Keep Your Home Company Clean with a Daily Schedule
We have all been there. The phone rings and your Mother-in-Law is on her way. You don't have to panic when you analyze your home and use a schedule to keep your home company clean! I was a working Mom first, and when I worked I naturally cleaned as I went and did a little every day. Once I became a stay-at-home-Mom I totally lost it. My house was a mess and I was embarrassed when my fellow Moms would call and want to come over to my home. I couldn't figure out what I needed to do to make my home presentable. I was an efficient worker who always received high praise for my organizational skills on reviews. Why was I having such a hard time keeping my home tidy and organized?
Then it hit me! I was not being analytical about my work at home. When I was employed, I sat down every day and made a list of what had to be done. I had a running list of monthly assignments, weekly assignments and a special yearly assignment list. Why not do the same for my home?
I immediately sat down and started my list of what needed to be done. I wanted my home not just tidy, but clean and well maintained. So I included chores that should be done daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Then I went around my home, inside and out, and decided what would need to be done to keep the home both clean and in good repair. When would I need to paint or repair the gutters? Did I need to plant any shrubs or trees? I made a 2 year plan that included every single thing I could think of.
Then I began making the schedule. How often should everything be done? I have pretty high standards of cleanliness, and I wanted my home clean as well as picked up. For instance, I scheduled a full cabinet cleaning once a month. This included cleaning the outside of the kitchen cabinets with soap and water and emptying the cabinets to clean the inner shelves too. Baseboards, doors and light switches were another monthly project. Because I moved a lot when I grew up, these things were always fresh and clean. It was much later in life that I realized I actually had to clean them!
I broke up tasks I didn't enjoy into smaller tasks. The bathroom has always been my nemesis. It takes me forever because I hate cleaning it. So, instead of doing the whole bathroom in one day, I do counter tops on Monday - while I get ready, clean the shower on Tuesday - while I shower, swoosh the toilet on Wednesday and sweep or mop floors on Friday. The bathroom stays cleaner because it gets cleaned more often. I never have to scrub the toilet or shower, a simple swoosh with the brush or a wipe down with shampoo does the trick.
I used an Excel spreadsheet, but you can also use a calendar or blank paper. First, I put all the jobs I wanted done every single day, such as dishes washed, floor swept, cabinets wiped, laundry, check the trash and a general pick up. I actually check things off as I do them, which provides me with the visual incentive to keep from letting things go. I know from looking at my list that if I let it go today, I have more to do tomorrow. If something comes up, I can move the schedule around, but I generally don't. I can also do jobs ahead if I want some extra relaxing time.
Weekly jobs include items such as vacuuming, washing the sheets, mopping the floors, cleaning the car, cleaning the fridge and going to the grocery store. Again, by doing certain chores on a regular basis, it keeps it from becoming overwhelming. I clean the fridge before I head to the store, and when I get home I have somewhere to put everything. My pantry is organized by type of food (canned veggies, fruit, etc). There are 5 days, so I can do one or two weekly jobs per day and not feel overwhelmed.
Monthly, I sit down and pay the bills and file any paperwork that are not yet done, clean the windows, vacuum all the spider webs, clean the cabinets, oven and garage. The monthly tasks used to take longer, but as they get done on a regular basis, it becomes easier and easier. I am not only better and faster, but the buildup of grunge is less because I keep it done. The key is to only do "so much" per week. If I clean the windows one week, I do the cabinets the next week. It is all on the schedule, so I don't get tempted to waste time doing anything unproductive.
You may be thinking "I can't do all that" but have you ever analyzed how much time you waste when your home is a mess? How much time is spent looking for something that is out of place? You can do it! Including yard work, I have my chores done in an average 1-2 hours a day. The hardest part is fitting in occasional tasks such as cleaning the fireplace. The fireplace only needs cleaning once in a great while, but I schedule it every month throughout the winter anyways. If I end up with free time great! The goal is to never end up with surprises that don't get done.
I have long since gone back to work, and I still use the system to keep my home in order. I am proud to open the door and enjoy my visitors instead of feeling insecure about my home's presentation. I've shared this system with several friends and have been told that it works well because it is personalized to the home and lifestyle. You can do as much or as little home keeping as you wish - just schedule it, do it and free yourself from the guilt!