Tips for Maintaining a Simple Peaceful Home

simple home

Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.
Robert Montgomery

I’m curious to know what a day’s schedule is like for you. You really have such great priorities and I’m wondering how you fit everything in each day or week? Between taking care of your kids, husband, spending time with the Lord, serving, planning, buying food from different sources, cooking, cleaning…How do you do it? Any tips on some of the best ways you organize your time while maintaining a simple, peaceful home?

This is a question I receive frequently. I am not perfect. Things can get a little distorted on the blogosphere and it is almost impossible to give a complete and accurate picture of what day to day life looks like at our home. There are different seasons in life. There are times when the schedule goes out the window (like when we welcomed #2!), and other times when God draws us back into a period of rest and reviewing our lives to eliminate anything that might be causing stress or mixing up our priorities. It is important to seek to make your home a haven, but it must not be pursued before maintaining peaceful relationships in your home. Keep are some thoughts the Lord has graciously taught me…

1. Keep your relationship with the Lord first and rise early.

We strive to wake up each day between 5:30-6:00 am so we can have some refreshing times in the Word independently. We get far more accomplished in our day when we start early enough. Lately this has definitely been rough to maintain with a little guy that is keeping us up late into the night, or when I struggle with insomnia, but it is our goal. I personally cannot pursue a wise management of my home apart from my relationship with the Lord. I need to cry out to Him daily for the ability to faithfully complete the task He has called for me. Even if I can just take a few moments to pray, pick a verse to meditate upon throughout the day, I am strengthened to complete my homemaking responsibilities with a joyful countenance. May the Joy of the Lord be your strength! (Nehemiah 8:9-12).

Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter. ~D.H. Mondfleur

2. Keep your priorities in the right place. Maintain regular date nights & family nights.

Make a list of your roles. Wife, Mother, Christian, Homemaker, Writer, Manager, whatever they may be. Then prioritize them. What are your three most important roles? My list is: Follower of Jesus, Wife, Mother, followed by Homemaker, Writer, etc. In order to maintain a simple, peaceful home, I need to guard against my role as a homemaker coming before my role as a mother. It’s so easy to keep going down the list for the day, and side track those teaching and nurturing opportunities the Lord gives with your children.

I need to make sure I am always growing and nurturing my relationship with the Lord in order that I might be able to joyfully fulfill my other roles – even if it is just 10 minutes each day in His Word! I have learned the importance of scheduling in an amount of time for just quality time with my little ones. This is on my to-do list every day! Each day, Karis and I sit down for an hour to do various learning activities together. This helps keeps my priorities in the right place. Relationships are first! When I keep this in balance, by Gods grace, everything else falls into place.

Make your own personal mission statement to help guide you in these times of evaluating your priorities.

3. Take time to rest.

Acknowledge Sunday as the Lord’s appointed day of rest. Take time to be a family and enjoy each other’s company! If you can take regular prayer retreats to just get away for a few hours, or a whole day, it does wonders for maintaining a God-centered perspective in your calling.

4. Maintain a right perspective of the home.

What is the purpose of your home? My purpose is to maintain a peaceful restful home. I want it to be a haven for my family and those I welcome in hospitality. This provides me good Biblical motivation to keep it maintained in an orderly fashion. Simplifying allows for more time to focus on relationships with your family and others. You may want to consider developing a mission statement for your home.

A good home must be made, not bought. Joyce Maynard

5. Eliminate the clutter. Have an annual/bi-annual re-haul of your home.

This is my number one means of keeping a simple home. I am continually seeking to de-clutter. When my home is organized and simple, there is peace. My goal is to have a place for everything and everything in its place as much as possible. More stuff means more things to maintain, clean, organize, break and replace! At the beginning of every year, I progressively work through each room in our home and thoroughly de-clutter. I mean thoroughly! Be aggressive! Don’t hold on to anything you don’t need. If it hasn’t been used in a few months, it is removed. I then take a load to charity (i.e. Pregnancy Resource Center, charity clothing store) or sell items on craigslist. Once you do this, each following year becomes easier! I complete an extensive cleaning spree just prior to Summer and also clear out any excess. These items then get stored for a summer garage sale.

Another idea is to include one daily task of de-cluttering a certain area, drawer, cupboard, closet, each day or week. Just chose one area to work on that week. Part of my weekly planning is asking the question: what area of my life needs simplifying this week and how can I pursue that? This may very well be that kitchen drawer that needs my attention!

6. Complete a daily to-do list (but keep it flexible!).

Each week during my planning retreat, I map out a master to-do list for the week. It is from this week that I select 3-6 tasks to complete each day of the week. Every night before I retire or before I begin the day, I try to compile a brief list of tasks for the upcoming day. This helps me plan in advance and get a good start on the next day. Writing it down helps me sleep better! My list is never more than 3-6 items in length. Keep it manageable, especially if you have children around. I strive to remind myself that even if nothing on my to-do list gets done for the day (we all have those challenging days), as long as my husband and children are nurtured and fed, then it has been a productive day! As long as I have spent quality time training and investing my children, loving my husband, and the kitchen sink is clean, I am happy!

