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Senior Contributor

House Cleaning Schedule?

What is your schedule, I'd be thrown off of the good housekeeping ship.....need suggestions. 

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16 Replies

Re: House Cleaning Schedule?

Every other Friday.  Pick up the main areas of the house  so that Jane can come clean it.    That includes:  trash,  finally going through the mail and trash the junk mail,   pay a few more bills,   empty, fill and run the dishwasher,  several loads of laundry.     Sometimes  all I can get availble is:  kitchen, livingroom,  and bathroom.  Other times   I get a couple more rooms availble for her. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: House Cleaning Schedule?

Something i really have to address myself here. With keeping two houses now, and my office - not hiring help anymore for any of it - I need to get onto a schedule and stick with it.

It is pretty easy to keep the smaller house in Va cleaner...Mike and I are the only ones in it, just one housecat besides. Her hair is a pain, but a quick vacuum in the areas she haunts takes maybe 5-10 minutes. Other than that, maybe an hour a month, other than laundry and dishes, is sufficient.

This one is a horse of another color. I worked five hours today, trying to catch up, move in the refinished table, clean pantry, etc. The house and office here are effectively three kitchens, three bathrooms, two laundries...just a lot of duplication, for various reasons. People constantly tracking in, Winn taking out toys and dropping food...lots more to clean behind.

The office has not been cleaned well at all for over a year no...and REALLY needs it. I have some more to do in the house tomorrow, then hope to handle that on Tuesday and Wednesday. If not, it will still be there when I get to it, if that is a year from now. The porch was cleaned really well this spring, but needs it now...thanks to the sandbox out there.

I factor in stuff like the pool shed and pool seasonally, the other sheds when they start to bug me. To me, sheds are just like closets for bigger stuff. I hate to say it, but I cannot recall the last time I washed all the windows at once...tend to hit or miss there. Cleaning pantry and closets is as- needed.

The best scheduling tool I ever saw was the FLYLady..she had a way of getting you to figure out a rotation of different " zones" that need addressing, in addition to certain basic daily/weekly/monthly things...her main one is to keep the kitchen sink clean and shiny. I learned a lot from her approach...I am sure she is on Kindle by now, or her book is dirt cheap. I highly recommend it.

As for my " schedule", laundry is done daily, usually flippng one load in, one over to the dryer, and folding one as I put it away. Exception is when we are at Jenna's house, where I do our alternative sets of clothes and linens. I usually do this while my hot soaking bath is running after breakfast.

Bed is made after breakfast every morning, in whichever house. I like to let the sheets air out for that hour or so, before remaking the covers.

Trash goes out daily, at either house. Kitchen gets wiped down, at least in food prep areas, at least once a day. Dishes are loaded or hand washed...daily here with the dishwasher, at each meal there, since the portable dishwasher is a pain to move to me, compared to running a few dishes through the sink by hand. Mike starts the dishwasher here, as part of his nightly routine.

I pick up daily, sometimes several times a day, depending upon how much Winn and I have strewn. I try to vacuum and dust once a week, but mop less frequently...need to step that up again, and at least use the spray mop and pad more often. I really like to wring a mop in a hot water and cleanser, though.

I sort mail over the trash can, burn catalogs without opening any but a precious few, and pay bills at least once a week, while doing payroll. I need to do stuff like sweep porches and walks more regularly than I do.

I am drawing down spider webs every time I clean here...they are wild this summer. I have found a nrw non-toxic remedy that I hope works. That will hopefully keep me from having to vacuum the ceilings every week, when I do the floors.

My woodstove kitchen has been lacking a lot this past year, too. I yave been doing a bit of straightening up out there, an hour or so at a time, this month. Last week, for example, I straightened up all my baking pans, listed them in a notebook by which cabinet they are in, and that helped a bunch. Things like that get done on an as-needed basis...maybe not again ever, if this system works out right. We need to polish the nickel on the cookstove, clean out the woodbox and let it sit empty until fall...just stuff I ought to press Mike to do, but haven't.

I am going to step up my dusting schedule...Winn likes those Swiffer wands, so we can do that together...he does NOT like the vacuum, though. I will be honest and say I let housework slide, when he is here...we just read, play, sing, dance, etc.

When you sit down and figure out how truly few minutes each chore takes, it isn't really all that bad...I spend more time dreading it than it takes to do it. The surfaces that got clutter cleared yesterday make me feel so good, walking past them this morning.

Routine things like laundry and smoothing out the bed linens just make me feel better about myself, knowing they are done. I like my family to at least start out the day with clean smelling clothes, to lay down in a smooth bed at night. Not enough to earn a medal, but the do seem to appreciate it.
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PS: FLYlady

This one is on Kindle, for $13.99, or in print for $16.00. You can usually sample a book for free on Kindle, to see if you can stand the author's manner, or not. I would say it is well worth it, for what it teaches a person about scheduling housework tasks alone, at those prices.

