Nurturing My Nest Blog

Routines and Rhythms of Homemaking
Intentional Homebuilding & Custom Built Education
 Based in Tennessee. Available for travel.

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Household Management & Time Management

10 Hacks to Simplify Your Home & Daily Life for Successful Everyday Life

Looking for ideas to boost efficiency in your daily routines?

Scrutinizing your everyday with the goal of more play time and more learning time created by less housework?  

Contemplating a new scheme for less energy extended toward house maintenance?

Consider a few of these ideas to improve your management of home and time. Working through some improvements through the summer promises an easier transition into the upcoming school year. Whether you select a traditional route or a homeschool option for school, these ideas will offer more time for the best of your days. Creating skill building in your kid’s routine guarantees new capabilities. Whether organization comes easy or with grueling efforts, new patterns usually offer relief. Saving time and energy on a weekly basis is always worth some extra effort. “Be careful to make a good improvement of precious time,” stated David Brainerd, an American missionary to the Native Americans. This is a wise thought for us all.  

Time is a gift. I am all in on improving my usage of time.


1. Purchase a day planner or calendar – physical or digital

Imagine deciding to go on a trip. Would you strike out without packing a suitcase, mapping out a physical path or identifying a plan for each day of the trip? Of course not. So why should you bounce into a summer or a school year without careful planning or without determining your goals. The best way I know to end successfully is to plan specifically before you embark. 

Select the method you know that best suits you. Since I like to see goals spread out monthly and yearly, a paper day planner works best. I select the planner with daily, weekly and monthly pages. Some organize life on an enormous calendar. Others choose one of the numerous digital options. 

Select what operates best for you. Plug in all the activities and commitments that you currently anticipate for the upcoming fall and spring semesters. Add church and community commitments, classes out, volunteer work, music lessons, sports practices, and any consistent activities. Once you properly access what is needed weekly over the entire summer or semester outside your home, the daily schedule can be outlined. For my family we guard our time away from home. Since we choose “home” schooling, our time at home needed to be properly protected.  My personal rule is no more than two days away from home for any outside activities. The intention of three to four “at home” schooling days prepares for optimum school effort along with time to do family time such as meals together and reading time.

2. Simplify your housework. Sort out your daily chores. 

When teaching, stand nearby and teach orally.  Keep your hands in your pockets.  The job might require a demonstration the first time, but resist the urge to “show” how to do the job over and over.  By keeping your hands in your pockets, you will be forced to talk your child through the job until they master it.  Once the job is consistently completed independently, they will be proud of themselves for a job well done.

Encourage and cheer on several times until the task is learned.  Rotate chores every six months to a year. Everyone needs to learn every job since you imagine them each being an independent adult.  Your future daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws will thank you.  Expect excellence, but not perfection.  Be pleased with the child’s best.  Keep instructing until they complete the task completely.  This is where patience is a must. Some are eager to learn while others really see it as drudgery.  Keep talking it up.  When others notice how well they complete the job, they will compliment your child. This outside approval usually spurs them on more than your compliments.

Expect and then inspect. Cheer them on by bragging on their results whenever you have an opportunity.

Set the timer. Work as team. Chores before food. De-clutter by setting the timer for 15-30 minutes with a reward when the time is completed. Just putting things away is success.

See the following blogs for hacks on keeping your home:


Contributions: Teamwork in Cleaning Your Home

Team Cleaning as a Couple

6 Ideas for Speedy Seasonal Cleaning

Cleaning as a Family

Keep a Clean Home with this Easy Weekly Routine


3. Summer is the perfect time to establish these domestic patterns so that everything is not new as the fall or school year starts. 

Evaluate the ages of your children. If they are old enough to help in the kitchen, plan to guide them through preparing 2-4 meals each week.  At my house we often worked on main meals in the summer. They all prepared breakfast and lunches well. As a homeschool family, we often needed meals to go. All of them knew how to make sandwiches and prepare a cooler of food items. When we traveled to five day tournaments or road tripped, we ate from our cooler for most meals. For tutorial classes, we packed our food for the day.  Sometimes we had to be at a sports practice or game during a meal time, so we packed our food. All this repetition created confidence in their abilities to create a lunch spread! As adults, they all practice some form of food preparation and bulk cooking.

Reorganize the cleaning responsibilities for the home and train new jobs.

Identify what is working well. Celebrate those successes. Identify what is not working well. Strategize a solution complete with a plan to implement.


4. Discuss your plans with your spouse. 

Identify target areas for improvement. Take one step at a time. Tackle one area at a time. While I recognize many areas that need attention, my husband is incredibly insightful in identifying what we should work on first. I value his opinions before attacking sizable areas needing improvement.  Because we function as a team, we talk out our goals and strategies to ensure a united effort.


