Do you dream of having a home that runs like a well-oiled machine? An old-fashioned weekly homemaking routine, ensures you get everything done without stress and overwhelm.
Why We Need a Homemaking Routine
For most of us, our grandmothers, and perhaps even our great-grandmothers, knew how to keep house. Maybe they didn’t have the BEST of everything, but what they had was tidy, and well-cared for.
They also took care of themselves. They got up and got dressed every day. They had their hair washed and set on certain days of the week.
Meals were simple, mostly from scratch, and eaten mindfully at the kitchen table, not in front of the TV.
Their clothes and linens were pressed.
It seemed the coffee pot was always on when you’d pop by for a visit, and a tray of cookies were out for nibbling on.
If your grandma was like mine, she probably had homemaking hobbies, too. My grandma knit outfits for every newborn baby in the family (and we had a big family!). She crocheted doilies and bedspreads. And she painted ceramics in her spare time.
Our grandmothers very likely had a daily and weekly homemaking routine.
They never seemed frazzled, in fact, they somehow made it appear as though they had all the time in the world.
An old-fashioned homemaking routine can bring peace to your home, too. And your children will remember your home as a place of peace and refuge, rather than one of chaos.
Homemaking Routine vs. Homemaking Schedule
While often used interchangeably, routines and schedules are not quite the same thing. Schedules are rigid, and time-based. Schedules might work for some people who prefer to schedule out every hour of their day. However, if you’re choosing to be a homemaker, my guess is that you’re looking for a simpler, gentler life. Something not so rigid, but that has a flow to it, where you know what to expect each day and week, and by the end of the week, it all gets done.
Routines have a rhythm to them. They flow with predictability. You move from one task to the next in a way that makes sense for your home, your family, and your energy levels. You create small routines (like your daily routine), and build upon them over time, as these routines become more automatic.
Homemaking routines are flexible. They adapt and adjust with you, as no two days are ever the same when you are a homemaker, especially with children.
Homemaking routines are forgiving. They allow for sick days, low energy days, and days when you are outside the house more than in.
Begin With a Daily Routine
Before tackling your weekly routine, you will want to first have a daily routine in place.
Your daily routine is the backbone of your weekly routine.
Your daily routine consists of things that must get done on a daily basis. Only once you’ve figured this out, can you tackle your more in-depth weekly routine.
Here are some examples of what you could include in your daily routine:
- Get dressed
- Make your bed
- Empty the dishwasher
- One load of laundry
- Wipe down the bathroom (Swish and Swipe a la Flylady)
- Feed your family
- Feed your pets
- Check on your finances
- Wash dishes/wipe down counters throughout the day
- Keep things picked up/put away throughout the day
Once you’ve figured out the basic tasks that should get done every single day, you’ll want to put them in order. What makes the most sense? For instance, I wipe down my bathroom after my shower in the morning. Then when I head to the bedroom to get dressed, I make my bed, gather up my laundry, and start a load.
I use a free app called Trello to organize all my homemaking routines.
The beauty of Trello is you can drag tasks around to change the order until it suits you.
This is the key difference between schedules and routines. A routine is a flow. Something that makes sense based on how you move through the day. You don’t have to think about it much, because it’s just how you move from one activity to the next.
In the beginning, you may wish to write these items down (or use an app like Trello), especially if you struggle with any of them. Once you start doing each of these every single day, it will begin to feel odd if you miss something.
For instance, I’ve gotten in the habit of prepping supper after I clean up the kitchen after breakfast. Whether it’s something I can pop in the crock pot or the instant pot, or if I can pre-chop veggies, or even have the whole meal prepped so I just have to pop it in the oven an hour before dinner. Doing this relieves a tremendous amount of stress, as I don’t have to spend the rest of the day thinking about what’s for dinner, or when I need to start prepping dinner. If I happen to miss this routine, I feel frazzled, anxious, and stressed throughout the day about getting supper on the table on time.
Your daily routines will start to feel like this after awhile. You’ll feel off if you don’t do them.
Once you have a solid daily routine in place, you can tackle your weekly homemaking routines.
Think of your daily routine as keeping your home tidy and in order, and your weekly routine as where you do your in-depth tasks.
Homemaking is Not Just Cleaning
I’ve tried different homemaking routines in the past, but most of them focused on cleaning only. Cleaning one room per day, doing a different cleaning task each day, dividing the house into zones and cleaning one zone per week, etc.
