So, we have lived in our new house about a month now, and I'm getting back into this whole stay-at-home-mom/ housewife thing again after a few years break. The first week after we unpacked everything, I scoured the internet looking for helpful tips on cleaning routines. Back in the day I followed Flylady. Amazing concept, worked for years for me. But now that I'm having to relearn the ropes again, with my new found quirkiness of the last few years, I decided to take a few wonderful points from her and continue the search. As far as daily routines, I found they all pretty much had the same basic steps, which I began immediately (we'll get to those in a moment). As far as weekly routines, though, they were so different from picking a level of the house (ceilings, surfaces, walls, floors) to clean each day of the week, to picking a different room in the house to clean each day, to a little bit of this and that everyday. After all my searching, I found no one else's routines fit me, whether it be because I didn't agree with it, or couldn't remember what I was supposed to be doing on Tuesday (bathroom? No, wait, kitchen... damn). So, I devised a weekly schedule for myself that made sense, is easily followable, and is dummy-proof for my forgetful brain (catchy is another way to put it), at least.
I do realize that, like all the other lists on the internet that didn't fit me, this list isn't going to make sense to everyone. And, it needs to be stated that, since we just moved in a month ago, things in the house aren't overwhelming. The kids rooms still mostly resemble the organized manner I set them up in when we moved in, we have yet to accumulate tons of clutter (though I know it's coming), and we don't have years of stuff traffic ground into the floors and carpet. So, keeping things clean on a weekly basis isn't as huge of a task as it used to be. My kids are also older now (8 and almost 6), so I make them clean their own rooms, fold their laundry, and help out with small chores around the house. I seriously doubt this routine would work for a brand new mom (get your naps in while the baby naps and do as little to the house as possible- my advice to you all), or for people who have a 3000+ square foot house with numerous rooms (there are 5 of us in a 1400 square foot- gets a little snug sometimes, but comfortable). But, it's working for me, and isn't the typical humdrum lists out there.
Like I said before, the daily routines I found were all similar, and considering it works for me, I'm sharing it here, as well.
- At least one load of laundry, from start to finish, a day. Some days I make it through a few, some days its just the one. But, from start to finish, that's the key. I'm notorious for leaving clean clothes in a basket, unfolded, forever. I used to figure, hey, the kids can just get the clothes outta the basket, wear them, and soon the basket will be empty. Yeah, no more.
- General straightening of the house. I usually do my straightening before bed. I make the kids take any toys that are out and about to their room, and I pick up dishes, cups, put things in their place, etc, and then head to bed. Sometimes I'll do it right after the kids go to bed, so I can relax a little more while watching my shows at night.
- Keep up with the kitchen. When the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, unload it (or delegate down for someone else to do it) as soon as possible. That leaves an empty dishwasher that can be reloaded as dishes are used. But make sure, at the end of the night, the sink is empty, the counters wiped down, and that load either run, or if it's empty, good job. This is probably the hardest step for me, personally.
- Keep up with paper clutter. I usually do this during the general straightening at night. Go through junk mail, make sure the kids' homework is in their bookbags, file bills that need to be paid. We do accumulate a lot of paper clutter, which is a simple thing to take care of.
A Crazy Mom's Weekly Cleaning Schedule
This is the day of the week I do the 'main' parts of the house- Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room, maybe the bedrooms (the bathroom gets a whole day to itself, but still straighten in there, clean off counters, get up dirty towels, etc.) But, all I do is straighten & sweep/mop/vacuum. A more thorough straightening is involved on Mainframe Mondays, than in my daily routine. I'll organize a little more, actually put things away instead of just carrying them to the appropriate rooms, but, in essence, the house (or the main parts of it) look completely presentable when the hubby gets home from work, the kids from school, and if company stops by.
