Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Managing the Chaos: Creating a Household Maintenance Schedule, Part 2

If you missed my first post in the series, you might want to head over here to check it out.

In my last post on creating a household maintenance schedule, I highlighted the benefits of such a schedule for our family. In this post, I'll tell you how we came up with a schedule that works for us.

First, I wrote down everything that needed to be done each week. When you do this step, take care to balance your visions of a sparkling house with reality. If you're a fan of The Flylady, you know that her method touts a whole house basic Cleaning once a week and deep cleaning once a month, meaning that you should not be scrubbing grime out of your windowsill with a toothbrush as part of your weekly cleaning.
What needs to be done weekly:
Bathrooms cleaned
Grocery shopping done
Kitchen cleaned
Couch wiped down
Living room dusted
Vaccuumung baseboards, under carpets and under living room table

What needs to be done twice weekly:

What needs to be done daily:
Tables and counters wiped clean
Carpet vaccuumed
Living room picked up
Dishwasher unloaded, loaded, and run again

Then I moved on to the actual scheduling part. Pick a day that, in you ideal world, the house is at its most perfect possible state of clean. For us, it's Shabbat, but for you it might be Saturday night for your date night with your spouse, or Monday morning so you can start the week off on a clean foot. Now, all your cleaning efforts will be working towards a that one day.

Then I sketched out a chart so I could see the big picture right on front of me. If you know me, you'll know that my day-to-day sanity relies heavily on post-it notes, so of course I put one post-it note on the wall for each day I had to clean - 6 in all since we're skipping Shabbat.

I need my house to sparkle by Friday afternoon. I asked myself: what would I feel happiest to have newly clean as I celebrate Shabbat? Friday also involves some mad-dash cooking and other Shabbat prep atypical of other weekdays, so is cleaning tasks can't be too heavy or time-consuming lest I collapse into a puddle of exhausted tears right after I light Shabbat candles (yes, it's been known to happen.)

So I marked Friday as a wide-range surface cleaning day that would include couches being wiped down, a quick sweep of the baseboards, a detailed vaccuuming (along baseboards and under carpets and coffee table, and trash can and a general pickup and dusting of the house.

A big contributor to clutter in our house is laundry. I knew I didn't want to spend Shabbat stewing over a mountain of dirty clothes, so Thursday became laundry day. With 3 children under 4 years old b''H we do something like 7 loads of laundry in any given week. No matter how hard we try, that simply cannot get entirely done in one day. So Monday became laundry day as well, being about halfway across the week from Thursday.

So far that gives us:
Monday - laundry
Thursday - laundry
Friday - general whole-house surface clean

Since my part-time job takes me out of the house on Tuesday afternoons, we decided that day was a wash for housework (har har, pun intended). There are simply too many other things to accomplish between daily cleanup, caring for the children, and getting them to and from preschool (a 2-hour total trip each day!). I still don't have clean bathrooms or a kitchen, so I put that on Wednesday since it is reasonably close to Shabbat and I certainly can't enjoy a Day of Rest with a grimy toilet, sink, and kitchen floor.

So now we have:
Monday -  laundry
Tuesday - (otherwise occupied)
Wednesday - kitchen and bathrooms
Thursday - laundry
Friday - general whole-house surface clean and Shabbos food prep.

That leaves us with Sunday open. Since David is usually home Sundays and work takes me out of the house on Sunday mornings, it is the perfect day for me to grocery shop without the children to slow the cart and to do any meal prep for the week without rugrats tugging on my ankles amidst heat from the oven and kitchen knife hazards. 
See how that all fell into place?
Now the final schedule:
Sunday - grocery shop and food prep for the week
Monday - laundry
Tuesday - (otherwise occupied)
Wednesday - kitchen and bathrooms
Thursday - laundry
Friday - general whole-house surface clean and Shabbos food prep.

Remember!  Every day also includes the "Everyday" tasks I listed above: Tables and counters wiped clean; Carpet vaccuumed; Living room picked up; Dishwasher unloaded, loaded, and run again.

Hopefully, seeing how this all played out in our house will help you sketch out your own realistic, custom-fit-for-your-household maintenance schedule.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment in this series, where I'll break down each day's cleaning into individual tasks, tell you how I keep track of it all, and give you some of my favorite tips for making the weekly cleaning as painless as possible.


  1. wow, glad to know we are all in this together (friday tears as I am stepping over unfolded clean laundry on the floor of my room has happend *on occasion*)

    thanks for sharing!

    it almost motivated me to add cleaning the baseboards to my weekly list, but i think i'll continue sitting on the coach and looking at how dirty they are instead...sigh

  2. Gracious, I'm tired just reading this! And you work part-time. And blog. And photograph. And have a small business! Man alive, you have more energy in your pinky finger than I do in my whole body. You amaze me!!

  3. Hi ladies, thanks SO much for your comments! Yes, we are all in this together. Mara, don't be too amazed - hopefully the third post in the series won't make me seem so energetic. Also, you've never been to my house, so for all you know I could be full of it. :)

  4. you only do seven loads of laundry a week? wow. i think we might do 15.

    (can you see what i've gleaned from all your wisdom!? :-) )

  5. I just stumbled upon Flylady's website and I find the ideas interesting. I'm trying her '30 days' thing but this week has been terrible. I work full-time and this week that meant between 50 and 60 hrs. So, needless to say, I didn't get very far, but my SINK IS SHINY. Do I get points for that?

    I am excited to get back on target with the whole regular cleaning thing. I always feel so much better when the apartment is clean. I feel like I can actually rest and not fret about the laundry on the floor or the dirty dishes all over creation.

    Thanks for sharing your journey.

  6. Thanks for your comment, Mary! I love the FlyLady and her systems but what I love most about her is that she is always reminding her readers to BE REALISTIC and to BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. You can only do what you can do.

    So I think she would say that yes, you get points for your sink being shiny if it helps you feel more relaxed and happier and more accomplished.

    Thanks for reading. :)

  7. Oh, and Phyllis - I would do 15 loads a laundry a day too if my kids were your kids' ages. And also if I was hugely pregnant and spilling all my food on my belly. :)

    Thinking of you. :)

  8. I happened across this blog in the course of my daily work for an e-commerce site. Little did I know what a difference it would make in my personal life. I have become an avid reader of your blog (along with Kosher on a Budget). I really love it. You have NO idea how much I am in need of a series like this one. I am glad to know that I am not the only person who is challenged in housekeeping! Please keep your great blog coming! You are an inspiration!


Thanks for your comments! They make my day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...