I recently made a post in a Facebook group that I belong to, about how much I have struggled in the past with keeping house, and how I wanted to go about resolving that issue. I have tried MANY things throughout the last few years, and I keep ending right back up where I was, because even if I keep up on the daily, I have accumulated so much mess that interferes with REAL cleaning of my home. So I have set out to do a full clean of the home EVERY day that I will be working around to get my home in order. As I go through my daily cleaning, I have done a few extra things here and there to get ahead on some of the areas that are not presentable. I have also set aside certain times to work on some of those areas that doesn’t interfere with the daily! If you are interested in my process and system, read on! Be warned, it is long-and this post does not have pictures. Sorry for that one, but I hope you can enjoy it anyway!
First, I sat down with a notebook and a pen, and decided that I would move through my house in my head, and write down what I wanted to get done every day. This list was written and rewritten a few times (and I actually need to rewrite again!) because I would think of things as I was working my way down that I would have to add in.
I started in my bedroom, first thing in the morning, because that is where my day starts. I thought about how much time I have to alott to that area of my home. I get up with my husband in the mornings to get him out the door, so I don’t have a lot of time before he leaves to get things accomplished. So I decided that only a few ‘cleaning’ things would go on the list for the bedroom, first thing. For my morning routine, starting in the bedroom, this is what I chose:
Bring toddler to bedroom (change diaper, dress)
Pick up laundry from floor
Brush teeth together
Quickly make bed
Feed and water cats
This gives me plenty of time to get to the kitchen and do breakfast for everyone, before Hubby leaves the house, and my daughter and I are prepared for the day! And, I get a few items crossed off of the list of things that needed done!
Next, we move to the kitchen (skipping all of the rooms in between-for now). I have to get breakfast ready and Hubby’s lunch packed in the morning before he leaves, but I don’t want to stop there (that’s what I used to do). I used to sit on the couch and check all of my facebook pages and notifications with the computer after I finished getting Hubby ready, and that’s why I never accomplished anything. I cannot sit down, and expect to be productive. I’m not wired that way. So, I asked myself, “What would flow easily from where you left off in the bedroom to get Hubby ready, and then get into cleaning. My kitchen to-dos look like this:
Get toddler’s breakfast and drink
Get Hubby’s breakfast and drink
Pack Hubby’s lunch and fill water bottle
Wipe down counters and table
Pull out supper meat/start crock pot if needed
Do any breakfast dishes/left over dishes from night before
There! Done! This list is in accordance with the things I am wanting to get done in the evenings before bed, that will obviously be at the end of the list, but that I kept in mind when making the early morning routine. The next big thing that I have to accomplish each day is to tidy up and clean the main living areas. Our living room doubles as the place our daughter plays, and the kitchen and living room are open to one another, so the next part of my list focuses on those areas (with an added bonus-laundry):
Pick up floors and clutter in kitchen and living room
Sweep entryway, living room, kitchen, and hallway
There are only two things on this list, so it looks short, but it takes a good 40 minutes or so to accomplish this usually, because I let it get out of control (that’s why I needed a new system!).
After I finish in the main living areas, I move through the house, room by room. First, I start with the nursery (which at the moment takes the least amount of time because it has not been deemed clean enough to move toys into, so is off limits to our daughter except during nap and bed times-working on some reorganization and purging. There are boxes stacked up one entire wall). Then I move into our laundry room. The laundry room connects to my bedroom, which I can now spend some time in to get some real cleaning done, since I couldn’t do much first thing in the morning. After the bedroom, I finale with the dreaded Master bathroom. (It really isn’t dreaded… we are a pretty simple family, and I don’t wear makeup or do my hair, so our bathroom is the easiest room to keep tidy… it’s the actual cleaning I don’t enjoy.. cleaning a bathroom makes me feel gross!). Anyway, this is what the end of my cleaning list looks like:
Straighten up nursery
Wipe down washer and dryer
Sweep laundry room
Straighten up bedroom and closets
Wipe down counter top and sink
Spray down bathtub/shower
Wipe down/rinse bathtub/shower
Did you catch that? I snuck laundry in there again! The goal is to get down to one load a day… right now I’ll be sneaking laundry in a couple other places too, when it is convenient. I am not putting it in my routine list though, because I want to get down to one load a day.
The last part of the list is my nighttime routine, which I have to get done sometime between putting my daughter to bed, and going to bed myself. It is short though, and should be fairly easy to maintain if I get the morning list completed! This is my evening routine goal:
Wash day’s dishes-Put away folded laundry-general tidy and pickup-bible time/prayer
This is my goal for ‘daily’ cleaning and responsibilities. I use quotations there, because on Thursdays, I have the car and will be tending to the bank and any paperwork/phone call needs. I have decided that I HAVE to set aside an entire day dedicated to those things, or they won’t get done. I hate paperwork and phone calls! They waste so much time! Also, days that I have appointments, I will be out of the house longer, and so I will not be able to devote as much time to cleaning, so the ‘daily’ list will not be executed those days either. So, on Thursdays, after tending to the bills, bank, phone calls, etc, I will direct my attention to my weekly chores. I will use the time on Thursdays to do the things that need to be done weekly, in my home. So far, that list looks like this:
Sweep & mop ALL hard floors
Clean under and inside couch
Wash sheets & blankets
Clean out refrigerator
Clean out fish tank filter/add water if needed
Wipe down kitchen cabinets and appliances
Clean microwave & coffee pot
Empty shoe basket & coat rack
Wash shower curtain
On appointment days, I will be tending to all of my big projects in the house. Right now, those include purging and organizing the nursery (almost done!) and the bedroom (just started that yesterday!!!! O.O). Other than that, on Thursdays and appointment days, I will only have to maintain the cleanliness that I created on the other days of the week. I have not yet worked on a weekend plan, but our weekends will be changing now, so I will start working on that, once I know what they are going to look like (:
After making these lists and thinking about all these things, I asked for an accountability partner. My accountability partner and I have discussed what I expect from that relationship, and she has been an awesome encouragement to me! It helps having that person. The one that checks in on you, asks how well you are doing, and is willing to ‘kick you in the butt’ when you slack!
As for my system, I do NOT put times on these lists. I simply think about how my day flows, and where I would like to be by the end of the day. This way, I can’t fail just because I miss a ‘deadline’. It is easy to stop and tend to my daughter’s needs, an unexpected visit, a phone call, etc, and then pick back up where I left off, because I literally just move through my house, little by little. After this week of a test run, and seeing about how long some of the sections take (I separate it into sections/rooms) I will maybe set timers, if I feel like I’m spending too much time cleaning, but based on today’s time, I probably won’t because I had it done early enough to spend the rest of my day well. I suggest timers in each section for those of you who have more to do though, because then you can get a little done in each section, instead of just working through your list and running out of time with a room or two that you didn’t even get to. I want to be able to say I got a little cleaning done in each area of my home, at the very least!
I am sure I have missed something in all of this, and if anything is unclear, or you have questions, please feel free to comment. I am by no means an expert in this… Monday was the VERY first day I’ve cleaned my own home from top to bottom without it being because I am moving or having an event/planned company…. So…. I am learning THROUGH this!