The “Have To’s” of Home Management

The “Have To’s” of Home Management

by Charlotte Siems

There is a certain amount of “have to” in home management.

Whether we like it or not, the toilet has to be scrubbed and the dishes must be washed.

Even if they’re not our favorite tasks, we can learn to do them efficiently and effectively, because they are a skill. Skills are learned, not inherited in your genes.

Obviously, we also have things we really like to do. We enjoy meeting a friend for coffee, browsing on Pinterest and reading a great book.

The good news is that being organized in our “have to” home management tasks will free up time and energy (both physical and mental) for the things we look forward to and like to do.

You might think “Well, I enjoy those things and I’m going to do them anyway. They help with my stress!” Fair enough. Spending time reading your favorite blogs is fun and this activity is not stressful.

The stress comes in later, when you put the computer to sleep and look around. Oh, my. Back to reality.

I finally realized that I could do those things without guilt if I first took care of my basic home responsibilities. By doing so, I avoided the let-down and feeling of despair that came with returning after a time of fun to a mess and undone chores.

Instead, there is a feeling of contentment and control to come back from a break to a reasonably clean house and caught-up tasks. Making sure your schedule includes time for breaks and self-rewards is something I highly recommend so you can thrive over the long haul.  In fact, make sure that you don’t get into a performance-based mentality that says, “I can only take a break or reward myself when I have everything done and it’s all perfect.”  You’ll work yourself into the ground and that doesn’t benefit anyone.

I don’t know about you, but when my home is fairly orderly and there’s a plan for dinner I’d rather be there than anywhere else.  It’s easier to keep up with it on the installment plan–a little every day–than The Big Kahuna Cleaning Day with disaster in between.

And let’s admit that those “have to’s” are easier to get done when we don’t think of them as dirty rotten jobs.  Don’t let your thoughts take you down a trail of dreading and disliking household tasks.  They’ve got to be done, so may as well get skillful and think positively.  Most of the time those jobs aren’t as bad as we’ve made them out to be in our imagination anyway.

Try this:  think of your “have to’s” as “get to’s.”  You get to clean your own house.  You are privileged to have furniture.  You are blessed to have loved ones to create a home for.  You get to (fill in the blank with your own fortunate life).

Those “have to’s” might even turn into “like to’s.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment below.



  1. Hit the nail on the head for me Charlotte. Thank you for another wonderful post! Off to taking care of my ground beef and kitchen dishes before I do more blog-reading. So very glad that I get to do both! Blessings.

  2. As a long-time homemaker, I can testify that you are absolutely correct! My husband and I were just talking about this. I was going over my schedule and trying to figure out how to get the necessities done as soon as possible so I could concentrate on some of my want-to’s. But the have-to’s have to come first! If you steal time away from them to do something fun, it isn’t as fun because you feel guilty. But if your have-to’s are done, you enjoy your fun activities a lot more!

    Great post.

  3. Kris Cannon says:

    This was timely for me as well. Glad to see others are tempted to be dragged off the Pinterest Heaven! Balance. I just started homeschooling my pre-schooler and decided to put my son in private kindergarten, lots of activities and it is very easy to want to crawl under the covers. I wish I had gotten a degree in management!

  4. Danita Brick says:

    On a few things, I’ve timed myself. For instance, unloading the dishwasher always seemed like a tedious time-consuming job. One day I timed myself, and going at a normal pace (not racing) I unloaded it in 3 1/2 minutes. Seriously. Now, when it needs unloaded, I remind myself that in less than 5 minutes I’ll be done. I did the same with making my bed — doesn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would. Makes these jobs far less difficult to think about.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Brilliant! We often have an unrealistic view of how long things will take!

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