5 Systems for Putting Your Household on Autopilot

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When I was younger, one of my favorite cartoons was The Jetson’s. I loved how they lived, suspended in the air and flying their cars around. One of the best parts about living in the future, as I saw it, was being able to make your food with just the press of a button. Whatever you wanted would magically appear. And who can forget Rosie, the housekeeper robot? She was my favorite character!

Oh, how I dreamed of the day we would hit the year 2000 and all of our homes would be converted to sky-castles and our drive to school would include a stunning view below.

Well, the year 2000 came and went. The new year definitely brought with it some new technology, but it wasn’t quite what I had envisioned from my days of Saturday morning cartoons. Within the next few years, I became a mother and found myself sorry that the technology hasn’t provided me with my very own Rosie. However, I have found that there are several things busy homeschool moms can do to put housework on autopilot even without a housekeeping robot. Here are just a few.

1. Rotating Menu

A few years ago, I found myself overwhelmed with life. I had a serious case of decision fatigue. So, with the encouragement of my husband, I put our menu on a rotation. When we first began, I had a very strict rotation, making the same 6 meals every single week. I thought we would tire of the meals, but surprisingly, my family loved it! They appreciated their favorites showing up each week, and they loved knowing what was for dinner. My first menu looked something like this:

  • Monday-Spaghetti, Salad, Bread
  • Tuesday-BBQ Chicken Thighs, Baked Potato, Green Beans
  • Wednesday-Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, Chips
  • Thursday-Tacos, Tortilla Chips & Salsa, Cheese Dip
  • Friday-Carry Out Pizza
  • Saturday-Chicken & Dumplings or Soup
  • Sunday-Leftovers

As I began to feel a little more like myself, I eased up our rotation. You’ll notice a little more wiggle room in our rotation now. Now it looks something like this:

  • Monday-Italian Night
  • Tuesday-Meat & Potatoes Night
  • Wednesday-Sub Sandwich Bar
  • Thursday-Mexican Night
  • Friday-Pizza Night
  • Saturday-Appetizers or Soup
  • Sunday-Refrigerator Potpourri

The rotating menu has saved my sanity by putting meals on autopilot. It has simplified my grocery shopping, and my family loves it! Anytime I find a stressed out mom, I suggest a rotating menu. 

2. Chore Zones

We have been using chore zones for several years, and I love it for putting housekeeping on autopilot! One child is responsible for one chore zone each day.

  • Kitchen Zone-clear the dining room table, unload dishwasher, put dirty dishes into dishwasher, wipe counters, sweep floor, mop on Fridays
  • Living Room Zone-Pick up any item that does not belong in the living room and take it to its place, fold throws and fluff pillows, take any mugs or glasses into the kitchen, vacuum the carpet
  • Bathroom Zone-Pick up any clothes or towels, wipe down counters and toilet, sweep floors, mop on Fridays
  • Outdoor Zone-pick up any trash, put toys where they go, feed & water dog, sweep porch

We rotate the chore zones each week so that within a month’s time, my four children have done each chore zone. This keeps any one child from being stuck in the most difficult area. I post the expectations in each chore zone, so everyone knows exactly what to do. We also have training for each area where I model each task.

3. Habit Training

Oh yes! I am taking a cue from Charlotte Mason herself. I have a love-hate relationship with habit training. On the one hand, for the areas where we have invested the time, I love it! But in the areas where we have been lax, I continually think about how we need to do habit training.

However you view it, habit training most certainly helps put a household on autopilot. It’s surprising how much small tasks, like training your children to clean their dish after supper, can help keep the house cleaned up.

Time spent in habit training is never time wasted. 

When we notice an area where our kids have gotten lazy or relaxed, we focus in on that one habit, practice it with our children repeatedly, and spend a week or so making sure that they follow through with the new, or simply forgotten, habit. After a week of intensive habit training, a monthly check-in is usually sufficient for us.

A few ideas for habit training that encourages an autopilot household include:

  • Where to take shoes off
  • Where to hang coats
  • Cleaning up the bathroom after baths/showers
  • Where to put dirty clothes
  • Daily room clean up

Anything that needs to be done on a daily basis is a good candidate for habit training.

4. Clutter Control

Keeping clutter at a minimum is the best defense against an unruly home. My kids still bring home tiny trinkets and special rocks, and I think that’s a very important part of childhood. But that also makes regular decluttering sessions a must.

I like to make sure we do a quick declutter sweep in each room about every month. Also, we declutter clothing before each season change, and we do a larger deep cleaning during the summer.

Some families are much better about keeping things from coming inside the house to begin with. I think this is great too, and I sometimes wish we were more like that. But as long as regular decluttering takes place, you are well on your way to a house on autopilot.

5. Grocery Pick-Up Services

Online grocery shopping, grocery delivery, and grocery pick-ups are the closest that we have to the push-button food delivery that the Jetsons enjoyed, and I am thrilled! Grocery pick-up service is newly available at my local grocery store, and it has revolutionized my grocery shopping.

  1. First, online services will remember what you order regularly, so you can easily go through and check off your usual choices. This perk especially helps if you use a rotating menu.
  2. Then, throughout the week when you run out of something, simply open the app and add it to your shopping list.
  3. When you sit down to work on your menu for the week, add the necessary ingredients, and kick up your feet and rest until your pick-up time. 

Life will always include work, and so much of that work is mundane, routine housework. Even though we don’t have a Rosie robot maid buzzing around, a lot of our current technology can help us keep up with the housework if we take advantage of it. Of course, I’m still hoping for those suspended houses and flying cars in the near future!

Choose a homeschool curriculum that saves you time by providing day-by-day plans.

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