Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crazy Woman or a Clean House

Brad and I attended a homeschool convention last month. One of the workshops that we attended was "Frugal Living and Time Management." I'm pretty good on the frugal living part; I think I have that down pretty good. It's the whole time management thing that has thrown me for a loop since I've started homeschooling. Mainly, keeping my house clean in the midst of schooling and laundry and meal prep.

One of the presenters was a veteran homeschooler. She spoke about how it used to drive her nutty when she had to work in her home if it was cluttered. Oh, I am so there with her. I get so distracted by an unkempt house. And, really, I think my obsession with a clean house might be a bit extreme and I realize that I do need to chill out a bit. (Brad just wrote on my whiteboard on the fridge last week, that I was not allowed to vacuum the house again after I had vacuumed it for the fifth day in a row. But, here's my excuse - the furry little creature that we now have running around our home warrants a daily vacuuming session.)

However, I will be the first to say that clutter distracts me. Piles distract me. They distract me mentally and pull my focus from whatever I'm trying to do. I begin to think about how I really need to clean the clutter up. Or dust. Or mop the floor. Or this. Or that. Following me?

I've tried several different cleaning systems and then I've also tried living without cleaning for a couple of months (I mean no dusting/mopping.) Fly lady sounded good and I still practice a few of her pointers, but I felt like I was CONSTANTLY cleaning. And that was a distraction because I felt guilty if I didn't get my zone cleaning done for that day/week. I felt like I was held in bondage to my mop and dust rag.

I also tried to resort to the fact that my house is just going to be "different" than in my pre-homeschooling days. So I tried for a couple of months to not care. I kept the clutter cleaned up as best as time permitted. And I dusted a couple of rooms here and there. One thing I always did was vacuum, but you probably already figured that one out about me. Well, this "lack of system" did not work because I couldn't stand not having a clean house.

So, I guess I need to get to the point here, huh? Well, this veteran homeschooler shared with us her cleaning schedule. And I thought, I can really do this. I saw a lot of similar tendencies between her and myself so I thought that if this could work for her, then it could probably work for me.

So, here's my new schedule. Now, keep in mind that I've only been doing this for several weeks, but so far it has been a really good thing and I'm finally obtaining some peace of mind about my house.

Monday - Heavy cleaning - declutter house, bathrooms, dusting, sweeping

Tuesday - Wash day - if it isn't in the hamper, it has to wait until next Tuesday

Wednesday - Touch up bathrooms (wipe down sinks); mopping floors every other week
* Note - I've been doing the mopping on Monday since I love having the whole
cleaned on the same day; I've also been doing the mopping every week since I
LOVE the look and feel of a clean floor.

Thursday - DONE or special projects/specific areas needing attention - ex - cleaning out closets; mending; organizing dresser drawers

Friday - DONE or extra wash if needed

Saturday - Play Day

Sunday -Play Day

And do you know why this is working for me? Because I basically get all my household duties done the first three days of the week, and then the rest of the week my mind is free of thinking about any of this stuff. I'm not thinking, "I need to dust. I need to vacuum. I need to mop. I need to do laundry."

And this woman stressed that if you use this schedule, you MUST NOT let yourself doing any of the cleaning that you do on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on any other day later in the week. Once it's done for the week, it's done. Period. As she said, you just need to tell yourself, "Monday will come. It can wait until then." You're then giving yourself permission to free your mind because you reassure yourself that Monday's coming and it will get done then. It's a mind game, really. :) But apparently I need to play mind games with myself.

The first week was rough. Since we homeschool, I do not actually start any of my cleaning until after lunch, usually around 1pm. However, while we're doing our lessons, I will run around the house and declutter while Ian does his independent work. And you also need to give yourself some leeway if your house is in a pretty bad state of clutter. Give yourself several weeks or a month to focus your cleaning days on decluttering. Really once your surfaces are decluttered, it doesn't really take that long to clean. This past Monday, I started at 1:30pm and finished at 3:45. Big improvement.
So, I know there are other mothers out there that struggle like me to balance all the demands of the home. And this system probably won't work for everyone, but I'm sure it will work for some. I'd love to hear any other cleaning and household tips if anyone would like to share!
Have a blessed day!


Mandy said...

I have the exact same distraction problem with clutter - or something lying on the floor, or a dish sitting on the counter . . .

My kids are 8 and 11 so I've been giving them some cleaning responsibilities after they get their school work done. I hate to see them growing up so fast, but it is nice that they can help out more.

Glad your system is working for you. I'm always trying a new "system"!

Tolentreasures said...

Wow, I have so many sayings for not worrying about the house, but not sure a saying will work. I just do not worry about it. The dirt will be there long after I am gone and I really don't want "She kept a clean house" on my tombstone. Relax! Enjoy the kids, they won't remember the dirt anyway!