7. Hold a weekly family planning meeting.

This was a habit developed when I was growing up. Every Sunday evening, our family would gather in the living room to discuss our schedules for the weeks, transportation needs, etc. Now, Aaron and I take a few moments each Sunday evening and sync our schedules for the week. Helps keep us organized and communicating well.

8. Take a weekly planning retreat.

I cannot express how much adding a simple weekly planning and prayer retreat has assisted me in maintaining a joyful heart in my homemaking! After feeling completely overwhelmed, physically exhausted, and being prone to be quick tempered with my children, I knew the enemy was trying to attack my joy and make me unproductive. I am realizing more and more how he seeks to attack me by discrediting my role and tempting me to compare myself with others. I asked my husband about the possibility of getting away by myself on a regular basis for just an hour or two to help pray, plan, and prepare for the week. I was so blessed when he supported me in this and it has made a huge difference in our family. Planning in advance definitely helps maintain our simple and peaceful home. Learn more about this routine here.

9. Make a regular schedule for cleaning/house maintenance.

How can you peacefully maintain housecleaning? Map out a simple schedule for your home maintenance. One load of laundry a day, bathrooms on Tuesday, Kitchen on Wednesday, or whatever method suits you. Write it out and place it in a visible spot that you view most frequently. I rarely get to indepth cleaning at this season of my life. Things are picked up, bathrooms cleaned, kitchen floor mopped, dust, and vacuumed throughout the house. These tasks are spread out throughout the week, but the majority are completed on Wednesday morning (which is my housecleaning focus day). We leave those deep cleaning projects for our annual spring cleaning spree.

10. Work quickly.

It seems basic but it is important to set your mind to a task and stick to it! Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might! (Eccl. 9:10) Set a timer if necessary and try to work quickly around your home. Can you get those dishes done in 15 minutes? Set the timer and go!

11. Conquer your distraction.

We all have them. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Too much computer, phone, email or even reading. My weakness is too much computer time. I submitted my weakness to my husband and he has set up parental controls on my computer (they have these settings within the System Preferences – Parental Controls on my Mac). I now have a limited 2 hour time frame for computer time within the hours of the kids’ afternoon naps. This has been incredibly helpful for preventing the temptation to check my email in the morning when I have more important things to do. This has been a huge blessing to guard my time! Sometimes the Lord calls us to take drastic action to help re-focus and guard us in maintaining our priorities. Ephesians 5:16 says, “Make the most of your time for the days are evil.”

12. Make a simple schedule with morning and evening routines.

For our family, having a simple schedule is very beneficial but not completely necessary. Rather than mapping out hour by hour how our day will transpire, I work around a model of “themes” or focuses for each day of the week. This gives me more freedom to not get overly consumed with my to-do list as it is much more simplified.

For example:

Mondays: Organizing for the week, Finish laundry (if necessary)
Wednesdays: Housecleaning (one week I clean the upstairs, the following week I clean the downstairs) – I also do one housecleaning task each day.
Thursdays: Baking Day (Karis and I like to make one or two recipes of muffins, coffeecake, etc. for the upcoming week – this is our morning activity together)
Fridays: Errands, Outing day (I have simplified our lives a lot by doing a monthly shopping run based upon our monthly menu plan and a monthly errand run, on other weeks I do some bookkeeping for my dad, visit family, etc)
Saturdays: Laundry day
Sundays: Weekly Planning Retreat

That being said, a day in our life looks something like this:

Morning Routine

5:30-6:00 am – Get dressed, personal devotions, make to-do list for the day
7:00 am – Make breakfast, nurse Titus
7:30 am – Family breakfast
8:00 am – Aaron leaves for work, get kids dressed (bath on Tues, Thurs & Sat), kitchen cleaned
9:00 am – Dinner prep, fill water bottles, Housecleaning task for the day
10:00 am – Karis time (learning activity, baking, tea, etc)
11:00 am – Walk with kids

Evening Routine

After dinner:

Pack Aaron’s lunch
House pick up
Family devotions
Lay out clothes for tomorrow
Personal shower (Tues, Thurs & Sat)

That’s about it! I love the simple life…

For further inspiration for simplifying in many aspects of your home, check out my Simple Living Series. Join me in the nitty gritty aspects of simplifying my home.

Simplifying in the Bedroom
Simplifying Menu Planning
Simplifying in the Bathroom
Simplifying in the Kitchen
Simplifying Your Wardrobe
Simplifying Your Purchases
Simplifying the Toy Collection
Simplifying Your Home Office

Further Resources:

Managers of Their Home by Steve & Teri Maxwell – this is a helpful resource especially for home school mothers for managing your homes. My mom used this constantly growing up in order to manage all the different schedules of a household with eight children.
Shopping for Time: How to Do it All and Not Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney – my favorite read on maintaining a proper balance of being wise users of time, keeping Christ first, and still maintaining your home. Read my review here.
Confessions of an Organized Homemaker – a great practical book on home organization.

