Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Detailed Housecleaning ~ Don't Get Overwhelmed!

Links to my housecleaning schedule:

I recently decided to blog about my housecleaning routine that I do, and there have been some nice comments and so far, positive feedback. 
I did however receive this comment today:

"Great list but I'm wondering how I can get this all done before and after I get home from work. Just curious to know if you work outside the home? My house is a cluttered disaster with no kids but several cats. Vacuuming every day is a must but I don't seem to even get that done. I checked out Flylady but the website was too overwhelming. Think I will try your program and see how it goes. Your newest follower."

I felt that instead of replying privately to this comment, that I would write another post for those who may feel that my routine might be too overwhelming, or simply just too much to do on a day to day basis.

First of all, in response to the question, "Do you work outside the home?" The answer is no. I quit my job back in July when I got married, at the request of my husband, bless his heart...and I love staying home now and taking care of the house and having his dinner ready when he gets home from work. Old fashioned, I know, but that's how we roll. Haha!
BUT...it was when I WAS working that I put together and organized my cleaning routine. It was BECAUSE I was working that I felt I needed some sort of written list of what needed to be done in the house, otherwise I just wasn't going to do it. It was motivation to me, and kept me on track. It still does. 

As I said in my previous post, Flylady was a big inspiration in coming up with my routine. If I learned anything from it, it was 2 very important things....

Don't get overwhelmed

So how do you get everything done when you work during the day? Well first of all you have to START. 
Print, or write out your routine. Pick something from it, and do it. Sometimes I start with the biggest job, sometimes I do the quick, easy stuff first. 
Break it down and do certain things at certain times of the day.

Let's use one day for an example of how things could get done:
  • Spray and wipe bathroom mirror and window
  • Spray down and wipe shower walls and bathtub, throw out any empty bottles 
  • Declutter bedroom for 15 minutes
  • Wash/put away dishes
  • Dust all surfaces in house
  • Fill pet dishes/clean litter
  • Clean hot spots for 5 minutes each: Kitchen & bathroom
  • Wash, dry and put away a load of laundry
  • Straighten surfaces (before bed)
  • Wipe bathroom
  • Vacuum
Now, this might look like a lot of stuff to get done in a day. But if we break it down into intervals....it really isn't.
Do a little bit in the morning, a little bit in the afternoon, and a little bit at night.

So today is the day to wipe the shower, and also wash the mirror and window...and everyday I wipe down the sink and outside of the toilet. Well these 3 chores can be done at the same time. I keep a scrubbie, or nylon poof by the shower, just for cleaning. So in the morning, when you are done with your shower....stay in there, and wipe it down. Here's what I do a lot of the time....I use shampoo to clean it. Pour a little on the pouf, soap up the walls and tub, then rinse it either with your removable shower head, or use a plastic glass to rinse it. Soap is soap. It still gets it nice and clean. 
Don't like that idea? Then after you get out of the shower, spray it with cleaner and wipe it. It takes about the same amount of time.
Then there's the window and mirror. Spray and wipe.
Then the sink and toilet....I keep Lysol wipes in the bathroom. So I will use one of those, or grab my cleaner and rag from under the sink, and just spray and wipe.
So all of the bathroom work for that day can be done in less than 10 minutes in the morning.
Then finish getting dressed, putting on makeup, etc.

What else can be done in the morning before work? I'm in the kitchen making coffee and whatnot....so I put away any dishes, then check the pet dishes and fill them, and change the water. Then I sift the cat litter. 
In the morning, I put in my load of laundry for the day...let it wash while I'm at work.
I used to get up 15 minutes early when I worked, just to give me that little bit of extra time to get a couple things done.

So how about after work?

Throw the clothes in the dryer.

Run the vacuum. Don't have time to do the whole house? Do one room. Do the room that needs it the most and get the rest tomorrow.

Set a time for 15 minutes and straighten and declutter the bedroom. Don't have that much time? Then only do 10 minutes, or even 5.
It's surprising what you can really get done in that amount of time. Every little thing helps. And what you don't get done this time, can be done next time. 

Now it's dusting time. Put on some music, get your duster and fling it around. It takes me probably 5 minutes to featherdust the surfaces in my house. If something needs to be sprayed and wiped I do it, but mostly I just featherdust.

So that's what can be done after work.

