I am intrigued and inspired by this simple seven step plan.
Number 1: Make Beds Right Away
Number 2: Do One Complete Load of Laundry
Number 3: Empty All Garbage Cans
Number 4: Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty
Number 5: Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do the Same
Number 6: Bathroom Wipe-Down
Number 7: Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up
Erin has subdivided #5 to clarify:
- Clean up after dressing and undressing. If an item is clean enough to wear again, hang it up or put it folded away immediately; if it's not, put it into the laundry stream. Commit to one or the other, don't just throw it on a chair.
- Clean up after going somewhere in the car. Take everything out of your car every time you come home, except stuff that is supposed to stay there permanently (maps, emergency kits) and stuff that's ready to go for the next car trip (which should be well corralled). Encourage habits that make this easier, like kids keeping their stuff in bags, having a trash container, etc.
- Clean up each item on your to-do list as you finish it. Paying the bills? Don't save a pile of stuff to be filed, file each item as you finish it. Doing schoolwork? Put away all the materials you used for each subject before you start a new one.
- Clean up the office, desk, schoolroom, or wherever you do your paperwork after the work session is done. Sweep up pencil shavings, clear the surfaces, ready it for the next use. Homeschoolers, get that schoolroom ready for the next day.
- Keep the kitchen surfaces clean while you're cooking. Don't put dirty spoons on the counter or balance the whisk on the edge of the pot where it will fall and spray beaten egg everywhere. Put it on a plate that can be washed, or sometimes disposable stuff like newspaper/foil/wax paper.
- Begin cooking with these seven items ready for use (not hidden away in a cabinet): (1) apron (2) empty dishwasher (3) sink full of hot-but-not-scalding soapy water (4) trash can (5) dishrag (6) clean dry towel for dishes (7) clean dry towel for your hands. You'll be able to quickly clean things, including your hands, rather than let them spread gunk all over the kitchen.
- Plan to use kitchen workstations so you move around less with messy stuff. Crack eggs within reach of the trash can, work with raw meat next to the sink, chop vegetables for sautéeing right next to the stove with the pan ready.
I am thankful that some of these are already habits for me. I have always been a fairly clean cook(though I don't wear an apron), and I make my bed right away most days. The latter I learned from Flylady, for me the made bed is the bedroom equivelent of the shiny sink, as I am more likely to put the other things I use away if the bed is made.
I did not have the habit of making the bed and shining the sink at the beginning of my marriage, so it is helpful to know that these things can become second nature over time. Therefore, I am going to work on just step at a time to try to add a new habit of tidiness.
My personal goal this week is going to be the clothing part -- everytime you wear something, put it away or in the hamper. Also, going to try to do laundry every day. I will still have PT gather on M/W/F and all of us put away on T/Th/Sat, but if I start a load every morning I will be less likely to stay up until midnight doing laundry without ever finishing.
We have found out that our dishwasher works just as well on a 31 minute cycle. This has changed our lives as it means that we can run it, empty it and run it again before bed each night. There is really no excuse to leave dishes in the sink this way. A few weeks ago we were super busy and I left breakfast dishes in the sink when we went out for the day -- I came home to crusty cereal bowls that needed to be scrubbed and ants in the sink -- uck! If I had just taken the two or three minutes to clear the table and sink properly I would have saved myself from having to spend twice as long cleaning it up later.
We are almost finished with the school work that P and H have to complete before leaving on their trip, so tomorrow we are going to focus on clothes and laundry -- we will totally clear the laundry room shelves (random stuff like washcloths and single socks have been piling up there). We will unpack the last suitcase from Easter, we will hang up the clothes on the floor of the hand-me-down closet.
Around here, too many jobs only get 80% finished before I get distracted, and those little leftover piles do add up over time.
I am thinking of printing out Erin's list and also trying to figure out a way to hold everyone accountable for their participation. In the past, we have been using pennies for the church collection as an incentive for small chores (buckling your own car seat belt, hanging up your towel and coat), unfortunately, I tend to forget to follow through with the system. Perhaps the kids can see this list and earn a penny for their bag each day? Or something else? Any ideas out there?