Those were well and good, but as a homemaker, cleaning isn’t my only job.
There’s laundry, sewing, mending.
Meal planning and food prep.
Office work (bill-paying, budgeting, organizing photos, taking care of appointments and health needs).
Errands and shopping.
Yard work and gardening.
I always floundered with all of this, wondering how to squeeze it all in. So much of homemaking involves these types of tasks, and without making a plan for getting them done, they would never happen.
An old fashioned homemaking routine is the perfect way to ensure everything gets done in a timely manner.
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Old-Fashioned Homemaking: A Task For Each Day
A few years ago I stumbled across several blogs mentioning a book called Large Family Logistics (now called Home Management Plain and Simple).
At first I brushed it off, because 3 children hardly qualifies us as a large family. But she was a homeschooling mom who also ran a farm, so I figured if anyone knew how to get stuff done, it would be her.
I read her blog, and finally purchased her book. Her system is so very simple. It goes back to how our grandmothers, or perhaps our great grandmothers ran their homes.
We are big fans of the Little House on the Prairie series, and Ma Ingalls always said:
“Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday”
Ma knew that by assigning a task to each day, all the work would get done, and on Sunday they could rest. She knew the significance of not leaving everything until the weekend, or trying to do 10 different things on one day.
Doesn’t it seem so much more peaceful to just have one main task to worry about?
The Home Management Plain and Simple method uses the same principle, but includes more modern tasks. We don’t need a “churning day” (I don’t make my own butter, but I do can store-bought butter!), and Ma probably didn’t need an office day.
So here is how I run my home, Large Family Logistics style:
Old Fashioned Weekly Homemaking Routine for Modern Homemakers
My weekly homemaking routine is as follows:
- Monday – Kitchen Day
- Tuesday – Cleaning Day
- Wednesday – Office Day
- Thursday – Errand Day
- Friday – Laundry Day
- Saturday – Gardening Day
- Sunday – Rest & Planning Day
Monday – Kitchen Day
I like to start off our week with Kitchen Day.
While Ma had a baking day, I prefer “Kitchen Day”, as it’s not just about baking, and truthfully we do very little baking at our house.
- Clean out the fridge (and make soup!)
- Use up leftovers
- Plan the week’s menu
- Work on the grocery list
- Pull meat from the freezer to defrost
- Tidy the cold room, deep freezer, etc.
- Organize the pantry
- pre-chop veggies
- Make homemade condiments
- Hard-boil eggs
- wash, dry & put away kitchen laundry
- prep ingredients for the week’s meals
- Roast a chicken which can be used for 2-3 different meals (including soup!)
Basically all food-related tasks happen on this day. Food is a huge part of homemaking, so this is an important day of our week.
Doing this task on Monday ensures that I don’t have to spend the rest of the week stressing about what’s for dinner, or remembering to defrost meat, because it’s all been done and planned on Monday.
We do as much bulk food prep as possible, to reduce the amount of time we have to spend in the kitchen the rest of the week.
I give the counters and sinks an extra scrub, and wash the floor, and basically make the kitchen a little nicer to work in the rest of the week.
If you have children, be sure to involve them! Knowing how to manage a kitchen well is an important skill.
Here is a glimpse of my Kitchen Day checklist in Trello:
Tuesday – Cleaning Day
Once Kitchen Day is out of the way, the rest of the cleaning feels like a breeze! I don’t have to worry about cleaning the kitchen, because I did that on Kitchen Day. So now I just have to do the rest of the cleaning.
Even Ma had a cleaning day. 🙂
This is the day to dust the furniture, run the vacuum through, wash the floors, wash the sheets, etc. (If you have little ones, you can rotate through whose sheets get washed each week. Now that my kids are older, everyone can wash their own and re-make their own beds, so it’s not as big of a task).
We always make sure the essential oil diffuser is running, to help clean the air and keep our mood uplifted, and basically make our home feel cozy and nice.
(If you’re using a diffuser, I highly recommend using high quality essential oils – ones that don’t just smell nice, but also have therapeutic value!).
We clean our home using all-natural, homemade cleaners. These are simple and easy to make, save money, and leave your home clean without the nasty toxins!
