I love getting rid of clutter. I love the look of flat surfaces with nothing on them. I even sort of enjoy cleaning. I’ve never enjoyed cleaning bathrooms, but the rest of it isn’t bad at all. I love the productive feeling I get when things are nice and clean – even though it lasts approximately 6.2 seconds with two little boys and a cat and a dog running around.
But anyway, despite the fact that I don’t mind cleaning, there are some chores that I always feel like I’m not getting done often enough (ahem, bathrooms?) I work from home, have a gigantic garden, take care of two little boys, am determined to cook all of our food from scratch, and fit housekeeping in around the edges. I imagine that quite a few of you can relate ;)
Some chores get done all the time. I do 5 – 7 loads of laundry a week (including diapers), which means that I run a load of laundry almost every day. Even without a dryer, I’m able to stay on top of that almost without even thinking about it. Same goes for doing the dishes, picking up stuff around the house, wiping down counters, etc. Other chores are things I actually enjoy – like vacuuming – but don’t get to as often as I’d like. I usually vacuum about once a week, but I find that our kitchen and dining area need to be vacuumed far more often than that. But sometimes getting the vacuum out just to clean those floors seems like more trouble than it’s worth, so the crumbs stay where they are.
I found Organizing Made Fun over the weekend, and loved browsing around over there. I’ve seen the idea of having a rotating chore list many times before, but figured it was too structured for my liking. But something about the way Becky organizes her chore list (with a promise of keeping your house clean with 20 minutes a day of cleaning) inspired me. She notes that it’s 20 minutes of cleaning, which doesn’t include picking up, getting rid of clutter, organizing, etc. It’s the deep-down-nitty-gritty type of cleaning that we’re talking about. The stuff that doesn’t get done often enough around here.
So I made myself a rough cleaning calendar:
Monday: clean bathrooms. Both on one day, getting them out of the way first thing Monday morning. As I mentioned, this is my least-favorite household chore, but it’s got to get done regularly or else it become an even nastier job.
Tuesday: Vacuum the whole house
Wednesday: Wipe down all surfaces that don’t get wiped everyday (like counters), and launder bedding.
Thursday: Deep-clean the kitchen (everything off the counters, scrub counters, stove, microwave. Make sure there aren’t any science experiments in the fridge, wipe down fridge shelves. Wipe cabinet doors. Mop floor)
Friday: Deep-clean something that only needs to be done occasionally. Half hour max. Laundry room, under furniture, patio, windows, etc. Pick one thing and get it done.
This is do-able. It’s not a 56-point Martha Stewart style checklist. But it will give me a framework for making sure that these chores get done every week. And one deep-cleaning job per day isn’t at all overwhelming. It’s easy to fit in to my day, first thing in the morning. I’ll still be doing stuff like laundry, dishes, picking up, getting rid of clutter, sweeping (easier than vacuuming and a good way to stay on top of the kitchen/dining floors daily instead of waiting for the weekly vacuum session), etc. daily or at least several times a week. But having a schedule should ensure that I don’t go four weeks without cleaning my bathroom. And the fact that there are only a few cleaning chores on this schedule makes it pretty easy to stick to.
Want to make one for yourself? Personalize it. Think about the cleaning tasks that you don’t do often enough. The ones you don’t really enjoy. The ones that tend to get put off for another day, over and over again. If you hate doing laundry, that might need to be one of your days. If you have mountains to clutter to wade through, make that one of your tasks. I think that a lot of people feel the same way I do about cleaning bathrooms, so that might end up on a lot of schedules. But the rest of it is up to you.
Today was day one – Monday – and both of our bathrooms are sparkling. I even did this for one of our toilets, and I’ll do the other one tonight before we go to bed. Tomorrow morning I’ll be vacuuming, bright and early.
After my bathroom cleaning success, I made playdough with our son helping me stir. He always loves when we make a fresh batch of playdough and toss out the old stuff that’s gotten a bit crunchy. He had all sorts of fun this morning making stuff with his new dough. But now I think I need to add “sweep the dining room floor” to my chore list for this afternoon, since there appear to be quite a few playdough crumbs under the table.
Do you have a cleaning schedule? Is it a very basic one with just a few scheduled tasks and the rest fit in where you can, or do you schedule all of your cleaning and organizing chores? Any helpful tips?
Before I go, I want to leave you with an excellent NY Times Opinion piece. The Busy Trap is well worth the few minutes it takes to read. I hope you enjoy it!
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