The best homemaking tips from grandma (the tips she never told you)
Homemaking can be a thankless job.
You spend your entire day cleaning your house, chasing your kids around, making meals, and running errands. And what do you have to show for it by the end of the day?
A house that already has spills on the floor and laundry piling up, bellies that are going to be hungry again in a couple hours, and more errands to run tomorrow.
It’s exhausting and frustrating. But it can be so, so rewarding.
Learning how to find joy in homemaking can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. On the days when it feels like nothing’s going right and your job as a homemaker is useless, remember, you are raising your children and creating a safe space for them to grow up in.
You’re creating a haven for your husband to come home to at the end of a long day and you’re filling your family’s bellies with warm meals.
The job you have as a homemaker is so important.
But it’s exhausting.
And it’s on those exhausting days that you need some homemaking tips to help you make your job just a bit easier.
And remember, even on the hardest days, what you do IS important.
Are you ready to learn everything you need to know about being a homemaker, and being a good homemaker? Let’s get right to the best homemaking tips from grandma!
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THE BEST HOMEMAKING TIPS FROM GRANDMA
1. DON’T BOTHER SORTING THE LAUNDRY
You know that stereotypical 1950’s housewife who has a spotless home, spends time playing with her kids, always has baked goods on the counter, and has a hot supper on the table when her husband gets home? How DOES she have time to do it all?
Well, you can bet she doesn’t spend all day sorting her lights from her darks.
Really, I don’t sort our lights from darks and haven’t run into a problem with it yet. The trick? We wash our clothes in cold water.
Washing clothes in cold water cleans the clothes just as well as washing them in warm water, AND it stops colors from leeching out and staining lighter-colored laundry.
Just the other day I washed my WHITE jeans with my husband’s red button-up shirt. And you know what? My jeans did not come out pink. They came out white.
So, of course, do what you’re comfortable with – but don’t spend ALL day sorting your laundry. If you do need to sort your lights from darks, using a laundry sorting system like this one will cut down on the amount of time you spend sorting (so you can spend your time doing something more productive!).
2. TIDY UP EVERY NIGHT
Tidying the house up every evening is a way to start the next day on a good note. Instead of waking up to a house that has toys scattered everywhere and dishes piled a mile high, you’ll start your day with a clean slate and a clean house.
The trick here is to include your whole family in the clean-up process. Weave this into your kid’s bedtime routine. Right before the kids head off to bed, have everyone help out in a quick 10-minute cleaning blast.
Don’t worry about pulling out the vacuum and scrubbing the walls, just focus on cleaning up the items that are out of place, sweeping up crumbs, washing dishes, and picking clothes up off the floor.
Even on the nights when you’re exhausted, remember, it’s only 10 minutes, and these 10 minutes will shape how your whole day goes tomorrow.
(I don’t know about you, but when I get out of bed to a house that’s a mess, I just know my day isn’t going to be as productive as it could have been.)
3. USE SIMPLE CLEANERS AND SUPPLIES
Many people want to have the latest and greatest of everything, including cleaning supplies.
But sometimes less is more – especially when it comes to cleaning. If you can have less cleaning supplies, with all of them having multiple purposes, your house will be less cluttered and your cleaning will be a whole lot easier.
You don’t have to worry about dragging around 30 different cleaning supplies just to clean your house (that would get exhausting).
When you have a couple main cleaning supplies that you can clean virtually everything in your house with, your cleaning will be a whole lot easier and a whole lot quicker.
BASIC CLEANING SUPPLIES:
- Norwex rags – the smooth one for mirrors, windows, and shining faucets, and the other one for dusting wiping surfaces.
- A bathtub scrub brush – use this brush to scrub the scum marks out of your bathtub and laundry sink.
- A T-shirt cut up for toilet rags – or you can use these toilet wipes.
- A vacuum cleaner – here are the best ones under $100.
- A mop – or you can get a vacuum cleaner/mop combo like this one.
- Spray bottles – for your homemade cleaner.
- A cleaning caddy – to make it easy to easily grab and carry around all your cleaning products at once.
5. GET DRESSED
I know how tempting it can be to stay in pajamas all morning (or day). Especially on the days when you aren’t leaving the house. Those are the days when it feels like “eh, why even bother?”.
Well, you should bother.
If you stay in pajamas all day you’ll likely be a lot less productive than if you were to get dressed (we’re not talking sweat pants, either) as soon as you wake up in the morning.
6. MAKE YOUR BED
It seems insignificant, but the small task of making your bed – first thing in the morning – can shape the way your whole day goes.
I find when I make my bed in the morning I get motivated to tidy up around the room. Then, when my room is tidy, I’m motivated to keep the rest of the house tidy, too.
You can teach your kids to get into the habit of making their beds as soon as they get out of them in the morning, too. Then have them quickly tidy up little things around their room and get dressed.
