After buying a home last October, I finally began settling back into the routine of living in an actual house, not a hotel or summer cabin. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I had no routine; the length of time since I’d last kept house (May) and the new house layout left me needing an entirely new approach. So I tackled a project I’ve been wanting to do for a while but had never accomplished before the move.
When I got married in 2007, my life went from zero to sixty quickly. We rented two apartments in the first two years of marriage, then bought a house. By that point we were expecting our second child. The children kept coming until 2013 when we had four and had maxed out our tiny house. I never really ironed out a working plan for housekeeping. I cleaned, cooked, and donated stuff all the time, but not consistently or with any reason. I also devoted a lot of time to tidying up and putting things away, which made me feel better temporarily. But I’d see the inches of dust high on shelves and the calcium streaks in the toilet and feel majorly guilty. I just couldn’t seem to find the time to actually clean because I was so busy picking up. My mother always devoted an entire Saturday to cleaning the house top to bottom, but that was not my style. Between fatigue and cabin fever, I knew I’d never devote my precious Saturday to cleaning. Besides, I was home all day every day, so I really wanted to spend part of each day doing part of the work, yielding a semi clean house all the time. All I had to do was make a comprehensive list of all the chores to be done, label them by frequency, and paste them onto a calendar. But I was nervous. What if my results yielded that I now had to spend EVERY day cleaning all day?
As the last boxes got unpacked in the new house, I started noticing–you’ll never guess–the beginnings of dust piling high up on shelves and calcium streaks in the toilet. I had to do something. If I was going to adopt a cleaning schedule, it was now.
It was a week’s long project, but I listed every chore and made a schedule. It wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. The first two weeks it took me almost all day to get everything done on the heavier days, but it soon became routine as I didn’t have to check the list as much. I included things like standard cleaning as well as checking my free credit reports online a few times a year, scheduling maintenance for the slate roof, sorting through the kids’ clothes, and tuning the piano. I tweaked a few things and now I’m really happy with it. I just need to be told exactly what to do each day as if I were working at a job with regular responsibilities or else I’ll flounder with no direction. If any of you are thinking about changing your cleaning and housekeeping routine to something different, even if it’s radically different, I encourage you to do it because it will be worth it once you get accustomed to it. I started in November and now that it’s April, I can get almost everything done in 2 hours or less in the morning, leaving me the rest of the day to play with the children, home school, relax, try new recipes, and……tidy up. 🙂