Before I had kids, I was a complete clean freak. I remember being single and spending my friday nights with music playing and happily scrubbing away. Nothing made me happier than a spotless house and having nice clean laundry was the highlight of my weekend. How pathetic, right? Even into married life my house was always clean. It was easy when half the rooms in our house were unused and there were only two neat people residing within.
Then my first pregnancy happened and between complications, surgeries, colicky babies, unexpected second arrivals and just plain new mom exhaustion, cleaning was a low priority. We didn't live in a pigsty but it was never spotless like it had been. Cleaning got done when it got done. I remember my husband once coming to my bedside and making a comment as we were expecting guests that we had to clean. My response was "I just don't care." He was shocked and said that he couldn't believe we weren't going into DEFCON 1 because guests were on the way. I was sick at the time. I was tired. And, I just couldn't. No shame here and no apologies.
Things are great now, but somehow, I found it hard to get back into the cleaning groove I used to have and it bothered me. I missed my perfect house. Its so much harder when you're constantly interrupted by a diaper change/potty break, meal, sibling brawl, child standing on the kitchen table, etc. I kept seeing how people use cleaning schedules. Tried that. Half the time, I lost the schedule. Then, I'd have a problem finishing what was scheduled. Now what? Gave up that idea.
Next was Flylady. Tried that twice. First was when I worked full-time. I'd be sitting at work and I'd get an e-mail that it was time to clean out my closet. Okay, but my closet was 20 miles away. Then, I had to clean my toilet every morning. Seriously? I barely have enough time to rouse from my coma enough at 4:30AM to shower let alone drag out all the cleaning supplies. Gave up. Tried again more recently. I ran into the same problem as the cleaning schedule. Sometimes, I just couldn't finish and I felt like I couldn't make the schedule work. Cancellation #2.
Then, I had an idea ... I made a new schedule.
Sunday – 2nd Floor Bedrooms
· Change Sheets
· Empty trash in each Bathroom/Office
· Vacuum/Mop entire 2nd Floor
· Pay Bills (Every Other Week)
· (Mr. T does the grocery shopping and brings laundry to laundry room)
Monday – Nothing (Work Day)
· (Mr. T does laundry)
Tuesday – Dining Room/Living Room/Kitchen (I work but I'm home at 1PM)
· Dust all surfaces
· Vacuum/baseboards/windowsills (Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen)
· Clean Glass
Wednesday – Kitchen
· Wipe the cabinets, appliances (stainless cleaner), and countertops (granite cleaner)
· Clean microwave and toaster oven
· Wipe Kitchen Trash can with Clorox Wipe
· Empty wastebaskets in all bathrooms
Thursday – Half Bath/Basement Family Room
· Clean Half-Bath (disinfect surfaces and toilet/clean mirror)
· Vacuum basement
· Dust surfaces in basement
Friday – Organize
· Put away laundry
· Organize Mail/Coupons/Catalogs/Magazines
· Water potted plants
· Vacuum Kitchen/Dining Room/Living Room
Saturday - 2nd Floor Bathrooms
· Disinfect surfaces
· Clean mirrors and glass doors
· Clean tub/shower/toilets
· Empty wastebaskets
Okay. What's the difference between this schedule and the original schedules I tried?
First - Its MY schedule. It works for ME - Someone who works Monday and Tuesday, has a 4 bedroom/2.5 bath house and has to fit in preschool drop offs 2 mornings a week (more chaotic mornings). This is in addition to the everyday things I do. So, we have a schedule. How do I avoid losing the paper its on and forgetting what to do? That brings me to ...
Second - Calendar! I've been using Yahoo Mail for years and have never used the calendar function.
I cut and pasted each day into my calendar and set it to repeat every week. Easy peasy. If I'm interrupted, I still have the list in my e-mail reminder so I go back to it when I can later or, you can just move it on the schedule to another day/time. I also add things that I always forget to do. I've had to make a dentist appointment for the last 4 months and when I remember the office is closed. Well, now its on the calendar. I also use it for grocery lists.
I've been able to stick with this and have found that I have so much more time that I occasionally will do the tasks for another day. That frees up my time to do other things like decorate, paint, shopping or bigger tasks like cleaning out the fridge.
I just thought I'd share this for anyone wondering how I "do it all". It may seem a little obsessive, but you know what? I have a clean house and time to spare!EDIT: I thought I'd add a list of things I do every day. These aren't things I need to schedule because they've become a part of my routine and I can do them without thinking.
- Make beds
- Unload clean dishes from dishwasher
- Reload dishwasher
- Wash sink
- Wipe table and counters
- Squeegee glass shower doors after showering
- Vacuum floors if necessary (this is in addition to vacuuming in schedule)
- Go through mail and sort
- Load dishwasher after dinner and start
- Wash and dry large dishes and put away
- Clean stove
- Wipe counters and table
- Take out trash
- Help kids clean up toys in family room/living room