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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Organizing Your Cleaning Schedule

Welcome to another Organize Now day! Today we are finishing the section of Organizing ourselves with a post about Organizing our cleaning schedules. Another HUGE one for me!
If you are just getting on board, you can catch up with our previous posts about organizing our schedules, priorities and mind and life vision HERE.

Cleaning is not something that I LOVE to do, but it is something I HAVE to do. Once I am doing it though, and the house is clean, it feels so good! I know some people who truly love to clean. I am not one of them.  I have found however, that by doing a little bit each day things don't get out of control and we have a happier and more relaxed home. Has that happened to you?

I like to think of cleaning as exercise. That is a suggestion that Jennifer Ford Berry has in her book and it has been a motivation for me. :) She goes on to say that, "staying on top of your cleaning is crucial to staying organized." So true!

This Week's Goals

1. Make a Chore Chart!
Write down all of the chores you can think of that need to be done. Separate them into daily, weekly and monthly activities. Create a chore chart and assign jobs to all members of your family who are old enough to contribute. This can help kids know the expectations and help them feel like a part of a team. Keep the chart in a place where everyone can see it. The refrigerator is a good place. Search for templates on google.

I think the chore chart is a great idea that I am starting to work on. My husband and I tend to divide chores without really writing it down. For instance, he routinely is the one to take out the garbage. I am usually the one to sweep/mop. Now that our 3 year old is old enough and still willing (lol), I have been having him help me dust, "sweep", helping put the laundry into the dryer, etc. He likes to feel like he is contributing and I love that. Makes cleaning more fun for everyone. Even the little one wanted in on the action the other day so I gave him a dust cloth. He was so proud to hold onto it and "clean" while my 3 year old went between dusting the end tables to dusting his toys and telling his brother what to do. lol!  

2. Make a Bare Minimum List

What is the bare minimum you would need to accomplish each week to keep your house functional? Some weeks we just don't have the time or energy to keep up with a hefty cleaning schedule so figure out what you need to do at the bare minimum when these weeks come up. 

For me, at the bare minimum, I try to do a load of dishes and laundry each day and at least run my microfiber broom over the kitchen floor one time. (it's quicker then sweeping with a broom) I also try to keep the toys picked up so it doesn't look like a tornado of toys blew through our house!

3. Complete One Chore Each Day

I used to be one of those 'clean only on the weekend' people. But with 2 small boys at home now, I find that it is SO much easier to do a little bit each day. The house stays cleaner and we don't waste our entire weekend cleaning! Even for the 9-5er reader, it may be easier to do a little bit each day so you have more time for fun and family on the weekends. 

There are so many cleaning schedules and information on the topic online. I found one awhile back that I liked because it wasn't an overwhelming amount of things it said to do each day. For example, this is what I try to do daily. (some days I don't and I am ok with that. I just jump in on the next day and don't stress about the schedule)

Monday: clean bathrooms
Tuesday: Dust
Wednesday: Vacuum
Thursday: Wash Floors
Friday: Plan meals for the upcoming week and prepare shopping list (this has been a big time and money saver for my family)

I do try for weekly because if I miss a chore, then I can catch it next week and I don't feel like I need to double up the next day. One of my friends with 3 small kids, does one of these big jobs each week. That way she has all week to accomplish it. You need to find what is do-able and works best for you and your family.

In addition, I try to sweep the kitchen floor, wipe the kitchen counters, pick up any clutter/toys and do one load of laundry each day. If I miss a chore, I let it go. By doing a little each day, the house really never gets out of control and if I have an unexpected visitor, I am not embarrassed by how the house looks. During the week, I pick try to pick one room to work on more of a deep clean such as the kitchen, bathrooms, family room, etc which I work on over the week. Having a check list really helps stay on task. I don't stress about getting everything done but do what I can to stay on top of things. Every little bit really makes a huge difference!

4. Keep Disposable Disinfecting Wipes in Each Bathroom

This is a great tip! We have 3 bathrooms in our house and I didn't (until I read this!) keep a set in each one. I have found that it really is nice and so easy for quick wipe downs between big cleanings. (and it makes the big cleanings seem not as big because there is less to do!) We use these wonderful Germ Off Wipes  which are awesome for quick disinfecting and deodorizing and are bleach and alcohol-free! A safe, easy and environmentally friendly choice to use around my young family and I really love that!

5. Minimize Your Cleaners

Another great idea for saving space and time.  We actually did this over 2 years ago when we started using Basic H2 Concentrate(my all-time favorite cleaner!!). We used to use so many different cleaners and my under the sink area was crowded. I had to clean when my son was napping because they weren't safe for him to breathe in or be around. When we switched to Basic H2, I had so much more room under my sink and felt so much better cleaning around my kids. It was great! In fact, my first blog post last year was about how my family de-toxed our home by going from over 20 toxic cleaners to only 3 non-toxic ones to clean the entire house! You can read that post HERE complete with some good before and after pics.

Additional Tips from Jennifer

1. Take a basket around the house while you clean it. When you find something that doesn't belong, put it into the basket and put it away later. I love this tip! 

2. Right after a meal, wipe down the kitchen counters (We love the Basic H2 for this!) and load dishes into the dishwasher or wash them by hand.  This is something that I have not been great at since becoming a mom 3 years ago. But lately I have gotten back into the routine and let me tell you, it been so great! It keeps the kitchen from getting out of control. If the dishes are out of sight or clean, it has a way of making the whole kitchen (and house!) look a lot cleaner. Don't you think? I also have been washing the big pots and pans as I cook. Makes for less dishes and clutter on the counters later.

I always admire my parents, who have lived in the same house for over 40 years and have never had a dishwasher!! After every meal, they just do the dishes. It's part of the routine and the kitchen looks clean because of it. My parents have used this Dish Wash Concentrate for 37 years now! Would you believe that they have only had to call a plumber once during that time and have never used any type of drain cleaner in their sink? It's because the dish concentrate is a degreaser so it helps to keep the pipes clean. And it saves them (and my family since we use it too!) money because it's so concentrated. We only use a couple of drops per load of dishes and one on the sponge! 

For my dishwasher, I love this Dishwasher Automatic Concentrate. I only use about a teaspoon for a load of dishes! Both are green products so they are safe for my family, the environment and work so well. Love that!

3. "If your house is difficult to clean, you have too much stuff!" We definitely have too much stuff in my house, which is one of the motivators for this blog series. I am just so tired of dealing with stuff and want to reduce! We have started making more trips to Goodwill to donate (great lesson for the kids when we donate toys) and also have been selling things at the pawn shop. I never thought to do that but my husband loves the show "Pawn Stars" (I'll admit that I like it too!) and he wanted to try to sell his guitar and amps and some other things that he no longer uses. And you know, we got some good money back on it! We have also sold things on craigslist and garage sales in the past. 

Well, that does it for another week. How are you doing so far? Would you care to share your cleaning schedule or tips?

Thanks again for reading and have a great day! Next week, we will go into the new section - organizing our papers. The first chapter is about organizing your personal information.



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