4 December 2017
Every so often I receive an email from a reader asking for ideas about something they're struggling with.  Here we have one such query which I present below and hopefully, between all of us, we can give Amy a range of possible solutions.

I hope you don't mind me asking a question...
I wrote to you around 3-4 years ago about wanting to quit my job and stay home and you addressed it in a November blog post. Well, it's taken me awhile...but I've done it...I finally quit my job. I'm burnt out (from my job) and have no direction right now. How in the world did you find your "way" around your home and get into a routine after working for so long? I've only been home for 2 weeks and need to adjust to it all...but how?
What is my first step?
Where do I start?
How do I plan?
I wake up each day with good intentions...but find myself aimlessly wondering around.
Can you offer any suggestions?

I'm sorry to hear you're burnt out. I remember that feeling and it's not nice. I hope you're spending time doing nothing but the basics so that when you're rested and ready you can take the next step in your new life with optimism and confidence. What you need is a plan.

Sit down with a coffee, paper and pencil and work out what changes you need and want.  Remember, this is about a new life for you and your family so the only ones you have to please are yourselves.  The priorities are to keep a clean and tidy house, feed everyone, work to a budget so you live the life you choose without running up debt, maintain the house and garden and possibly to make a few things you currently buy. I'm thinking mainly of laundry liquid, cleaners, dishcloths, napkins, aprons, bread, cakes, preserves etc. But keep in mind that you make the items that will make a difference in your home.  We're all different.

I would start by dividing your day into three sections: 
  • Morning, which will be from when you get up till around 9am - remember, all this is adjustable.
  • Daytime, 9am - 4pm. This is the bulk of your time when you'll do your shopping, ironing, cleaning, sewing and whatever you choose to do for your own pleasure. That might be reading, gardening, talking to friends and neighbours, sewing etc but it includes what YOU love doing.
  • Evening, 4pm - bedtime. Evening meal, cleaning up, thinking about tomorrow's meals.

In the morning and evening you'll usually do the same thing most days. In the morning it will be cooking, breakfast, getting other family members off to work or school, laundry, cleaning up, making the bed, feeding animals, watering plants, general tidy up.  In the evening it will be preparing the evening meal, washing up, packing the dishwasher, thinking about tomorrows lunches and possibly preparing them, or deciding on what you'll cook the next day so you can defrost what you need.  The more you can get done at night the less you'll have to do the following day but you don't have to push yourself because you'll be at home and you can do extras during the day.

The rest fits into the main part of your day.  It might help you to list all the large tasks you have to do in your home that aren't covered in your morning and evening routines. Tasks such as cleaning bathrooms, doing the washing and ironing, food shopping, vacuuming and mopping floors, dusting, cleaning the fridge and oven, washing windows etc. If you can make a list of these tasks and assign them to a certain day, that will help you cover your housework by doing your morning routine, your daily routine, which will include one of those larger tasks, and your evening routine. The main thing I urge you to do is to take it slow. You have many tomorrows ahead of you and as long as you're making yourself happy by the changes you're making, you'll be on the right track.

When you have these life essentials sorted out, or at least on their way, you can fine tune the other things that need it and add what you enjoy doing.  I found when I started my new life that when I started changing things, one thing lead to another and I just followed along.  If might not be that way for you so just see what happens and do what you think is right.

Other things you can look into include:
  • make a list of your priorities, values and how you would like your life to change. When you have that in place, it will show you what you need to do, change and learn to make the life you want; 
  • create a budget; 
  • work out a shopping strategy, including reasearching where you'll get the best value for money;
  • look at the rooms in your home and working out if you're making the best use of the space, 
  • menu plan; 
  • start a stockpile cupboard; 
  • make up a rag bag; 
  • if you don't know how, teach yourself to sew, mend, knit and garden;
  • work out how you can remove cleaning chemicals from your home.

Life will be slower now. What you're about to do is to make a new life and to redefine what a normal day is for you. It's different for everyone so start by getting the essentials of food and shelter sorted out and then concentrate on the rest. Once you settle on a way to organise your days that suits you, you'll probably find that housework is less of a burden and more about making your home a place that supports and comforts you and your family.  There is no need to fret about moving all this along fast. It will take it's own time and it will change as the years pass by. Homelife is never static, there's always something to do as well as time to sit quietly and appreciate what you have.

Don't be pressured into having a rubber stamp of a life. One of the benefits of living this way is that you no longer have to live to a rigid timetable or one where recreational shopping has any importance.  Good luck!  I'm sure our readers will have more suggestions for you. Now, my friends, it's over to you.