As a little girl, did you ever “play house”? Somehow, I don’t recall daily cleaning being part of that pretending! I have never been, nor do I expect to ever be, one of those women who LOVES cleaning her house. I mean, hmmmm….curl up on the couch with a good book, or dust the living room? Ooooh, tough decision!
That’s a snarky example, obviously, but the tough part about is that it IS a decision that I have to make. I am a homemaker, housewife, and soon to be fulltime mommy. I do not get paid for what I do. If the living room does not get dusted, nobody dies. There is no real deadline that I am missing. If I do not dust the living room till tomorrow, no one will really know the difference.
But there is a calmness in a clean, decluttered house. A sense of order, and of pride. You can have people over a moment’s notice without scurrying around stashing things. It is a more pleasant space to come back to. You can rest and relax without a million chores staring you in the face. For me, having all of those things is well worth the effort and time it takes to do things like wipe down the ceiling fan blades and wash the curtains and sweep the kitchen every night. I just needed some help getting organized about it all.
When Steve and I got married, I assumed responsibility for most indoor chores. We’re not sexist; it is simply what we prefer to do. I’d much rather vacuum than mow the lawn, and he feels the opposite, so it works for us. I knew how to clean a house. The mechanics of it were not foreign to me. So for the first 18 months of our marriage, I cleaned the whole house on Fridays. I liked having it clean for the weekend and coming week. I knew that some things simply weren’t getting done, though. I never cleaned the windows, or the sides of the stove, or swept behind the refrigerator. Dusting was also a rare occurence. I only sometimes swept the kitchen floor after dinner.
During the first trimester of this pregnancy, it became quite obvious that I no longer had the energy to clean the entire house in one fell swoop. Once I could move myself off the couch again, I began to look into other housecleaning methods. I like having a clean, decluttered house, and Steve does, too. I just wasn’t quite sure how to go about doing and maintaining that on a daily basis. I had heard of Fly Lady and Zone Cleaning and other things like that, but I just wasn’t sure that would work for me.
Enter: Motivated Moms. I heard about this through Mothering.com. Although the name is kind of corny, I am a complete believer in their system. It works perfectly for me because it is based on daily lists. I am a list fanatic. The best part of this system is that they have already come up with the lists; I just get to cross everything off!
There are different formats that you can dowload; I have a half page for each day that I had spiral bound at an office supply store. Next year, I am going to have it bound in 3 or 4 month chunks so that it is more transportable as a planner, too.
The way Motivated Moms works is that you have daily chores; things like make the bed, cook dinner, do laundry etc. Then you have “tasks.” These are the top, and they change every day. Today, for instance, I need to clean the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. A few days ago, I cleaned the middle shelf. So you never get daunted by cleaning the entire refrigerator because you just do parts of it at a time. I have heard that this works fantastically when you have little kids, because you may not get a 30 minute chunk to clean the whole fridge. But you can probably grab 5 minutes to clean the bottom shelf.
Some things are the same each week. Every Monday, I clean the toilets, counters, and sinks, and sweep, mop, and vacuum all the floors. On the first Monday of every month, I also vacuum the living room furniture. Every Tuesday, I clean the bathroom mirrors. Every other Friday, I change the sheets in our bedroom. On Saturdays and Sundays, there are almost no tasks, other than water indoor plants. Monday is a heavier work day, but Friday always has “work on a craft/hobby” and “tidy the house.” About once a week, or once every other week, a daily task will be to declutter a shelf, a bin, or a bag of things, or work on organizing a storage space. So it keeps you decluttering as well as cleaning, which I think is a wonderful combination.
When you are done with the list for the day, you are done! You are not supposed to work ahead; and you’re not supposed to play catch-up too much if things didn’t get done yesterday, because eventually, the same task will come up again.
Having a list of tasks to accomplish each day has made me a much happier person. I feel more productive, and when I have a clean house, I feel like I have contributed to the family’s general health and happiness.
I still don’t think I will ever sincerely enjoy washing windows or scrubbing showers. But I like the end result, and I love being able to cross it off my list!