August 31, 2010 by Marci
One question I get a lot is how do I keep up with the housekeeping. It is a topic we all know too well and if we are too busy, if can get away from us fast. In fact, it was researching methods to keep my house clean with out driving my family and I crazy that got me going on this online “anti-busy” journey. I discovered there were other women out there who also wanted to keep the busy out of their lives.
One way I discovered to keep busyness at bay was to stream line the whole housekeeping process. I used several methods and finally came up with a hybrid all my own. I find that separating housework into daily chores, weekly chores and big projects make my life simpler and my house cleaner. And, I don’t do all the work myself. The kids have to pull their weight!
Before I started looking for a new system, I would wait until my house was unbearable (or friends were coming over) to clean and it would take me an entire day. During and after which I was not a happy camper – nor was anyone else. This system keeps my house clean, my family and I happy, and teaches my kids responsibility.
These are easy common sense chores that are now done out of habit. A few of these habits were hard to form, so I had to write them down on strategically placed sticky notes until I got them down.
- If you get something out, put it away.
- Wipe the bathroom counters when you are done getting ready.
- Sweep the kitchen and dining area after each meal or snack.
- Clean off kitchen counters and sink before bed
- Put away anything that doesn’t belong in the living room away before bed
- Put a load of laundry in the wash first thing in the morning. Put it in the dryer after getting ready. Put it away after breakfast.
The weekly chores only take an hour or two around here because “many hands make light work”. I choose a morning to clean when both kids are at home. To make sure they are motivated, I usually chose a morning when we have something fun planned in the afternoon. If the work gets done, we get to participate. If the work doesn’t get done….well, you know. The key here is to plan the day when I plan my week. If I don’t plan it ahead of time, it probably won’t get done.
I make lists for the kids and myself. They are like their mamma. They like to cross and check stuff off lists. Here is a sample of the kids’ chore list.
Dallas (9 years old)
- Clean kids bathroom toilet
- Clean bathroom counter
- Fold and put away your clothes and towels
- Vacuum stairs
- Vacuum downstairs
Dane (5 years old)
- Clean bathroom mirror
- Clean tub
- Fold and put away your clothes and towels
- Vacuum upstairs hall and kids bedrooms
- Dust downstairs
- Vacuum master bedroom
- Wash sheets
- Sweep and mop kitchen, dining and entry
- Clean master bathroom
- Clean downstairs bathroom
We can knock that out in 2 hours – easy! Usually, we are much faster. The whole house is clean. Everyone is happy and we still have the whole day ahead of us!
When it comes to those big projects like cleaning out the closets, re-organizing the kitchen, or cleaning out the basement, I schedule them into my week and break them down into small pieces. Looking at one of those types of projects on its own can be really intimidating. Many times, we don’t want to start a project because we think it is simply too large to accomplish. However, if we look at it once piece at a time, it looks totally do-able.
I’m going to use this week’s project as an example of how I schedule and break down a project. Sunday nights I plan my week ahead. I plan my meals, my appointments, homeschool and my weekly project. Some weeks are simply too packed already and I skip the project. As long as the necessities get taken care of I’m fine. This week, I noticed our master suite needed some attention. It tends to get overlooked. Here is my plan to get it back in shape.
Monday – clear off night stands and dressers, dust, put away stuff that accumulated there
Tuesday – vacuum under bed and behind furniture, clean doors and trim
Wednesday – Clean ceiling fan and blinds, wipe down cabinets
Thursday – deep clean shower and tub (more than just the weekly wipe down)
Friday – Clean night stands
If your project is bigger, take more than a week. Last January, I took the whole month and re-organized my kitchen drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf. Just a little each day.
Creating Your Own System
Is there a perfect housekeeping system? I don’t think so. What works for me might not work for you. My system is a mix of several systems. I had to try a few out to see what worked for my family and I. If you are searching, keep trying. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t try and copy the experts if their plan doesn’t work for you.
Do you have a plan you’d like to share with us? I’d love to hear about it!