Aug 2, 2011

My New Housecleaning System (Work in Progress)

Ever since our oldest child was born, I've struggled with the housecleaning. I can keep our house clean enough, but the house never feels really clean to me. I neglect anything that's not day to day, like the blinds, the baseboards, etc. And I struggle to get all of the day to day done, like the vacuuming, the bathrooms, the kitchen floor, etc.

The only things I really have a handle on are the laundry and the kitchen sink. The laundry, because I spend enough time at home to do it all. And the sink, because I've never been the type to let dishes pile up overnight, and because of Flylady's first lesson of housecleaning: Shine your sink.

I've mentioned Flylady before as someone who gives great advice on cleaning your house. I get a little put out by all the product pushing they do in their daily emails (testimonial after testimonial about how wonderful their water bottles and scrubbers are). But I read the emails regularly because their basic premise is sound and inspiring. I love the message that housecleaning done imperfectly still blesses my family, and there are helpful tidbits that I pick up on.

Like this one: A couple of months ago, there was a note from a "Flybaby" who said that she never knows what she's going to feel up to doing when she gets home from work, so she keeps a list of her weekly cleaning chores and crosses them off as they get done.

I thought that was brilliant - and so in the last few weeks, I've created my own list. There's a section for weekly chores, like vacuuming, the bathrooms, etc. There's a section for monthly chores like more detailed vacuuming (with the hose), a donation trip to Goodwill or the Salvation Army (decluttering!), scrubbing the dish rack, etc. And there's a section for less frequent chores like oiling my wood counter tops (twice per year), cleaning the blinds in each room, etc.

I printed off the list and slid it into a sheet protector which I taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet (I don't really need visitors knowing that I haven't cleaned the blinds in the family room yet this year). I use a dry erase marker to cross off activities, and I can wipe the marks off as needed (weekly, monthly, and so on).

This system is working for me because I can see what's been done and what's left to be done, and I really enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off. Plus I don't have a nagging feeling in my head of "I need to do that" - it's on the list and I'll get to it.

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Teresa P said...

Well I am a "FlyBaby" and have been for over 9 years! I can't seem to get past those testimonials either. But she does have a point. If it works for you to have the list inside the door of your cabinet that's great! The only thing I didn't see that might help is if you put the month/year combo on your cross off area. So that way you know the last time you did it. Here we are working very hard to get started on the baby steps. It's doing well, shiny sink and all. Hopefully I too can have a house kept up on. Just keep trying to read those testimonials and get past all the selling. Keep up the good work!

Nil said...

Can you put up the list for us?

Anonymous said...

I'm a flybaby too--but it sounds like we're on a similar page. I stopped getting the emails, because i never read them.

I have a dry erase board with three sections. My daily non changing chores, my daily changing chores and a weekkly/monthly running list of crap i need to get to when i have a minute or inspiration. I tried using a binder, but i needed something up on the wall that i could SEE when i walked into the kitchen.

It really is about finding the system that works for YOU.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Teresa - Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one put out by the pushy selling!

@Nil - Sure, I'm still making a few revisions but I'll post it soon.

@thissideoftypical - You're exactly right - the best system is the one that works for you!