Friday, July 24, 2009

Mary Makeover, Part Three

Do you have a compiled list of everyday chores and Zone chores? If so, it's time to create a routine that will work for you. First, decide which days you'd like to have off. For me, those days are Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I'll do my best to maintain my cleaning routine Tuesday - Friday.
Next, decide how you want to tackle your list of daily chores. For example, I am already in the habit of loading the dishwasher each night and programming it to run while we're sleeping, handwashing the dishes that need it, then wiping down the sink and countertops. Then in the morning I unload the clean dishes. I'll make my bed as soon as I get out of it, and sweep the floor just after Hannah goes to bed - all routines already firmly established. Once I get into a routine of doing something, it just seems easy, so routines are key for me.
Lastly, carve 30 minutes out of your day that is consistent(ish) to tackle that day's Zone chores. Hannah takes a good, consistent, long nap each morning. Afternoon naps are always iffy. So I'm planning my Zone cleaning for the mornings and not the afternoons. I want to have a time I can count on.
Here's where the Zone cleaning gets flexible. My house is not always picked up enough to just be able to focus on the regular chores. Usually my routine has to involve de-cluttering and picking up before I can get to the table/floor/counter to clean it in the first place. I spend my time de-cluttering and wipe myself out before I get to the cleaning part. In this case, spend 30 minutes in that day's Zone tackling one project. For example, we had a last-minute big family gathering at our house on 4th of July weekend. To "clean" I literally picked up every piece of clutter/extra baskets and bins/etc. and threw it into our bedroom. Instead of cleaning our bedroom the other day, I just spent that time organizing and finding a home for all of the random odds and ends that were thrown in there. I'll clean it the next time that Zone rolls around. It's nice because it doesn't make that Zone overwhelming. Another example of organizing instead of cleaning would be for my guest bedroom. It's not a dusty room, and the floor doesn't get a lot of action, so the cleaning is minimal. The armoire, however, is a disaster inside. So one day I might (emphasis on might) decide to spend that 30 minutes organizing the armoire instead of cleaning.
What about the deep-cleaning issues like the inside of the refrigerator, scrubbing grout, and cleaning blinds? I'm going to use one day per week to do deep-cleaning in one Zone. Next week is deep-cleaning week for Zone 1. So the only day I'll actually tackle more than just the easy surface stuff is Tuesday.

I must say that this plan has made me excited and motivated about possibly being able to consistently maintain a tidy house for the first time in my life. I would really like to have a well-established routine before we introduce even more family members so I can stay on top of stuff and avoid my marathon cleaning rituals before we expect company. Having a consistently clean house seems impossible, and I'm thrilled that this plan is doable. I will be completely honest, though, and share my failings openly. Please let me know if you're using any part of the plan and how it's working for you!

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