I had a request to tell how I plan out my week to get the house clean each week without killing myself. As I thought about it, I considered that everybody has a different house and different priorities, so I thought I would share 3 basic principles for creating a to-do list for your home upkeep.
Catch a vision for your home. See it as you want it to be. This is not some visualization practice where if you dream it, it will happen (if only!). Rather, this is the first step in goal-setting for your home. Take a walk through your home and ask yourself a series of questions:
- What you would like for your house to look like when you get up in the morning?
- What does each room need to look like at the end of the week (or at least once a week)?
- Are there days when you would like not to do housework (e.g. Sundays, Mondays, the days your husband is home)?
- What makes your home feel like home to you? Is it when the countertop in the kitchen is clean? Is it when your bed is made?
- What resources do I have at my disposal to help acheive my desired goals (i.e. children to help around the house, a mother’s helper, a dishwasher, washing machine and drier, etc.)
If you are realistic about your answers, the answers to these questions should not actually require much work to maintain. Once your house is where you want it to be, the process of maintenance is something that will only require a little bit of work each week. So the first week you get your household in order may be a bit more taxing than the future weeks. Please remember that your home should be “lived in” and housework is an ongoing process. None of us live in the pictures in magazines, so we should live in the picture of what our house looks like in our mind’s eye.
Break it down to small pieces. Once you have the answers to your questions above, think about the steps it takes to make the answers reality. These are usually things like: pick up clutter, dust, vacuum, sweep, mop, wash dishes, laundry, etc. These are the basic chores of life that make a house run smoothly. Make a list of ALL the things that need to be done on a weekly basis in each room of your house. You will likely find some patterns as you make this list for each room. You will likely also find things that need to be done repeatedly throughout the week (like laundry and the dishes). Take these patterns and use them to your advantage each day. Then it is simply a matter of scheduling these chores for each day of the week. I use a very basic magnetic planner with a slot for each day of the week and keep it on my fridge where I can see it when I need to. Here’s how I do it:
I have a five bedroom, 4 bathroom, upstairs/downstairs house. The trash day is Tuesday and I have a pile of laundry to do each week, but I have decided I don’t want to do laundry on the weekends or during the hours from noon to 7 PM. I use coupons when I go to the grocery store once or twice a week and I like to cook a LOT! My house feels like a home when the surfaces are clean and the dishes are done. I also enjoy the look of a made bed and will only take a nap on a bed that is made (and I LOVE naps). We only have one child who is helpful around the house in a few small things, but I cannot count on her to help with my big chores.
Thus, my everyday household goals are very basic: Dishes done, sink empty; surfaces clean; bed made each day; 2 loads of laundry done (folded and put away). This is the picture of my home at the end of the day.
And my week looks like this:
- Mondays: collect trash from all trash cans throughout house, pay bills, clean downstairs bath (all but mop the floor), clean out fridge
- Tuesdays: dust downstairs, vacuum downstairs, clean nursery bathroom and laundry room
- Wednesdays: clean master bath, clean master closet (put away all pulled out clothes and shoes), sweep and mop downstairs
- Thursdays: clean extra bathroom, dust upstairs, vacuum upstairs
- Fridays: sweep and mop upstairs, weed outside (honestly this is still a goal), complete a project to bless my husband
- Saturdays: deep clean kitchen
- Sundays: coupon clipping and organization; meal planning; goal setting for the week
Try it out and rework it as necessary. The last step in this process is to be flexible. Currently I am pregnant and sometimes unable to get all the housework done each week as I have it planned. But I know it will get done on a different day or with the help of another person. Life happens in our homes and our schedules and homes should reflect this. By setting up a schedule, you are not creating a must-get-it-done-or-else list. Instead, you are setting goals which are or should be attainable. If you find that the system you set up for your home isn’t working, you have the power to change it to something that does work. No pressure, nobody looking over your shoulder and judging.
I have found that creating attainable, simple goals for our home and giving myself the freedom to fail to meet them some days has freed up my time, my energy, and my peace of mind. Because I know there is a regularly scheduled cleaning coming up just the next week, I know I can get back on track without beating myself up over not doing it today.
How do you set goals for your household? Do you take the time to write it down or do you just keep track of it in your head?
I would love to hear what my readers think and appreciate the time it takes to leave a comment!