What tips can you have to share?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

64 Responses to Tips for Maintaining a Simple Peaceful Home

  1. original site January 31, 2013 at 2:23 am #

    Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this site daily, this website is truly nice and the viewers are genuinely sharing pleasant thoughts.

  2. ~M September 15, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    This is hugely helpful, but would you explain what your schedule was like when you were at home before kids? Thanks!

  3. Marymom October 21, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    Thanks so much for this website. I have learned so much and I am continually motivated by this blog to refocus when I stray from the vision God has called me to, which is often. I view you as a mentor and hope that you and your husband are very successful in all your endeavors. I have been reading along for several months now and have found your advice to be thought provoking. I am an in home day care provider with 2 children of my own and I hope that all my “children” benefit from the tips I put into place. Yesterday, I felt like the play room was overloaded with toys and the kids seemed uninterested in playing. I took out about 1/4 of the toys and today they played longer alone and fought less.

    Blessings,
    May

  4. Great-Granny Grandma August 16, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Great tips.

  5. Trish August 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    Interesting and inspiring. As a mother of 5 (10, 6, 4, 2, and 1) I am constantly looking for ways to stay focused on what is important and not beat myself up with what hasn’t gotten done. I am a morning person by nature but as the kids started coming I realized I was failing at getting up early (and beating myself up for failing) and realized I must go with what works for me. Now. What works changes all the time! Because my husband works more than 80 hours a week I needed to make time if at possible for him to spend with the kiddos, and with me, but still needed to keep some schedule and routine for the sake of my sanity and our kids well-being. I found that for my sanity staying up late (after the kids go to bed) was the key. If I woke early the kids just woke early too. I felt prepared in the morning and less overwhelmed. I also realized that I had to give myself a year (yes, one whole year) after a baby was born to get it together (this in and of itself was so liberating). So for a year I’m always behind on laundry, eat out more than we should, and the house is always in need of a good cleaning, but my kids were happy, I was happy, and life was peaceful. (I might also note the we move every other year). Just a simple chore list for when we do wake up and a simple chore list before I go to bed was enough to stay on top of things no matter what time we awoke or went to bed. I have also started assinging a time for my weekness (blogging) each day and only sit down at the computer at that time. I know that as each week flies by it gets a little easier and I improve a little each day. But I try to remember to start the day (even if it is 10 am) with a prayer, a scripture, and a lot of hugs as they come trudging into my bedroom and if some mornings it just doesn’t happen – I can try again tomorrow.

  6. Julia Brown July 29, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Wow – this is such a great post. Thank you SO much for taking the time to write all these details out so clearly.

  7. Lauren July 22, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Thank you so much, Lindsay for responding to my question! What a wonderfully helpful post that was. My husband and I are loving married life! Wow, what a precious gift from God. I’m so glad that I have been reading your blog before getting married as there were reminders that spending time with my hubby was so much more important than getting the house perfectly tidy before guests came over. I love reading your baby and toddler tips for the future too!

  8. Honey July 20, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Thanks for all the ideas everyone posted and for the wisdom in the intial post about the priority of God, and family, and being busy at home. I just wanted to encourage women with small children to not feel condemned if you can’t rise early. Fit in your quiet time wherever you can. My youngest boys are now five and I can get up earlier than the children now. But for me, it was challenging to do so until now. I had 5 children ages 2.5 and under (.25 year old, two 1 yr olds, and 2 newborns). So, I was exhausted. I did not have a lot of devotional time-I don’t recommend skipping it, but I did learn a few things during that time. That what I had sewn, I was able to reap in that time. As a single woman, I tried to store up the Word in my heart. And now as a mom, God was very faithful to me in that when I had nothing to offer Him, He would meet me by putting a scripture on my heart. His truths would encourage me continually. He fed me spiritually, when I couldn’t feed myself. And now, I feel I can get back into the game to store up more truth for another season. Do what you can, look for chances to pray & read the Bible, and know that his grace covers what we can’t accomplish.

    • Rebekah July 22, 2009 at 7:22 am #

      Honey, thank you! I never thought of it this way before, but I too spent so much time with the Lord before becoming a wife and mother and I also feel that He was preparing me for the season I’m in now. I’m so thankful that He is greater than our weaknesses and more loving than we understand!

  9. Lisa July 18, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    This was a good reminder for me. I do pretty well at keeping our actual living space uncluttered and simple, but keeping my spirit uncluttered I find more challenging. I am incredibly blessed to have two babies 16 months apart, but Little Man has severe reflux, and is up every 40 minutes some nights. I feel like a zombie most days. Even though I get up with my husband around 5, I’m often too exhausted to do much productive and my quiet time has gone out the window. Your encouragement to just grasp hold of one verse to meditate on throughout the day spoke to my heart, and I’m going to begin to do just that. I also struggle with computer time. I do most of our shopping for clothes and alot of bulk food online as it’s much more frugal, but sometimes I get obsessive about finding the best deal and waste more time than it’s worth. So even though I’m nearly always engaged in a worthwhile pursuit when I’m online, I need to be careful about spending too much time, especially when the children are awake. Thank you for these reminders. You are a blessing.
    Lisa

    • Kate July 23, 2009 at 6:04 am #

      Ask the Lord to show you the best deals on the internet, He will :-) . That way you won’t spend more time than you wanted to. And you’ll get done faster!

