Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How We Clean Our House

A few days ago I posted about the Just Do It method of taking care of your house.  It works for those 'out of control, don't know where to start' situations.  But the key is to avoid those situations to begin with.  Go to your library, check out every book on home management, and read them.  It will go quicker than you think, and you'll soon week out the ones that may have potential for you, and the ones that can be returned after only a chapter or two in.

Many really like the Flylady, but I find that system far too scattered, not very customizable, and the email bombardment a bit much.  I had also tried the famed Home Management Binder, but more time was spent tweaking the binder than actually doing the work.  The House that Cleans Itself  also got a read through, but this was mostly putting things away.  Instead of the fancy purchases to manage the stuff that isn't getting put away, we simply keep things near where they should go.  In the training department, we throw things away (or take them and require purchasing them back) that don't get put away.  That encourages putting things away without my having to go buy a fancy bench to keep by the front door in which to store incoming and outgoing whatever.  The dollars collected go into the date-night envelope for Mr Perfect and I.  Items put away AND a date.  Win win!

My favorite book/system on the subject is, by far, Sidetracked Home Executives.  Yes, there are many out there, and yes, they probably all have something good to say.  This is just my personal favorite.  It's applicable for various situations, (children of all ages, no children, married, single, etc.).  It's got a straightforward set up, and working the system/keeping it going is a snap.

The jist of the system is that each single job for every room is written on a 3x5 card.  The cards are then filed by frequency of need, (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, manual).  No big chore chart decorating the family room, no big point system to keep track of.  Index cards and a box, that's it.

Every day you just pull out the cards du jour, divide them between the workers if you have help, and head off to get the work done.  Once the children are done with their cards they bring them to you, you go inspect the work, give them a pointer or a good job, file the cards back and get on with your day.  An additional rewards system for any children involved really isn't necessary.  Working together and the positive feedback upon completion is enough.

For us, this system evolved into our current routine.

Sunday ~ LAUNDRY after church.
Monday ~ Everyone does their own BEDROOM.
Tuesday ~ Everyone does their own BATHROOM.
Wednesday ~ ERRANDS.
Thursday ~ Those ahead in their studies for the week help me with the LIVING AREAS.
Friday ~ When studies are done for the week all hands are on deck to help with SABBATH PREP.

(The KITCHEN gets done every day after dinner.)

Each bathroom has a bucket with supplies in it so there is no waiting or hunting:
paper towels
micro fiber cloths
glass cleaner (1/2 tsp liquid soap, 3 T vinegar, 2C water, shake before using)
scrubbing paste (equal parts dish washing soap and baking soda)

Cleaning supplies for the rest of the house (micro fiber cloth and vacuum cleaner) are right outside the garage door easy to get to.  Once used, cleaning cloths get tossed into their own basket in the laundry room, easy peasey.

In general, when we pull something out to work on, we put it away when we're done.  So our cleaning is actually picking up of dirt and dog hair.  Our cleaning time is not spent on putting things away, because we do that as we go.  This keeps our daily cleaning time down to about 30 minutes per day (except for laundry).  Mail comes in, gets sorted, gets put where it goes.  Toys come out, are played with, and are put back.  Sewing projects are pulled, worked on, and put away.

As for deep cleaning . . . our academic year is divided into four quarters.  After each quarter we take a 3 week break during which a few days are set aside for deep cleaning a quarter of the house.  Each room of the house has a list of jobs that go with it, and the rooms are divided into 'large' and 'small' rooms.  During each break we do two larger and one smaller room.  This way, we aren't working for a week to ten days straight, killing ourselves to do the whole house, but everything still gets deep cleaned once per year.

No, this is not to say that this is the only way, or that if you do something else you'll burn in home-keeping hell.  I'm just saying that there are very few reasons to live in a mess and that there are as many different ways to run the household as there are households.  Research, find a system, set it up, work it, and see how you need to change it to suit you.  It's a matter of finding and maintaining a groove.

Ready to get your groove on?  ;)


  1. It's funny how what can work for one person doesn't work for another. I read the Sidetracked Home Executives book, and did glean something from it, however found the system exhausting just to think about setting it up, let alone actually setting it up! I never did get to that part. I had a binder for a time, but found it getting cumbersome to deal with. I do need a better schedule for deep cleaning (and some help!) but other than that, my house has been cleaner than normal lately with the "just do it" theme. :)
    God Bless,

  2. I used to use Sidetracked Home Executives years ago. Maybe I should try it again. Flylady was originally based on the SHE system, but then she started adding all her other nonsense and it got irritating.
    Debra G

  3. I found a great system - starting point, anyway - on a "mega-mom" blog. She has a daily/weekly/monthly list for each room of the house. Of course, we've tweaked it. (Not having 11 people living in the house, we don't need to clean the bathrooms every day!) But helpful to not let things pile up. Each day has its chores, which I consider part of homeschool.

    Love the making the kids buy back toys they didn't put away. I've threatened that but not had to implement. I have charged them for dirty laundry I've found around the bedroom, though ;D



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