What's that Smell? Wednesdays
antimicrobial one, because it kills the bacteria that causes the funk), maybe your closet and hubby's shoes as well (couldn't hurt). And, the biggest part of What's that Smell? Wednesdays is probably the smelliest part of your home- the bathroom. Today's the day to scrub it down- toilet, bathtub, sink, floors- get it smelling like an orange grove in there, or lemony fresh (or whatever cleaning product smell tickles your fancy- we all have them, it's okay to admit it). Now, with other daily routines, I've seen to wipe the toilet down daily. This is definitely a good tip if you have men in the family, which is why I keep a container of antibacterial wipes under the bathroom sink- easy peasy, and yes, I make them do it (devil woman, I know). I also have one of those Kaboom Scrub Free continuous toilet cleaners, which keeps the inside clean for up to 3 months- I love it (watch the demonstration video on the site- not sure why but it cracks me up, probably because it really is that easy to install it. Heck, I did it myself. It's not one of those looks easy to install but isn't things.) So, that's why I don't scrub the toilet everyday. But, off the subject a little (I'm good at doing that), What's that Smell? Wednesdays are the day to scrub that bathroom clean.
The first part of Throw Away Thursdays is to grab a trashbag and a donation box. Spend about 15 minutes in each room throwing away what you can, or putting it into a box for charity/yardsale/storage etc. 15 minutes is just about all you'll need, unless you decide to make that room your room for Thursday. The second part of Throw Away Thursdays is completely up to you, tailor it to fit your schedule and lifestyle. For me, I spend a little time in each room really cleaning- organizing, cleaning out, scrubbing what needs to be scrubbed, vacuuming out the sofa, getting spots out of carpets, things like that. But, like I said before, my house hasn't gotten too overwhelming (yet). If it suits you more to use Thursday to completely tackle a new room (or maybe 2 rooms), from top to bottom, each week, then go for it (for example, the kitchen/dining room the first Thursday of the month, living room/family room second Thursday of the month, etc. ) That way, by the end of the month, you'll have a completely cleaned out house. Make Throw Away Thursday work for you, your family, your house, your life, and your level of motivation.
All, I love Feel Good Fridays. Gearing up for the weekend, the kids will be home, the hubby off work. So, Feel Good Fridays are just that- do what you need to set your family up for the weekend. I go ahead and wash all the sheets in the house (nothing feels better than freshly laundered sheets), do the final straightening of the house, maybe sweep/vacuum/spot mop if needed. Grocery shop, run errands, make plans for the weekend, whatever is left that you need to do to get yourself a much needed weekend off, too (as much as stay at home moms can get time off, that is). And, I have been known to pamper myself a little on Feel Good Fridays (everyone needs a reward for a job well done every now and then). I'll do an at home facial (I have a homemade recipe for an all natural Strawberry Honey facial mask that not only softened my skin but took a few years off, that I'll share at some point), or read a book, maybe paint my nails. But, in the least, I get everything set up to be able to spend time with my family all weekend.
Now that my routine is all laid out, I can say I've thought about it from the perspective of how it would fit into other people's lifestyles. A bigger family, for example, probably wouldn't make it work only doing one load of laundry a day. I can say I try to play catch up with the laundry on Sundays and Mondays. I also realized, in creating my weekly schedule, that my cleaning standards may not be as high as some people's. I don't require a Martha Stewart home to feel comfortable or to be happy. I don't live in squalor, either, though. For example, taking everything out of the kitchen cabinets and wiping them down is not a priority of mine, but I know people who do that once a month. I'll wipe down baseboards as needed, but I know people who do them every week. So, my goal, as a mom and homemaker, is to make sure my house is clean, presentable if company comes over unexpectedly, not a safety or health hazard to anyone, but comfortable enough to relax in, to play around in, to feel at home. I'm not big on the 'everything is so clean I don't think I can touch a thing' houses. I want people to feel welcome here, and not leave and never return.
So that's what works for me! I'd love to hear either feedback, or tips on what works for you- just drop me a comment below!