Organized Homemaking: Tips to Master the Lists

February 27, 2020

Bonnie Rose Hudson

Bonnie Rose Hudson

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I really love lists. I make lists of anything and everything. I have lists of books I own, books I want to own, and books I want to remember to get as gifts for other people. I have lists for groceries, lists of deadlines, and lists of ideas for things I want to do but haven’t fit into the schedule yet.

Organized Homemaking: Tips to Master the Lists

After a particularly long session of list re-organizing once, I remember jokingly telling a friend of mine that I finally had “one list to rule them all,” alluding to the one ring from Tolkien’s classic stories. She teasingly answered and said to be careful—the one ring wielded power over the wearer. That made me think. Who was in charge—me or my list?

I still have a lot to learn about being master of my lists instead of letting them master me, but there are some organized homemaking lessons I have learned that I try to remind myself of. So of course, I’ve made a list of lessons about lists. (I warned you!).

coffee cup and flowers with calendars and planners

Make Your Lists Work for You

I remember years ago when my family had a freezer inventory. The theory was that every time someone got something out of the freezer or put something into it, you marked it on the list. That inventory list usually stayed up to date for less than 24 hours—until the next time someone needed something out of the freezer, had their hands full when they did, told themselves they’d come back to update the list, and didn’t.

I know some people successfully make the freezer inventory work, but it just never caught on with our family. So what we try to do instead is put the same type of things together in the freezer so it’s easy to see when you’re taking out the last (or almost last) one of something. Did you open the last carton of frozen yogurt and don’t see any more around? Let someone know that you might need to get it on your next trip to the grocery store. You can even keep a grocery list near the freezer if it helps.

Whatever you do, make your lists work for you. Don’t get so caught up with doing things a certain way that you stress yourself and your family out.

Organized Homemaking: Tips to Master the Lists

Give Yourself Room to Breathe

Along with liking lists, I used to love schedules. I would plan things out down to the quarter hour. I knew exactly how much I could get done in a day. Only it never worked. Not once. Inevitably, something changed the plans. The phone would ring. Someone didn’t feel good. I couldn’t find that one thing I needed and had to hunt for fifteen minutes. But then I felt like a failure because I didn’t live up to my schedule. And the funny thing about guilt is that it slows you down even more. It saps your energy, making your perfect schedule that much more impossible to live up to.

Schedules can be great tools, but you must give yourself room to breathe. Don’t schedule every minute of every day. Seek God first thing in the morning and ask Him to direct your steps. Allow breaks and even time that is (gasp!) not allocated to anything.

Something that God has recently been working on in my heart is how Jesus’ twelve apostles followed Him from place to place. They didn’t always know where they were going next. And I doubt they got up in the morning and presented Jesus with an itinerary. He was their Lord and Master. He set the pace and chose the direction. It needs to be the same with us. Whatever we do each day, we need to do our best to align our will with His, not the other way around.

Use Color

I love color. I am amazed that God has blessed us with so many shades and hues to enjoy. I like to color-code my lists. Choosing one color for one type of task and another color for another type of task helps me know at a glance what the general content of the list is.

Keep Your Lists Handy

Whatever list-making method you use, try to keep your lists where you can reach them or access them easily so you can jot down notes whenever ideas come to mind. This can help reduce the countless random pieces of paper and sticky notes that tend to litter desks (not that I have never been accused of single-handedly keeping some sticky note companies in business).

Bottom Line

Regardless of how you approach list-making, the key is to remember that you are the master of the list, and most of all, God is the Master of you. If we keep that balance, the rest will eventually fall into place.

Take a look at The Happy Homemaker Family Life Planner to help get your life organized!

image of a white binder with an illustrated flower vase and coffee cup decorated on the cover with text The Happy Homemaker

Could you use a convenient, easy-to-use planner to help you organize your home and your homeschool year? This fun coffee-and-tea-themed planner is an easy-to-use, downloadable tool to help you do exactly that. Inside, you’ll find:

  • Calendar and Planners
  • Kitchen Inventory & Meal Planning 
  • Homemaking Helps
  • Budget Tracker and Planner
  • Homeschool Planner & Organizer

The Happy Homemaker binder and page examples

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