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Archive for January, 2013

Cleaning Schedule

January 29th, 2013 at 07:05 pm

I have a hate hate relationship with cleaning my house. It is boring. It is never ending. Miss a few days, you might as well miss weeks. I've tried. Doesn't really make a difference. I'd rather hold/play with my son. Or watch TV. Or read the internet. Anything but wash dishes.

But, my house was a scary, embarrassing disaster over Christmas. I decided that my New Year's Resolution would be to keep the house clean.

I read a book ages about that said to put all your chores on 3x5 cards, then assign them either daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Then, keep them in a file box, as you get one done, move the card ahead, and always stay on top of it.

Ok, I think that was written in the 80's sometime. I did this for a while, but if I missed a day (or week, heck two weeks. Who am I kidding?) it was very hard to pick up again. We are now in the age of computers. So, I adapted it.

I did come up with a list of chores, and then in my Outlook Calendar, I put a recurring appointment in for each chore. When I get done with a chore, I delete that instance of the appointment on that day, but the recurring appointment in the future is still there. I look at the calendar in weekly mode, and at the end of the week, the calendar is blank, and I go to the next week. I broke my chores out like the following:

Wash Dishes
Clean off table

Every other day (changed to 3 times a week):
Take out trash
Wash, dry and put away clothes

Clean three areas of consistent clutter
Deep clean stove
Clean microwave
Clean bathroom countertop
Wash bathroom sink
Take trash to curb
Do paperwork

Every 2 weeks:
Scrub toilet
Scrub bathtub
Clean bathroom mirror
Clean coffee area
Wash floors

Clean under coffee area
Clean top of washer/dryer
Clean cobwebs from corners
Wash shower curtain
Clean window sills
Clean front entry way
Sweep back room

Since January 1, the only thing I have missed is washing the floors once. My house looks amazing, for my standards.

I have been tweaking the system. I changed laundry, sweeping and trash from every other day to 3 times a week. Since I work at home on Tuesday/Thursday, I moved laundry to those days + Sunday. I can throw a load in at lunch, get it in the dryer and start another load, so the machines are practically done once I am done with work. During the winter, I am pretty much only doing 2 loads each time, colors and whites.

Sweeping and trash were moved to M/W/Sat, with taking the trash to the curb on Wednesday, since trash gets picked up Thursday morning.

On Mondays, I clean three areas that are always cluttered. One is by the door, one is a shelf between the kitchen and dining area, and the last one is right beside that shelf. Gets a good start to the week. I also sweep, take out trash, clean off table and do dishes.

On Tuesdays, I clean the stove and microwave (and do laundry, clean the table and dishes)

On Wednesday, I sweep, take out trash and take the trash out to the curb, dishes and clean the table.

On Thursdays, I clean the bathroom (depending on the week, sometimes just the sink/countertop, sometimes the toilet, mirror and bathtub are added on). If I need to wash the shower curtain, I do it on Thursday. I also do laundry, dishes and clean the table.

On Friday, I have no additional chores, except daily ones.

On Saturdays, I wash the floors every other week, sweep, take trash out, dishes and clean the table.

On Sundays, I do laundry, dishes, clean the table, and paperwork. I am now caught up with paperwork (balancing accounts, paying bills, etc) but this took me 3 weeks to get all the way caught up. This Sunday, I'm going to work on taxes as well.

They "every 2 week" ones and "monthly" ones are added with no real thought to when, except washing floors on Saturday, since that involves moving furniture, etc.

There are a few keys to my system working so far.

My son has gotten bigger. He is 20 months old now. I used to come home from work, and he needed to nurse, so I would sit down to nurse him and I would continue sitting in that chair all night, holding him, except to make supper. Since he has gotten older (I am still nursing, though am slowly weaning him right now), we nurse for about 5 minutes, then I make myself get up to do the chores. And he helps me! He can help me put clothes in the dryer, and he likes taking the clothes from the dryer to the basket, then climbing in the basket to take them out so I can fold them. He helps put some of the clothes away, too Smile He follows me around with a dustpan when I sweep. I put him in the bathtub while I am cleaning the bathroom so I can keep an eye on him, and get everything cleaned while he is playing. He picks up toys so I can sweep. When supper is done, we line up things he can carry (salt/pepper/salad dressing/yoghurt/etc) at the edge of the table so he can reach up and grab them (or Daddy hands them to him, one at a time) and he brings them into the kitchen. We, of course, grab plates/glasses/knives, etc, and the food. I open the fridge and point to where he needs to put it, and he puts it there and shuts the door. If it needs to go into a cabinet, I lift him up so he can put it away. All the while I am washing dishes, so pretty much once the table is cleaned off, the dishes are washed. I have found that this is a great way to interact with my child, he is learning responsibility, and I get the chores done Smile

Another thing is being able to evaluate what is working and what isn't. I used to do laundry every other day and sweep/trash every other day. This was actually too much for my house, so I would look and think "don't need to do laundry today" so I would skip it. For me, once I skip something, it is so easy to let everything fall apart. It was also too hard to come home after an 11 hour day (after work + driving) to do laundry. Once I changed it to T/T/Sun, it has gotten a lot easier. Luckily Sweeping/Trash/Trash to curb naturally fits on M/W/Sat, too. Having a day off on Friday is helpful.

I also tried to do my bills on Thursday, which just wasn't working. I don't know why. But I naturally wanted to do them on Sunday, so even if I wasn't following a schedule, I would do it Sunday. When i was trying to follow the schedule, I'd get to Thursday, skip bills, think "oops. Might as well let everything else fall apart." Then not try to pick it up for a month or so. By putting bills on Sunday, it just fits my schedule better.

Finally, shame and pride had a bit to do with this. I fancy myself a pretty smart person, so when I couldn't figure out how to keep a damned house clean, I felt like an idiot. Telling someone I would rather have dinner at their house instead of mine because mine was dirty was embarrassing. Now, I look around the house, and feel pretty good.