I created the concept of “Home, Incorporated” years ago when I was sitting in an airport, thinking about all of the things we manage in a household. I wrote out all of the components of household management – everything we do on a daily basis to keep our homes and lives running smoothly: laundry, meal planning, project management, booking travel, vacuuming, and so much more. Then, I started grouping things by category (hey, I’m an organizer, what do you expect?!) What I found is that everything you need to run your home, every function of our daily lives, rolls up into the 4 Pillars of Household Management:
Clutter, Cash, Calendars & Cleaning
All of our stuff is in the Clutter Pillar, all of our money and files are in the Cash Pillar, all of our time and to-dos are in the Calendars Pillar, and all of our cleaning & appliance maintenance is in the Cleaning Pillar.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Laundry? That’s composed of Cleaning, Calendars, and Clutter.
Meal planning? Same.
Kids? Well, they have stuff (Clutter); they do things that require money, (Cash); they have activities and playdates, (Calendars); and they make a lot of messes (Cleaning).
All of this to say, our homes are VERY busy, and they need systems to function properly. If we don’t have dialed-in-systems, things can become confusing, stressful, and misplaced very quickly.
In this blog post, I give you 5 ways that you can approach your home, and these 4 Pillars, like a business. I want you to think about putting your business best on, pouring a cup of coffee, grabbing your laptop and briefcase (do people still have those?) and sitting down at your kitchen table, as CEO, ready to take action.
Treat your stuff like inventory
All of the stuff in your home is your business’ inventory. You purchased it to support the functions of your business. For instance, you have shoes so that you can run outside, do errands, and do yard work. You have plates and forks so that you can serve meals. Also, you have towels and toothbrushes so that you can shower and take care of your teeth at night. Additionally, you have a phone, notebook, and paper so that you can take calls from the doctor, schedule meetings with contractors, and keep in touch with family. The stuff in your home supports you in your role as household manager.
So what happens when a business has too much inventory? When there’s too much backstock? Where there’s storage closets full of things no longer needed in the business? Well, from a business perspective, that’s not a great use of money or time. Space is money. Things take time to maintain. Too many things take too long to clean up and/or assess proper inventory of. You get the picture. Having too much in a business is inefficient. The best thing we can do is operate lean and mean. Get rid of the excess. Purge the stuff that is no longer needed. Empty those closets that are clogged with backstock. Do you need it to support you in the functions of your role each day? Do you need it during special events? If the answer is no or not really, back into circulation it goes.
Run your Home by Creating a budget
Most successful businesses have a budget (or, at least, they should have one). They need a way to allocate dollars to different departments. How much is going to be spent on marketing? The sales team? Water service? Lunches out? And furthermore, what about when taxes are due, and you need a balance sheet and a P&L?
The same goes for our homes. We have income and expenses, taxes we need to pay, and investments we’re trying to grow. We have savings goals and travel we want to check off. How are we supposed to accomplish this if we don’t have a budget? If we don’t know what our true income and expenses are? We also need a budget to have conversations about money with the other members of our household. We need an objective source to be able to refer to so that we can see a clear picture of our finances.
Create a mission statement for your family
All businesses have a mission statement! Why are you in business? What do you stand for? What’s most important to you and your family? As a family, I think it’s really important to have a mission statement, or at the very least, the top 3 priorities you live by. For us, it’s 1) the health and safety of our family 2) being kind and respectful and 3) having fun. You could even type out your mission statement and put it in the kitchen where everyone can see! What a beautiful thing. Coming together as a team, and declaring what your intentions are in this life. Same goes if you live alone – having a mission statement is equally as important! This can take some time to craft, so give yourself grace and just start somewhere. Write what’s important to you on a post it note and stick it on the fridge.
Take care of your appliances
Think about this for a moment. Do you buy a car and then never take it to a mechanic? Nope. Same goes for our ovens, washing machines, and vacuum cleaners. An appliance needs some basic care and maintenance. Luckily, our household appliances are a bit easier to care for than an automobile, so get familiar with your user manual care & maintenance pages. Don’t have them anymore? Fear not! Search the web with the make and model of your appliance, and you can (usually) find the manual online. Just like a restaurant has protocol for shutting down the kitchen at night, making sure their fridges are at the right temps, and scrubbing out their ovens from time to time (hello fire hazard!), so you should be taking care of the machines that help you run your home.
Run your Home by Delegating
If not the most important tip of all! Delegate. Do business owners do it all for their companies? Some do, but they would be the first to tell you that it’s way too much and they need some help. Hire out the yard work if you don’t have time. Order meal delivery a couple of times per week if cooking is too much. Have your groceries delivered. Hire a cleaning service to clean your home. Have your kids help out with laundry and other chores. It takes a team effort to run a household. Don’t try to do it all alone!
These tips are designed to help you run your home more smoothly and efficiently so that you can free up time and headspace to live out your mission in life. Our homes are here to support us, not work against us.