Overwhelmed by all you have to do in your home and on the homestead? Getting organized can be easy if you just take control. It’s not always easy to change your identity from one that is out of control to one that is, so you need a plan. Here’s a plan you can try for how to become more organized on the homestead.
Let’s face it–keeping a homestead is busy work! There is planting, harvesting, preserving, feeding, milking, doctoring, raking, digging…and that’s only the outdoor stuff. Who has time for the indoor stuff? You can–you’ll just need to do what you did when you began homesteading, which is to start with one thing and master it, and pretty soon you’ll be tackling more and more.
Last week I wrote a post sharing about how I got into getting organized and how I keep my farmstead working like a well-oiled machine. Since then, I’ve really thought a lot about how to help you all get to where you want to be in your farmstead organization journey. I’ve decided to write a post with some simple instructions to help you build your own beginner version of the Control Center. This will help you get on your way to making your farmstead work like a well-oiled machine.
But Wait–What Do You Mean by ‘Well-Oiled Machine’?
I thought you might want to know this. The phrase “well-oiled machine” may feel like a really tall order, but it’s not if you keep in mind what it might mean to you. For me, it means that each morning the house is ‘reset’, making it easier for me to move through my day’s tasks without a hitch in my plans. Those plans can be a cooking day, a day of sewing or crafting with friends, or any plans that keep me moving around in the house. This also ensures that my home is ‘guest ready’ at pretty much any time. It’s always a little embarrassing to experience that awkward see-your-home-through-the-eyes-of-others thing; not to mention, I’d like my friends to be able to use the bathroom without feeling like they are surrounded by a Stone family germ-fest!
Another purpose for doing things this way is to ward off anxiety. I suffer from hormonal anxiety, and at specific times in my month, I can get to feeling very overwhelmed. Overwhelmed feelings tend to transfer to the rest of my family and create tension in the home, so it’s something I strive to avoid. Having the Control Center handy means that I can move through my chores on autopilot, creating that ‘well-oiled machine’ feeling without having to think much about it.
How to Become More Organized by Building a Control Center
A “Control Center” is just a 3×5 index card box with cards inside. The cards are set up like a tickler file, which just means that each day’s task cards are filed behind a numbered card. The numbers on the cards are 1-31, and there are enough cards to correspond with each date in the month.
Inside are cards with daily, weekly, monthly, bi-yearly, and yearly chores on them. Each set of chores is written on a different color card for easy identification, making it easier to get organized at chore time. Today, we’ll just work on setting up your daily chores.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- storage box for 3×5 index cards – I use one of these (affiliate link)
- index card guides, 1-31 (affiliate link)
- 3×5 index cards (you only need one color since we are doing your daily chores today)
Here’s what to do:
On a sheet of paper, list 5-10 things that you want to get done each morning. I can give you a list, but the reality is that the list must be based on what works best in your home. In talking about this with a friend, she mentioned that it works best for her to feed all of her animals first thing in the morning (she has over 100!), or she’ll end up forgetting something and someone won’t get fed on time. So if she sets up her Control Center, one of her 5-10 daily chores will be to feed the animals.
I need the dishes done every morning, because if I leave them out one morning, they are inevitably part of the dinner hour chores, which can be a little nerve wracking. Also, my wheat sprout fodder has nowhere to get rinsed if my sink is full. The point is, you will want to choose those things that will foster peace in your home (whether that be yours or your family’s), and those things that can potentially fall off your plate if you forget to do them. There’s no right or wrong way to get organized, it’s all about your way. I’ll share my list of indoor chores to get your mind thinking in this direction:
- wash up
- get dressed
- tidy master bath
- make bed/pick up dirty clothes
- eat breakfast/take supplements
- correct/assign schoolwork
- dishes/wipe down counters and stove/rinse sprouts
- wash/dry/put away/reboot laundry
Think about what is needful in your home. Do you need to make sure someone has a lunch to take out the door every morning? Do you have indoor plants to water? A baby’s diaper to change? (Ok, ok…that would be a hard one to forget, ha ha.) Whatever it is that would be better off with daily attention needs to go into your daily list. Having said that, please make sure that you only choose 5-10 things for now to add to your morning. We don’t want this to be so overwhelming that you want to chuck your Control Center out the window after a few days!
Putting It All Together
1. Open up the packaging on your box and 1-31 dividers and just drop the dividers in.
2. Write on each card the room that the chore takes place on the upper left, and the word “daily” on the upper right. In the middle, write down steps or details that will help you move through the chore quickly. Here’s an example of what my master bath card looks like. Rather than making 5 different cards, I wrote all of the items down on just one card:
3. Once you get all of your daily cards written, file them behind the divider numbered with tomorrow’s date (i.e., if it’s the 23rd tomorrow, file it behind the card with the number 23 on it).
4. OPTIONAL: If you have a general menu that you use each week, write out a card for that and tape it to the front of your box. Do the same if you have general themes for each day of the week. Tape that card to the lid of your box. (See above photos for examples.)
To use the file, pull all the cards out from behind the present day’s date. Do the tasks on the cards in whatever order works best for you. Once each task on each card is completed, file it behind the next day’s date. Make it a habit to check your file daily. It helps to put it somewhere that you will see it every day, like on your counter or desk.
What About the Rest?
Once you have your daily system working like a well-oiled machine, you can make your lists and fill out your weekly, monthly, bi-yearly, and yearly cards in the same way that you did the dailies. Use different colored cards so you can get an at-a-glance look at how busy your day will be with chores each day.
Some days will be busier than others and you might need to skip everything but your dailies–that’s ok! Having the different colors will help you quickly grab those cards and let the rest go for the day. If you do skip any cards, make sure to refile them for another day, or even the following week, month, or year. It’s all up to the way you want to accomplish those tasks, and how frequently.
Enjoy your newly organized days!