Embracing Orderliness: Three Checklists for a Simplified Home

I took the Entrusted with a Child’s Heart study when my firstborn was one. Back then grocery shopping was a quaint way to introduce my son to new colors and vocabulary, not the three-ring circus it can be now. Meal planning seemed simpler and still somewhat exciting. It was so much easier to have my finger on the pulse of my home those days.

Once upon a time, the encouragement toward orderly living (Chapter 5: A Godly Mother is Orderly), seemed like a pretty attainable goal. Betsy said, “I know I have my finger on the pulse of my home if I know how much milk is in the refrigerator. If I don’t I know I’ve been gone too much.” Only a few years and two boys since I’ve taken the study, and I realize I don’t have the level of dish soap memorized anymore. I wish I did. I stay pretty on track of the items we need, but it often requires me to check everything before each trip to the store. It is a waste.of.time. I’ve discovered an easier way, and I’d like to share this--and a couple more tips--with you.

1. List of Home Supplies

Go through your house and write down every product you regularly use. Write down hand soaps, paper towel, toilet paper, batteries,  printer cartridges, etc… Pretty much everything consumable except groceries. Take the list and create a spreadsheet. I suggest putting the most commonly replaced items at the beginning of the list. Leave the bottom for items such as printer cartridges and duct tape.

Put the items on the first column, and the months of the year across the top. Next, set a reminder for yourself in a calendar. For example, every first of the month, write "Check home supply list” in your planner. Go through the items and note how much you have left. If you know you have plenty to get you through the following month, cross off that space. Enough for two months? Cross off two months. Is it running low? Note that on the list. Then you can create an online order and get everything done in one swift sweep! If you’re not an online shopper, you can just add these items to a note on your phone, or write them on your grocery list. No more wondering, How are we on dish soap? during your already-chaotic trip to the store. (You can also create a list of rarely-purchased grocery items. These tend to be the ones I forget.)

L=Low   M=Med   F=Full   X=Definitely won’t need this month
Optional: S=Switch Brands

Item

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Hand

Soap

M












Dish Soap

L












Toilet Paper

F












Paper Towels

F












Tooth-

paste

M












2. The Daddy Checklist

Being a stay-at-home mom, I find that I am the one who knows all the answers about my kids. Because I am almost always with them, there isn’t a reason for my husband to need to know everything… However, there are times when I would rather have Travis pack the diaper bag for me than have him buy me flowers! In the past 4 ½ years, I can count on one hand the times I haven't needed a diaper bag when I've left the house with my kids. That’s a LOT of lugging and packing! Since we use cloth diapers, I can’t just always replace a few diapers and get back on the move. Maybe it’s just my house, but this little task seems to always come at the last minute. And since we are usually out and about on Saturdays, the bag has to be repacked for Sunday mornings--and we all know how peaceful that morning is for most families. ;-) Occasionally, Travis will offer to help, but his help is more of me yelling items for him to add while I’m brushing my teeth or combing my hair. I think it could be a much more peaceful process! How about placing a checklist above where the diaper bag is stored? It should list all the contents. Then you can ask your husband to refill it, and the only question you’ll have to field is the difference between diaper cream and lotion!

Example List:

  1. Three diapers
  2. package of wipes
  3. diaper ointment
  4. burp rag
  5. nursing cover
  6. onesie
  7. matching pants, shirt, and socks
  8. sippy cup
  9. teether or a toy
  10. snack


Even when kids outgrow diapers they still need to leave the house with a few things in tow. You can adapt this list for each stage. Perhaps a “School Checklist” is better for your family.

3. Car Bag

The above task could become even more simplified if you also created a “Car Bag.” In it place a seasonally-appropriate outfit for each of your children. Don’t pack one of your favorite outfits, because hopefully this bag will stay in the car for awhile. Pick something presentable that you won’t miss. When you are away from home and one of your children has a spill, accident, or unexpected water adventure, use the outfit. When you arrive home bring the bag back into the house, repack it, and take it back out to the car. Now the diaper bag only needs to have snacks, sippy cups, diapering supplies, a nursing cover, activities… Okay, it may still be full, but your time packing it will be shortened! Just set another reminder in your online calendar or planner to switch the outfits when the weather changes.

embracing_orderliness-2.png

As much as we moms like to be prepared (to be honest I’ve had to check myself from being prideful about it) there will come a situation in which we are unprepared. In it we recognize we are not in control. These moments happen to everyone, and they don’t make you a bad mother! Just roll with it, ask the Spirit for guidance, and hopefully you’ll get a good laugh out of it later! I’ll leave you with one of my most memorable “unprepared moments.” When my third son was a few months old, we decided to drive about an hour away to visit a barn sale my cousin was having. I had just found a great pair of white capris at a thrift store. Excited to wear them, I calculated the risk and decided it was worth it. Instead of packing just a change of clothes for each of my three boys, I also placed a pair of jeans in the diaper bag. When we arrived at the sale, my baby needed to nurse. He was in the middle of his nursing session when I felt--and heard--his little bottom go to town. My mouth dropped open, and I pulled back the nursing cover to discover my new white pants…. perfectly intact. Not a spot on them. However, my shirt and undershirt were SOAKED! Ugh! I had to ride home on that hot summer day with my shirt covered in that less-than-lovely smell. Oh motherhood, you sure keep me humbled and laughing!

 

Posted on January 20, 2016 and filed under Building Your Home.