I hope you are enjoying your newly decluttered and calm space from last week’s post. If you are just joining us, be sure to check out the first two posts in this series:
Strategy One :Managing Your Time
Strategy Two: Managing Your Stuff
This week, we are going to tackle Managing Your Chores. Sadly, we all have chores. Even Princess Kate said that they cleaned their own house. Hopefully, we can figure out a way to make those chores easier to handle.
First, have a cleaning schedule; it just makes sense. If you are a person that cleans all "willy-nilly," then you may miss things. Write it down, and stick to it. Then you don’t need to remember the last time you mopped. There are a lot of different cleaning schedules to follow. Some say to clean the whole house in one day, some say clean one room at a time, some say hire a housekeeper and never clean again. But whatever you choose, having a schedule will help you. There are several incredible bloggers that have designed some pretty fantastic cleaning schedules, like here and here, if you need some inspiration.
Here are some simple first steps to take. One, keep your cleaning supplies all over your house. Each of my bathrooms has a toilet bowl cleaner, an all-purpose cleaner, a bottle of window cleaner, and a roll of paper towels. The kitchen has dishwashing supplies, window cleaner, counter cleaner, etc. You don’t need to cart your supplies all over the house if you just want to wipe down the bathroom mirror. Two, keep to a schedule and perhaps a time limit for cleaning. Give yourself 30 minutes per room, or 10 minutes at the end of each day, or 4 hours once a week, but stick to it. No one wants to have to clean every day for six hours or waste an entire beautiful Saturday with a mop.
Also, there are certain things that need to be cleaned every day and some things that can be cleaned on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Here are a few examples.
Wash dishes, wipe down the counters and sinks, pick up the house, make the beds, etc. I give myself about ten minutes to do this during the day, ideally in the morning.
Dust, clean toilets, bathtubs and showers, wash the sheets and towels, clean the mirrors, vacuum, mop, etc. This takes a larger chunk of time. I pick one day a week and do these chores all in that day.
Wipe down baseboards and vents, dust fans, wash windows, wash rugs, etc. Spend a little extra time on your regular cleaning day and add one of these chores a week, or plan to spend an extra day each month doing them all.
Quarterly, Semi-annual and Annual Cleaning
Change air filters, clean the oven, wash comforters, wash shower curtains, etc. Schedule these when you change the clocks or sprinklers or when the seasons change.
Next, do your laundry often and do your laundry only when you can finish it. Meaning every load of laundry should be washed, dried, folded, hung, and put away each and every time you do it. Since clothes are hung up or folded immediately, they do not get wrinkled, so you won't need to iron. If that means you only have time to do one load a day, then plan to do one a day. If that means you dedicate one whole day to do 5 loads, then plan on staying home all day and catch up on House Hunters. It’s probably on.
The next chore is washing dishes. And there are a lot of dishes. I feel like we use more dishes in a day than we could have possibly used, but somehow they sit there taunting me like they walked over from the cabinet to the sink by themselves. Here is the simple truth: someone has to do the dishes, and it is probably you.
If you can, wash the dishes after every meal. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it should be a habit to do the dishes after every meal, and it should be the rare occasion when they get left. Then, wipe down the table, and clean the sink. Finish each meal with a fresh slate.
Here is one way to do that. NO ONE LEAVES the kitchen area until the dishes are done, the counters are clean, and the table is wiped down. EVERYONE HELPS!
Run the dishwasher. Run it often. Run the dishwasher every single night. The dishwasher does not have to be full to run it. It costs around 20 cents to run a load of dishes. And I live in Las Vegas where there is plenty of water to go around.
Empty the dishwasher. Right away, as soon as they are finished. I timed myself the other day to see how long it took me to unload the dishwasher. Two minutes and fourteen seconds. Seriously. Tell me you do not have 2 minutes and 14 seconds in your day. In addition, if you unload the dishwasher as soon as it is finished, then you will not have a pile of dirty dishes on your counter waiting to go into the dishwasher. You will not need to buy one of those cute magnets that say “CLEAN/DIRTY” because you will always know that if there are dishes in the dishwasher, they are dirty. Unload the dishwasher in a way that makes sense. I open up all of my cabinets and take things together. Stack all of the plates and then walk to that cabinet with all of them.
Last but not least, take out the trash. If your trashcan is full, take it out. Don’t wait to see just how many paper plates or wrappers you can stack on top. If you've reached the top, take it out. If it smells, take it out. If company is coming over, take it out. Trash is gross, why do you want it in your house any longer than necessary? The night before your trash men show up, collect all of the trash in the house to take out. Grab a big bag, carry it around and dump all of the little bags into it. Keep one or two new trash bags in the bottom of each trashcan, so that when you pull out the last bag, you are already prepared with a new bag. Replace these extra bags whenever they run out.
Although we can't whip up a spell to have our mop do our chores for us, we can try to ease the burden of them a little bit. Allow others in your family to help. Assign specific tasks to each person. Let your two-year-old wipe down the chairs after dinner. Tell your 10-year-old to bring all the dirty laundry to the washer. If everyone contributes, it is more fun and a little easier.