Right now my house is a complete disaster.
A painting project plus a cover photo shoot plus Christmas decorations take-down plus a headcold= one great big mess.
But usually it’s not. Usually, you could drop in on me almost any time and I wouldn’t be embarrassed by the state of my home. And I don’t spend every waking minute cleaning either. In fact, I write two 100,000 word novels a year and record, edit, and master two other books every year.
Recently, I’ve seen a chore plan floating around facebook, and even for a clean freak like me, it seemed completely overwhelming. So I’m going to share my secrets.
Live in the NOW. There’s no later.
You ate a meal, so you clean the dishes NOW, not later. The stovetop is cleaned NOW. The counters are wiped down NOW. Thnk of the cooking, the eating, and the clean-up as one project. You’re not allowed to leave the kitchen until it’s clean.
When the dishwasher is clean, unload it NOW. Don’t just take out one clean dish and leave the rest. It will only take 5 minutes to get it all put away.
The mail is sorted NOW. It isn’t laid down in a massive pile of collected mail. As soon as you bring it in the house, it is sorted into important and not. The not is thrown away. The important is taken to your desk.
Leave a room the way you found it.
When you leave a room, look back. Could you grab those dirty socks, dishes, shoes, knitting project, etc. and carry them to where they belong? You know you could, so do it.
Make your bed as soon as you get out of it
Okay, you can go potty first, but this just sets the tone for your brand new organized day that you are in control of. Those blankets, comforter and pillows don’t control you. You control them. You put them in place.
Corral clutter and demand that it stays there.
We all have that one place in our space that is prone to clutter. For the ladies, it’s probably our bathroom or vanity counters containing all our lotions, mousse, nail polish, and beauty products. For the guys, it’s their work bench that is constantly strewn with tools and projects. Often, some organizational baskets or drawers are needed, but we still need to be diligent in putting them back where they belong rather than just tossing them on the counter willy nilly.
Schedule weekly chores
I do bills and enter receipts in Quicken every Wednesday. EVERY WEDNESDAY. Only something unexpected keeps me from doing this every single Wednesday. If some crisis occurs, I do it on Thursday. Nuclear war would have to break out to push it to Friday.
I dust mop my living room, dining room, and kitchen every Saturday morning. I clean my wood laminate floors every week but Shark my kitchen floors and clean my downstairs bathroom every other week. The weeks I don’t Shark the floors, I vacuum my lower level. My dear hubby does the upstairs, but if he didn’t, I’d plan a different day for vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms. I do laundry on the weekends. The point is to HAVE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT.
Note that I don’t have a special day to clean the kitchen (other than the floors) because the kitchen gets quickly cleaned after every meal.
I don’t have a day to de-clutter, because de-cluttering is a constant cleaning up after yourself. And I dust when I see dust and feel strongly about dusting. I don’t plan that one.
And yes, there are things that you only do once or twice a year like cleaning the garage, but if you try to schedule everything, the list will look too big, and you won’t do anything.
If even my simple plan is like a foreign language, then try adopting one change at a time. Start with never going to bed with an uncleaned kitchen. Once you have that habit set, concentrate on another area without stopping the first. Pretty soon, these will just be second nature.
If something is distracting you from your goals, use it as a reward for a job completed. I try to never turn on my computer until after I’ve exercised, taken a shower, and am all ready for the day. This is a tough one for me, but E-mail and Facebook could take up my whole morning if I let it.
So, here’s to 2016. Life’s messy, clean it up.