My Housewife Routine (Reader Questions)

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Today’s Reader Question asks what my actual housewife routine looks like. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this, and it probably won’t be the last.

I think many of us have a fascination with others’ daily routines. As someone with several creative projects going at all times, I’m fascinated by the routines of famous writers and other artistic types. The book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work is one I turn to repeatedly for inspiration as well as motivation.

Maybe we all hope that somehow, by reading about others’ routines, we’ll discover one that works perfectly for us. That seems to be the case with most of the emails I get asking about my housewife routine. Here’s the one I received today.

My Housewife Routine

Dear Katie,

I’m a new wife and since losing my job I’m now a housewife. I really want to be good at it but there’s so much to do! We don’t have kids, yet I feel like I’m struggling more than some moms I know just trying to keep our house clean all the time. Your printable chore charts and all your explanations are helping, but I have to ask how you manage it. I always feel like it’s not right to stop cleaning until the house is finished but it’s NEVER finished.

How do you fit it all in on your schedule?

Signed,
Karlie Is Going Krazy!

My Housewife Routine

There is a world of difference between writing a blog about how to make housework easier and coming up with a workable housewife routine.

Like everyone, I have high-energy days… and days when just changing TV channels seems like a lot of work. Add in a busy pre-teen who’s involved in some extra-curricular activities, two rambunctious cats, and a husband being treated for brain cancer, and there is NO WAY my house could be perfectly spotless even if I cleaned 24/7. Nor should you expect yours to be that way, either!

The goal of my blog is to empower you to do your housework based on the schedule you’re most comfortable with. I think sometimes we read words like “weekly cleaning routine” and think that means we absolutely must schedule living room cleaning on Mondays, for instance,  bedroom cleanings on Tuesday, and so on.

That’s not how I work.

In fact, every time I’ve tried assigning specific chores to specific days, something has come up to derail my plans. The result? I get frustrated and blow it all off until the house is in such disarray that I can’t possibly tolerate it one more day. Plus, I feel like a failure.

I Work in Time Zones

My housewife routine involves “zones” of time. What I mean is, while I don’t necessarily do certain things on certain days, I do certain types of things around the same time each day.

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Maybe it would be most straightforward to explain by giving you an example of my “typical” day.

7 AM-ish Wake up, drink coffee, make breakfast. While my son eats and gets ready for school, I do the kitchen part of the daily house tidy routine. I listen to music while I work — I like the mood it puts me in.

Morning: After the school run and any errands, I start some laundry, depending on what’s most urgent. Then I catch up on email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for an hour or so. (Keeping up with Social Media is part of my job.)

Late Morning: This is my work time. It’s when I do uninterrupted creative tasks, whether that’s writing blog entries, developing recipes, staging food photos, or working on some of my other writing projects. I don’t check email or Social Media during this 3 to 4-hour period, and I don’t answer the phone unless it’s the school. It’s not the only time I work on these throughout the day, but it’s the only time I can do so without interruption.

Early afternoon: I make any necessary phone calls then get back to the daily cleaning routine. Switch the laundry. Eat lunch, outside on the deck if the weather is nice. Then it’s on to whatever weekly cleaning routine I’m doing that day. (The messier rooms get done earliest in the week.)

Late afternoon: Get my son from school, wrap up work projects while overseeing homework, and make dinner. If there’s time while dinner cooks, I’ll do a few one-minute chores. I’m pretty adamant about eating dinner at 6:30 to get it out of the way.

Evening: I do the nightly kitchen routine, spend time with my husband and son, then take a bath. I’m in bed most nights by 9:30, although I usually read for a couple of hours. The last thing I do is create the next day’s To Do list – errands to run, calls to return, what I’ll be cleaning, etc. That lets me empty my head so I can get a good night’s sleep.

Give Yourself Grace

Due to health issues, I have low-energy days when I do nothing at all and I refuse to feel guilty about it. People who work outside of the home get to take days off, so why can’t housewives?

If you, too, have low-energy days, don’t berate yourself. Give yourself permission to enjoy them. If a slew of low-energy days completely derails your life, that’s okay, too. It happens to ALL of us. (You think my house was spotless at any point the month after my husband’s surgery? Oh heck no.)

You can get back on track with my daily cleaning routine before deciding which rooms need more attention. Eventually, if you keep at it more often than not, it will all come together.

Keep Things in Perspective

Above all, remember this: your life is about more than just cleaning. Much, MUCH more, hopefully. So keep all of this housework in perspective. Do what needs to be done and then stop.

No one expects you to keep your house perfectly spotless every day. The goal is to make your home a comfortable, livable place not just for your husband, but for YOU as well. Housekeeping, like life, isn’t about being perfect — sometimes it’s just about being okay with just being.

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5 Comments

  1. I’m just so glad to read this! I read about being dressed by 6 a.m., working out at 4 or whatever and I think oh my gosh I’m a mess! I do things very differently! I always run ds6 to kindergarten in my workout clothes (pre-workout), come home and exercise then do my daily room. I like doing my whole house tidy at like 9 pm. when he is in bed and dd12 is doing her own nighttime routine (shower etc…). I think I’m just a night person! Then I wake up and it’s pretty tidy and I can focus on it at night without all the daily distractions. I always felt that was “weird” since I”m a SAHM who has all school day but does it at night. It just works for me!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That’s the important thing, Brenda: doing what works for us! I really need to get in the habit of wearing workout clothes for the school run and actually working out when I get home. I keep telling myself that once the weather warms up, I’ll get home and go for a walk (there’s a nice trail not too far from our house). But for now? Brrrr!

  2. Jade Marie says:

    I have good days and bad days. I have a printable schedule that has certain tasks/rooms on certain days. But instead of hold myself to that, I make it a game of sorts. I framed it and I use dry erase markers to make off the days I have completed. I don’t erase them until I go to start the next week, so on Sunday when nothing is left to do, I have a fully checked (on a good week) checklist for a whole day. 🙂 When it comes to my work week, my days don’t go in order. Today, feels like a Monday. It’s a down day for me, so I will do Mondays work, which is sort of light. I find that I typically get all tasks done within a week, at worst two. 🙂 this week has been all sorts of hectic though, so hopefully I will catch it all up again next week. 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed your article! It made me feel better about myself and our routines are very similar! I used to try and make a weekly schedule but it never worked out. The only weekly lists I keep are appointments, meals for the week, && grocery. I do make daily to do lists and it seems to help keep me on track if I find myself getting bored or sitting around doing nothing. 🙂

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Nikki!