Nothing like expecting house guests to kickstart a whole-house cleaning! This past weekend, we had family and friends in from out of town to celebrate our daughter’s 4th birthday (which happens to be today – happy birthday, Emma!), and the house looked pretty darn good by the time they all arrived!
My husband spearheaded the effort, and did spectacular work. I followed behind, polishing mirrors, organizing toys, matching socks, making beds, and vacuuming what he’d already vacuumed when my daughter made a mess with an animal cracker snack explosion in the living room.
Every time we get the house looking good, I vow to keep it up. I mean, it’s easier to maintain a clean house than it is to clean a dirty one, right? Well, I haven’t managed to make it happen yet. But, this time is different!
A while back, I talked about how I thought my housekeeping routine might be holding me back from actually doing any housework. Basically, I believe that the sheer number of things to do was so daunting that I couldn’t face doing even one of them.
Even after writing that post I didn’t do much to change, until today. At lunch today, I took a few minutes and deleted all of the many, many housekeeping tasks that I had plugged into Remember the Milk (RTM) so long ago. It was surprisingly liberating to see the list completely empty.
It didn’t stay empty for long, though! I added in several daily tasks that I want to be reminded of, at least in the first few weeks of developing better habits. Those daily tasks are:
- Make the bed
- Empty the dishwasher
- Quick clutter check
- Check the mail
- Feed the dogs
- Do the laundry
- Make dinner
- Load the dishwasher
- Plan for tomorrow
Each of these tasks has a timed reminder set for it. For example, making the bed and emptying the dishwasher are morning tasks, and I’ll be reminded by RTM to take care of them each weekday morning at 6:15 and 6:18am (and on weekends at 8 and 8:30am), respectively. Everything else is an evening task, and I’ll be reminded appropriately for each of those tasks, too.
I’m already doing some of these things automatically (making dinner and feeding the dogs, for example), but not necessarily at the same time every day. Some days, I don’t remember to feed the dogs until it’s almost bedtime, and that hardly seems fair to them.
Once these few things have become rote, I will remove the reminders, and will plug some weekly chores into RTM. Tasks like filing paperwork, dusting, vacuuming, watering plants… As of now, these are things that tend to happen only when it becomes painfully obvious that they’re needed (or when company’s coming). Eventually, I hope to keep up with them more regularly.
Bottom line – if I can train myself to take care of the basics, the house will be in much better shape, and moving on to the weekly things will be a natural progression. Plus, the weekly chores won’t take long to do, since the house will basically be tidy. At least, that’s the plan…