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Oh yes…..I’m going there. I’m going to talk about cleaning. How rock n roll right?!
The fact is that my husband works full time, I have two jobs and we have a young family. Something has to give and a lot of the time it’s the house which is neglected. While many people will say to leave the house, that’s not what you will look back on a remember. The fact of the matter is though, that I find living in a messy house stressful. I doesn’t need to be spotless all the time, but if I am surround by clutter and am tripping over toys, I end up losing my sh*t. That means for my own sanity I need to keep on top of it.
There may be times when you want to hire a cleaner. Things like end of tenancy cleaning or when you’re selling your home, it’s time to hold your hands up and bring in the experts to make sure things are looking as best as they can. However, day to day or week by week – a cleaner isn’t an option for us, therefore I’ve needed to get a little creative with a cleaning schedule. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous. Why on earth would you need a list when you can see what needs cleaning? But how often have you simply forgotten to do jobs around the house: gone to put a wash on and realised the washing machine is full of wet clothes. Said to one another after digging through the cupboard under the stairs that you’ve been meaning to clear through it for ages. Well, here’s how to have a busy life and a clean house.
Looking at the house as a whole to clean and keep on top of is an impossible task. Most of us just don’t have the time to spend an entire day every week deep cleaning the house. But what if I said you didn’t need to? There’s a way to break all those jobs down into small daily chunks to make it more manageable. Enter three cleaning lists:
- Daily – those jobs you do instinctively each and every day
- Weekly – those jobs which need to be done every week if you have any hope of keeping on top of things
- Zone – cleaning jobs which breaks down everything else you need to do, into daily 15 minute chunks
The idea is that you list all the jobs that need doing to keep your house in order. Identify those that you do automatically day to day anyway as they are things that need doing immediately. Then list the things that you need / want to get done weekly. Finally, you need to split your house up into zones and identify 5 – 7 jobs that you can do in that zone to keep it looking spick and span. In doing so, you have your schedule.
By sticking to this plan – rotating your zone each week – you will be able to keep on top of all those jobs that usually mount up until you feel stressed and anxious about your house. A place which should be relaxing for you.
To give you inspiration and explain what I mean, here’s what mine looks like.
EACH AND EVERY DAY
These are the little jobs that we all do day in day out. We do it without thinking and most likely as part of our daily jobs that we don’t actively think about. Things like washing the dishes, rinsing out the bath and doing the laundry. Those things must be done every day else those little jobs turn into mountains which become hard to tackle.
You don’t necessarily need a check list for this, but it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself what you do day to day remind yourself why you’re so tired!
WEEK IN WEEK OUT
Next, we have those jobs that really slip if you don’t stay on top of them. Before you know it you’re sniffing the bed sheets after 3 weeks to see if you can push it for another week. You look at your plants – or at least the brown brittle sticks that used to be your plants – and wonder when the last time you watered them.
This check list is a great reminder if nothing else, as to those jobs that if you manage to keep on top of them every week, won’t become an issue for you.
Now here is where this strategy comes into its own. It may sound counterproductive, but the idea is that you spend 15 minutes every day doing one small job. Usually you’d keep it to four zones so that each area gets a full work through once a month. For us though things don’t quite slot into a neat 4 weeks, so we have a 5th.
These are all jobs which most people just simply don’t have time to do every day. They add up and build until you end up needing to find an entire weekend to try and get on top of it all. Trying to find a day or two when it’s hard to find a few hours is impossible, but freeing up just 15 minutes a day for 6 days of the week? Well, anyone should be able to do that.
Some of these may sneak into my weekly or daily lists while I’m there if they really need doing, but for me these zones are a reminder as to the things I want to get done but don’t alway remember (or have time) to do.
TIME TO CALL IN HELP
Having said all that. It’s also about knowing when the time is right to call in some help. If you genuinely can’t keep on top of it or would much prefer someone come in once a week a do a deep clean on your house. Well, that is fine too.
For us though, this is what works for our family.