It’s pretty ironic. We moved to the homestead so we could live the simple life and I have to tell you, it’s been anything but simple. We’ve been dodging roadblocks and jumping hurdles from the very first day we moved in. From living without full electricity, and no running water to finding we just don’t have the financial means to do all the things we planned on doing in our first few months here. Our days are crazy long and sometimes ridiculously disorganized.
It would be very easy for us to throw our hands in the air and say, “That’s it! Homestead wins, we give up.” But, Homesteader Hubby and I have never given up very easily and when we work together as a team, we don’t usually end up needing to give up. The struggle is real folks. There are many days that I do throw my hands up in the air and say, “I’m gonna quit”, but my family knows that I don’t mean it. I tend to say those things out of frustration, but once I collect myself and pull my big girl panties up, we get back to business and we work it out.
I’m learning though, that it isn’t the homestead that is making my life so difficult, but instead it’s my way of organizing or (not organizing) my time here on the homestead. So, I’ve started working on these 10 ways to help my whole family find the simplicity we are looking for here on the homestead.
10 Ways To Find Simplicity On The Homestead
Don’t wait until tomorrow
I’m a procastinator. I tend to put everything off until the last-minute and then I find myself overwhelmed, stressed out, frustrated and drained. It’s not pretty for anyone. Every evening after dinner is over I do a few things to get me started on the next day’s work. This helps me to stay on top of things and I’ve noticed that my mornings are running smoother and because my mornings run smoother, so does the rest of my day.
- Defrost tomorrow’s dinner
- Check to make sure that any kiddos that were given responsibilities did those responsibilities
- Look over that day’s to-do list and any items that weren’t checked off, see if they can be done quick or can they be carried over to the following day’s list. I’ve learned not to leave these things behind or they won’t ever get done.
- Create tomorrow’s to-do list
Get my tushy out of bed
Who knew the day would come when sleeping until 8am would be considered sleeping in? Believe me, I’d much rather stay snuggled in bed, spooning with Homesteader Hubby, but if I do that too often, I won’t get any work done. And as much as I love to spoon with the Homesteader, I also really love my quiet mornings. If I get up a few hours before everyone else, I have the time to sit in quiet prayer with the Lord, look over and get started on my daily to-do list and work on my business without interruption. Quiet time is a rare commodity in a home with 6 children and I’ve learned I need to grab it when I can.
Create our monthly meal plan
We have a master meal list, this includes all the meals our family enjoys for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The first Monday of every month, I sit down and plan out our meals for the entire month. This has helped me tremendously in so many different ways. No longer do I stand in front of my freezer, scratching my head over what we’re going to have for dinner. I don’t forget that I’m supposed to actually make all those healthy meals I want my family to eat, it helps me keep inventory of what is in our freezer, refrigerator and pantry. I’m also able to save money because I create my meal plans by what we purchased at the store that was on sale. I’m not rushing out to buy pizza (click here to learn how to make homemade pizza) because I forgot to get dinner out of the freezer. We aren’t blowing through boxes of cereal anymore and every night, regardless of how busy our day was, and even if it’s eggs for dinner, we’re sitting at the table together as a family, celebrating our day.
Each day has its own work
I was first introduced to this concept when I was homeschooling Homesteader Girl. We had done a unit study on Little House In The Big Woods. I had loved Little House on the Prairie when I was growing up (I still do) and I wanted to teach my oldest daughter what life had been like in the good ol’ days. Ma Ingalls had work assigned to each day of the week, as I imagine most moms did back then. I decided to give it a try and it really has simplified my life.
Monday – Laundry, Office work (this is the day I create my meal plans, schedules, pay bills, etc.)
Tuesday – Kitchen/Dining Room/Living Room/Bathroom (kids do the dining room and living room)
Wednesday – Baking, prep work for meals, etc.
Thursday – Focus on my business day
Friday – Catch up day
Plan out the week
Oh boy does this make my weeks slide by just a little easier. The Homesteader and I sit down each Sunday evening and go over the big projects he’d like to tackle throughout the week. By me knowing what he may need my help with, or if he’ll be away from the homestead for more than just a few hours, I can plan the easy meals for those crazy, long days. I also know if I need to rearrange my work schedule so we can get those bigger projects taken care of quicker.
Keeping my home straightened throughout the week
My mom always told me that, “Cleaning a clean home is quicker and easier.” And she was absolutely correct. It’s not always the easiest goal to accomplish, but I’m a real stickler about everyone pitching in and doing their part around here. If my kiddos make a mess, they are expected to clean up after themselves. I have no problem serving my family as the Lord has called me to do, but I also expect that my family in pitch in and pull their own weight. It is so much easier to package up meat for the freezer if I don’t have to declutter the counter first.
Our family is a team
Everyone in our home has their own responsibilities, but we do tackle many of our tasks together. If it’s our big cleaning day, then everyone pitches in to dust, sweep, vacuum, etc. Each person knows who is responsible for the kitty litter, brooder, feeding the animals, etc. If The Homesteader needs help finishing up the chicken tractor, building the well house or any other big project he’s working on, we pitch in and help. I may only offer moral support and suggestions, but I’m still helping 🙂 Ahem!
Hands down, this is the one area that helped me simplify things the most. Everything in our home has it’s place. No one has to dig for cooking utensils or wander around aimlessly looking for their car keys. Before we moved here, we de-cluttered and minimized everything down to what we absolutely needed. So organization should have been pretty easy for us, I put it off for a long time and things got a little out of control.
Delegate tasks and responsibilities to kiddos
When I’m feeling overwhelmed and bogged down, it’s typically because I’m taking on way more than what the Lord expects of me. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on the homestead, and there is no way that one single person could be expected to do it all. There are many days when we get busy working on a bigger project outside and the inside gets pushed until later in the day, or even to another day completely. When that happens, I’ve learned that my little people can tend to the dishes, and regular clean up and my oldest daughter can tend to dinner.
Take a day to rest
God gave us a day to rest for a reason. He knows that our bodies and souls get weary and tired, and He has provided us time to slow down and take a breather. For me, that is usually on a Sunday, but the Lord has a way of sneaking in times of rest during the day as well. Today was an example of that. Hubby knew I had a lot on my plate today and he could see I was getting overwhelmed. When I was presented with the opportunity to go for a walk with him, I took it. Those 10 minutes away from the house and the work that needed to be done here made my heart just a little more calm.
Enjoy the simple pleasures that we are blessed with
Sometimes, I really fail in this area because I get stressed out about all the work I “should” be doing, but God is working on my heart. He’s reminding me of why we moved here in the first place. One thing I really looked forward to when moving to the homestead, was being able to sit on the front porch with Homesteader Hubby and just relax. I haven’t enjoyed this nearly as much as I would like, but it is on the top of my to-do list right now! The Lord has blessed me with the simple pleasure of sitting with my family each night for dinner, the pleasure of watching my children run freely on the homestead, to just sit and read about some topic that has striked my interest and I’m going to embrace every second of those simple moments in life.