19 February 2011

How to Plan, Part 1: Weekly Schedule

Dear Lissy,
As I sit and sip my morning coffee, I'm planning a busy two days for myself.  I've realized that this is a skill I wouldn't have had when I first started homemaking.  I need to reiterate that I don't expect or want you to do things "my way" for the rest of your life.  I'm not writing a housekeeping Bible. But these are methods that work, and work well.  Start out with a tried-and-true method, and you'll soon develop your own systems and routines that fit your personality and lifestyle.  I have my weekly template, so I just fill in a few blanks.  You're welcome to ask me, and I'll e-mail it to you.

The foundation of a productive day is a Weekly Plan.

During moments of insight, when life is quiet and calm, I know that I have certain tasks that have to be done on a weekly basis in order to keep our home running smoothly. During the “game” however, those items are usually far less urgent until they become bona fide emergencies. So, in order to give myself margin, I discipline myself to accomplish the weekly routines over the course of the week so that I am not left with emergencies or the Day of Unending Housework. Some people like to have a particular weekday off. I'm more motivated by splitting my housekeeping up into about 90 minutes a day so no one day is a killer.

All rooms go! I do not do bangerang!or tidy on Sunday. Monday morning I spend about 45 minutes going through the whole house and setting it straight.

Menus, Shopping List, Fridge/Freezer, Pantry: I spend about another 45 minutes getting together a great shopping list so I only have to shop once during the week. I'll jot out my menus and put those items on the list. After straightening and cleaning out the fridge, freezer, and pantry, I go through with a master list and make sure I have everything I need for the week. I usually peek ahead at my Junior church lesson to make sure I have all the little doo-dads I need for their lesson. 

Mom & Dad Laundry: This is the second half of my “no load left behind” philosophy. I do a load a day as habit every morning. On Monday, anything left in our hamper, or clothing that needs to be laundered coming out of storage is done. By Monday afternoon, our hamper should be completely empty.

Tuesday: Errand Day
You will give yourself hours of margin if you plan one day to do all of your errands. Most husbands are thrilled to help you out in this area by giving you lists/items to be taken care of if they know about it ahead of time. I like to e-mail Dad toward the end of the previous week to ask for any errands, and then follow up on Monday morning. (As Dad's personal assistant, I keep my schedule flexible for him. If he needs three bags of mulch Friday afternoon, I don't whine about Tuesday being errand day – I go get the mulch.) I find that if I take just 5 minutes to list where I'm going, I can make one giant circle instead of running all over town. Pack a snack and drinks and take a break either at the park or in the car at the halfway point if you are bringing kids.

Household Laundry: All the household linens are laundered on Tuesday. Fresh, sweet beds are one of the big three for any wife/mom. (Clean clothing in drawers and closets and nourishing meals are the other two.) I only do comforters and mattress covers once a month. They can be done seasonally if no one in your house has a deathly dustmite allergy.

Wednesday: Desk Day
I need an extra dose of grace on Wednesday. This is one of those “I can put this off” items unless I just make myself sit down and do it. I don't mind paperwork, it just is so easy not to do. So I pay the bills and file paperwork for taxes, prep my Junior Church and Cub scouts, and write thank you notes or a note of encouragement to someone in our ministry. I can often psych myself out by getting a special treat on Tuesday for while I work on paperwork Wednesday.

Water Plants: Does this need an explanation?

Thursday: Weekly Cleaning

Dry Rooms: On Thursday, I take about 90 minutes to “Speed Clean” the bedroom and living areas. If you haven't ever read Jeff Campbell's little book, it's worth its weight in gold.

Kids' Laundry: All of the kids' clothing has to be washed, dried, folded, and put away by the 4 pm “Transition”. They are old enough to do much of this themselves. Again, with my “load a day” habit, I rarely have more than 1 extra load to do.

Friday: Weekly Cleaning

Wet Rooms: Friday I clean the kitchen and bathrooms thoroughly. I usually plan about 15 minutes for each bathroom and 45 minutes for the kitchen; but I can zip through the jobs in half the time occasionally. I purposefully keep Friday's housework light so I can double up and do Saturday's work if we're going on a family outing.

Saturday: Weekly Cleaning and Lord's Day Preparations

Entryway: I give my porches and entry halls a thorough cleaning on Saturdays.

Car: I clean out and vacuum my vehicle every Saturday. I also check all the fluids and the tire pressure. A lot of husbands do this, so you may not need to even have this on your list.

Manicure: Last thing on Saturday, I give myself a manicure so my hands look nice on Sunday. Vanity, vanity  *grin*
Sunday Dinner Prep: Sunday mornings are a lot less hectic when the meal is mostly prepared on Saturday.
Sunday Clothes: Clothes are set out for everyone in the family so I have no “surprises” on Sunday morning.

Sunday: Day of Rest
Want to start a fight? Ask a roomful of Christians what are acceptable Sunday activities.
The first group feels justified in engaging in any activity, provided they are reasonably faithful to church services.
The second group will argue that only “restful” activities are acceptable, and only before or after church services.
The third group will contend that Sundays are to be “set apart”. They are God's, and are given to him as the “firstfruit” of the week. Only activities that are specifically designed for worship or fellowship are acceptable to this group.
If we truly desire to give the Lord the first day of our week, are we even seeking his will for that day? Do you ever pray and ask the Lord how he would have you spend the Lord's Day? 

A Weekly Plan is the foundation of a productive and well-run home.  We'll build the four "walls" later:  Using a Calendar, Using a Tickler File, Establishing Routines, and The Daily Plan.  The roof:  Good old-fashioned, callous-making, backbone-breaking WORK!  
The simple fact is even a homemaker with no plans or routines can keep a simple "roof of protection" over her family if she's diligent.  The converse is also true:  A homemaker with great planning and organizational skills won't be able to protect her family from even the normal wear and tear of life without a good bit of labor overarching all of her carefully made plans.

Your dear Aunt Tori has been ministering in Zambia for many, many years now, and most people cite her work with the AIDS orphanage and school.  The truth is much of her work for the Lord has been through her hospitality.  God hasn't chosen marriage or children for her (at least not yet!) but she still depends heavily on her home and her homemaking skills to fulfill God's plan for her life. 
You're a hard worker and love being busy.  I know wherever God has placed you, you will use your home to bless and serve others.  

I love you, my little French horse!


    1. Rebecca, you've inspired me. I've referred back to this schedule several times just to get some ideas and I anticipate learning more from Lissy's next letter on How to plan. Plan...it's truly a four-letter word for me and an area where I pray I'll see growth and God's grace in the future. Best to you. Thx for your diligence in blogging.

    2. Thanks for your sweet and encouraging words, Tamera! I'll try to get the rest of the letters in this series out soon. I've already written these ideas out as articles, but it requires a lot of prayer and thought to re-write them to Lissy :-)

    3. I found your blog this afternoon, and I just love it! These are all the things that I have had to try figure out on my own, and I love your thoughtful, organized, grace-filled plans and routines.

      I would very much appreciate a copy of your weekly template, if you are sharing.

    4. Dear Angie,
      I've edited the article above so that the "weekly template" link in the first paragraph will take you to a downloadable pdf of my weekly template. God bless!