Cleaning & Organizing
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Making the most of it

My husband and I get home usually around 5-6 every day and we're usually in bed around 9 or 10 so we can be up by 6 to get ready for work. We've both found it difficult to keep our house organized and clean. I was wondering if any of you had suggestions to make the most of the few hours we really have to be productive. I'm a big fan of lists, but when it comes to cleaning, I'm completely clueless. The most I've ever done is kept my clutter controlled and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and that's not the way a home should be.

Re: Making the most of it

  • I can relate to this! I didn't grow up in a home that was very "tidy" so I had a bit of a learning curve when it came to keeping the house organized. After some trial and error I found some system that works for me.

    Everyday I do certain tasks (empty dishwasher--I like to start the dishwasher at night and unload it as I'm waiting for coffee to brew, wipe down counters, make the bed, clean kitty litter, sweep the kitchen--just little things like that, that don't take much time.)

    Then every room in our house gets assigned a day to be cleaned. So on Monday's I clean the kitchen and dining room (steam clean floors, wipe down cabinets, straighten up pantry/fridge, polish dining table, etc), Tuesdays is devoted to the living room and family room (dust, vacuum and steam clean floors, febreeze couches), Wednesday is for the 2 small bathrooms and guest bedrooms (they don't need much since they're rarely used, so they might get vacuumed/mopped, dusted and have the hard surfaces wiped down), Thursday is the master bath and bedroom, and Friday is for tidying up my home office and den. On any days that you have a little more time you can do a deeper clean (like wiping baseboards, windows, etc.). Also, one thing I like to do before bed is going around the house for 5 minutes and doing a "speed clean" where I just pick things up and put them back where they belong (folding blankets from the couch, putting away cat and dog toys, etc). It's just a little thing that helps contain the clutter and makes a huge impact.

    I usually do most of the cleaning because I'm home the most (I work from home, and H works the night shift and some crazy hours), but you could split everything with your H so that while you're vacuuming he's doing dishes or making dinner or something. I've found that if I stick to a schedule it's a lot more manageable for me to keep up with things, and doing just a little bit every day makes things easier. I can usually finish up my "chores" within 30-45 minutes and like to spend the time listening/dancing to music or listening to an audiobook.

    Hope that helps! Sorry it was a bit long!
    ?Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.?
  • When I looked at my whole house, it was pretty overwhelming.  I had to break down the tasks that needed to be done into small pieces and worry about a few at a time.  I'm not someone who likes to spend hours straight cleaning (nor do I really know anyone like this).  So, I try to fit in 15 or 20 minutes of straightening up every day.  My house didn't get clean immediately, but after a couple weeks it started to look great (and became a habit).
  • Thanks so much, girls! I think that's my problem. I'm looking at the whole picture rather than just little bits and pieces as I go along. I think my biggest concern is our garage and the yard sale we never had...but we're getting there!
  • Ugh.. Working on this, too.  We live in a small space (2 people and a large dog in 700 square feet) and any little bit of clutter immediately becomes a big problem.  It comes down to not having enough storage space.

    I like the idea of a room (or task) a day.  Keeps it manageable.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Thanks so much, girls! I think that's my problem. I'm looking at the whole picture rather than just little bits and pieces as I go along. I think my biggest concern is our garage and the yard sale we never had...but we're getting there!
    Are you going to have the garage sale? It's not too late!
  • OtterJOtterJ member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited August 2013
    If you haven't already, there's a website - flylady - that is great for helping set cleaning schedules.  Her website is wonderful, but it's also quite large.  Don't get overwhelmed.  There are a few "getting started" articles to read as you ease into it. 

    They basically use the same principals that some other posters mentioned.  You have daily tasks that you do each morning (empty the dishwasher) and evening (load the dishwasher, clean counters, shine the sink, declutter), and then there is a different "zone" to deep clean each week. 

    Each week, you spend 15 minutes a day focusing on your zone.  If you need help figuring out what to do in those 15 minutes, each day they post a task to take care of in that zone.  By the end of the week, that zone has been thoroughly cleaned.  The cleaner you make each room, the easier it is to take care of minor clutter each day to keep it from getting overwhelming.

    She also has "rescue plans" for when clutter gets out of hand.  You spend 15 minutes in one room, 15 in the next, 15 in another, then a 15 minute break.  Repeat as needed.  It doesn't seem like you can get much done in 15 minutes, but when you know what's ALL the time you have, it helps you focus on getting the most obviously-needed cleaning done.  In other prevents you from spending a whole hour cleaning out and organizing ONE DRAWER when your whole house is a complete wreck.  That's normally my biggest problem (focusing on small, unseen messes, and ignoring the sink full of dishes), so timing myself has really helped a lot. 

    I took the advice, and basic idea of her site, and created my own daily/weekly/zone cleaning schedule that fits our needs.  We're still getting used to it, but it's getting better!  I have two dry erase boards in our kitchen.  One for the weekly menu (knowing what to shop for ahead of time makes life easier), and the weekly to-do list, including our cleaning goals for that week.  I love lists too - if I don't write it down where I will see it, it doesn't get done!

    Another thing that I had to learn to help keep the place clean....what is HE good at cleaning?  And then I make sure that I don't spend my time cleaning up things that he can/likes to take care of.  He is very good at vacuuming, and taking care of trash/recycling, so I never touch it! :-)
  • I have a list of tasks that should be done each week - cleaning bathrooms and the kitchen, dusting the living room and sweeping/vacuuming all floors. I usually include laundry as well. I also have "me time" on my list so I make sure to set aside time for me - whether it's giving myself a pedicure, taking a bath - you get the idea. Just something small. 

    Anyway, at the start of each week I go through my planner and write in tasks for each day - that way I can adjust it based on my schedule. Also, once a week I pick something to "deep clean." That way I don't get overwhelmed thinking I should be cleaning every little thing every week. 
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