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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weekly Cleaning Schedule

To say that our lives have become more hectic after baby girl arrived would be a wee bit of an understatement.  I feel the need to be more efficient than ever (seriously, what did I do with all that free time before having kids? Did I spend time lying around and staring at the ceiling? I genuinely can't remember, but it seems I must have been a sloth).  When it comes to things like cleaning, groceries, meal planning, and general household maintenance there seems to be more of it than ever and less time to get it done.

The thing is, I like a clean house.  I don't function well when there is clutter all around me and the nagging feeling that the rugs haven't been vacuumed in weeks and the sheets need changing stresses me the hell out.  After we entered toddlerhood I was sure my dreams of a clutter free house had sailed.  So my solution was two fold - learn to make some peace with the clutter during the day because there is nothing to be done about trains strewn across the living room and stepping on blocks in the bathroom (honestly, how do things end up in the bathroom?) and also find some sort of a systematic solution to the cleaning so I can free up head space for things like worrying about when babies need to go to the dentist for the first time and whether tea tree oil helps to clear up a diaper rash (in our case, it does not).

I went looking for answers to the latter question in my favorite place - blogs!  When another mama says "this is what's working for me" I always pay heed.  In my search I remembered Jenny's cleaning schedule on Little Green Notebook and immediately knew that she was onto something.  On first glance it looks overwhelming, but I assure you it is not.  And more importantly....it's working for us.


The gist is that there are a few standard things that have to be done daily - wipe off counters, take out the trash, load & empty the dishwasher, etc.  Things we were doing anyway for just general household maintenance. Then every day you add in one additional chore that doesn't take more than 20 minutes.  I would say my daily hands on cleaning time is about 30 minutes after the babe is in bed (with the exception of vacuuming the rugs obviously, which has to be done while she is awake).  Essentially this has eliminated the mass house cleaning situation, since we are just doing a little bit each day vs. scrambling around like crazy people and trying to get it all done in one Saturday afternoon effort. You can read Jenny's post to get all the details, but I also thought I would share the chart I made to hang on our fridge so it's easily accessible.

Just click here (or on the image itself) to download the pdf!

Another suggestion of Jenny's - the clutter basket.  It's a simple idea but pure genius.  At the end of the day, instead of making 47 trips back and forth to put toys back in one room, shoes in another, and 30 travel size bath products that a certain tiny person has removed from the bathroom drawer and strewn across the living room, you make one trip around the main living area to pick up all the clutter in a basket.  Then make one trip through the house to redistribute said items to where their actually belong.  It's revolutionary, I tell you.  I leave our basket under the hallway console table so it's easily accessible and reminds me to use it.

So there you have it - more words than I ever though I could possibly write about household chores and clutter.  My college self is wondering where it all went wrong.  What tricks do you use to keep your house in order?  Are there are any other game changing tactics out there that I am missing?