This question reminded me of the little tea towels I embroidered as a kid...Monday Wash Day, Tuesday Ironing Day, etc. I guess it was necessary way back then to set aside a day for dragging out the washtubs or the wringer machine. Maybe we lost sight of he scheduling aspect, when we got automatic everything, so we could do chores " whenever".

Too much flexibility, topped with women becoming breadwinners, instead of (or in addition to) being the family's bread baker, just muddied the waters even further. We know we have deadlines related to our work, and they pay the bills, so actual home maintenance gets pushed to the back burner.

My approach has been to do more like a little bit everyday, rather than setting aside a half-day or day every week. I think taking on Winn for three days a week, and ideally, being gone to Jenna's for two or preferably three more, has resulted in only scraps of time for housework here.

BTW, I got pretty ticked at Mike yesterday, when he walked through, told me to call daughter about moving the dining room tables. I was hip-deep in housework, but he felt it made more sense for me to stop, call her, then call him with a time. No, my work is at least as important as make one call to her, and leave me out of the loop....

I think that is the essence of our problem. Everyone, including us, has other things we value more. No one notices housework, until it isn't done. I am trying to take a stand that either it is important to all of us, or it's not...and we all know it is.

I am watching last night's "Hoarding:Buried Alive", as I type this. Still one of my best motivators....
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Honored Advisor

Re: House Cleaning Schedule?

FLYlady ( I am re-reading her "Sink Reflections" while Winn is napping right now) gives a lot of credit to the Sidetracked Sisters. I enjoyed their SHE ( Sidetracked Home Executives) books, back when the kids were small. I was buried in it then...Mike worked the railroad and farmed, so had no time at all to help with home or yard work.

One thing that I carried away from their books - especially the one on the kitchen - was to store things where you actually USE them, not where they are " supposed to go". Back then, that meant that the kids underwear and pajamas were kept in the bathroom, where I dressed them for bedtime, after baths.

That was the beginning of my shift to laundry machines and daily work-clothing being stored in the bathroom, too. I liked their ideas of how to arrange the kitchen so much, I started applying the principles to all of the house, as much as possible. These two actually invented the zone approach.

My zones were broken out so that deeper cleaning took place in each one one week of the month. The separate farm office got the occasional fifth Monday of the month. I broke the house into four zones, and concentrated on cleaning each one thoroughly one week of the month. We have added on since I first devised them, so I probably need to break them up again.

The FLYlady is heavy on having a morning routine and a bedtime routine. I do those pretty, renewing that part should be easier than re-organizing my zones.

If you w ant a taste of her work, search for her website, too.

The main thing I think you need to do is realize that it is not a matter of working harder...all of us work hard, in our own ways. This is about having a plan, and building some patterns hat become good habits, to keep the plan working for you and your family.
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Honored Advisor

Thank you for bringing this one up, Merryyon!

Your query caused me to revisit my FlyLady book. It has been at least a dozen years since I read her, I think, and devised my own Control Journal and scheduled routines.

I have been re-reading her wonderful book today, first during Winn's two -hour (YES!!!) nap-time, and now after he's gone home for the day. I did a few chores right after he left, and am cooling off from them now.

I had forgotten how positive her approach to the subject of "getting your act together" was...why I have actually retained many of her basic principles during some very disruptive times. You might especially like her Monday House Blessing one - hour idea.

She calls it " House Blessing" instead of "house cleaning", because there is no such thing as an imperfect blessing, and also because it blesses you, your home and your family to so anything at all to improve things. She points out the problem with perfection in a lot of housekeeping problems...if you cannot do it perfectly, why do it at all?

The one - hour weekly cleaning chores go as follows:
1. Set a timer for ten minutes, change sheets and make the bed.
2. Set the timer for 10 more minutes and gather up all the trash in the house and put it in the trash can.
3. Third ten minutes, dust, with a feather duster ( I would use my Swiffer) in one hand, rag and polish in the other. Stop each time at ten minutes..
4. Sweep and mop floors. Ten minutes, tops, then stop.
5. Vacuum the moving furniture, just do traffic areas. Stop at ten minutes.
6. Spend ten minutes tossing magazines, junk mail, decluttering a hot spot where stuff tends to accumulate.
7. Spray window cleaner on mirrors, front and rear door glass.

She has the " clean the bathrooms each day as you are getting ready elsewhere in the book. The above will take no more than an hour, and will probably be an improvement over not getting anything done, because you are trying to do it too thoroughly to be practical. She gets you going with the kitchen cleaning with the sink thing on Day One.
The more in depth cleaning comes with the Zone deal, which is my next chapter to read. Got to go dig my Control Journal out of a bookcase this week. A lot has changed, but the basics are the same.

So glad you is helping, I feel more positive about what I am accomplishing right now. Hope this helps you...
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Senior Contributor

Re: Thank you for bringing this one up, Merryyon!

