How to Run a Household
If we aren’t purposeful about what goes on in our homes, chaos ensues, especially if we have kids. Someone has to take charge and get things done, whether they are doing it themselves or issuing orders. Most stay-at-home parents will tell you it’s both. Here are some tips for running a home like a business and getting everyone involved to keep the household running smoothly.
Assigning a Family Manager
Decide to run your household like a business.It may sound strange to think of your home in terms of a business, but we’re not talking about your home becoming an impersonal corporate machine. Rather, the idea is to apply business management practices to your household as a way of bringing order.
Choose who will manage the house.Once you have determined that a home management system is needed, it is necessary to designate a home manager (also called a “family manager”). This person will more than likely be the parent who is home more often, since their job will be to keep a close eye on the operations of the house.
- It does not matter which parent takes on this manager position, as long as it gets taken. True, in many homes the mother is the likely candidate, but fathers are just as capable of taking on this role.
- The same applies whether both parents work or one stays at home to care for the children. Whoever is home more often will be best suited as home manager.
- If one or both parents work from home, the parent who counts as “home more often” is the one available to give their full attention to the family most frequently.
Break your tasks into categories.Most home tasks can be broken down into six categories: family and friends, food, special events, time and scheduling, finances, and self-management.
- You can be creative with how these categories get completed each week, but breaking household chores down into tangible categories makes running a home instantly easier.
- Making a separate to-do list for each category may help with organizing and prioritizing the household.
- You can organize tasks in each category in a number of ways. You can pick one category per day of the week and accomplish all tasks for that category each day. Or you can assign a category to each hour in a day, spending time on specific tasks until the hour is up—no matter how much is done, rather like periods at school.
Decide your style of management.Do you like to delegate tasks as quickly as possible, or do you like to do everything yourself? Looking at the six areas of household management can reveal which style you prefer, and show you where this is working for the family and where it isn’t. Seek help for the areas that aren’t flourishing under your current style of task management.
- The fact is that no one style of leadership works all the time in all situations. A good manager is flexible, adapting to each situation as it arises. Not to mention that different people (your family members) respond differently to every management style.
Determine your strengths.Once you have those six categories laid out, you can see where the family manager is strong and where he or she is weak. Noticing strengths provides clues to what motivates you and what drains you.
- To determine the family manager’s strengths, look at the state of the house. Are they already good at completing everyday chores like laundry and dishes, or do they abandon that work in favor of creating fabulous meals?
- The family manager should use this knowledge to perfect what they are good at and seek help for where they are weak. This way there is balance in all the household tasks, not just one aspect of them.
Figure out solutions for your weak areas.Once you see what you’re good at, you’ll notice where you need to improve. Having others balance your weaknesses will keep your household running in good order.
- Is there clutter in family areas that makes it hard to relax? Find someone who is good at minimizing clutter and put them to work, whether they are a family member or a friend.
- Ask for help from your family members, but you can also read books and internet posts about how to be more flexible. You can also find friends who are good at the things you’re not, so you can learn from them.
Organizing Your House
Choose a location for the family calendar.The family calendar should be centrally located, preferably the kitchen. It’s important to know what everyone in the household is doing in a visual so that things don’t get forgotten.
- Making this calendar a white board allows you to quickly jot down everyone’s schedule and erase it when changes arise. In other words, a flexible calendar will help you be flexible.
- Include a weekly menu so that family members can simply read it instead of nagging the home manager. Allow them to make changes to the menu as long as they are willing to pay for the different ingredients.
- Tack up an ongoing grocery list so that family members can add to the list themselves when they see a supply running out or want a particular item.
- You can also create a space for phone numbers near this calendar to minimize stress.
Set up a grocery shopping routine.Make a plan for when groceries will be purchased each month and how much money will be spent on them. Knowing which day this shopping trip occurs each month will minimize stress for everyone.
Set up a place for mail to be stored.Mail can get piled up if it doesn’t have a designated home. Minimize clutter fast by setting the mail where the home manager can go through it once a week.
- You can add a space for important papers so that when a child needs a permission slip signed or a bill needs to be filed, nothing gets lost. The family manager should check this bin each evening to sign things, and children should check it each morning before school.
Make a chore chart.One of the best ways to manage a home is to have help. Set up a weekly chore chart so that every member of the family has a job and the weight of the entire household doesn’t rest on one person. This is part of the business management structure concept, that the boss (family manager) delegates tasks.
- Chore charts are good for many reasons, including getting help to manage the house, building confidence in children, and teaching responsibility.
- You can make your own chore chart or find a printable template online.
Designate areas for clutter.Even though the goal is to eliminate clutter by having an organized home, clutter is going to happen. Busy schedules interfere with good intentions all the time. Clutter can be combed through once a month to keep from getting out of control.
Schedule big cleaning days.Once or twice a year at the changing of seasons is a good time to clean out areas of the house that normally don’t get attention. Regular maintenance of rarely-cleaned places keeps a home looking and feeling clean year round.
- You are probably putting away warm or cool clothes twice a year anyway, so digging a little deeper makes sense.
Educating Your Family
Call a family meeting.Once you’ve decided who will be the family manager, you need to explain this official situation to the entire family. Although it might feel strange for everyone at first, once they see how much more efficiently the house is run, they will get on board.
- Explain the role of the home manager, including the vision to run the home like a business. Lay out the six parts of a home for everyone so they can determine what areas of housekeeping they’re strong in. If they are strong in an area the family manager is weak, recruit that person to help the home manger.
- Explain if you have decided on bringing in outside help to assist the family manager with their weaknesses.
Explain the new organizational changes.You’re going to set up a family calendar, a chore chart, and a paperwork filing system—all things that may take some getting used to. Explain in detail how each part of these things work.
- If your family has never been exposed to organization on this level, consider this family meeting a “training” session for “new employees.” Of course, you’ll train while living daily life as well.
Agree on the rules of the house.No house goes without a rule system of some kind, but now that you are getting purposeful about running the household, a true set of rules needs to be defined. This provides clear understanding about what is expected of each family member.
- When people have unspoken expectations, disappoint can lead to anger and even resentment. Having a clear set of rules prevents such expectations, thus circumventing anger altogether. Less anger means a happier home, a pleasant result of truly running a household.
- Make sure that everyone has a voice in setting up these rules. This will prevent resentment and rebellion.
- Write down the rules you agree upon, perhaps even posting them near the family calendar.
Develop a family mission statement.One last step to uniting the family under this new style of management is developing a mission statement together. This statement is a one-sentence catchphrase that describes the things your family values most.
- For example, your mission statement could be like the Three Musketeers, “All for one and one for all.”
What about single parent families?
- Give your family time to adjust to this new way of housekeeping. The kids may take a while to get used to doing chores, not to mention how much effort it will take parents to learn new routines.
Video: HOW TO RUN YOUR HOME LIKE A BOSS | D.I.Y HOME MANAGEMENT BINDER | HALOHOME
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