Establishing a Homemaking Routine: Prioritizing

This Series:
Establishing a Homemaking Routine: Prioritizing (this post)
Establishing a Homemaking Routine: Planning
Establishing a Homemaking Routine: Maintaining

Before our first daughter was born, I was a stay-at-home wife. I had a nice and relaxed homemaking routine that worked beautifully. Enter baby number one. That pre-baby routine flew out the window and it took me a few months to get my feet back under me (especially with some unknown health problems dragging me down). Finally, I found a new routine that fit well with my new baby. She woke, ate and slept at regular intervals and I was able to include her in some things and work other things into her nap schedule.

Then, I had baby number two. This darling little whirlwind wasn’t a good sleeper until almost 2-years-old and she gave up naps really early, so my former routine got tossed out the window… again. For the longest time I felt like I was spinning my wheels just trying to manage some crisis control. Instead of being a “keeper of my home”, I felt like I was a one-person “relief team” in a national disaster area! (I do have to jump in here and give brownie points to my amazing hubby for helping out around the house so much!!)

I knew that living in survival mode wasn’t getting me anywhere.Β The very first thing I needed to do was prioritize what needed doing. (If you are going to follow along and establish a homemaking routine, be sure to create your own list of priorities! We’re all in different seasons of life and circumstances, so your list may be very different from mine.) I recommend asking your husband what his top priorities are. You might be surprised! If you’ve been neatly folding his socks, but what he really would love is to have a de-cluttered living room when he gets home from work, you might be wasting time and energy. Here’s what I need to get done for my household to run smoothly.


  • Meals: We don’t eat processed food, which means we have to be intentional about meal planning, grocery shopping and prep.
  • Dishes: The slightest bit of neglect in this area leads to a mountain of dirty dishes and all of us eating oatmeal out of coffee cups (tell me it’s not just our house where this happens!), so I have to keep this close to the top.
  • Laundry: Wearing dirty underwear is not fun. Enough said.
  • Clutter: Before kids, my hubby and I would clean up all clutter at 8PM, then have a nice relaxing evening. Loved it! This is my hubby’s big request, so I will be tackling the clutter at least once a day! πŸ™‚


  • Bathrooms: Dirty bathrooms are just so disgusting and I’ve been guilty of neglecting ours for way too long! The good new is that I have learned to clean it (minus the shower/tub) in just SEVEN MINUTES! πŸ˜‰
  • Floors:Β We have all hard-surface floors in our little 1940’s hobby farm house, so every speck of dirt (and there are a lot of specks on a hobby farm, people!) shows instantly. Sweeping and vacuuming have to happen at least twice a week to keep the floors from getting grimy. I’m aiming for daily in the near future.
  • Meal Planning: When I meal plan, we have healthy and nutritious food. When I don’t, it’s not pretty.
  • Kitchen: I would like to do a deep clean every week (clean out and wipe out the fridge, wipe splatters from the walls, mop, etc.).

Even more important than those daily and weekly house-keeping tasks, I have two precious little girls that need love and attention, so I try to keep that in mind when planning out my days.

Our next step will be setting our routines to work with the natural rhythms of our days!

Sometimes we can get stuck in survival mode and establishing a routine seems overwhelming. If that’s you, follow along on my “Surviving to Flourishing” series for step-by-step help to get out of survival mode and back to living your life!


25 thoughts on “Establishing a Homemaking Routine: Prioritizing

  1. Sarah says:

    Yes your priorities sound exactly like mine and I know exactly what you mean about the dishes I tried to go a weekend without doing them… I will never do that again, but the thing I have the biggest troubles with is laundry I can never seem to get everything folded/hung up we always have a few lingering baskets of clothes that seem to never get done any tips for that??? Thank You

    • LOL! Laundry is never-ending at my house, too. When I just NEED to get it all done, I get it all washed and dried during the day and then pop in a movie once the girls are in bed. I fold and hang-up the clothes while watching/listening to the movie and by the time the movie is done, so is the laundry. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the comment, Sarah!

      Anybody else have good tips for us?

  2. We’ve used coffee mugs for bowls too, LOL. I sometimes joke that I need two dishwashers for all the cooking I do! One day my kids will be old enough to help out with washing dishes too. ;D I’ve been working on my homemaking routine and binder recently and have planned to blog about it next month I think. My priorities are about the same as yours…cooking, dishes, and laundry but I actually do have to clean our floors daily because three kids under 4 make for a ton of crumbs *everywhere*! πŸ˜€

    • I can’t wait to read about your improvements! And hang in there with the dishes, you’re so close to having real helpers!!! Our 4 1/2 year-old can empty and reload the dishwasher and she’s been doing the rinsing for hand-wash dishes for a long time. Just imagine all of the help you’ll have in a few more years!! πŸ™‚

  3. Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one thrown off by the arrival of a little one! I was doing real well- up until the baby was born. Since then, it’s been the same struggle just to stay even- forget getting ahead! Dishes are at the topmost on my list, since it always seems like if I miss one day, suddenly we’re digging around for spoons to eat with. My little one will be crawling soon, so I think the floors are going to have to be bumped up from their current low-priority position. I think it’s definitely time to start some schedule rearranging!

    • You’re certainly not the only one! Your comment about floors made me laugh. Our little crawler (who just started walking!) made my bump the floors way up on my list when she decided that anything she found on the floors was meant to be eaten. YUCK! My first baby would just hand anything she found to me. Thanks for the comment, Nat!

