Organising your time and creating routines

29 October 2021
My computer problems have been resolved so I'm back with you.  There'll be no Weekend Reading today because I haven't been reading but I hope this post on time management and routines will interest many of you, especially the new readers.

One thing we all deal with, and sometimes struggle with, is how to organise our time to do everything we need to do and want to do. Most weeks can be similar for those who have retired or are ill but when you’re raising a family, caring for loved ones, working outside the home or living on one income with outside work and work at home existing along side each other, organising time can be difficult. In all those situations, however, when you create routines and organise your time effectively, life is easier.

I get a few emails about this from readers who can’t create routines that work. I think the best way to organise home life is to do it in bits and pieces, never all at once. Each part of your life and every bit of housework you do requires focus so you have to be thorough and do it one step at a time. Slow is best.

I think the best way to start is to work out what you’re having problems with right now, and start with that. You have to be prepared to give time to the things you want to happen and for most things, each process will have many steps, not just one. For instance, if I want to feed my family nutritious food then I have to make time think about what I want to cook during the week, then more time to create a shopping list, go to the supermarket to buy food, go to the butcher, baker and fish market, or to the weekend markets. When I come home with the shopping, I need time to refrigerate or freeze the food, or store it correctly in a cupboard, before I cook it every day.  As you can see, there are many steps and it takes time but when you set up your routines, it will help you a lot.

There are a few processes that could be part of your kitchen routines - cleaning, organising, cooking, baking and preserving. Another process that will fit nicely into your kitchen routines is to batch cook. I want to eat food cooked from scratch every day. You could cook enough food for the week on the weekend but I prefer a two day method. When I cook, I make enough for two days so we eat home cooked food every day but I only cook 15 days, not 30 days a month. We eat the same food two days in a row but when you’ve done this for a few weeks, you can freeze the second batch and build a store of frozen meals - so you have the choice of what you eat on the second day. Make sure you label your meals well so you don’t leave food sitting in the freezer or waste it. This post, Three key ways to save time and money, is about stockpiling, green cleaning and batch cooking for beginners, I hope it helps you with motivation.

If I want to reduce the number of chemicals I have in my home, ONE of the things I do is to make sure I always have soap, borax and washing soda on standby in the laundry so I can make my homemade laundry liquid. This not only gives me a very effective way of cleaning our clothes with few chemicals, it also saves money and helps me cut down on the amount of plastic I bring home. But it’s not one step, it’s many and it takes time. If I have the ingredients here, making laundry liquid takes about 15 minutes, then it lasts a couple of months before I make it again. Shop-bought laundry liquid costs about $9 - $10 per litre, homemade laundry liquid is $2 a litre which is a huge ongoing saving. Click here for my recipe for laundry liquid as well as a number of other uses for it.

And as you can see, these two common household processes have multi-steps and take time. It’s never instant, you have to work for it.

The reason they need multi-steps and time is that when you go to the supermarket to buy your weekly groceries, if you buy already cooked food, premade cleaning products etc., you’re paying for convenience. If you buy ready made meals, you’re paying for someone else to buy the ingredients, prepare and cook the meal and when someone else does the work for you, you pay for the ingredients, plus the work they do.

However, buying convenience means you have to earn more to pay the higher price of convenience products - the laundry detergents, shampoos, snacks, fizzy drinks etc. By cutting back and going back to a more basic kitchen, you’ll reduce your use of plastic, you’ll know exactly what is in the food you eat, you’ll live with fewer chemical and you’ll have more money in the bank.

So how can we get back to that basic nourishing food and healthy life?  Routines will help you with the tasks you repeat over and over again.

Before you do get into routines you must organise your work areas - kitchen, laundry, bedrooms, sitting/lounge room, outside areas, but do one area at a time. Start with the kitchen, because you’ll be preparing food and cooking almost every day. Take a good look around and move things to suit how you work there. If you drink a lot of tea and coffee, make a tea and coffee station with your cups, teapot, kettle etc. near by. Make sure your glasses, plates, bowls and serving dishes are within easy reach for every one and are close to where they’ll be used. I have three big drawers under my induction stove. They contain all our plates, serving and mixing bowls so they’re close to where the food is made and when I finish cooking, all plates and serving bowls are right there. Clean and organise the fridge and freezer. Make sure you knives are sharp, it helps you a lot. Clean and organise your cutlery and gadget drawers - this will save you time when you don’t have to look for the things you need. Give away or donate everything you don’t use. Clean and organise all the drawers and cupboards you use every day, it will help you later when you're busy cooking, baking, making lunches or cleaning.

I know how much time paid work takes - I worked for a living until I was 56. I know how much time children take, especially when they’re very young. I’ve had my own children and looked after three grandchildren, so I get it, it’s time consuming. But once you’ve set yourself up with routines, a stockpile of groceries, green cleaning and delegating chores, simple life will help you to live well, consume less and hopefully be healthier. And you’ll have a feeling of self-reliance, freedom and satisfaction that will help you carry out your house work and build your own simple home.


