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HELP! I'm rubbish at this housewife stuff!

(26 Posts)
YourNewFriend Tue 09-Nov-10 12:01:37

Hello! I'm hoping you can all help me get my home and day to day life back on track. smile

Basically, I'm rubbish! I procrastinate far too much and jobs get left for not just days or weeks but sometimes months on end!

My main problem seems to be getting on top of everything. I am constantly playing catch up...searching for clothes in the laundry that we need that day, kids doing homework in the mornings blush , rushing round tidying when people call to say they are going to pop round etc. At the moment I have to clear the dining table everytime we have to eat. Same for our bed which usually has washing on it that is only half sorted.

I hate it. It's not good for the children to live like this and I would like to start some good routines and model a tidy home so they learn these good habits too.

My children are 6 and 4 and are good at tidying away when asked. I try to have places for all their belongings so they know where to put things but we have a small house and lots of things. I have tried to de-clutter but I am a CM (mat leave at the mo) and so lots of toys are on show and hardly any are given away. I also have a newborn so lots of baby equipment about.

Please could you 'teach' me how to be a good housewife! grin

Ilythia Tue 09-Nov-10 12:06:45

I have no advice but will bump and lurk.

Am sure the fly ladies will be on soon to help though. Flying (google flylady) did work, when I could be arsed...

YummyorSlummy Tue 09-Nov-10 12:10:15

Just been on this flylady website, looks pretty good! Glad to see I'm not the only one in need of some motivation your new friend your house sounds just like mine!

ComeWhineWithMe Tue 09-Nov-10 12:11:52

Try the Slatterns thread on here lovely ladies to chat to while getting organised.

It is one of the threads in Good Houskeeping.

It helped me a lot.

YourNewFriend Tue 09-Nov-10 12:12:16

I did have a look at flylady but I didn't undertand half of the jargon!

ComeWhineWithMe Tue 09-Nov-10 12:13:58

Flylady is confusing to me too although if you google flylady crisis cleaning it is very good when you want to do a big clean.

Slatterns on the other hand make lists it is very simple.

YourNewFriend Tue 09-Nov-10 12:19:12

I love lists! I'm very good at making lists, I just never get around to doing anything from them!

Off to check out the Slatterns!

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only who lives like this. I don't seem to know anyone like it in RL though!

YummyorSlummy Tue 09-Nov-10 12:21:02

Off to look at slatterns too- sorry to hijack your thread btw!

PlentyOfPockets Tue 09-Nov-10 12:22:30

I can't teach you how to be a good housewife because I'm pretty crap at it myself, however ...

- start small - perhaps just concentrate on the dining table and the washing to start with and get into the habit of doing them every day at the same time. Soon, you'll find you are doing them without even thinking and you can add another task to the routine. Keep going like that and build it up one task at a time.

- make a list each day. Don't put too many things on it or you'll be overwhelmed. It can be satisfying crossing things off the list.

- if it really gets too much, enlist the help of a friend. Cleaning each others' houses can feel much less of a drag than cleaning your own.

- don't give yourself too hard a time over it. It'll all be there to do again tomorrow / next week in any case.

- make sure you are getting some time away from it each day - go out, meet a friend, go to the park/library whatever and come back refreshed.

<trundles off to google flylady ...>

ComeWhineWithMe Tue 09-Nov-10 12:33:29

Another few good tips I have learnt from MN.

In a morning get yourself sorted before the dc you will feel more organised and with it if you are dressed and hair brushed then walking round the house at 10am in your pj's with Jeremy Kyle on in the background <not that this ever happens in my house you understand wink>.

Instead of doing a list of what needs doing everytime you do a job write it down and at the end of the day you will be quite surprised how much you have actually done.

Make things easy clean the sink and loo while the dc are in the bath.

Pick up something and put it away everytime you leave a room.

Spend 15 minutes in the morning having a quick blitz and 15 minutes in the evening.
You will get loads done in 15 minutes it shocks me everytime.

Listen to music while you are tidying.

Babywipes clean everything.

Microfibre is amazing I have one of those swisher things from the pound shop and it picks all the crap up off the kitchen floor and wooden floor in the hallway and makes it shiny too.

Buy some nice cleaning stuff (method stuff is nice).

loler Tue 09-Nov-10 12:35:51

I live like that - lots of other people do too - they just tidy up (shove things in cupboards) before you go around!