Meal planning is where it’s at if you want to save money AND spend less time in the kitchen.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love cooking, but what I don’t love is spending hours trying to think of something to cook.
I’d rather just know and make it.
Planning your meals lets you know what is for dinner every day of the week, and by knowing that you can make a shopping list with everything you’ll need for the week on it and only go shopping ONCE, instead of having to make all those last-minute trips to the grocery store for one item, then a basket full and $50 later, you’re done at the store.
That’s how it always happened to me, so starting a meal plan enabled me to save big money on our groceries and allowed me to be able to prepare our dinners in advance, so I wouldn’t be caught at 5 o’clock not knowing what to make. This is the meal planning method we’ve found the most success with.
8. TREAT HOMEMAKING LIKE ANY OTHER JOB
When you’re at home all day it can become really hard to feel motivated to get your tasks done. Homemaking doesn’t usually feel like much of a job. It feels like more of a title.
But, homemaking IS a job. This is your career (and you should be proud of it!), and it’s something you should treat as such.
If you were working outside the home for someone else, you wouldn’t show up late. You wouldn’t do a half-hearted job or anything less than a job-well-done.
You would always strive to do your best and go above and beyond. You would be proud of what you do.
And that’s exactly how you should treat homemaking.
When you wake up every morning, have the mindset that this is your job and you should treat it as such.
Take pride in what you do!
9. USE LISTS
Without lists, it’s easy to forget – or ignore – everything that needs to get done. I always find that I am the most productive when I make a list.
I’m not talking making a list and then forgetting about it for the rest of the day (if you struggle with lists, this to do list formula will help you), I’m talking about making a list and then getting everything on that list done, as soon as possible.
I like to use a list just like this one to keep my daily tasks organized. Sure, I might not get everything on my list done every day.
Unexpected things pop up that require me to put off my list and focus on them. Or some days my baby just wants nothing other than to cuddle (those are the days I’m SUPER thankful I have this).
But, when I have a list I’m following I know exactly what needs to get done, and I always find I have more time in my day than on days when I’m relying on my memory to remember the things that need to get done.
(Those are the days I spend hours just wasting my time. I end the day feeling like I spent all day BUSY, but got nothing done. Do you ever have those days?)
10. PRIORITIZE YOUR TASKS
Just like with using a to do list, prioritizing the tasks on that list will help you get the most important tasks done first, so you can focus on the less important tasks later in your day.
Then, if something comes up that requires you to ditch your to do list, you’ve already got the most demanding tasks done and you can push the less important ones off to another day.
11. GET BETTER AT SOMETHING YOU’RE NOT GOOD AT
We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. Learning what your strengths and weaknesses will help you get more things done in your day.
If you know you can easily whip your house into shape in 30 minutes with no problem, but when it comes to cooking you need a lot more time, you’ll be able to plan your day according to that.
You can give yourself a bit of extra time at suppertime to figure out your meal and cook it – this way you won’t be stressed about the time.
But, if cooking is something that you’re not good at you shouldn’t give yourself a free pass. You should challenge yourself to get better at it. Challenge yourself to cook a new meal twice a week. Challenge yourself to make a meal plan (or have someone make it for you) that is filled with a handful of easy meals, but also a couple more challenging meals.
If you do this, you’ll find yourself getting more comfortable with and better at cooking in no time.
12. BE DONE EVERYTHING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
Remember that list we talked about making? Well, you’re going to want to get everything on that list done as early as possible in the day.
The morning is usually the time of the day when people are the most productive. In the morning you haven’t been chasing kids around all day or cleaning up messes. You are starting with a tank of energy that is full, so use it wisely.
When you get everything that you can get done as early as possible in the day you’ll be able to relax in the afternoon and won’t have to worry about a nagging to do list.
13. FAMILY ALWAYS COMES BEFORE HOUSEWORK
Having a house that’s tidy and warm meals on the table may be important, but family is more important. Never put your housework above your family.
That may mean that your house goes without being cleaned for another day or your grocery shopping gets put off again.
But that’s okay – those things really aren’t that important. (Groceries are important, but you can get them anytime. One day your kids will grow up and you’ll wish you spent just a bit more time cuddling them when they were young.)
14. A HANDHELD STEAM CLEANER CAN WORK WONDERS
I always knew that a handheld steam cleaner had a lot of uses… but it wasn’t until I started looking for new ways to use them that I realized just how many uses they had.
Of course, you can use them for things like cleaning the carpet and your sofa, but they can also be used for:
- Sanitizing kids toys
- Getting wrinkles out of clothes
- To clean a messy stovetop
- Clean countertops
- Clean grout
- Removing wallpaper
- Dissolve and remove wax, gum, and glue
- Clean grills
- Dust baseboards and ceiling fans
- Remove hard water and limescale
- A LOT more
A steam cleaner is one of those multi-use items that could actually be worth getting.