  1. Thank you so much for explaining these processes. This has helped to clarify,time organization and creating routines for me. I have so appreciated all that you have shared with us. Thank you so much.

    1. You're welcome. Don't forget to take it slow, be thorough and when you create your routines, they'll probably be a great help to you.

  2. Thank you for this post, a routine can be so helpfull. It took me years to find one that fits me... I need to be flexibel with my time and then I found a flexibel routinethingy.... Who knew that that was an option too . So helpfull and less stress....

  3. I think your suggestion of taking the time to organise areas before getting stuck into your routine is a good one.

    To encourage any newbies, I will say that I was a single parent for 9 years and during that time was running a business, making all of our baked goods and meals from scratch (including bread), growing a veggie garden, renovating, mending and so on. It wasn't easy but I had a routine for everything, as did the children. I kept the routine on the fridge at first so that I wouldn't forget anything.

    I'm in a new chapter now as the kids have left home and I've cut my work back to part-time. What I am noticing is that it is VERY easy to waste time, especially on the computer (for many facebook is the time theft). So I have boundaries about when I use the computer and for how long - this has given me back many precious hours so that I can do all I want and need to do. And importantly, it gives me more time to sit on the verandah with a cuppa, watching the chooks and thinking about how wonderful our life is.


    1. Yes Madeleine, they are precious hours, you never get them back. You need that time to sit and think, it makes life a richer experience if you recognise the opportunities and rewards that are right in front of you.

      There are a lot of things that steal time from us. I hate Facebook so it's never been a temptation for me, IG isn't either. I've earned a living on my computer since 1988 and now it's a joy for me to turn it off and walk away. xx

  4. You just reminded me - I have soap curing in the laundry. I should have cut it into blocks yesterday!
    I'll go and do that now.

  5. Dear Rhonda, your articles are always a pleasure to read!
    Even if I am more and more developed in my routines, I always learn something from you. For example, we are changing the kitchen furniture (some are over 30 years old), and I will have, like you, 3 large drawers, in which I will store my plates, serving bowls when I thought to put them away in the high cupboards.
    And like Frogdancer, you just reminded me that I have laundry to mix in my basement.
    Thank you for all that!
    Good week to you and Hanno (and Gracie ;-) )

    1. Thanks Pat. There's always something to learn. I'm still learning too. xx

  6. As always a great post Rhonda.
    Blessings Gail.

  7. I so agree with you Rhonda, that having a routine enables more time for simple pleasures. I've had a routine since I started staying home with my now 20-year old son. Mondays are for bathroom cleaning, Tuesdays the kitchen, Wednesdays dusting, Thursdays are for floors, etc. I also use this method for laundry.
    Like you, I cook a meal that will last me over a few days, so that I can cook less but still eat well.
    It really does foster a sense of comfort, knowing that most of the time, anyway, everything will get done and your home is tidy and a healthy place to be.
    Hope you and your family have a splendid weekend!

  8. Julie from MooroolbarkNovember 01, 2021 4:17 pm

    Hi Rhonda. Fantastic post which I thoroughly enjoyed and certainly gave me food for thought on routines and inspirations which for me took hold last week while I was in home isolation being a Tier 1 exposure. The good news is I was negative throughout it all. The surprise was how much it affected me even though I enjoy home life but forced isolation and not being allowed to venture outside my property of my own free will was an unique experience. So I turned my worry and stress around and moved around my furniture room by room and only what I could tackle. New lease of life for each room and helped me manage all of this.

    Routine is comforting in the every day as you have expressed so well but sometimes for the free spirit within me I need to challenge routine and this provides me with fresh inspiration and introduces a new perspective. With your sharing of your achievements Rhonda I can see you may do the same but we all have to maintain the necessities of the day.

    Love your photography Rhonda. Your pictures share the underlying tranquility of your life Julie xx

    1. We are alike, Julie. I could have written that first paragraph ... and the second. I'm always pushing the envelope. I'm so pleased to read you didn't have Covid. Keep on keeping on. xx

  9. Thank you for this Rhonda. I always enjoy reading your thoughts on routines and organisation. It is good timing for me, as I need to get back to basics and re-establish some better routines. So thank you for the gentle encouragement and calming inspiration. Hope you and Hanno are keeping well. xo

  10. Lovely post Rhonda - I now have kitchen drawer envy! My routines usually go out the window when some new activity or responsibility is thrown into the mix and I have to work out how it will all fit together, or when I have been too social! Forgetting things too, when I go to the shops and having to work that into the next day's routine always undoes my day - I spend way too much time in the car. Thankyou for some timely reminders.

  11. I'm in the process of revamping my routines and you've inspired me to get back to basics and start fresh. Do you have a recipe for what's in the muffin tin? They look delicious! Thanks for all you share.

  12. Hi, Rhonda
    It’s always such a pleasure to read your day to day routine posts .I am a empty nester too ,Here in india e have house help although it’s a blessing I have to incorporate them in my daily living .
    Please write more about how you handle life positively now



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