      • Lisa July 25, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

        Good idea. It also helps that we’ve finally been able to get high-speed internet (by getting rid of our landline phone and other internet service, it actually costs LESS!) so I spend less time sitting waiting for pages to load!

  10. Barbara July 18, 2009 at 4:34 am #

    This is such a wonderful article, thank you, so many of us need more organization in our daily lives, this is really a good help.

  11. Annie July 17, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    I’m really enjoying your posts! What a great and inspirational site. We have very similar interests! Check out my blog when you get a chance – http://www.allnaturalannie.com. Enjoy your time away from the computer!

  12. Lisa July 17, 2009 at 8:45 am #

    Thanks for the wonderful post. This is my first visit to your site. You seem to have the same views as I do for home and family. I wish more people would cherish a simpler life and not have so much stress and hectic running around. I will definitely be checking back. Have a wonderful day!

  13. Maggy Smith July 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    So many hints to use! My husband, daughter and I will be moving out into our own home in December. We’ve been staying with them since my husband went back to school to further his degree. Anyway, we had to move in a hurry as I was laid off (illegaly I might add) right after my c-section. Thus there was no time to de-clutter as one usually does during a move.

    ie: “Honey, do we need to pack ‘insert name of useless item here’ or can we just toss it?” “Huh, I thought I had thrown that away, toss it!”

    Reading all these hints has inspired me to go over to amazon.com and add a simplify your life workbook to my wishlist. I’m ssoo eager to begin!

  14. Rebekah July 15, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    WOW. I am so challenged by this post! I’m a new mom with a 6 month old daughter. Lindsay, I really appreciate your tips for staying organized, especially your committment to eliminating clutter! This is something that I think I’m okay at, but not great. We have a TINY one-bedroom apartment, so all the baby stuff has to fit in our bedroom. It was so good to hear how other moms are working with their small spaces as well! I’m totally using your “Simplifying the Bedroom” idea about eliminating nightstands and using a basket for magazines, books, etc. instead – THANK YOU!

    One comment about working in a quiet time … I was really discouraged about this for a long time, because I felt like I couldn’t focus when my daughter was awake and when she was asleep, I had cooking, cleaning, planning, etc. to deal with. I admire so much moms who rise before their husbands and children to spend time with God. My husband works a combination of days, nights and weekends and my baby is awake by 7:00 AM every morning. For me, early morning isn’t best. Instead, I make time for God in short sessions throughout the day and it isn’t always super-formal. I read a chapter or two of Scripture in the morning, while my daughter plays on the floor. I sneak in a few minutes for prayer alone or with my husband right before we go to sleep. I make an effort to acknowledge God’s prescence and blessings in my life throughout the day. I also listen to podcasts and radio programs from various Christian speakers and discuss them with my husband after my daughter is asleep at night or while we’re in the car (driving is a great time for conversation with minimal distractions!)

    Although this isn’t as disciplined a method as the daily 45 minutes I used to devote to quiet time as a single woman, I feel that different seasons of life call for some flexible and creative adjustments in routine! Find a system that works for you and don’t feel guilty if it’s not as strict as it used to be.

  15. Donetta July 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Your blog is very nice. What a lovely young woman you are.

  16. Diana Bauman July 14, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Thank you so much for your encouraging thoughts! This has definitely been a struggle in my life and seeing it written out really helps simplify things. Thank you and God Bless You!

    Diana

  17. Maggy Smith July 14, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    My family and I (myself, my husband and one silly, lovable daughter) are in transition right now as my husbanf finishes going back to school for his degree. Thus we live at my in-laws house. However this has given me so many ideas about how to simplify our lives when we move out in December.

    Thank you!

  18. Bethany July 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

    Seasons of life… I see there are several comments on that note! My current season is a hectic one, & I have struggled, especially lately, with maintaining balance in my life and setting right priorities according to God’s will. My husband and I are VERY active in our church as that is what the Lord has called us to for now. (We are youth leaders for 7-12 graders and head up the usher/greeter ministry; I am the church secretary; and we happen to be best friends with our pastor and his wife and have been called to minister alongside them.) On top of that, my husband works full-time outside our home and we have a 12 mo daughter. I just wanted to share with you all what a week in MY life looks like and see if I can get any constructive criticism/tips on how I can possibly streamline and simplify:

    Sunday- morning routine, print & fold church bulletins (announcements), church service, lunch, volleyball community outreach, youth group, evening routine (bed)

    Monday- morning routine, church accounting, lunch… dinner, women’s Bible study (husband has card night with guys & DD), evening routine (bed)

    Tuesday- Laundry Day, volleyball with friends after dinner, evening routine (bed)

    Wednesday- morning routine, lunch, pool playdate, grocery shopping, dinner, study through Revelation at church, evening routine (bed)

    Thursday- morning routine, lunch, DD to mother-in-law for afternoon, Cooking/Errands, Family Night with in-laws (dinner), evening routine (bed)

    Friday- supposed to be a “free day” or “catch up” for missed things in the week, but usually end up planning something with someone :(

    Saturday- morning routine, Farmer’s Market with DD (husband has men’s Bible study/prayer), lunch, afternoon & evening are usually a mixed bag like Fridays… sometimes have youth events scheduled (at least once a month)

    I could get more specific, but this isn’t MY blog! :o ) (No, I do not have one either.) Some notes that I do think are worth mentioning are… we cloth diaper, make our own baby food, and use Azure Standard for bulk purchases.