Rather than having a nifty gadget to clean your baseboards, and a different gadget to clean grout, and something else to sanitize kids toys, you can do it all with ONE thing. (Less stuff = less clutter.)
If you’re in the market for a handheld steam cleaner, this is an affordable option.
15. USE A SHOE RACK
I’m all about making things as easy as possible, so when I hear of people who are still wearing their shoes in the house but struggling to keep a clean home… (!!!).
If you want to keep your home clean but don’t have time to clean it every day, doing things to keep the mess out is how you can get a clean home without cleaning every day.
And one of the ways that you can keep the mess out of your house is by using a shoe rack.
Getting your family to remove their shoes at the door, and stick them neatly on this rack, will keep dirt from being tracked into, and around, your house. You’ll find your floors staying much cleaner for much longer.
15. USE A CLOTHESLINE
Hanging your clothes to dry in the summer will help you save money on utilities and will give your clothes that fresh, crisp smell they get when they dry outside.
You can use an indoor clothesline like this one for the colder months so you’re still saving on utilities, but your clothes won’t dry quite as fast as when you dry them outside (in the warmer months).
If you have the space for a clothesline, use it! But if you have a small yard and don’t have space to put up a big clothesline, this one is perfect for small spaces.
16. WASH THE DISHES RIGHT AWAY
Do you ever wonder how some moms keep their houses looking so tidy?
I’m willing to bet they don’t leave dishes lying around their house or on the counter.
Getting into the habit of washing your dishes, or loading them up into the dishwasher, as soon as you’re done with them will keep your house looking MUCH tidier than having dirty dishes scattered around.
17. CLEAN THE KITCHEN UP BEFORE SUPPER
One of the most unique tricks I’ve learned? Cleaning the kitchen up BEFORE supper, instead of after.
I used to always leave the dishes I made dirty while making supper to be cleaned after supper. I figured I would have the dishes that we ate off of and that the food was in to clean anyway, so why not do it all then?
It turns out cleanup is a whole lot quicker if you wash the dishes you can wash before sitting down to have supper.
I’ve started doing this and it’s made a world of difference – now while I’m making supper I’m also working on washing any dishes I’ve made dirty.
If I have a couple seconds while I’m waiting for water to come to a boil, I’ll quickly wash a dish. If I have a couple minutes while I’m waiting for something to cook, I’ll wash as many dishes as I can.
Then, after supper, I just have to put our dishes into the dishwasher and wash any of the dishes that aren’t dishwasher safe.
I can usually have supper cleaned up and all the dishes washed in 10 minutes after supper, instead of spending 30+ minutes cleaning up.
18. EAT OUT OF THE PANTRY FOR A WEEK
This is such a fun challenge, I did it without even thinking about it not too long ago (haha… or I just forgot to go grocery shopping so we had to do it).
Eating out of the pantry/fridge/freezer made me realize how far we can make our food go if we have to.
We didn’t eat big, elaborate meals, but our tummies got filled and I got to experiment and find new ways to prepare meals with the ingredients I had on hand.
Doing this will also save you a bunch of money if you don’t have to go out and buy groceries for a week! (Just don’t go and over stock up after the week’s over or you’ll be spending more than you saved.)
19. GET RID OF CLUTTER
Clutter just isn’t a good thing to have hanging around. Yet most of us do still have clutter around our house.
It’s time to kick the clutter and live with less.
I like to think of it this way: the more stuff we have in our house = the more stuff I have to clean around = the more time I have to spend cleaning. (And I don’t like to spend all day cleaning.)
It’s time to get rid of the clutter in your house. Kick it to the curb and don’t let it back in (yes – even some of the sentimental stuff has to go).
The best way to do this is with two boxes – one box is for items to donate, and the other is for trash. Go through each room in your house, and sorting through everything in the room, put the items either in the donate or trash box. If it’s an item you are going to keep, put it where it belongs.
20. CLEAN WITH VINEGAR AND WATER
One of the best homemaking cleaning tips I’ve come across is cleaning with vinegar and water.
It’s the cheapest cleaning solution I’ve found so far that actually works.
If you want to make it smell better, you can infuse it with lemon, lime, or orange peels. Let the peels sit in the vinegar/water mixture for 1 – 2 weeks then strain it and use the liquid.
(Don’t make the mistake I did… the first time I made the cleaner I wanted to make it smell good right now – I didn’t have time to wait a week. So I poured a small amount of lemon juice into my cleaning solution and… it made everything I cleaned sticky).
21. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE HOUSE ON WEEKENDS
Weekends should be spent with your family and the Lord – so don’t worry about cleaning your house.
Take the weekend to rest, relax, and be present with your family. Eat frozen dinners, make messes and don’t worry about cleaning them up right away, and have fun.
Remember – homemaking is your job and it IS important. You’re making a difference and an impact with what you do.
What are your favorite homemaking tips from grandma (or not from grandma)? I’d love to hear from you!