Basic Household Management
Ryan and Leslie discuss essential elements for running a household like weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules, to do lists, and paper management.
Audio Only Version
Episode Minicasts - To do list | Filing
Show Notes & Helpful Links
Set the table:
Lots of details in running a house, this is an overview of setting and coordinating those details. The details, running a kitchen, Maintenance and chores, Budgets, Gardening, Filing, Making it Beautiful will each have a full episode or mini cast but this about looking at the different areas needed and how to pull them together.
Segment 1: I’ve got rhythm
Household mgt is about organizing repetitive tasks, very repetitive tasks.Need daily, weekly, monthly, yearly rhythms as well as irregular beats, like writing and updating a will.
Ryan: what kind of resource do I need for this?
Organizer app or paper. I prefer app because it can automatically reschedule for you and Siri, Alexa, and the others make it so much easier to jot down, but thumbs up for doing paper first. Resources for how to journal or bullet journal in show notes.
Ryan: What about physical things?
Besides the rhythms, you need a filing system. We will talk details on that soon because we now need both a virtual one and a paper one. It’s actually easier than just a paper one, but only if you actually organize your files. Otherwise you are scrolling though pix looking for the one of your license plate while you are at the DMV getting your DL renewed
Then, there are a few tricks for the physical stuff.
One, two, and three motion storage. (Put good habits like books and apples in easy reach); Activities have an area.
Ryan: What are the benefits to have this skill mastered? What’s the fruit of your labor?
Segment 2: Detail Work
Ryan: Creation of the Rhythm. What goes into this?
Very time intensive up front. Figuring all the things that need to be done and getting them sorted in a way you can follow is not the work of a day, or heck, even a month. Give yourself 6 to really get this going.
Ryan: What things should we be putting through the rhythm? Maybe a top 5?
Household chores, bill pay and finances, errands, correspondence, and essential tasks
First set a weekly then monthly schedule. Say, laundry on Tuesdays, Bill pay on the 5th and 25th. Then start plugging in household and finance tasks based on that schedule.
At first add all of it to your lists, but don’t break it down too much. "Sort laundry " is part of doing laundry.
Then layer in the rest. Group like tasks together for efficiency. Laundry day for room set up. If you dry cleaner is next to your grocery, set up for same day.
Early on I did: cleaning day, laundry day, two errand days with a main grocery run and a mini run, and a paperwork & correspondence day
Then make it a habit to check your list at least twice a day. Set an alert on your devices if you are going the app route.
Will have a habit after a few weeks, and then can sort out your own level of detail and breakdown. Voice of experience: err on the side of less breakout.
Ryan: Execution and recovery when things fall apart
When things fall apart—and they do—go back to chores, money, and re-establishing the habit; it's quicker the second time.
Segment 3: FAQ
Ryan: How do we know what things we should put into are Rhythm?
That comes with a little practice. Why you do the basics first.
Ryan: How much breakdown? Work, home, family?
I don’t recommend any more breakdown than work and home.
Twitter Thursday, Ep. 7 is Home Office Tips for the Time of Corona
Our 5th Twitter Thursday episode: What to do in the time of Corona. It's basic household management ideas for a not-at-all-basic time.
Our 4th Twitter Thursday episode: How to organize drawers.
To go full on old-school—or if bullet journaling seems too focused on the artistic journaling than the getting things done-ing— see the beginning chapters in Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House or this mid-90’s update to her very popular 80’s book on being an organized housewife, Confessions of an Organized Homemaker.
This suggestion to take a monthly life admin day isn't awful but I have concerns. One, your boss might notice you take the same day off every month (the article suggests using your birthday number) and you'd burn though days off. Two, a day a month is not enough to do even half the things suggested and that's if there were some focus. You still need the rhythms we discuss in this episode. In fact, that's one of the reasons for those rhythms, so you won't need to take regular life admin days to keep afloat.
About the “just hire somebody” option, which you will hear at some point. Attitude matters. Hiring someone to do the crap work that you think is beneath you makes you a different boss than hiring someone to do repetitive work that needs to get done. It is the difference between seeking efficiency in job specialization and creating a hierarchy of the importance of types of work, and thus, of people. Also, noticing this conflict isn't new. See this piece from 2004.