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September 19, 2013 / nuttystepmom

cleaning: make a plan

So, now that you know the number one rule of keeping things clean (Don’t. Have. A. Bunch. Of. Crap!), we’re off to step two.  I’m afraid step two isn’t glamorous or entertaining.  Nope.  It’s kind of a boring ride ahead here, but still super-useful.

Step two is this: Make. A. Plan.

Yep, the second step to keeping your house clean doesn’t involve cleaning anything.  No, what you want to do is grab a sheet of paper and get ready to put the noodle to use for a few minutes.

Here are some questions to ask yourself…and the answers will vary based on a gazillion different factors (if you work outside the home, how many hours you work, if you live with someone else, blah, blah, blah), so you’ll want to do this over each time your living situation changes.  I’ll give my current answers so you can see an example.

1.  How many rooms do you have to clean?  (Example: Including the porches, 14 … that sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?  How the hell did we end up with so many rooms?!?)

2.  How much time do you want to spend each day or week on housework?  Zero hours is not an option here.  This will, of course, depend a lot on how much time you have at home.  (Example: Since I run a small business from home, I’m here most of the time, and 8 hours per week is reasonable.)

3.  What room do you hate to clean the most?  (Example: The kitchen)

4.  How often do things need cleaned where you live?  I know this sounds kind of dumb, but this actually has several factors.  Some places are way dustier than others.  If you live alone, things probably won’t get as messy as they would if you had children or room mates.  Don’t fall into the “things need cleaned once a week because that’s the way things are done” mentality.  (Example:  We don’t have a lot of dust here, so every two weeks is really quite enough cleaning for each room.)

5.  What needs done every day or multiple times per week?  Sucks, but it’s true: some things just can’t wait for two weeks.  (Example:  Here are the things I do every single freakin’ day – tidy up the common areas, sweep the tile floors, clean the bathrooms, and make my bed.  There will be more on that making the bed thing later, I promise.  The stuff that gets done once or twice per week?  Taking the trash to the dump and laundry.  Good times.)

Now that you’ve got your answers knocking around your brain thing, it’s time to write a plan.  It’s as easy as this: Split up the rooms you need to clean over the amount of time you want to spend.  This will be based on how many hours you decided to spend per week on cleaning and how much you have to do.  If you chose something ridiculous like an hour per week, you’ll quickly realize that just won’t work.  That room that you dislike the most?  Never clean that sucker all at once again.  Yep.  You’re freeeee.  I hate, hate, hate cleaning the kitchen all at once, so I just don’t.  I clean a little bit each day for a few days a week.  It stays clean, and I never have to spend more than about 5 minutes on it.  (Now that doesn’t include doing the dishes and cleaning up after dinner and whatnot.)  Now you’re going to take all of that stuff, smoosh it together, and come up with a plan.  You’ll probably need to revise things a few times before you find something you’re happy with.  You’ll also want to take another look at things after a few weeks to make sure you didn’t have any insane expectations or unexpected complications.

Now, little one, I’m going to share my plan.  Yep.  I feel like I’m unleashing an ancient family secret or something. 😉  My plan is for two weeks…I used to have a four-week plan, but I felt like things weren’t staying clean enough, so I revised.  See?  You have to check in on yourself from time to time. 😉

While making your plan, try to remember that little thing I tell you all the time:  Life is only as complicated as you make it.  Keep it simple.

Monday 1:  daily stuff, part of the kitchen, dining room, living room

Tuesday 1:  daily stuff, part of the kitchen, daddy’s room, my office, take the trash, laundry

Wednesday 1:  daily stuff, part of the kitchen, both bathrooms

Thursday 1:  daily stuff, part of the kitchen, your room, my room, take the trash

Friday 1: daily stuff, part of the kitchen

Saturday 1:  daily stuff, take the trash

Sunday 1:  daily stuff

Monday 2:  daily stuff, part of the kitchen, laundry room, daddy’s office

Tuesday 2:  daily stuff, part of the kitchen, porches, stairways, take the trash, laundry

Wednesday 2:  daily stuff, part of the kitchen

Thursday 2:  daily stuff, part of the kitchen, take the trash

Friday 2: daily stuff, part of the kitchen

Saturday 2:  daily stuff, take the trash

Sunday 2:  daily stuff

You’ll notice that I only actually clean entire rooms six days out of the two weeks.  Not bad, eh?  So, my housework varies from about 20 minutes to 2 hours each day.  For keeping the house sparkly clean all the time, that’s pretty spiffy, I think.  If you work out of the home, you may want to focus more time on the weekends or even things out a bit by aiming for an hour a day.  Whatever works for your schedule is the way to go.

After you make your plan, put it somewhere you can see it and use it.  Remember a plan is utterly worthless if you’re not gonna put that sucker into action.  Also, make sure you leave some space on that to-do list for each day.  We’re certainly not done with household maintenance.  That’s just cleaning….we still have errands, menus, cooking, yard work, appointments, holiday festivities, projects, and on and on and on.  You will have a ton of things to keep up with, but we’ll get you through all of it. 😀

not sure where this came from, but it's awesome

not sure where this came from, but it’s awesome

Next time we’ll enter the exciting world of cleaning products and how many you actually don’t need … then it’s off to an easy-peesy cleaning list for each room in your house.  Woot!

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