Any homemaker/housewife/stay-at-home mother knows that what they do is a full time job. We don’t work M-F 9-5, our jobs are 24/7/365! We don’t get a break, our work is constant. That being said, that doesn’t mean you should have to be “actually working” the entire time. Your day should not be overwhelming. You should not be cleaning from dust ’till dawn. There must be balance between work and pleasure, and this is made possible using schedules, routines, and forming good habits.
I have mentioned in previous posts the importance of a schedule. Everything needs to be done with purpose and in order. You shouldn’t be going from room to room doing random chores and only half completing something before moving on to the next. Just like you would at a desk job, you need to have a schedule at your home job.
The first thing you want to start with is creating a cleaning schedule. This should include daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly or seasonal cleaning. First start out with your daily tasks, things that need to be done every single day. This might include doing the dishes, picking up and organizing rooms, doing laundry, making beds, taking out the garbage and recycle, cleaning the kitchen, sweeping/mopping/vacuuming… anything that needs to be done every day. Next you need to figure out your weekly schedule. This can be done many different ways. I’ve found that what works best for me is to completely clean one category of our home everyday. For example, Monday is my kitchen day. I clean the kitchen top to bottom. Tuesday I clean the bedrooms, this includes washing bedding, dusting, washing windows, etc. Wednesday is my bathroom day, so I clean all the bathrooms in house top to bottom including washing towels and rugs. Of course this method may not work for you, and that’s perfectly fine! Another way to do your weekly schedule may be something like Mondays and Wednesdays you dust, mop and vacuum, and clean windows. Tuesdays and Thursdays you clean linens and bathrooms. Fridays you clean the kitchen. Whatever works for you and your needs is best! It may even take some experimenting to figure out what best works for you. Once you have your weekly schedule, it’s time to make your monthly schedule. Obviously this will include some more deep cleaning things that don’t need to be done as often. Monthly chores may include things like cleaning grout, oiling wood furniture, reorganizing your pantry, and cleaning out your refrigerator and freezer. Once you’ve completed that list, it’s on to the extreme cleaning, quarterly or seasonal cleaning. My chores for these lists include things like washing walls, flipping mattresses, dry clean bedding, switch out closets to appropriate season, clean dryer houses, clean carpets, etc.
Once you have your schedules’ completed, stick to them! You will want to create a list of all these things that is somewhere safe, perhaps on your computer or put into a binder that you can easily refer to. The next thing you’ll want to do is get yourself a planner. This planner is going to be your new best friend, always by your side to help you whenever you need it. Each night before you go to sleep, you will want to create your tentative schedule for the following day. I say tentative because let’s face it, anything can happen to throw you off track. Your schedule has to be somewhat flexible. You will also want to be pretty detailed with your schedule. You want to be the master of your day, not the victim! Obviously the first thing on your schedule will be determining what time you wake up. Trust me, I’m about as far from being a morning person as one can get. But with time, I’ve learned that an ounce of morning is worth a pound of afternoon. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished before breakfast! Next, in planning your schedule for the day, be sure to give the correct things the correct priority. It should go in this order, the needs and companionship of your husband and children, second home duties, and third outside duties. Fit in your cleaning tasks for the day properly. Also plan out your meals for the day, make sure that you include in your schedule proper preparation time. It’s a good idea to prepare as much in advance as possible. Also, make sure you are working forward and not backwards. By this I mean if you know you are going to have a lot of dishes with dinner for the night and your dishwasher is already half full, get the dishes done ahead of time. This way when dinner is finished and you are cleaning up, you have an empty dishwasher waiting for you.
Another thing you will want to keep in your planner is a list of projects you’d like to get completed around the house. Many planners include a notes section, and this list could be kept there. This list may include things like reorganizing a closet or drawer, or redecorating the guest room. This list will come in handy when you find you have some extra free time and need something to fill it with. Another list to keep in your planner is of household of personal things you’d like to purchase at the appropriate time. I can’t count the number of times I’ve come across something I wanted to buy in the future, but didn’t write it down and couldn’t remember it later. This list will prevent that! Another list, and what I would consider to be the most important one, is a list of things you have run out of and need to purchase on your next trip to the store. You will want to keep this list handy and be able to tear it out for each shopping trip, so you may want to keep an extra small notebook for this purpose. Some planners that are made specifically for mothers’ and homemakers actually have a grocery list that you can tear out each week, so that could be used for this purpose as well. Anytime you run out of something, be sure to write it down on this list right away, that way you won’t forget later. Also as you are planning your meals, make sure you have all the ingredients needed, anything you don’t have will be added to this list. There’s nothing worse than going to get the horseradish sauce your husband loves with his meal out of the refrigerator and realizing you ran out of it a few days ago and forgot to get more! This list will prevent that sort of thing from happening.
In your planner you will also want to be sure to write down birthday’s and other important dates, as well as things you need to get done in advance. For example if you need to custom order a birthday cake a week before someone’s birthday in order for it to be ready in time, make sure you write that down! The life of a housewife can be so busy and almost overwhelming at times, it’s easy to forget things.
Of course, be sure to schedule in some time for yourself! Whether it be reading, catching up on your favorite show, or knitting, it’s so important to do something for yourself everyday. Don’t become a slave to your home. Keeping yourself on schedule will keep you happy and truly find pleasure and satisfaction in what you do!
Here are the cleaning schedules’ I use, they are Word Documents so you can edit them as necessary to match your needs!