15 min. time slots for Flylady.  work 15 min; rest 15 min.   I do like to follow her routine when I'm off kilter but when I get started I don't like to quit after only 15 min   If I'm going good stay out of my way.  Doesn't happen very often.  LOL  Her "shiny sink" theory is nice to walk into in the morning.  And making my bed didn't always happen here especially if DH is the last one to get up.


Her theory of "a load a day keeps chaos away" is good but someitmes I just like to do a whole day of wash and get it over with.  But basically if you go by her schedule, your house will look better. 


I still have 2 tables in the DR and even though the stove got back in, the fridge is now sitting on a piece of plywood in the middle of kitchen.  The board has a curled edge that has caught me a couple times during supper prep.  Paper is finished so now just get back in place.  


I think it's hard during summer to keep the gardens looking good AND the house.  One or the other is good  but not both at the same time at my house. 



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Re: Thank you for bringing this one up, Merryyon!

If our sink is shiny, something is seriously wrong...the kitchen sinks here are hammered antique copper. I just scrub thrm with dish soap and a brush, and rinse. I has forgotten the 15-minute increments. I like switching up between tasks that often, and taking the 15-minute break every hour or so, for a glass of ice water.

The zones are the main thing I need to rework, and the weekly schedule has to change, now that we have Winn so much, and are
gone in-between his days, when everything is going right. That is just a matter of shuffling, though.

I know you will be glad to get back to normal in the kitchen. That is the hardest room to cope without, except perhaps the bathroom, and most homes have at least two of those, so you can get by for a while.

My guys are going up to try and diagnose the AC failure at Jenna's tomorrow adternoon. We have a plan of action, hoping we can get it fixed and running in a few days. The stay here, waiting for that to happen, is making me sort of stir-crazy. The FLYLady was a good companion for me today. I needed the motivation to keep me going forward for a couple more days.

Did you break your house out in zones? That really helped me address every area thoroughly, at least once a month.

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dairy mom
Senior Contributor

Re: Thank you for bringing this one up, Merryyon!

yesterday I was going to post that I am the kind that if I can't get it done to perfection I don't do it.  But then I didn't because that is so silly.  Cleaner is better that spotless when the result of wanting perfection is getting nothing.

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Re: Thank you for bringing this one up, Merryyon!

You point out the crux of the problem with perfectionism. People who have to have it perfect or nothing end up editing their lives a lot.

There were classes in college that I wish I had taken, but skipped, because I was unsure of the A. Those would have really opened up my horizons, but I missed the chance, by sticking with what I knew I could do well.

I can clearly remember thinking "Why bother?", when the kids were small and very dependent, the house was more than I could cope with...n was going to be done to an impossible standard. What a fool I was!

The period of life when that started to change for me was when Mike and I were working on making this house livable. I have posted photos of it " before" here, and you girls can certainly imagine from them how difficult a task that had to be.

My sweet husband is a decent framing carpenter, but his finishing skills are minimal at best. He would hold up a piece of trim before nailing, and ask me very anxiously if it looked okay.

I got so I could say, " Good enough!" It makes me sad now to think that I was so unable to do that for 39 years of life, and 20 years of marriage. I hate to think what I had put that great guy - and myself - through, up to that point.

When you listen to the hoarding shows, there is rarely a person suffering that problem who misses mentioning that they had a degree of perfectionism, before the balance tipped into their brand of craziness. I think that is one reason I am so intrigued with the disorder. I know it is just a matter of degree with me.

One of the emails quoted in the digital version of the FLYLady's book mentions how hard it was to simply mop over sticky spots on a floor, so as to stay with her rules, and only hit the high spots in the weekly house blessing session. The idea is that you get them when you do that zone in depth, when its turn comes around...and, this system does work that part out, but in the longer run.

The writer of the email mentioned that her normal decision would have been just not to clean the floor at all, unless she had 45 minutes to scrub up everything, perfectly. Of course, that would have given her one cleaner floor, but the rest of the house would have been neglected. Which is "better"?

Most of us could cut out one hour a week, at least most weeks. I can remember thinking it wouldn't make a real difference, but it did. Need to get back to this program.

Having the hired man over later this morning, to clean the garage shed out, with Mike in charge, since that is where he stashes his chainsaws. Have asked for the trash trailer that is used for hauling junk to the landfill. I hope we knock that one out before lunchtime.

That's my last shed left to de-clutter. Plan on dusting everything well before he arrives, and starting on my office this afternoon. If nothing prevents it, I should make a good dent in that, and since the kids are taking Winn to Busch Gardens tomorrow, I have a whole day to dedicate out there.

It will be a load off my mind, to get that important space looking like someone cares about it again. That's ehat this whole question boils down we care enough about our homes to give them a little time and energy, on a routine basis?
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