    Any help is appreciated! Thanks.

    • Lindsay July 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

      I don’t know all the details of your situation but my first thought is I would recommend you start cutting back on your church commitments and activities. I don’t believe it is the Lord’s will for anyone to get too caught up in serving the church at the sacrifice of peace and harmony in your home. Remember that serving your husband and your child is just as an important ministry! Do you have time for date nights and family nights? It should come first. All your church events are good things I am sure, but I know of too many families whose children walked away from the Lord because the parents were too involved in ministry and overlooked their family. This may be the perfect opportunity to allow someone else in the church to be given a chance to serve. Others will rise up to take your place. A single individual would be a perfect candidate to lead the usher ministry (for example) as they don’t have the priority of a family yet. I would really encourage you to pray about it and seek the Lord. I can testify from my own experience, as both my husband and I love to serve in the church, that it is easy to take on many different opportunities. Aaron is very gifted and could very easily head up the worship ministry and the sound ministry. We are both passionate about missions and have headed up various mission projects..but we really have to prayerfully evaluate our priorities in this season. We can easily kill ourselves by serving in so many areas. The result often times has been strain upon our marriage and family life. I am often reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was so caught up in serving the Lord that she neglected the most important thing, sitting at His feet and communing with Him. She overlooked the joys of resting and enjoying her company. We can commune together with our family by resting in the presence of Jesus (which is at all times and places-He abides with us!) They are numerous opportunities for us to serve, but they must be balanced with our first priority of our family. Just my thoughts from my own experience. Hope that helps!

  19. Shannon Hazleton July 13, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    Great tips, Lindsay. Kudos to those of you who are looking forward to marriage & children, and already seeking advice. Being prepared in advance will help so much!

  20. shannon July 13, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    great tips, thank you!

  21. Anna July 13, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    Do you have any advice for a woman who works a full-time job, M-F, and also has full responsiblity of cooking, and taking care of the house? We do not have children (yet), but it is still difficult to wake up everymorning when you have to push yourself to face a 9 hour day at work and then more work to follow as soon as you get home. I’m starting to find this to be very difficult and I feel as though I am losing my true self. I am not the woman I should be.

    For those of you who are a full-time employee, full-time wife, and full-time chef/housekeeper; PLEASE offer some words of encouragement!!

    • Renee July 13, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

      Anna,

      I work outside the home full-time as an elementary school teacher in an urban setting. I have a three year old daughter and eight month old son. My husband genuinely loves to clean and finds it relaxes him, so I have a lot of help with keeping our home tidy, but I do all the meal planning, cooking and budgeting.

      I think my first bit of advice would be to evaluate your profession. I feel a deep calling to teach in the urban setting, and so while the days can be stressful, I get great satisfaction from knowing I am impacting struggling youth. This makes it not feel so much like “work.”

      Since I work during the week, I menu plan on Friday night, or Saturday morning. I write all meals for the week on the calendar and cook “planned” overs, so that at least one night I am not cooking, only re-heating. My #1 tip for keeping meals healthy and home cooked ( I find poor planning leads to take out!) is to do the prep work in the early evening AFTER the night’s meal has been served and cleaned up. If I know I need veggies chopped for a stir fry, I will do that around 8pm once the kids are down, so that even if something unexpected happens the next day, dinner will still go on as planned.

      I shop for food once a week, and visit a chain store (ie. target) about once a month. I buy birthday/special event presents about once every 3 months, my feeling is that I always know when my family members are having their birthdays and planning ahead lets me get a nice gift at a better price. It also cuts down on unnecessary stress. Most week nights, once I am home from work, I am home. I do not leave the house unless it is for a family walk or church related. By eliminating all those little trips to the drugstore, supermarket, etc. I have more time with my family.

      As for waking early, I did that before my son was born. I have to make sure I stay rested, and so I envision waking early again once he is about a year old. Right now I have my quiet time before bed.

      I hope you find my suggestions helpful. :)

      • Anna July 14, 2009 at 7:42 am #

        Thanks, Renee. I think my biggest problem is that I do not find my full-time job outside the home very rewarding. I am an office manager for a law-firm, so it is a high demand job that should feel rewarding. I was going to school to become a teacher; however, I gave that up in order to get a full-time job that paid well and would enable my husband to find a career that he truly enjoyed. I was hoping that once he found that, I would be able to work part-time or not work at all and focus my time on taking care of him, our future children, and our house. Obviously we are not there yet so I am just trying to keep a smile on my face and be patient (it’s getting harder and harder). I’m hoping that within a year or two we can afford to start a family and I can focus all of my time on them!

