I have been wanting to share a bit about how we manage to run a large household these past few weeks. Since we are a family of 11 you can imagine how important it is to have order in our home. Do we always accomplish that? Of course not, there are days that we can't get to everything but that is okay because we know what needs to be done and can get to it all quickly as needed.
I have long been a list girl for decades because I know they help me be more efficient with the time that I have available. So it is only natural for me to list that as number one on my list below! However, now that I am older I already know the many things that need to be done off the top of my head and can get our house in motion in no time.
But one of they keys I must mention before all else is to remember to delegate. You can't do everything by yourself and shouldn't need to. Children need to learn to work hard and be responsible. We do them a disservice when we allow them to do nothing all day and don't teach them life skills. As children get older there is something that everyone can do from setting the table to mowing the grass or taking on cleaning or organizational projects, etc.
So let's take a quick look at what I wanted to share today:
1. To-Do Lists - I have them for everything from morning schedules posted in my kids rooms, to cleaning, shopping, library, blogging and more. I print some out but most are on my phone or computer and they keep everything running pretty efficiently. It is a blessing to keep it all down on paper and not cluttering up my thinking. I am at ease knowing I can access all this information easily and quickly as needed. I also like to set up alarms for important things that need to get done weekly and daily.
They say that it takes 30 days to learn a habit or routine, and I find that using alarms on my phone has definitely helped with that and kept us on course.
2. Schedules -we have a special day to do certain things in our home like washing sheets, cleaning the tub, big projects, homeschool specific days and so on. I try to keep a calendar posted on the fridge for the kids to see and also give them calendars to manage their school schedules as well. Even though we don't follow this perfectly, it is nice to have accomplishments and goals to reach for during the week.
3. Delegate - Like I mentioned above it is important to work as a team. This is harder to do when the children are toddlers so I would wait until they are older. If you look online you can find tons of age specific work charts for children that are very helpful, here is one from Focus on the Family. I noticed that my children can usually do more than what is on the charts so just see what your child is capable of.
4. Flexibility & Loose Planning - I've written before that my secret weapon is flexibility because it is. In a big family you just have to adapt to what is going on at the moment. You never know who will be home or who will be gone. You also can't get emotionally stuck because your plan is not working. You have to know that all is okay and just keep moving to the next thing and make due with what you can. It is not a big deal and the world won't end. Just try to keep moving forward because that is better than not moving at all!
In the same spirit, even if you have all the to-do lists and schedules that you, they can fall through so loosely plan and be thankful and content for what the Lord actually allowed you to accomplish that day. There is actually a lot if you think about it. Loving a child, giving a hug when needed, praying for your husband--these are all things that we overlook but are very important.
5. Make Changes and Adjust - What I did 20, 10, or 5 years ago is not going to fly today. I have had to make several changes on how we run things and adapt as our family has changed over the years. We now have 2 adults and several older teens in our home so many times I felt I have had to wing things to adjust to new work schedules, outings, and so forth. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, it is just life. We are always adjusting to new seasons and this is no different. Just embrace it and go along and do your best to create peace in your little haven.
6. Find the Humor in Things and Don't Take Everything Too Seriously - When I was a younger mom I think I did take myself and things too seriously, but now I know to just laugh things off as they come and as much as I can. The most important thing is loving my family and if I can do that even when plans change that is what counts.
I hope these tips were an encouragement to you!
How do *you* run a large household?
If you need more encouragement in this area, we recommend the book Home Management: Plain & Simple by Kim Brenneman:
Home--more than a house, a home is a place for rest, restoration, and relationship. For families with children, a home is a place for care, learning, and belonging.
Managing a busy home is a serious undertaking, with many tasks to face and obstacles to overcome: the laundry monster, household clutter and cleaning, caring for babies and little ones, menu planning and mealtime routines, town outings, bill paying--and so much more!
This sensible and straightforward how-to manual is filled with systematic procedures, easy-to-understand organizational advice, with tips and hints for managing a bustling home with greater efficiency--all in a way that honors God and builds family relationships.
You can find this book HERE.
Note: This post contains affiliate links--thanks for your support!