make Sunday more restful by preparing as much as possible for it on Saturday. This means getting children bathed the night before, laying out church clothes, having a tasty make-ahead breakfast ready, a crock-pot meal planned for lunch, etc. Sunday is a GREAT day to pick a non-TV leisure activity from this list.
Using your planner: At some point towards the end of the day, take about half an hour to map out the week ahead, putting in the tasks you plan to accomplish for each theme day, and circling the ones that are top priority.
When you’re armed with a solid routine, your home will run more smoothly–and you’ll be a much happier homemaker! And while there will certainly be days (or even weeks) when you deviate from the routine, you’ll always have a template to come back to. Keep refining it and honing it to serve your needs, and take joy in a home well managed!
Get the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner mentioned in this post here! There are discounts offered if you buy 3 or more copies. (They make great gifts!) You’ll also receive free matching menu planning worksheets to download and print.
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