5. Purge regularly.

This is one of life’s consistencies!  Living in a space necessitates maintenance. Strangely, stuff just keeps coming in the door. Taking time to de-clutter. Giving away and reorganizing is a must. The process of purging is time consuming. Numerous blogs and articles offer plans and patterns to follow for success. For me, I really try to visualize the end result as well as the process. Another helpful strategy is to set aside a time to purge when extending the time is easy. My best result is to start when I don’t have to be anywhere the rest of the day. Coming at a mammoth project such as cleaning the attic might entail several days, but most other cleaning projects can be completed in a reasonable chunk of time. Always allow more time than you anticipate. 

If a purge is going to take several days, end each work time by carrying the trash out and taking the donations to your vehicle. Realize that the space will be very messy before it is better.

Plan to purge. I normally purge in December and then again in May and June. Think through your life schedule to determine the best time to attack the clutter in your house.


6. Consider learning new recipes or teaching your children cooking during the summer. 

It seems like just yesterday that I spent about an hour sitting on a stool in the kitchen talking one of my boys through the process of preparing supper.  Since his father was expected home about 7:15pm, I used the idea of making the meal to impress Dad as a motivator.  He selected fish, couscous, and fresh peas from the farmer’s market.  Simple?  Yes. This is a pattern which is easy to replicate.  However, I wanted to emphasis the concept of a meat, a carbohydrate and a vegetable. Once he was successful with this combination, we will added another vegetable and some homemade ice cream.  He loves to eat, so he seemed pretty eager.


7. Clean out the car. 

This is recognizably a point of contention for most moms. When your kids are little, it is a feat just to ensure that they are all out of the car with the bags they need for the day.  Before children, my vehicle was mostly clean.  It was washed, vacuumed and de-cluttered weekly.  This was BC (before children). Now, this does not happen with regularity at all.  I am pleased to keep it mostly clean. Time does not allow for perfection. 

In reference to management, putting this job on a child’s contribution list or in some kind of rotation on your list is worth consideration. All plastic grocery bags are stuffed under my seat. When we are approaching home or gassing up the car, we pass around this bag to collect all of the trash in the car.  When we are about a mile from home, everyone is encouraged to look around and begin claiming their things and handing others to the right owner. This is not a perfect plan, but I do believe it lessens the clutter in our vehicles.

Create purposeful activities for car time. Place a box in the back of the car for items that need to be returned, emergency supplies, paper towels, Lysol wipes, water bottles, jumper cables and other must-haves. Consider what else your vehicle needs.


8. Consider having a toy closet. 

Toys are in one closet which keeps bedrooms clean. Using bins which sort toys into categories creates easier clean-up.  Believe it or not, keeping a rotation system for the toys ensures that toys are played with more often.  When a toy box is given limited time for play, the kids usually are very eager to see those toys away. Keeping many of the toys in a closet instead of all over the house really eases the over-all clutter.


9. Separate all preschool toys into five large boxes. 

Label “Monday”, “Tuesday” and so on.  Each box would only be played with on these days. Toys were played with more often. These boxes keep preschoolers busy while moms are teaching older ones. My preschoolers played in large square playpen during early morning school. They would play with an item in the box until they wanted to trade for something new in the box.  One of my best ideas ever. Worked beautifully!!


10.  Deal with paperwork daily.

The paper monster is familiar to all of us. When the mail arrives, walk it close to the trash can. Throw away as much of the incoming mail as possible. If throwing away mail is hard, imagine what huge mess the mail creates in just a few days of being out of town. When it trickles in daily, the mistake of a delayed response lulls one into a sizable job of unearthing the counter. So, tackle the paper monster for ten minutes every day to save yourself time overall. 

Keep a drawer or basket for things that need to be kept temporarily or require a response. Develop at time when you sit to the stack, process and throw away or file what you need. My habit is to process this space twice a month. The threat of what it will become left undone propels me to get it done! Fix something to drink and get after it. Promise yourself something fun to do when you finish!


So, these are just a few ideas on making life run more efficiently at home. Since summer allows for flexibility and planning, grab hold of one of more of these ideas and implement them. Truly, these ideas are about creating simplicity in everyday life.  Share some of your favorite ideas in the comments below.

More Ideas for families and homeschooling on

  • Teaching Children Chores  
  • The Value of a Mom,          
  • 5 Ideas for Developing the WHOLE Child
  • Spiritual Blooms                  
  • Homeschool Huddles          
  • Considering Homeschooling – Start Here
  • Car School                            
  • Prepping for Preschool

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