        Thank you, and God bless for feeling passionate about teaching our children!

        p.s.
        my husband hates cleaning!! ;) He’d rather be fishing, ugh.

  22. Crystal July 12, 2009 at 6:12 pm #

    Lindsay, your tentative daily schedule looks like mine. I have three kids, 7, 4 1/2, and 21 mos. I was just commenting to my husband, “How can I cook homemade healthy meals, and clean, and take proper care of our kids, and take care of our relationship?” The answer: strive to be the best we can with what we have, and reprioritize constantly… It’s not always pretty, but we work with what we have during that stage of our life.

  23. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship July 11, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Echoing many commenters…computer is def. my weakness right now, too (like I should be doing dishes and soaking tortilla dough right now!!), and I’m terrible with routines. I wanted to recommend a book called Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot that gives lots of good ideas to finding a routine for the family. My favorite? The Mother’s Sabbath. Check out her website, too!

  24. ChristineG July 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    Thanks for the fabulous post, Lindsay. I am linking and looking forward to implementing some of your ideas. :)
    Christine

  25. Jill July 11, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    I loved this post…very helpful. Going to share some of your tips on my blog.

  26. Clare Baalham July 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    It’s amazing that this is your latest blog entry as I had just sat down to try to organize a schedule for our new lives so I thought I check whether there was any advice on your site. We welcomed our first son one month ago and our routine has changed a lot! I am aware how quickly I lose focus on what’s important and waste time on what’s not. These are helpful tips and reminders. Thank you!
    Clare, UK

  27. Victoria July 11, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    Well, I had one more thing to say about this post, but I wasn’t quite sure how to say it because sometimes when I say things, they come out all wrong and people get the wrong idea about what I’m trying to say. After taking a night to sleep on it and praying, I’ve decided to go ahead and say what’s on my mind! I used to ‘rise early’, but it was hard and I was exhausted. There was no way I was going to roll out of bed and trudge down the hall and open up my Bible. It was a struggle, and I felt terrible when I couldn’t do it. During the worst of my postpartum depression, I read PASSIONATE HOUSEWIVES DESPERATE FOR GOD (what a Godsend!), which addressed this issue directly. I’d encourage women who have children who are five or under to reconsider this ‘rise early’ bit especially if they are having significant struggles with it. After reading this book, and specifically after reading that chapter, I let this expectation go. Not only did my Bible readings go on MY time, but I found that the extra hours of sleep was what I REALLY needed to get into the right mindset. As I started to let some other long-held traditions go, I found that the depression was much easier to handle and recovery soon followed. An awake mommy who’s had enough sleep is much more likely to deal well with her husband, children, and household. Also, I was soo much better at understanding my Bible study. You can see from my previous post that I also have ADD, which makes Bible study…well…more like nails on a chalkboard than a meditative peaceful time. With PPD on top of that, Bible study was a time where I opened up the Bible, and cried because I simply couldn’t focus long enough to read a verse–and then felt like a failed woman and cried some more. Everyone has to find their own way to run their home, because we are all as unique as God’s creation, but I wanted to speak up for that handful of mommies who would NOT benefit from rising early and preparing themselves ahead of time. I realize it’s in Proverbs 31 that the woman of the house gets up early and does this, but I have observed that the woman of the house also has handmaids who she probably put in charge of getting up with her babies :) That’s not to say that I don’t prepare ahead of time, I just do it the night before. When we get up, the cereal’s made, we just have to heat it up; the coffee’s made, I just have to pour it; after eating, the clothes and towels are out, we just have to bathe and get dressed. Once that’s all done, my wee one hangs out in front of BABY BABBLE on TV (my son is the autistic one, and has a lot of sensory and speech issues, so I threw the ‘no TV’ bit out the window and bought some autism DVDs which has made mornings around here more peaceful) and I am free to read the Bible for about 30 minutes. I don’t do a study, I use the reading plan from biblegateway.com. I can’t keep track of all that stuff because of the ADD, but the website does it for me, so it’s sooo easy. Not every woman’s morning will look this way–especially since neurotypical toddlers should stay FAR AWAY from television–but I wanted to give you a look into another mom’s life. I felt guilty for soo long about this, but not anymore. It was an integral part of my recovery from depression—I’m almost tempted to say it was the hub. Remember Proverbs 29:25: “THE FEAR OF HUMAN OPINION DISABLES; TRUSTING GOD PROTECTS YOU FROM THAT.” It’s what has enabled me to do what is better for my own family, and not worry about what others think about it. Well, I still worry about it, because I’m not perfect, but you get the idea. Thanks for reading my uber duber long post, and I hope it has come across to you as loving, informative, and from the heart.

    • Autumn July 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

      I agree that the ‘early to rise’ theme is not a one-size-fits-all. It happens to fit me and I thrive as a mom when I wake up at 5:30am instead of 7am, but that’s just me. The important thing is that everything gets done, I don’t think it matters so much that it gets done early in the morning.

