While cleaning a seldom-used closet in our guest area, I found this index card I taped to a shelf some years ago. It was there to help my children, some still very young at the time, put folded towels away during chore time.
This little forgotten sign, now smudged, crumpled and ugly, needed some desperate attention. After cleaning the closet and refolding all of the guest linens inside, I debated between two different options. Option 1 involved creating a new index card and hanging it back the same way. Option 2 was all about making a newer, more attractive sign using my computer and laminating it, preserving the instructions for years to come.
Option 3, which came a few minutes later, was to take the sign down forever. Because while thinking about it a little while longer, I realized my children didn’t need the sign any more. They were older and had already learned where all of the towels go. Keeping the closet tidy no longer appeared on anyone’s job chart anyway. This was no longer a problem area in my home. Therefore, written instructions were no longer needed.
When homeschooling and managing a home (and sometimes even a home business, too) so much can be happening at the same time. Scheduling, organizing and being prepared to handle all of life’s little emergencies are necessary for keeping the entire operation going smoothly. But these systems must be maintained, too, lest they become badly out of date.
When was the last time you looked at your schedule? Your child’s job chart? Your household maintenance calendar, revolving meal plan, pet grooming schedules, to-do lists or anything else you do on a regular basis? When was the last time you replaced a calendar, cleaned out your Inbox or filed away the receipts you’d been saving for tax purposes?
How are your old systems working for you now?
As life changes, so must our systems. Just as large organizations undertake preventative maintenance and perform routine updates, so every family should also review its systems from time to time. Taking a look at what they’re doing and — more importantly – how these systems are working is crucial to keeping the household engine running smoothly. Updating anything that needs updating, discarding anything that no longer works, and creating new systems where problem areas exist are the only ways to prevent minor issues from exploding into major chaos.
Today, take a look at what is working in your home, and what is not. Jot a list of those areas that need a little fine-tuning. Then, spend the next couple of days maintaining your systems so that they function well for you now. Just like my towel instructions, eliminate anything that has become unnecessary, silly or just excessive. Instead of reusing an old system, as I almost did, re-channel those energies to areas that need you more.