A few weeks ago, I wrote about perfectionism. I wrote about how it gets me down. How it can make it hard to function. I think that was a sentiment that lot of people could understand. The question would remain, though, how DO you deal with your house if you don’t let perfectionism take over.
My answer is a routine. I have a set list of chores that I do every day. Well, that I TRY to do every day. Sometimes the kids are crabby or I just. don’t. want. to. That creates another set of problems though.*
I have worked hard to keep this list simple. It’s far too easy for me to over achieve and feel like I should be scrubbing the baseboards with a toothbrush or soaking the mini blinds in the bathtub.
My Daily Cleaning Routine looks a like this:
- Make the beds (mine and Big Daddy’s, Baby Bee’s and Littlebit’s)
- Wipe a bathroom (we have three. I wipe one a day on rotation and then everyone gets wiped up)
- Start laundry (we generate a load a day, so I try to wash, dry, fold and put away one load a day)
- Deal with dishes (if we’re running well, this means unloading the dinner dishes from the dish washer and loading up the breakfast dishes. If we’re not, I cycle a load)
- Sweep the hard floors downstairs
- Vacuum the carpet downstairs
- Clean up dinner dishes and wipe up kitchen counters
- Wipe up the table after dinner
- take out kitchen garbage
- clean up the family room
- tidy up the playroom
- tidy up the little girl’s rooms
- put away clean laundry
I enlist the help of the other people who live with me to get through the evening chores. It really only takes about 15 minutes to get everything done. I have a weekly chore list as well, which I’ll talk about on a different day, but these two short lists are the minimum it takes to keep the house running and so we don’t show up on an episode of Hoarders. I focus most of my attention on the things we need to keep the house running smoothly: clean clothes, a clean kitchen and a reasonably neat family room. This sort of jives with Small Notebook’s cleaning hierarchy, so I must be something something semi-right because she’s sort of a guru.
*I’m no clean freak. I want to say that first. I am not the sort of person who gets any amount of joy from the act of cleaning. I do enjoy a clean, tidy and mostly organized home. I am a happier person that way. But, I need to say this; if you let housework languish it’s going to take more time, work and effort to clean up. I know this should seem like a no-brainer, but it’s taken me 11.5 years of keeping my own house to realize that letting anything linger is going to make it worse. The splattered spaghetti sauce on your stove? Tomorrow it’s going to be like cement. The laundry in the dryer? Tomorrow it’s going to be wrinkled. If it was damp, it might stink and require rewashing and then it takes MORE effort to get through your next load. The pile of papers on your end table? They’re going to pile up if you let them sit until tomorrow. TRUST me.