    • Kate July 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

      Actually I LOVE waking early. I’m not a night time person. I was fine when my children were younger.

      Maybe, for people who don’t like getting up early could use this advice. But it’s not for everyone.

      Well written tho! No offense taken.

    • Laura July 13, 2009 at 4:39 am #

      Victoria, I think you make a really important point! Thanks for sharing. I, too, struggle with getting up earlier than my husband (no kids yet, and we both work outside the home), but have found that once I released myself of that expectation and instead focused on getting done what needed to be done in a time frame that works for my body, we were both happier. I still get up a bit earlier than him, but not at five like I was pushing myself to do before. Like you, I find that I can prepare many things the night before and the morning just goes really smoothly. I like for us to connect with one another in the morning over breakfast, so it’s important to me to make that possible some way or other–but it doesn’t have to be by waking up super early.

    • Gillian July 13, 2009 at 7:18 am #

      Victoria,
      Thank-you for sharing your perspective! You have some great principles to keep in mind. I realy respect the fact that when you struggled with doing it the way people said you should you didn’t just use that as an excuse(or your ADD etc.) and give up. Instead you found a way that worked for you to get the same end result!! What an inspiration:)

    • Tempe August 19, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

      That’s a great reminder for those of us who struggle with sleep. There is no way in this current season that I could wake earlier than my son – he is nine months old and wakes 3 to 8 times per night. We are working on the sleep issues and are making some small progress. He gets up for the morning at 5:30 or 6 am. I can barely function and take care of the most basic needs of my family, so I have long since given up on the idea of rising early to read the Word; although I think that as soon as I start to get more sleep, I will feel much better if I can rise before my children and prepare myself for the day.

      Like you said, nothing is one size fits all and life does change regularly – we have to roll with it. :)

  28. Megan July 11, 2009 at 4:03 am #

    Thank you so much for your blog! It has been a blessing to me since I found it. Many of the things that you write about, are things that the Lord has been pressing on my heart within the last year. I’ve taken many steps to simplify, greenify, and just make better, healthier decisions for my family. You are such an encouragement and offer many things that spur on my thinking. So, thank you!

  29. Michelle July 10, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    I really appreciate you sharing your advice on keeping a simple home. I’m constantly trying to simplify and remove clutter. Not to mention trying to keep 3 kids from killing each other over the summer. :) I’ll take all the help I can get!

    -Michelle

  30. Victoria July 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    Yes, we are a “D” family–PPD, PDD, ADD, and ADHD. We must keep everything simple, or it will all fall apart. ADD’s are packrats, so we have to constantly go through the house, armed with big trashbags, and start throwing things away. We don’t do the whole “keep, toss, give away” because we’d never get around to ‘give away’. It’s just “put away or throw it out”. I wish there was some way to just leave a bag of ‘give away’ stuff out front and someone would magically pick it up and give it to the people who need it!

    • Kate July 11, 2009 at 4:14 am #

      The Salvation Army does pick-ups. Look in the phone book.

    • Laura July 11, 2009 at 6:51 am #

      There are quite a few organizations who will pick up donated items. I know that in my area (Fl), the Salvation Army offers that service. You might want to check with some of your local charities to see if they do this as well. They may require more items in one pick-up than you normally amass in one cleaning session, but maybe you could keep items packed up in your garage/attic/storage space until you have enough for a pick up?

    • Victoria July 11, 2009 at 9:57 am #

      I never thought of that. Thanks for the information!

  31. Betsy July 10, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post. I love the concept of schedules and routines but have such a hard time implementing them. This has really motivated me to strive harder, for the sake of a peaceful haven of a home. Your blog is so wonderful, Lindsay!

  32. Amanda July 10, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    Thank you!! I really enjoy this blog. FYI- the kitchen links to the office article.

  33. Jennifer July 10, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    Thank you! What a blessing you are to all of us on this similar journey of Motherhood. I can’t tell you just how much I appreciate your willingness to share all of the wisdom you are gaining along this journey. Your post on the things I struggle with most (organization in the home) was refreshing, encouraging and motivating! God bless you and thank you! I am improving everyday and find a lot of inspiration right here. This is a post I will be revisiting as necessary! ;)

  34. Eryn July 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Lindsay, once again, you have blessed me!

    I am misty eyed as I’m reminded of what my priorities need to be…I’ve been wrestling with how exactly to go about changing up my routine to match my priorities…this is a fantastic list and very encouraging. Thanks for sharing your experience…Eryn

  35. Amanda July 10, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    This was a great post! I have 4 children (ages 5,3,2,and 4 months) and sometimes it feels like a schedule is something like you’d hear in a fairy tale! A lovely idea but not realistic. But then I look at myself and see how the simple choices I am making are hindering me in this area (i.e. DISTRACTIONS! struggling to get up early, not having the proper mind frame, misplaced priorities). So, this was a wonderful thing for me to read today. Practical, easy to understand, and thought provoking. Thanks so much!