I try to get sorted, keep it up for a bit then have a bad night or something and lose it all again! Don't think I'll ever change no matter how hard I try~!

YourNewFriend Tue 09-Nov-10 12:40:36

Comewhinewithme Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Slatterns list making thread. I think I have learnt my first lesson! My lists are full of too much expectation. I will usually put 'De-clutter Kids Bedrooms' and wonder why at the end of the day I haven't done it. I think you're right Plentyofpockets starting small is def best, maybe one cupboard at a time.

Hi-jack away yummyorslummy It's nice to know you're not alone!

doggiesayswoof Tue 09-Nov-10 12:41:59

OK if you procrastinate and you don't know where to start then you NEED flylady

I use my own version of it now and my house is so so much better

The website is massive and you cannot take in all the info at once - go here

and this tells you how to get started.

It's about building routines and getting into better habits (but it is not a quick fix)

Helps me to feel more in control

ComeWhineWithMe Tue 09-Nov-10 12:42:57

No wonder you are stressed you do big things like that once a year in the school holidays or when someone has the dc for the day.

Just do general housework day to day you will soon get into a routine.

YourNewFriend Tue 09-Nov-10 12:50:32

Some great tips there thanks comewhinewithme

Do you all have a routine like
wednesdays- change bedsheets

Or do you just do it as and when it needs? Am I better off having a daily routine so little and often or weekly routine so blitz a room a day?

I wonder if people think I'm one of those that always has a tidy house because they don't knwo the horrors that goes on behind closed doors. [highly doubts it!] hmm

doggiesayswoof Tue 09-Nov-10 12:58:48

I have a routine for the week, I do certain things on certain days - e.g. living room gets done on Friday, upstairs gets vacuumed and dusted on Sat morning (takes me 10 mins)

I also have a sort of routine for morning and evening - and I write them down in a notebook

My life saver is having an evening routine so stuff is ready for the morning

e.g. DD sorts out her school bag, shoes get cleaned if needed, we lay out her clothes for the next day (no running around trying to find a clean cardi 5 mins before her bus leaves, which used to happen regularly)

I used to have things like "declutter DC's room" on my list, now it will say something like "declutter top bookshelf - 15 mins" to remind me not to spend more than 15 mins on it. You get a real sense of achievement doing it this way and if you do a bit every day you will see a big difference.

greenlotus Tue 09-Nov-10 13:00:42

I cannot for the life of me tidy up as I go along, I am naturally very untidy.

Instead I have some catch-up times so it doesn't get out of hand (and so DH doesn't leave me). I try to leave the house reasonably tidy before going to bed (i.e. washup done, surfaces clear, things put away) before going to bed so ready to go for next day.

Also I do all the ironing/putting clothes away on Sunday night (it has built up to huge mountain by then) so I know everyone has enough clothes/uniform to get them through the week. Sometimes I have very late nights!

We have a cleaner as I go out to work so I have to tidy up the night before she comes grin. When I didn't WOH I'd do what she does i.e. once a week blitz around the house mopping, wiping and hoovering for 2 hrs and get it over with. (See flylady 1hr home blessing).

It is true about having loads of stuff, I know households where there is clutter on every surface and it is just because they seem to have so many more magazines, utensils, toys, mugs, coats etc so it just spreads out. Having more stuff than you have storage for is a slippery slope. But decluttering needs to be done on a quiet childfree day, not when you are busy.

ComeWhineWithMe Tue 09-Nov-10 13:06:07

It depends I try and change the sheets on a Monday but sometimes I can't be bothered or am knackered and end up doing it when dp is home at the weekend.

I don't iron big loads of laundry blush I fold it and put away and iron as I need it.

I always clean the kitchen in a morning it takes about 15 minutes and I always sweep the floor in the hall as it gets messy quickly.

I put a load of washing in morning and afternoon.

When I come back from schoolrun I have an hour before I start cooking and I potter around cleaning the living room and having a quick pick up in the bedrooms.

When the dc are in the bath I will wipe round the sink and give the toilet a quick clean and sort another load of dirty washing.

If I can be bothered in the day I will have a 15 minute blitz or hoover but I don't stress if not.

DP helps at weekends he will give the fridge aa clean or blitz the kitchen and bathroom.

