We’ve all seen those perfect, beautifully organised families on television, and most of us have shaken our heads and muttered that it is all clearly fiction. Real homes are disorganised, lateness is normal and having to wait days to get appliances repaired or replaced is commonplace. Isn’t it?
Not at all. It is perfectly possible to have one of those perfect households and it’s not even as hard as you might think after you have put in the initial effort to set up various systems around which your household organisation will be shaped.
Too many families simply accept the conventions and societal expectations that are deemed ‘normal’, and try to enforce ‘maternal bonds’ and patriarchal expectations that mean that the man in a heterosexual relationship ‘must’ earn more than his female partner. If she is trained in a profession that is high earning, but time-intensive, consider swapping these roles, especially if his work can be done flexibly or from home. In this way, she can devote the long hours necessary to growing her career, while he takes on the child-care duties, and manages more of the housework. This also applies when it comes to doing those household chores, about which we explore below. In any relationship, go with what works best for you both individually and as a couple.
Well, okay, not absolutely everything, but do allocate times for the things that have to be done on a regular basis. For instance, it is a lot easier to serve meals at your preferred time if you have a daily alarm to alert you that it is time to start cooking, and the dishes are quickly managed if there is half-an-hour set aside for the whole family to wash, dry and put away all the crockery and cutlery.
Set weekly schedules (bin days, sports or social activities and laundry, for example) and monthly schedules (doing a big shop for cleaning products, ensuring that monthly payments are made in good time, and so on) as well as daily time slots. It may feel, initially, that you are fencing yourself into ever smaller compartments, but try to look at it a different way. Instead of merely occupying your time, you are using it wisely, constructing a scaffold around which the rest of your day can be shaped. Once you have this system in place, you will realise just how much time you previously spent double-checking and trying to remember if a task was early or overdue – and this is now spare time, that you can use to spend with your family.
Who You Gonna Call?
Just as in the above point, make sure you are prepared. Appliances can break down suddenly, boilers can need urgent repairs and car tyres might need replacement following an encounter with a bad piece of roadway. Plan for every eventuality in advance, as far as you can. If you have AEG appliances, for example, you can sign up with Service Force appliance repairs for the peace of mind of knowing that your equipment will be well maintained and will be repaired or replaced promptly in the event of a sudden breakdown. Keep your up-to-date list of service providers handy, on your fridge and also somewhere digital, so you can access it in the event that you are away from home or unable to check the physical list.
Once you take a few simple steps towards tailored household management, you will find that the rest follows easily. It will not be long before you are in charge of one of those perfectly organised households, with plenty of time left over to indulge your own interests!