Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keeping the House Clean like Grandma on Mom's Schedule

I'm the last person that will tell you to not keep a list of things to do.  I'm the queen of lists.  I'm visual.  I like to color code my events with highlighters or changing the font on the computer.  Guess I haven't given up my box of crayons.

I am one of the first to say to keep it simple.  My life hasn't always been that way, but the simplest methods have stayed with me through the years.

If you're anything like me, you might have a list in the kitchen telling you what time of day to do a particular chore.  For example, sweeping the kitchen floor, cleaning out a drawer, going over my to-do list in the morning while the coffee is brewing.   In the evening, my list might include doing a load of laundry, sort the mail, scrub the tub after baths are complete.

DH and I have pinky promised each other that we will completely 100% unpack and put everything away in our new home.  See, we've moved so many times that we get, I don't know, 80% maybe 90% complete and leave the rest in boxes out in the garage or storage unit.  Each time we would say that we would schedule time to go out there and go through the boxes.  We are still lugging around boxes that we haven't seen the contents in some cases 10 years.  Isn't that terrible?!

Not this time!  We want a beautifully decorated and clean/organized home but we also want to get to know our neighbors and do things.  We don't want to be slaves to the house.   

We are proposing the K-I-S-S method of living.  We want to Keep it Simple Sweetie.  Therefore, my task is to figure out how we are going to do that in as few steps as possible.

There are basically four separate times of the day.  Morning, afternoon, evening, and night.  I feel that if we can master the rhythm of the day with our tasks then we will be ready to enjoy our neighbors, have company, or whatever joy life brings our way.

Some items don't really need to be done every day so they can be added in as time permits.  As long as everything gets done daily, weekly, or monthly then everything will have been accomplished.

My mother has a philosophy that if she ensures company comes over (out of town guests) at least once every three months then her house gets a "Spring Cleaning" four times a year.

Morning: Coffee.  Make the bed.  Take a shower and other personal hygiene to get me ready for the day.  Clean the litter boxes.  Take out the trash.  Go over my 6 Most Important Items for the Day and add anything else that might need to get done within the day.

If the dishes weren't done the night before, I like to at least have had them soaking and do not even think about them until I've had my first cup of coffee.

Afternoon: Pick up as I walk through the house.  I'm a piler so I don't mind each of us having a pile as long as it doesn't get too big.

Like I've said before, I'm very visual so I like to keep my floors clean, pillows fluffed, blankets folded, towels hung, and all is right in my world.  If my bed is made there can be a little dust on the dresser.

Dusting the furniture is like frosting the cake. The cake doesn't bake with the frosting but the frosting makes the cake picture perfect.

Using my time-tested 60 minute program, the house either gets 60 minutes of cleaning a day or gets 60 minutes every other hour.  This depends on what else is going on in our lives on any particular day.

Evening: Enjoy the evening having dinner and family time.  Do a load of laundry.  Prepare dinner.  We like to cook together listening to some good music, sipping a glass of wine or other beverage, and catch up with the day's events.

Night: The clean laundry of the evening gets put on our bed, so we are sure to fold and put it all away before climbing into bed.  Nightly kitchen clean up.  Load the dishwasher.  Wipe off counters.  Swish the floor - this is a combination of sweeping and mopping, one of the advantages of modern technology.  No need to break out a broom and then get out the bucket and mop.

I'm really good with “clean enough” most of the time.  If a particular chore didn't get completely done or something wasn't done to "white glove" standards, it's okay because this is a never-ending cycle and will be revisited later in the day, tomorrow, next week, or next month.

The dust bunnies can keep each other company this week because my family needs me more.  Sometimes we have to put on our rose-colored glasses and hope that our company is actually coming over to visit us and not inspect our home.

I still believe in lists and charts.  They are not written in stone but on paper.  I am allowed to move items around or skip an item as long as it all gets done...eventually.

How do you keep your house clean and what are your frustrations?  Share with us what you do and what you need help with.

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