      • What, it isn’t meant to be eaten? Lol, just kidding. I won’t even get to that stage before I have to pay attention to the floors- just the mobility alone is enough to give me the squijeebies! We have dogs, so I’m not too keen on letting her scoot herself across a floor filled with dog hair and who knows what else! LOL.

        I enjoy following your blog, it does give a little bit of encouragement. It’s nice to see that other moms have some of the same struggles I do! And now… back to making pear sauce. The floors can wait… for now. πŸ˜‰

        • LOL! I can’t even imagine how I’d keep up with our little floor explorer if we had pets, too!

          Thank you so much for the sweet comment, Nat! I’m glad that I’ve been able to share our experiences to encourage others! πŸ™‚

  4. I hear ya on the routine going out the window with little ones! We have 3 under 4 here and it has been a wild ride. The dishes and laundry seem to multiply overnight. The dog is in full-shed mode right now…. I think we are finally MAINTAINING, though making forward progress with projects hasn’t happened in years. The biggest help recently has been getting those fabric bins for toys and teaching the boys to sort and put away. We do this several times a day. Actually, they have lost two whole bins of toys for poor behavior and things are SO much easier to clean! πŸ™‚ Thanks for linking up at Thrive @ Home!

    • LOL! I’m afraid it’s MY toys that cause most of the clutter! Although, “toys” means herbal books, craft projects and a bunch of blog-related things. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the comment and for hosting the link-up!

  5. Wow, we’re so much alike! I love the recommendation to ask your husband for his priorities. This really simplified my homemaking routine! I ask him at least once a year what his priorities are because it changes from season to season. Love your new priorities!

    • I wish we lived near each other! I’m always amazed at how similar your posts are to the way I think and do things. πŸ™‚

      That is a great point about asking periodically for an update on your husband’s preferences. Depending on what’s happening in our lives, things get shuffled around to run more smoothly. Thanks for the comment, Leigh Ann!

  6. I need to figure out how to balance housework, homeschooling, and blogging. I definitely need to reevaluate and come up with a better plan because I am failing on each front.

    I love blogging because that is “me” time. Homeschooling is a huge priority, and homemaking is a must. Balancing all of that where each gets the attention it needs and deserves is hard.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how you progress with your new routine!

    • LOL, true! But then we have nothing to put our coffee in! πŸ˜‰

      Don’t be too impressed! At this point I am most definitely NOT on top of things, which is why I’m doing this series. The next post will be out next week, and I am so excited about it! I hope it is as helpful to other ladies at it is to me.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Kendra!

  7. Our priorities are very similar! Perhaps because neither of us like dirty underwear? LOL! I asked Anthony and it helped so much because I was able to find out the few things that really bugged him. By getting those done I am able to not stress as much about the things that bug ME when I don’t have time. Thanks for sharing at Fellowship Fridays!

    • LOL! It must be the dirty underwear! πŸ˜‰

      It really helps me to be able to focus in on what I know Kevin will appreciate the most and give myself some grace on the other thing when I need it. We had been married for a couple of years before I asked him about it the first time and I can’t believe I waited that long! I was way off base on a couple of things, so taking the pressure off of those tasks really helped.

      Thanks so much for the comment and for hosting Fellowship Fridays!

  8. Oh Justyn, do I relate to you post and many comments. With a 3 year old and a 4 month old at home with me all day and two “big kids” who come home to make clutter, and dishes, and laundry,some days I am struggling to keep up. I’m parenting, cooking, cleaning and blogging and trying to keep balance. I found you through Fellowship Friday’s and glad I did.

    • I’m so glad you did, too! I hope that we can be an encouragement to each other! I’m right there with you, just without the older kids contributing to the mess. πŸ˜‰ I’ve got a series about having kids helping with all of the cooking, cleaning and other things that go into keeping a home, if you’re interested. Of course, mine are younger (4 1/2 and 10 months), but maybe there will be an idea in there that will help get your older ones more involved.

      Thanks so much for commenting! I have a few minutes of down time, so I’m going to enjoy it by popping over for a visit at your blog! πŸ™‚

  9. I’m like you… I had a routine pre-kids and then after my first daughter was born, and then somehow with a couple moves and another kid, all the routines went out the window. I now feel like I’m back into a routine (with a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old) that involves an hour and a half of cleaning once a week… but I could do a bit more. Maybe I’ll start working in an extra task each week. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the encouragement! And good luck!

    • Aw, thanks! Good for you for getting back into a routine- it’s a lot harder than it sounds! πŸ˜‰ I’ve been thinking ahead to adding in extra things once the routine is stable, but I’m not there yet. Thanks so much for commenting, Bonnie!

  10. tricia kelly says:

    thank you for this post, as a homeschooling mom with 5 kids aged 7 and under i sometimes feel so overwhelmed with housework, and although we manage fine, i always imagine that every other mom has the “perfect” house and its only me that cant keep up. Its encouraging to see that we all share the same struggles. Thanks for the tips on prioritising. x

    • Thanks so much for the comment, Tricia! Don’t imagine that you’re the only one- we all struggle with something and for most of us, one of those “somethings” is housekeeping! πŸ˜‰ When our kiddos are all grown and moved out, they won’t care that we didn’t have a spotless house. They will care what the atmosphere of the home was. Remembering that always makes me feel better. πŸ™‚

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