Home Organization Book Review: Large Family Logistics

Not only was last week a school break week, but we also had and have a string of hosting commitments that gave me the added commitment and deadline to get the house into a little better shape. Of course I had an unreasonably long list, but if I think about what I did get done instead of what I didn’t get done, I am quite pleased.

So, with a couple social hostings down and a few next weekend as well, I have my mind more set on a solid maintenance mode once again. I have vague memories of finally getting fairly satisfied with a weekly housekeeping routine before I was pregnant. I remember thinking that this time things could stay mostly in order because I’d just have to follow my figured-out plan.

Uh-huh. Nope. Oh well. I have a cute baby, and that’s what’s important than an orderly house.

When I want to get a grip on things again, I sit down with Large Family Logistics. It’s a good-sized hardback book, and it’s packed with tactics, ideas, encouragement, and blunt admonitions. If you will, it is the Bible-thumping, bullet-list, Protestant version of the culture-rich, narrative-style, Catholic A Mother’s Rule of Life. I like both, and refer to both pretty often. I pick up Large Family Logistics if I want a no-nonsense planning session and I pick up A Mother’s Rule of Life if I want sympathy and earnest encouragement.

And, just sitting down and skimming either of these books makes me feel like I’ve made progress when I’ve really only taken a 15-minute break, so I really do love them both.

The author, Kim Brenneman, kept a blog for a few years before publishing the book, which I followed. What I enjoyed about her writing, perhaps even more than her practical advice, was her honesty about how “falling off the bandwagon” happens to all of us, even to her, over and over again. She modeled and wrote about keeping a home and family, having either a crisis or just laxity cause chaos, and simply rolling up one’s sleeve and recovering when one was able or when one noticed. No need for guilt-fests or failure-feelings. Just move forward. And she clearly wrote about how she moved forward, as she was actually doing it, in her real life and not from a “I’ve finally achieved perfection and so can you” perspective. It was her blog, in part, that inspired me to keep that tone and message in my own writings, because I found it so encouraging and hopeful and straight-forward. I like blunt and concise and practical and grounded, and Kim Brenneman is all that.

The book contains 47 chapters and 2 appendixes, and it is with the appendixes I recommend beginning. They are titled “Coping While Exhausted and Overwhelmed” and “Moving Beyond Survival Mode.” In the first, she outlines how it is more important to be cheerful and kind than have a clean house, and that your eating and exercise are the first steps toward increasing your energy and emotional stability. Then, in the second appendix, she gives the ordered steps to regaining an orderly routine after a time of exhaustion and chaos, including parenting and personal points.

The meat of the book is in the 47 chapters, obviously. She gives a page or three about managing different stages of childrearing, different areas of the house, different times of the day, different goals, and different ways to refresh and reenergize yourself.

It’s a great manual for troubleshooting your own routines and systems and also a good, no-nonsense approach to our lives, roles, and duties.

5 Responses

  1. Meredith_in_Aus
    | Reply

    Great review. I miss Kim’s regular blogging so much. She really is an encouragement and I often wonder what she’s up to these days.

    I bought the book but then lent it out to a young mum friend of mine before I read it. She recently returned it and I simply must pick it up again once we’ve moved (4 more sleeps!). Maybe I can reward myself with a 15-minute reading break after an hour’s work.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    In Him


    PS. And, yes, your cute little baby is more important than a clean house.

  2. Sarah
    | Reply

    I’m reading this right now and really like it! And I totally agree with your assessment if it compared with Holly Pierlot’s book. :)

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Sarah! Your three little babies are more important than a clean house, too. :)

      I forgot to mention in the post that part of the way Kim gets a lot done in the day is by doing a workbook-based homeschool. I was wondering how I could fit in all the “times” she talks about and then realized that most of her kids’ school is done independently. So, sometime I’ll work through that bit, but right now we’re in the “Moving Beyond Survival Mode” bit. :)

  3. Liz Gossom
    | Reply

    Okay, so I’m a new homeschooler, just in the beginning stages of organizing to start my PreK & K age children. Not sure how I found your blog but I AM A FAN :) I enjoy your humorous but practical way of writing, and even purchased your ebook Paperless Home Organization. If you have ever felt like your blog takes up too much time and you want to stop – please don’t because you already have been an encouragement to this Momma. I have cut down on my blogging/community/blog reading to focus more on my family, but your blog helps me maintain that focus and I appreciate the time you have spent on it.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, Liz! I really appreciate your kind words. I used to post 4-5 times a week, but 2 times seems to be about all I can manage right now. :) I do plan to continue, and encouragement like yours makes it worth it! Thanks!

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