I see posts on here as well as hear in my day to day life, complaints from women regarding housework. It never seems to be finished, jobs fall by the wayside for months, there's not enough time in the day, etc. The easy solution to that would be to have a routine. But how to begin? In the book I just wrote a recommendation of, Home Comforts: The Science and Art of Housekeeping by Cheryl Mendelson, the author explains in chapter two the importance of a routine, the common pitfalls, and provides exhaustive lists of housekeeping to be done daily, weekly, annually and bi-anually.
Why is a routine important?
Beginners should recognize the importance of setting plausible and explicit goals in housekeeping so that they know when they are done... the most common cause of dislike of housework is the feeling that the work is never done... To avoid this, you have to decide what ordinary daily level of functioning you want in your home.
I believe Ms. Mendelson has hit the nail on the head with this explanation! If you don't have a clear cut goal of what "done" looks like in your home, how will you know when you're there? I live by the old adage, "those who fail to plan, plan to fail", and housekeeping is no different. Now that I have a little one attached to me constantly, I have grown to appreciate and stick to my plan all the more! Later I will give my daily, weekly, monthly and annually to-do lists so you can come up with your own!
A routine is important because life is cyclical so therefore housekeeping is also. All the chores and errands need to be done over and over. Having a routine your home runs on is the key to keeping it happy.
With systematic housekeeping, most of the time you live comfortably: supplies are not exhausted; dirt and laundry do not over accumulate… In non systematic housekeeping, chores are tended to only when the resources of one of the household's systems are exhausted…
How do I Create a Routine?
Begin with the end in mind.
You need to create end points that will let you to say to yourself, "Finished!" Otherwise you will feel trapped and resentful, in danger of becoming one of the many unfortunates who hate taking care of their own homes.
Find the level of where your home feels "finished" and develop a daily routine that will help you achieve "finished" everyday. Make a list of the 4-6 big things that, when accomplished, make your home feel “finished”. These will be different for everyone. Perhaps fresh vacuum cleaner lines in the carpet are important, or drawers full of starched and pressed shirts. I love seeing my dishes gleaming on the rack before I turn kitchen light off at night. Find your priorities and make them a daily routine.
When you plan your routine around your week and day, it is customized to you and therefore will be easier to follow. Achieving “finished” is much easier when you customize your routines. So begin with the end in mind and have specific tasks that achieve “finished” for the day. The feeling of accomplishment is a great reward and will motivate you to keep up with your routine.
Which Chores Belong in Which Routine?
A daily routine is something you are able to accomplish easily every day, whether you have to work, you have Bible study, or a date. It should be short and sweet. If it is too complicated you will not be able to return your home to “finished” every day. Frustration and despair will ensue.
Some examples from the text of daily chores are putting soiled clothes in the hamper, clean floors in high-use areas, general tidying, interim marketing.
A weekly routine involves the chores that only need to be done once or twice a week. Based on your schedule of work, child-related activities and your own extracurriculars, plan your weekly chores accordingly. A few examples of weekly chores listed in the book are laundering, grocery shopping, ironing.
Monthly or Seasonal routines are for chores that don't need to be done every week but need to be done more than twice a year. For example, turning mattresses, cleaning lamp shades, waxing floors, clean blades of ceiling fans.
Annual and semi annual chores aka spring/fall cleaning also need routines. Some examples of bi/annual chores are removing out of season clothes from wardrobes, waxing the furniture, wash window blinds, move and clean underneath large appliances such as the oven, fridge, or TV.
Sadie's Housekeeping Routines
- Make bed
- Put away last night's dishes (I don't have a dishwasher so they sit on a rack to dry over night)
- Sweep the kitchen floor (done daily because it keeps the dirt from being dragged to the rest of my floors)
- Daily chore (changes depending on the day of the week. I'm writing this on a Wednesday so for example, Wednesday is my laundry day so I will clean, dry and fold all laundry today.)
- Clean dishes I use
- Put things back as I use them
- Clean dishes for last time
- Put away any clothes left out (I'm pretty sure my husband doesn't think he's allowed to hang his work shirts up, lol)
- Have DH take out trash (I like to call that "men's work")
- Monday - Meal Planning, baby’s bath, sweep all floors (kitchen, living room, bedrooms, stairs)
- Tuesday - Clean bathroom (Sweep floor, scrub toilet/sink/tub, wash mirror if needed)
- Wednesday - change sheets on bed(s), wash/dry/fold/put away laundry
- Thursday - Iron clothes as needed, baby’s bath, plan out grocery shopping trip
- Friday - pay bills, grocery shopping, return any library books, as needed
- Saturday - empty trash cans from around house (bathroom and bedroom), bring household trash to the dump (men’s work!) Budget talk and money planning with husband
- First Wednesday of Month - change bedding on step-sons’ beds (this gets done monthly rather than weekly because they don't live with us full time)
- Second Monday of Month - mop floors (kitchen, living room, bathroom)
- Second Wednesday of Month - wash dog bedding (done monthly because DH has allergies)
- Third Tuesday of Month - dust surfaces of home such as mantle, top of fridge, bookshelves, corners of ceilings (our apartment is on third floor and used to be an attic, Daddy long legs spiders love our home!)
- Third Friday of Month - bulk item shopping trip to our local wholesale store, 40 minutes away
- Scrub baseboards in house
- Change family’s wardrobe (winter to spring, summer to fall, donate pieces not wanted, toss those too worn out, make list of needed items to buy)
- Clean insides and outsides of windows plus in between the windows where screen and storm window sit.
- Wash bed pillows
- Clean oven
- Wash curtains
I hope this has given you ideas to get your routine started or to optimize your routine! Once again, I highly recommend putting this book on your reading list! Happy Homemaking!