    • Melanie W. July 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

      Hi Amanda,

      I wanted to tell you that you will be SO RELIEVED when you do get around to a schedule with four kids!!! I am a homeschooling mom of four (7, 5, 3, 11 months). I still fall of my schedule frequently (with my distractions…like this laptop I am currently on!) but it is so good for my kids to know what is next and have the consistency in our home. I also have 4 neices and nephews (9, 8, 6, 2) living in our home so our schedule has actually become a God Send!!! It would be utter chaos without it in our home of 11! Just remember to incorporate new things into a schedule slowly!!! You will be discouraged if you try to come up with too many details all at once! Good luck!

  36. Kelli July 10, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    Wonderful tips!!

  37. Erin July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    I agree with rising early being so important. This is something I really struggle with, in this season of having little ones that don’t always let me sleep through the night. I have a 4 yo, almost 2 yo and am expecting another one this fall (especially being pregnant, I have been really tired). One thing I have done is ask the Lord to help me get up before them, even if it’s just to read one chapter of the Word and to pray. He has been so faithful to do this and it makes such a difference in my day!

    • Kate July 11, 2009 at 4:15 am #

      When I get up, I pray and ask what He wants me to read. It may not even be a chapter. It could be one scripture, w/revelation knowledge.

  38. Sarah July 10, 2009 at 9:34 am #

    This is so helpful, thank you! I’m transitioning from splitting the load of working/homekeeping with my husband to him working and me keeping the home. It’s quite a challenge and your godly advice is very encouraging!

  39. Christie July 10, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    I have been following this blog for about a month now and am so encouraged to read about other women who share the same virtues and are actually excited to be a Godly wife and mother! Thank you for sharing your tips on frugality and simplifying the home. You are a great example of a modern day Proverbs 31 woman!

  40. Danielle July 10, 2009 at 9:00 am #

    Excellent post! I really needed this today.

  41. Cara July 10, 2009 at 6:13 am #

    funny, I was just thinking about this! I have 3 children (2 of which are school age and I homeschool) and one on the way. I was planning to create a daily “schedule” for them today in preparation for the upcoming school year! :) Prob’ly not a coincidence that the first thing I read on my computer (yep, that’s my weakness too!) is this, reminding me what I’m supposed to be on here doing. Thanks!

  42. Kate July 10, 2009 at 6:11 am #

    I’m all about rising early! I’m up at 5 myself, that gives me time to exercise, shower, dress, prayer and study time (and do what I need to do, before the house awakes). Then when my hubby wakes (usually around 630-7) We come together to study the Word together.

    Rising early is the BEST way to feel accomplished when the day ends. At least for me.

    I also work outside of the home, so my schedule is a bit different. But we manage, my hubby helps me, and I LOVE him for that.

  43. Melanie July 10, 2009 at 6:04 am #

    This a great post. My husband and I recently sought to further streamline the maintenance of our home, and we decided to keep a journal of what was causing us stress and anxiety throughout the week. We found that my biggest source of stress was grocery shopping with a toddler, and his biggest source of stress was trying to do home repair work (we’re remodeling an old farm home once owned by Amish by ourselves, so there’s lots of repair work!) and being interupted by our toddler. This was sad, because our second stress was not spending enough one on one time with our toddler! We decided to lean on each other, and consciously remove these stresses from our lives. My husband had been craving alone time with our son, so I do grocery shopping one evening a week while he and our LO do ‘manly’ things. I had been lamenting that I wasn’t cooking and baking with my son the way I intended, so now he and I have a baking party on Saturday mornings while DH does remodeling work. Our problems were solved, and we felt better for it! I really recommend taking a week to journal everyday household stresses.

  44. c July 10, 2009 at 5:58 am #

    This a great post. There are certainly seasons of life. I currently have to work, though we think those days may be coming to a close, and are very prayerful in that direction. It can be so frustrating to be at work and think of all the things I want and need to do at home, but we don’t have children yet, so that is a blessing. My husbands work schedule constantly changes and it’s hard on us both to not have regular rutines. In addation to that we are living with friends, which makes nest and homekeeping especially difficult. Right now I have to focus on not being too hard on myself or frustrated, and just roll with the punches. But this is SUCH a good reminder of the direction I want to move in. Thanks!

  45. Angie July 10, 2009 at 5:51 am #

    This is a wonderfully thorough listing of advice. Thank you for sharing.

  46. Anonymous July 10, 2009 at 5:37 am #

    These tips are great, even for the nonreligious among us. I’m just saying this to let you know that your blog appeals to a much wider audience than you probably think!
    This is an often-heard tip, but I sometimes set a timer in order to get things done as fast as I can. It somehow works better than setting a deadline.

  47. Shannon July 10, 2009 at 3:59 am #

    I think you covered everything very well:) ONe thing I did learn the hard way I am afraid is to make sure I was refreshed (rested and freshened up) before my husband came home. I know it sounds like its all about me but when I do this then my husband who comes home from working hard for his family comes home to a wonderful, happy home and a wife who has her arms opened up to him. Does this make sense?

  48. Tricia Shanahan July 10, 2009 at 3:11 am #

    Lindsay, I needed to hear that today. Thank you for allowing God to bless me through you. You have been anointed by Him. May God richly bless you.