A fellow list-making, neat-freak, busy-mom of two recently asked me if I had a detailed cleaning list that I use because FlyLady’s list wasn’t working for her.
I don’t 😦
However, I do have a method to my madness.
- My guest bathroom gets a once-over when people come over. This includes playdates, house guests, parties and usually family dinners (they love us even when our toilet isn’t sparkling.).
- My fridge gets scrubbed when I’ve run out of food. It’s easier than taking everything out, plus it gives me an idea of what I’ll need to buy.
- My sheets get washed when my house is already relatively clean and I have a day “off” of chores, errands, or other commitments.
- My windows get cleaned when we have a party.
- My floors get mopped AFTER a party, or as needed. My kids spill enough stuff on the floor that I’m spot cleaning most of the floors every other week or so, anyway!
There are some things that I clean rarely….
- My master bathroom, since the Hubby and I are really the only ones that use it. It’s all about appearances 😉
- Dusting. *ugh* My first job was as a “professional duster” at
an upscale junk knick-knackpersonalized trinketstreasurers store. I got paid $5/hour to remove personalized picture frame after personalized beer stein, after personalized cigar boxes and dust under them. Worst.Job.Ever for a girl who hates to dust. Then again, the job may have played a part in why I hate to dust. I remember aspiring to be a “gift wrapper” at the same store. I would have hated that job too. Now my house gets dusted when my mother-in-law is coming, or my kids want to “help” while I clean something else. God bless Swiffer.
- Vacuuming the whole house.
… and there are some things that get cleaned daily…
In the Morning:
- I empty the dishwasher
- Start the dryer
- Have the kids help put away clothes I folded the night before.
- Take out what I feel like for dinner
At Quiet Time:
- Prep dinner or cook it completely.
- RELAX (sadly, this one gets the shaft far too often)
- Catch up on emails
- Do the dishes and make the kitchen sparkle to my liking. The Hubby offers to wash them every night, but, as much as I love him, I’d rather do it myself and know I won’t have to “spot check” the dishes that he forgets are on the stove, wash a pan that is “soaking” when all it did was boil potatoes, or put leftovers away. (Sorry, Babe. You knew I was going to be honest in my blog!).
- Sweep the kitchen. We eat all of our meals in the kitchen and attached dining room and our two dogs spend most of their time in there (it’s where their crate is), so it gets dirty. Fast. I’m
amazeddisgusted at the amount of grossness that accumulates in just one day, even if we’ve been out all day! I try to feed my family balanced diets, but I just can’t seem to fit “dog hair” into the food pyramid. Protein? Grain? Gross.
- As the Hubby is bathing the kids, I clear the clutter that has come about during the course of the day. Toys in the kitchen? I pitch them into the family room for the kids to clean up. Toys in the master bedroom? I pitch them into the hall to clean up. Dirty diapers on the changing table? I take them to the garage for washing.
- Start a load of laundry. If I’m washing diapers, I can get one load done (they take over 2 hours to wash!) If I am washing clothes, I can get both colors and whites washed and one of them dried.
- After baths, the kids are supervised in cleaning the family room, hallway, and their bedroom. Dirty clothes go in the hamper (even my 22-month old has been doing this on her own for a good 6 months.) The trick is to have things go back where they belong, not just thrown anywhere it fits/ is hidden. I find I have less major cleaning to do if I do my best to help my kids learn this skill.
- Set up the dishwasher to start a cycle, but usually use the Delay Start feature. (Did you know you shouldn’t run your dishwasher or clothes washer/dryer between the hours of 1pm and 7pm? We’ve noticed a notable savings since adjusting this practice!)
After Kids are in bed:
- Clean up the bathroom from bathtime (hang towels) and tooth brushing (put accessories in the cup).
- Fold laundry in the master bedroom. I put away my clothes, the Hubby’s clothes, and towels as I go so that I only have kids clothes in the morning.
- Watch TV
This may sound like a LOT of work. It is. I have to stay committed to knowing these steps help keep my mind calm, my family healthy, and my house neat. I don’t always feel like folding laundry. So I don’t. I don’t always feel like neatening up the bathroom. So I don’t. It’s not going to make the world stop turning. Even if I choose to take a “mental health day” and not do anything but take the kids to the park, go to the gym, and watch TV, I do it, but I do it knowing the work will still be there when I wake up in the morning. (I’ve also found that my “mental health days” actually make me feel worse, because I anticipate that I’ll need to do twice as much the next day. But that’s just me).
I am a stay-at-home Mom. I am a homemaker. I am NOT unemployed. This is my job. It’s how I save my family money. It’s how I act as teacher to my children. It’s one way I show my worth to the world. If you were an employer, would you want your employee taking more “mental health days” than being productive? Would you want them talking on the phone, playing on the internet, watching TV more than doing what is in their job description? If you hired a babysitter, would you want them yelling at your kids, telling them to “just watch TV” or “leave me alone”?
Though there are days this routine makes me exhausted just thinking about it, it works. Usually.
As always, I aim for Better Than Before.