Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. By Kim Brenneman
I recently picked up this big book on home management in the library on a whim. The title explains it pretty well.
Those of you who know me may be ROTFL at this point…stay with me, I promise I learned a lot from it! Why would someone who has only 2 people in her household want to read a book about managing large families? Well, I’m always interested in efficiency, and what do moms of large families have to be really good at? Efficiency.
I loved so many things about this book, and I’d recommend it whether you are living by yourself or have a family. It’s supportive and the chapters are very short, meaning that even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can get one concept and try it out. The ideas don’t take any special tools or experience, and are presented in a way that starts with the basics and builds from there.
Laundry Day: The first thing that jumped out at me as a great idea was that of designating specific days of the week to specific household management tasks. For example; Monday is Laundry Day, Tuesday is Office Day, and so on. Since my schedule tents to fluxtuate a lot with clients and different activities throughout the year, I’ve modified this approach a bit for my own use. I tried grouping certain household tasks together, like grocery shopping, sweeping the floors, and cleaning the kitchen, and called it “Kitchen Day”. I did a few more of these, and at the beginning of the week will assign a group of tasks to a day of the week.
The 2 areas where I found that this approach really helped me were “Errand Day” and “Office Day”. Before, if I realized I had an errand to run, my default approach was to do it that day. This meant I sometimes went out running errands several days of the week! Talk about an efficiency killer. Now, I keep a running list of the places I need to go, and as long as they aren’t urgent, try to schedule them all on one day.
Similarly, knowing that I have a dedicated “office day” coming up helps me save all those office tasks (writing blog posts, mailing letters, emptying my mail station) for that day. Once you get into office mode, momentum really boosts your efficiency and productivity.
Morning Routines: My other favorite part of this book was the idea of Morning Routines and Evening Routines. A list of things that you aim to do every morning, and every evening. The morning one has been especially helpful to me. She suggests normal “morning” things like getting dressed and ready for the day, along with some new and helpful ideas like this one: do one things to clean your bathroom every morning. Wipe out the sink, take out the trash, clean the mirror. This has made a huge difference for me.
I found that the same thing worked wonders in my kitchen. While I wait for my tea water to boil every morning, I found 2-3 minutes that are perfect for putting away the clean dishes and generally tidying up the kitchen. Bonus: because I’m so tired early in the morning, I don’t even remember doing all that work, which makes it seem like my house is cleaning itself! I think that’s the whole idea.
Her evening routine includes a 15-minute quick pick-up session meant to bring some calm to the house before the family gets to spend time together in the evenings.
Kim has lots of other good suggestions and ideas for homeschooling, laundry in a large family, spending quality time with your children, and budgeting. (She recommends YNAB, no wonder I love her book!) Overall I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve her household management, regardless of whether or not you have children. You can read more about Kim and here family here: http://largefamilylogistics.blogspot.com/