Before bed, all that's left to do is to put away laundry, and clear surfaces. Before bed I check my kitchen table, my counter and any tables in the living room. I clear away clutter, straighten stuff. Do you have to do this? No. But it's nice to get up in the morning and see clean surfaces. To me it makes the house look not so cluttered. It only takes like 2 minutes to clear surfaces.

Regarding the HOT SPOTS...it's important to do these. A hot spot is any place that attracts clutter. It's where  stuff gets put that doesn't belong. When I do a hot spot, I pick the messiest area in a room. I do the visible ones first....a tabletop, or the top of the tv stand....any place where there's stuff that doesn't belong. If there are no visible hot spots, then I will straighten one shelf on my bookshelf, or clean out the drawer in my coffee table. I throw out what is garbage or anything I don't want or need. I take what doesn't belong there and put it where it should go. I organize what's left.

Regarding DECLUTTERING...this is spending 15 minutes, or however long you have to do it, and fly through the room and straighten and organize.
So if I am decluttering the living room....I gather up any garbage and throw it away. I gather up toys and put them in their bins, I stack magazines, get dirty dishes out of there and put them in the dishwasher. I fold throws and blankets and put them back on the couch. Straighten throw pillows. If the kids or the husband left stuff laying around, gather it up and put it either in their rooms or in the garage. 
I set a timer, and work for 15 minutes.
At first you might not get everything finished in that time. Just quit after 15 minutes. It's good enough until next time. After doing this consistently for a while, I set my timer, declutter, and when I am done I look and sometimes still have 8 or 9 minutes left. Every time you do it....it gets easier.

An important thing to remember is this:
Your house didn't get this overnight, and it's not going to get clean overnight.
Take it slow, do what you can, don't get overwhelmed. Babystep. Consistent babysteps.

Here's another example: the kitchen
In an upcoming post we will be tackling the kitchen. 
I go through EVERYTHING.
And at first you'll be saying, "This lady is nuts, there's no way I can get all this done."
But you can.
For instance...one of the chores is to go through each drawer in my kitchen. I do a drawer at a time. I take everything out, I wipe the inside of the drawer, I get rid of any junk or clutter I don't want or use, then I put it neatly back in.
Now if you haven't done this in a while, it will take some time. But the next time it's kitchen cleaning time, and you have to clean out that drawer....it will be a snap. You might not have to take everything out. You probably won't have to wipe it down. Each time you do a chore, then next time it is easier, and takes less time.
Often times when I have a chore on my list, let's say it's cleaning out the cabinet under the kitchen sink....I don't really have to do anything. It's stayed pretty well organized since the last time I did it...so instead of taking everything out, I basically just have to straighten things up a bit.

So yes, it will be time consuming in the beginning. But each time you do something, the next time will be easier.
Every little step you take, no matter how small....will get you there.
Consistent babysteps.

Also...there are probably chores that you need to add or omit from my list so that it will work better for you.
Did you notice that I don't have 'Make bed' in my routine?
I don't, because I never make my bed.
It's not that important, no one see that it's not made and I simply don't care. Haha!
If you feel it's something you want add to your list, add it.
I wash bedding once a week on Mondays....and the bed is made up then, and a rumpled mess the rest of the time.
And that is good enough for me.

About washing windows.
Once a week, one of my chores is to wash all windows and mirrors in my house. Do I? Pfffff....no.
I check them all though. I usually have to wash the one above my kitchen sink because of water spots from the sink. Most of the other ones I don't have to do...but I do check them. If one has obviously been sneezed on by a cat or licked by my dog, I wash it. The rest I just leave. So when you see "Wash all windows and mirrors" on the list....don't panic. Just do the ones that need to be done, and leave the rest for another time when they look like they need it. If you don't want to do it...leave it off the list.

I do hope that I've helped to make my routine a little easier to understand, and that I have made it seem a little less daunting than it may look.
If you are like I used to be and your house is a cluttered mess....try this out...I PROMISE you will see a difference in time. Your house WILL get back in order. You WILL feel better about yourself.

And remember....
Don't get overwhelmed.
Your house didn't get like this overnight, and it's not going to get clean overnight.
Be consistent.

Links to my housecleaning schedule:

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  1. I love this i have been following fly lady for a long time. its nice how you broke it down. I am starting on Monday! thank you

  2. Thanks so much for this series! I am trying my best with the FlyLady system but I couldn't see the big picture. Like right now, my sink is shiny but the rest of the house has gone to hell. I'm going to go through my rooms and make lists. Thanks again for the inspiration!


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