How to Keep Order at Home: A Guide for the Hopeless in the form of a daily checklist

I’m pretty hopeless at keeping order at home—or I had been. Although I love routines and schedules, they were never much of a part of my life at home, and any time I tried to impose them upon myself, I failed. I’ve read books upon books (I love A Mother’s Rule of Life and Home Management: Plain and Simple) and chastised myself for reading instead of doing; I’ve read blog post after blog post, joined helpful Facebook groups, downloaded countless organizational apps (from checklists to calendars to time monitors), and used up many pieces of paper brainstorming ways to bring order into my life, and nothing really helped. I started when I was quite young with trying to make a schedule for my summer, just like I had at school. I didn’t get past the first block. A couple years into starting a family, I realized that a schedule was as realistic for me as finishing my dissertation: surely a set of routines would be the way to go! But I still found myself stuck, scattered, and completely overwhelmed. Occasionally, I found it helpful to make a checklist of things I needed to do the night before, but realistically I found it hard to make a checklist the night before consistently. Some nights—many nights—my brain was too frazzled to think straight about the morning. Yet, if I waited until morning, it would be too late.

I’m not sure why it took so long for me to realize what I needed was a standard “night before” checklist that I could print out, stick in a binder, and use daily. A checklist especially for those days when it seemed like I just couldn’t focus on anything, let alone accomplish anything. A checklist of the should-be obvious.

I made the above using a template in MS Word. If you don’t have MS Word, you can still make it on Google Docs, or any other word processor. In fact, I made up a document on Google Docs that you are welcome to borrow. Please note that it is not a template yet. That means you need to COPY and PASTE the contents onto your own document or everyone else is going to see your changes. You can access my Mother’s Daily Checklist here. Have fun!

My next assignment: a weekly checklist!

*** Please note that I’ve added a place to record my daily weigh-in on the Google Document. This is because I have a good twenty pounds of pregnancy weight to lose and I find it motivational to keep track of whether I’m gaining or losing. If you are a healthy weight, please do not weigh yourself daily!!!***

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