Here’s a glimpse of my Cleaning Day checklist in Trello:
Wednesday – Office Day
Maybe Ma had a day that she wrote letters, but she probably didn’t have bills to pay, and since they bought so little and made everything themselves, she probably didn’t have to worry about budgeting. (Ah, that sounds so peaceful!)
A homemaker is usually responsible for the managerial aspect of their home.
Managing the budget, making sure the bills get paid, booking appointments, etc.
I use Office Day day to focus these tasks:
- Update budget
- Pay bills
- Prepare packages that need to be mailed out
- File paperwork
- Review calendar
- Schedule appointments
My home office is also our homeschool room, so when all that is done, the kids and I tidy up the homeschool room, dust and vacuum.
Doing these tasks once a week is manageable, and keeps it from getting overwhelming.
Here’s a glimpse of my Office Day checklist in Trello:
Thursday – Errand Day
This is the day we do anything that needs to be done outside the home.
We plan our route efficiently, hit the farmer’s market, the library, the post office, and the grocery store. We try to get it all done in one shot, once a week.
There’s a reason for this.
Running errands, especially with 3 kids, is time-consuming, whether it’s one errand or 10. Every time I have to pack up the kids and leave the house, it basically means that nothing is getting done at home that day. It interrupts our daily rhythm to have to run out for something, and we fall behind on our other tasks.
Not to mention homeschooling – if we end up leaving the house for something on another day of the week, there is a pretty good chance that no homeschooling is going to happen on that day.
It’s so satisfying to come home at the end of Errand Day, get everything put away, and know that we are done until next week.
*UPDATE – Since we have moved to our new homestead, and we are working on increasing our self-sufficiency, we have now reduced our errands to just once a month! Having a garden, chickens, and a well-stocked pantry means we no longer need to shop weekly.
We now shop just once a month, which saves us a TON of time and money!
Friday – Laundry Day
Although I do laundry every day, Friday is the day we focus on laundry room tasks.
- Tidy & clean the laundry room
- Do any hand washing/spot-washing
- Re-stock laundry supplies and add items to our list
- Work on mending & sewing projects
It’s actually one of my favourite days of the week, as I find working away in the laundry room to be rather meditative.
You can read about our simple laundry routine here.
Here’s a glimpse of my Laundry Day checklist in Trello:
Saturday – Gardening Day
Gardening Day is the day for outdoor tasks.
- Tidy up the yard
- Outdoor projects
- Wash the vehicles
I love having a day where we are working outside together as a family.
Gardening day is also a perfect time to tidy your front porch, wash your windows, and put out seasonal decorations.
In the winter, we use this day to focus on indoor seed starting, garden planning, or working on projects around the house.
(You can read about our favourite gardening method here.)
*UPDATE – Now that we have a homestead, gardening day is every day! We have chickens to tend to, and growing food for our family requires daily attention. So during the growing season, we spend about 2 hours each morning working on gardening tasks. However, we still use Saturdays as a larger block of time to complete bigger tasks, that don’t get done during our daily gardening time.
Sunday – Planning day & Family Day
I use Sundays as my planning day for the upcoming week.
- Homeschool planning
- Check my calendar
- Update my to-do list
- Look through recipe books to get meal ideas
Then later in the day we try to do something fun together as a family.
Why Order Your Days with an Old Fashioned Homemaking Routine
I realize that now a days, most people balk at the idea of having an old-fashioned homemaking routine. It feels restrictive, like someone is ordering them around, telling them what to do.
They want FREEDOM. Freedom to do whatever they want, on whatever day they want to do it. And if that works for you, great! Sometimes I envy people who can just fly by the seat of their pants and still manage to get it all done.
It just wasn’t working for us.
I felt frazzled all the time, like I was going in a million different directions and never truly accomplishing anything.
There was no “done” at the end of the day. No sense of accomplishment, just a never-ending to-do list that I never seemed to get to the bottom of.
The energy in our home was frantic, not peaceful.
An Old-Fashioned Weekly Homemaking Routine Makes Sense
Our ancestors knew the wisdom of ordering their days. It’s part of how we slow down, attend to, and enjoy our tasks.
The truth is, we need clean clothes, food, and a clean house. We need to pay bills and buy groceries. So logically, it makes sense to set time aside to accomplish those tasks.
Just as we need to budget our money, we also need to budget our time. Arguably, time is our most precious resource. Batching tasks in a way that makes sense, helps us to make the most efficient use of our time. Ultimately, this leads to more time freedom.
