It’s been almost two years since I found the Fly Lady system. Her 15 minute baby-steps are crucial to my survival, however, I never managed to quite make the routines that are so essential to her system. So, while I was an advocate (and I’m still on her mailing list!) I am not a follower. Then, I read from Candy on www.keepingthehome.com and Candy doesn’t use “zones” like Fly Lady, but instead has broken down the house by surface, so you would clean flat surfaces on Monday, and windows on another, appliances on another…so on. This system is more thorough than Fly Lady’s but I have a problem with its specificity. In my case, I needed something extremely simple that I could use to help thwart my procrastination. Both of these programs has valuable aspects, so I want to pull from them, and I did, to create my own system.
First, I started with a goal: Biblically, we are called to hospitality and I (thankfully) have a natural inclination toward opening my home, which I have carefully suppressed because my home is filthy. When my family attended a new church last Sunday, two of the elders dropped by on Tuesday evening. How embarrassing!!! Thankfully, our house was not at it’s worst, but it was not pretty either! So, my goal became the ability to show a presentable home at a moment’s notice. The main living areas (and bathroom!) need to always be tidy or in use. We are a family with small children and children have toys, so I won’t get rid of all the toys, but I will teach my children to put them away when they are done with them. The second aspect is that I would like my house to be ready to entertain guests within 30 minutes. Maybe this is less attainable than the first part, but I think it is a good goal for our family to keep in mind. Entertaining involves so many different things, but I would like for say, my mom, to call and say, “Hey, I’m on my way home from work, can I stop by for a visit?” and I will not be ashamed at whatever she sees. The other aspect is that I would like to keep the house clean and organized for the health and happiness of the family. It is amazing the difference between the kids just because their bedrooms and living room are cleaned! They actually want to play, instead of just staying in front of the TV all morning. I never realized how much mess affects you physically and though I keep saying that I just “don’t see” it, my body knows the mess is there and it causes stress to build up. What a pleasure it is to come into a clean home.
So, how am I going to do it? First, I have a conversation with my husband about what tasks needed to be completed on a regular basis. Then, I broke the house into five sections: living room and hallway, kids’ rooms, kitchen and dining rooms, bathroom and laundry area, and master bedroom. I took the list of things I wanted to accomplish on a weekly basis and put it all down by room. I want to clean 5 days a week and I have scheduled 2 hours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon to do that. So, I took my list of tasks to be done and my schedule and I plugged in one room per cleaning session. This means that I will “hit” every section of my house twice during the week, once in the AM, once in the PM. I did choose particular tasks to do on those days, so that if I needed to, I could go right to the directions to follow for that day, change the sheets and vacuum the master bedroom on Friday morning, for example. However, I think the key for me is that it gives me direction. Today is Friday, so I know that I will be spending time cleaning the master bedroom this morning (starting at 10:00am) and then I will go into the living room for this afternoon’s cleaning. What I have yet to do is to establish “monthly and yearly” cleaning lists but when I do, I will divide them out through the month or year on the day that I would normally do my cleaning routine. The other thing is that my husband is going to be working a 6 day rotation, so I might end up with a Wednesday off, in which case, Saturday is my stand-in day. As is stands, I have planned for Saturday to be a “special projects” day which could include cleaning, but also includes sewing and crafting. Sunday’s are my day to rest so I am not planning anything for that day (excepting of course, the standard dishes and tidy-after-you-finish-playing-with-that-toy variety).
The last aspect of this, is that I am taking pictures of each room when in a state of “tidy” and when completely clean and I am posting them in my Home Management Binder so that I have an easy reference of what it could look like. I like that I have freedom with this plan and I can still get my work done. It is my job to provide for my family’s health and happiness and a clean house is a great beginning. I would encourage anyone who is trying to clean their house to do this as well, make a list of ALL the most necessary jobs, schedule the cleaning and divide the way you prefer. If you like to do all the floors one day, you can always arrange for Monday to be your floor day, Tuesday windows and dusting, Wednesday wash day…whatever works!!!
I’m off to get some cleaning done!!!