I think of home as a production center. Home is a place where comfort, orderliness, and peace should roll off its 'assembly-line', each and every day. While this may seem like an unattainable goal, it really isn't. It's all about making sure that some basic, but very crucial, things get accomplished so regularly that they become almost unconscious habits. You wouldn't think about leaving the house without brushing your teeth, and these home maintenance chores are at the same level.
There are three things that I do every day, with the exception of being mortally ill, and then I have them done by someone else...usually hubby. I think of these three as being the foundation from where all other homemaking tasks begin. These three things have been proven and time-tested through my years of raising children, working outside the home, and even when I had an in-home daycare. They aren't everything that home-making entails, but they have gotten me through tough and ridiculously-busy times.
2. The bed is made. This job, in my view, is a loving gesture to yourself and your family. There is nothing better than to pull the sheets back from a neatly made bed at the end of an exhausting day.
3. I do a load of laundry. I have a pretty wicker clothes basket, and I like to finish the load, fold it, and put it in there to be put away the next day. The next day it is put away consistently, and I do the next load. Remember this is a mindset where laundry is done every day.
4. This is optional, but this idea helps too. I try to figure out what we are having for dinner, and if I have the time I try to put it together in the morning. (Yes, I have made spaghetti sauce at 6 a.m., before I really had my eyes opened...lol!) Crock pots are your best friends here, and it's also helpful to cut up some vegetables, toss up a salad, make some jello, some various forms of preliminary food prep. If I can, I try to make up casseroles and main dishes in the morning, because I'm one of those crazy morning people. That way, you can just pop it in the microwave or oven in the evening, and it almost feels like someone else made your meal...almost. At least, try to have an idea of what you want for dinner. This will relieve so much stress come 5:00, and as you sail past the fast-food joints back to a home-cooked meal, you'll be glad you did.
No matter how crazy the world outside is--and we all have those crazy times-- if these three things are done for your household, your home will welcome you with open arms. You will also have three of the most important things a home provides, clean dishes, clean clothes, and a clean place to rest.
(Image: "Study of a Breezy Window" Colored Pencil by Cory Jaeger-Kenat, 1998)