DS is in charge of his room and the girls are getting old enough to help out in theirs.

I find little and often is best if you let it all pile up it just makes you stressed.

or example Fwe moved 2 months ago and I let the clean washing pile up into three massive storage boxes and when I finally sorted it out it took me most of the day instead of 5 minutes of sorting after emptying the dryer I know which I prefer grin.

Naetha Tue 09-Nov-10 13:26:05

Have you tried getting rid of a lot of the clutter?

I always used to have stuff everywhere, piles of it that I'd just move around and try and "organise".

Twice a year now I have a big clear out (get DH to take the kids out for a couple of hours if needs be) where I just get rid of stuff. If I haven't used it since the last clearout, then it either goes in the attic if it's necessary/sentimental, or the charity shop.

Paperwork wise, I have two box files that I use. One I put important but expirable paperwork in (insurance details, utilities bills, bank statements etc). This get's included in the 6 monthly clearout, and anything older than 2 years gets binned. The other box file has the current non-expirable stuff - passports, birth certificates payslips etc.

Now I'm more ruthless about clutter, I find I buy/acquire less stuff as well, especially clothes. What's the point on buying something if there's a reasonable chance it will end up in a charity shop in 6 months time?

Some of the bigger/more expensive things I've ebayed, and got a fair amount of money for. I sorted out and ebayed an old box of DH's old warhammer stuff, and got nearly £200 for it all.

YourNewFriend Tue 09-Nov-10 13:33:36

Ok I've done a list for today...

Empty DW
Fill DW blush
Clear dining table ready for dinner and homework
Make beds blush
Collect DC's from school
Listen to DC's read
Write a morning and evening routine
Write cheques for school

Starting small (hope this isn't too small!)

DH agreed a few nights ago to take on the food shopping. I find it hard taking DD (9 weeks) between her feeds and the school runs plus i hate it he doesn't mind doing it.

YourNewFriend Tue 09-Nov-10 13:39:02

That's my biggest problem Naetha -too much stuff and my long term plan is to de-clutter. The older two have just gone from a bedroom each, to sharing and so lots of things have to go. In my nesting stage of pregnancy I did de-clutter quite a lot but it's still in black bags and boxes on my landing waiting for someone to trip over it to go to the charity shop.

YourNewFriend Wed 10-Nov-10 20:01:57

Hi all!

I've had a pretty good first day! Did everything on my list from yesterday and composed a routine for mornings and evenings which I hope will get me motivated and get the day off to a good start.

-Put a load of washing on before school run
-Empty dishwasher
-Make beds
-Put clean clothes away
-Hang up wet washing (after school run)

I've written out a routine for the DC (with pics to help my non-reader) so they can see what needs doing next instead of sitting around waiting for me to chivvy them along. Have also written a timetable for the week showing what each child needs on each day ie. PE kit or Library book.


-Make bottles up for next day
-Load and turn on DW
-Sort washing for next morning
-Homework with DC's
-Lay out clothes for next day
-Write To Do list for next day
-Decide tomorrow's dinner

I think I'm just going to stick with this for now and see how I get on, wish me luck!
I'm quite determind this time not to let things slip as I'm an all or nothing person and my house slips back into chaos very easily!

Any more tips are gratefully received!

bettymoody Wed 10-Nov-10 20:03:06


housewife is what you DO not who you are
you are a woman.

what doe sH do?
your kids need to see things shared equitably

what do you expect them to do

what can you do daily?
and if you work get a cleaner

bettymoody Wed 10-Nov-10 20:03:43

oh and mennu plan and shop online

YourNewFriend Wed 10-Nov-10 20:13:44

DH has his jobs don't you worry!

He's a shift worker so some of it is as and when but that's ok...

He does the food shopping
Cooks on his days off
Put the DC's to bed if he's here
Hands on with baby so will change, feed and keep her occupied.
Also helps with bathtimes

DC's are good at tidying away toys when I ask and are quite competant at this. At the weekend I usually get them to unload the DW and they ferry things about for me... socks away in drawers etc. They don't have 'set jobs' yet as I think they are a bit young to remember to do them but they certainly know they are expected to help.

It's actually easier to get them to help when it's tidier because things out of place then stand out whereas if it's all a tip, nobody knows where to start!

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