Queen of the Lists

Posted on August 18, 2011 by


Every now and then, in the interest of keeping it real, I roll out my confessions about how hard I have to work just to be an adequate homemaker.

I am fairly well obsessed with finding a schedule or organizational system to get me through the day. I absolutely love looking at sites such as The Organized Home. In fact, given the amount of time and mental energy I put into it, my home should run like a well-oiled machine. Well, it does run like a machine, but more often like one on the fritz!

I grew up in a two-income family, and homemaking was not high on the priority list. This isn’t to say that our house wasn’t clean or that we didn’t eat decent meals. We definitely did. But there was no need for attempts at scheduling or filling hours of the day in a productive way because our house sat empty most of the day. Being responsible for keeping a house clean that’s constantly lived in is vastly different than tidying up after dinner and keeping the bathroom clean.

So once again, I find myself trying out a new strategy for keeping house in a way that doesn’t leave me overwhelmed. I am Queen of the Lists, and frankly, if I don’t have a list of tasks to cross off one by one, I will spend the whole day flitting about from one thing to the next, starting several things but seeing very few, if any, through to completion.

My current list of  Things to Get Done by Day’s End looks like this :

  • Quiet Time
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Breakfast (don’t forget to take vitamins!)
  • Kitchen and Dining Room clean up
  • Quick Clean bathrooms and empty trash
  • Make bed
  • Tend/water garden
  • cook dinner
  • prepare husband’s work clothes for the next day
  • Exercise (exactly 1 hour after dinner for maximum impact)

I have a checklist with all these little items, along with three more specific tasks for each of the 5 days of the work week.  For example, Monday’s three are to dust the ceiling fans and purge/clean underneath bathroom vanities. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it is very easy for me to forget the dust the ceiling fans if I don’t have it written down in front of me. Since I get up a full hour and a half ahead of my husband, I used to forget to go back and make the bed. Now that it’s on my list, it gets done every day, and early!

Here is where I make a big confession, one that could cost me readers among the anti-media set: I turn on the television from 9 to 10 most weekday mornings so I can clean up after the morning rush. I know how horrible that sounds, but there it is. The littles enjoy putting away the silverware, and they do that quite well, and they are excellent dustpan holders. But Superwhy, a well made, highly educational show on a  commercial free station, gives me the extra few minutes I need to get my house in decent shape once they’ve done their “chores.” At 10, the house is presentable and we can dive into our homeschool lite activities before going outside to play leading up to lunch and nap time.

There is a point to this and it’s this. If I can manage to keep a house, anyone can. I know it’s common for people to say “If I can do it, anyone can.” But in my case, it is really true. I’ve seen what becomes of my house without my lists, and it ain’t pretty!

The key to being a decent homemaker is to find out what works for you and do that, no matter what Mrs. Suzy Perfect down the street or at church may be doing. Not all of us are natural-born homemakers. I’m going to make yet an other confession, one that may cost me status with the super spiritual set.

Two of my favorite books are Power of a Praying Wife, and Power of a Praying Parent. When my life is very hectic, or I am emotionally in a place where prayer is a struggle, I love these two books because they help me to pray Scripture-filled prayers for my husband and kids. I believe God can use things like this to help those of us who don’t have it all together. I also write down the names of people I want or need to pray for. Yes, I use lists in prayer! I am Queen of the Lists!

Spontaneous prayer is a part of my life as well, of course. But if I don’t have a journal with lists of people I want to pray for, a good many people who need my prayers won’t get them.

Posted in: Homemaking