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Do you ever come home and just want to relax and do nothing? I feel you! Teaching can be exhausting so it’s nice to be able to have a place to relax and reset. Establishing good routines at home can make this happen.

Overwhelm and exhaustion can come from teaching a lot of preps and having a lot of standards to cover. If you need some help determining your essential standards, check out my free Workbook for Determining Essential Standards.

Over the years and as our family has expanded, in order to gain that “control” we’ve implemented some routines and systems that have made our lives easier at home. 

Today, I’m sharing some of the systems and routines like meal-planning, shopping, and cleaning that we use that have allowed us to spend more time with our kiddos and recharge for the next school day.

In this episode, Khristen discusses the following books:

  • Tips for Meal Planning
  • Shopping Strategies
  • Cleaning Routines

Tips for Meal Planning

The first routine in our home that we put into place was meal planning. Meal planning can seem super daunting and overwhelming. What has worked in our family has been freezer meals. Yes, we eat freezer meals 6 times a week and it has been a game-changer.

We currently use a local company where they (or us pre-COVID) prepare all the meals. They have a menu each month and we get 20 meals–2 each of 10 different meals. If you are local to Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, or Colorado, the company is Citrus Pear.

What is great about these meals is that we can put them frozen in our Instant Pot and 30-40 minutes later have our main dish done. This frees up time for us to decompress from school and play with the kids.

Before we found this company, we made our own freezer meals. One cookbook that we loved all the recipes from is Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer. These aren’t Instant Pot Meals, but still tasty. You can find a lot of different recipes online for freezer meals to get you started.

What I did was decide on a few meals that I would cook on the weekend. I would cook a meal for dinner, but triple the recipe. That way I could freeze two meals to eat at a later date.

Our Meal Plan Routine

Having freezer meals alone does not guarantee less work or an actual meal plan. A routine or system needs to be created for this to work. The following is the routine that we use.

Every time we make (or bring home) a freezer meal, we add it to Google Keep with the date. That way we know what we have in our freezer and when we need to eat it.

On Saturday mornings, we decide what we are going to eat for the next six days. We move them to a section on our keep for “meals this week.” From that list, we can make a grocery list for any sides that we need for the meals that week. 

We make enough each night that we have at least two servings leftover that Jared and I can then take the next day to school for lunch.

Shopping Strategies

Shopping can be difficult to fit in after the school day. We already talked about our once-a-week grocery shopping trip. I do know of others who meal plan for two weeks and are then able to go shopping every two weeks–we’re not that on-the-ball.

We do like to take advantage of online grocery ordering. It does take a little prep, but it does save time. With the pandemic, most stores are offering this service. Some stores like Walmart and Costco are also doing home delivery. Check and see what is available in your area.

The other shopping tip is to utilize Subscribe & Save from Amazon. We order things like dishwashing detergent, dog treats, and diapers to be delivered on a regular basis. These subscriptions work really well for things that you use on a regular basis and usually last a specific amount of time.

Cleaning Routines

I love coming home to a clean house. When I come home to a messy house, my stress level increases. 

One way that I have found to be able to come home to a clean house, is to make sure it is clean when I leave. I don’t have time to clean in the morning, so I make sure that the house is cleaned and put together at night. 

Here are some key things that we do in our evening routine: 

  • Load and run the dishwasher
  • Pick up toys, trash, anything that doesn’t belong
  • Wipe down all counters/surfaces
  • Sweep/vacuum kitchen and living room

When these things happen at night, our house is ready to go in the morning. Because our kitchen is cleaned at night, it makes it a lot easier to finish dinner once we get home from school. 

Having clean play areas also allows our kids a space to play without being overwhelmed by clutter. 

One of my teacher colleagues takes cleaning a step further and has a cleaning service come in every Friday and clean her floors and bathrooms. Something I aspire to. She swears by this as being the greatest thing because not only do they come during school, but then she gets a jump start to her weekend.

Recently, another teacher podcaster, Mandy Rice, of the Sustainable Teacher Podcast, gave a tip about loading the washing machine at night with a timer so that the load is complete when you wake up. Just transfer the wet clothes to the dryer before leaving the house and you have a completed load of laundry by the time you get home.

Do you have any tips for systems and routines at home that have made your life easier? Share them with me on Instagram @khristenmassic as I would love to share those with other teachers. 

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