We don’t spend all day on homemaking tasks. We try as best we can to get our house work done in the morning, which leaves our afternoons for homeschooling, outings, etc. We only homeschool 4 afternoons a week, and leave ourselves a “flex day” one afternoon per week. This leaves space for things like appointments, outings, and field trips.
Children Thrive with a Routine
Children also thrive on a routine like this. They enjoy the predictability, and there are no meltdowns when it’s time to do errands, because they know Thursday is always Errand Day. We work together and get it done.
Work With Your Energy Levels
I realize that many (probably most) homeschoolers prefer to do school work in the morning, and chores in the afternoon.
But I like to match my tasks with my energy level, which means doing physical chores in the mornings while I have the most energy, and saving homeschool lessons for afternoons, when we’re ready to sit and focus.
I also find that the kids focus a LOT better after they’ve spent the morning moving their bodies.
The beauty of homeschooling is the FLEXIBILITY, and that we can do exactly what works for our families.
If we need to book an appointment, I try to do that in the afternoon, as we can always bring school work with us, and work on it while we wait.
We have followed this routine for years, and it works very well for us.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Think of your weekly homemaking routine as your ideal. I promise you, it will not go perfectly every week. It will probably not go perfectly any week. It’s all about striving.
Having a basic structure in place for how I want my days/weeks to flow, actually allows me to be more flexible. If we end up with an appointment during the week, I can easily shift my tasks around to make them fit. Or I can knock something off my list (laundry day) and move the other days around. Or I can break up cleaning day throughout the week if I can’t give it a whole day.
Your routine is there to help you, not hinder you! The key is to have a plan, and then adapt as needed.
You’ll also find that as your seasons of life change, so will your routines. I used to jump in the shower as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, because when I had 3 small children, I knew that showering while they were awake was impossible. So I would shower FIRST, then do other things until they woke up.
Now that I have teenagers who like to sleep in (yes, one of the benefits of homeschooling), I prefer to sip on my “coffee” (I no longer drink caffeine so it’s chicory root/dandelion root and delicious), and work on my blog in peace and quiet during the early morning hours while everyone is sleeping. Then I start my morning routine once everyone is awake.
We no longer need a weekly errand day. We moved to the country and became a LOT more self-sufficient, so we now only grocery shop once a month. Other errands are frequently tucked in with appointments etc. My kids go to a youth club once a week, so while they’re there, I have a couple hours to do any errands in town that need to get done. Living out of town means we try to conserve gas by not making unnecessary trips. So any time we need to go to town for something, I bundle all of our errands together at that time. I still use my ‘Errand Day’ list to keep track of all the errands I need to do, so I can tackle them any time I go to town.
So I encourage you to come up with a weekly homemaking plan that fits your life now, but be prepared to change it as your seasons of life change. There is a HUGE difference between having toddlers and having teenagers!
Organize Your Homemaking Routine with Trello
I used to just use the above routine as-is, without keeping track of anything. On cleaning day, I just cleaned what needed to be cleaned. On office day, I just opened my paperwork drawer and tackled what needed to be done.
I was craving a little more organization, but paper is not my friend! If I make notes or lists for myself on paper, I will invariably misplace them. Not to mention, most lists are recurring tasks, and it was annoying having to write them out over and over again.
I thrive on checking things off of checklists, and my homemaking routine was no exception!
What’s Great about Trello for Homemaking Routines
Trello is organized into boards. You can think of boards like individual binders where you can keep track of different aspects of homemaking.
I use Trello for everything! Here are a few examples of Trello boards I use:
- Weekly Homemaking Routine
- Grocery List
- Pantry Inventory
- Family Health
- Gift Ideas
- Meal Planning
It’s basically a virtual Homemaking Binder, that’s completely flexible, and goes everywhere with you.
You can download the app on your phone, on your computer, or you can access it via a web browser.
Purchase my Trello Homemaking Routine Board
You can certainly make your own homemaking routine board from scratch on Trello, OR you can purchase one I’ve already made!
Having an old fashioned weekly homemaking routine in place will ensure that your home runs smoothly, and help keep your mind at ease, knowing there is a time and place for everything. ❤️
Other posts you might enjoy:
Save this blog post to your Homemaking board on Pinterest!
Share your weekly homemaking routine with us!
Do you have a weekly homemaking routine? I’d love to hear about it! Share it with us in the comments below.