Planning to Succeed

As I think about what a cleaning routine that fits my life looks like now, having watched myself for a couple of weeks, a few things stood out.

  1.  I don’t have a good sense for how long things take me. That means that if I’m resisting, I can make it seem like it takes an hour, but if I’m speed-cleaning with someone about to knock on my door, it seems like it doesn’t take much time at all. So I’ve estimated times and I might be so strange as to actually time myself on the daily routines I’m proposing, to see if they’re realistic.
  2. One of the problems with my current routine is that I do laundry while I cook dinner for Mom, we watch TV, and I clean my room. That means that if I don’t vacuum before she gets there, I don’t vacuum. Also, it means that the night I spend the most time in the kitchen, I usually don’t leave myself time to clean it. Also that the washer disrupts Mom’s TV watching, and that the night we spend hanging out together, I’m usually doing chores in another room. So I’ve rearranged the night so that I can spend more of the night doing things that reinforce having her over, and keep me closer and a little less focused on other things.
  3. Everyone else’s lists are not my lists. Dusting daily seems wildly inappropriate to me, as does daily scrubbing of the toilet bowls. I don’t live somewhere that dust accumulates that quickly, and I’m the primary user of my toilet bowls, and given that I’m using toilets at work and other places a majority of the time, it just seems like a scheme to get me to buy more cleaning products, to clean mine that frequently. I’m for a clean house, but I’m trying not to become compulsive about this or really, anything.
  4. Some cleaning products, I just need upstairs and downstairs versions of, because I’ve demonstrated that going downstairs to get a Swiffer and dustpan results in my getting sidetracked and never coming back to take care of whatever. Some cleaning products (mop and bucket, canister vac) can travel. I need to move a Swiffer upstairs, buy an upstairs dust pan, and buy a cleaning products caddy that I stock with carpet/upholstery stain remover and brush, glass cleaner, dusting spray, rags, and maybe all-purpose cleaner (all of which I have, and in a caddy, but one that doesn’t travel.) Or possibly, I need upstairs and downstairs versions of some of those things, too— I have extras of most of those products, so I might start with upstairs and downstairs versions, and see if my habits ever become strong enough to trust me to go down the stairs to get the one thing that stands between me and an unpleasant task.
  5. My biggest problem is that everything doesn’t have a place, because I have too many things, and I don’t put things where I use them. So decluttering to the point where everything has a place and there’s a little room to grow is an absolute must. However, I can’t (and shouldn’t— decluttering is not likely to be something I’m ever truly finished with) put off developing a routine until that happens, so I’ll need to develop the routine in parallel with the decluttering.

I took the time to review the “daily” list and actually spell out the things I know need to be done daily in my life, and categorize them by room:

  • Walk the dog (usually roughly five times a day)
  • Measure the dog’s food, feed him
  • Feed the cats
  • Scoop the litterboxes
  • Pick up messes the pets make (I live with the incredible vomiting cat, but otherwise, this is probably toys the dog has shredded or litter the cats have kicked out of the box)
  • Work out (except for Wednesdays)
  • Collect things that aren’t where they belong
  • Make bed (2-3 minutes)
  • Pick up, put away clothes, shoes, dishes
  • Update calendar, shopping list, to-do list
  • Wipe toilet seats
  • Wipe sinks (bathrooms and kitchen)
  • Swiffer bathroom, kitchen, living room floors
  • Load/unload dishwasher
  • Wipe down counters, stove
  • Hand wash/put away hand washed dishes
  • Put away the things that aren’t where they belong

I’m going to start with an estimate that this means that the non working out/dog walking portion of my daily tasks takes roughly

  • Master bath 5 minutes
  • Bedroom 5 minutes
  • Main bath 5 minutes
  • Living room 10 minutes
  • Kitchen 10 minutes
  • Office/guest room 5 minutes
  • Entryway 5 minutes

Which is 45 minutes. Leaving 15 minutes or so for day-specific tasks, on days I can spare only an hour, but I’ve tried to be realistic about how much time I could spend on housework given my regularly scheduled activities. So I’ve split my weekly list

  • Vaccum
  • Trash
  • Recycling
  • Sort magazines, etc.
  • Scrub toilets
  • Wipe down/vacuum furniture
  • Dust
  • Mop
  • Grocery shop
  • Shred junk mail
  • File actual mail
  • Lesson plan for the class I teach
  • Garden
  • Water house plants
  • Laundry
  • Clean out fridge

Into a list like this:

  • Monday: Kitchen: (beyond the items on my daily list)
    • clean out fridge
    • mop (including bathrooms and entryway, because they’re too small to do separately, given they all need the same cleaner)
    • trash/recycling
  • Tuesday: My Bedroom
    • dust
    • laundry
    • vacuum
    • trash
  • Wednesday: Bathrooms
    • scrub toilets
    • empty trash
    • also: grocery shopping
  • Thursday: Living Room/Entryway
    • dust
    • mop
    • vacuum couch or chairs
    • magazine recycling
    • also put away laundry
  • Friday: Guest Room/Office plus errands
    • shred
    • file
    • vacuum
    • dust
    • empty office recycling
  • Saturday: Big Clean
    • projects like washing windows or fixing broken things, touching up paint, deep cleaning like carpets
    • anything that didn’t get done as scheduled during the week
  • Sunday (I try not to “work” on Sundays): Garden, planning
    • weeding
    • planning for the week— updating calendars, shopping lists, etc.
    • planning for the class I teach

3 thoughts on “Planning to Succeed

  1. Too many unexpected happenings have shoved me off of any kind of workable cleaning schedule. I’m hoping to get back on track. It looks like you’re getting a good handle on your routines. 🙂

      • I’m still behind but trying! I did work in my home office so that I can get back to work in there and I filled a bag and a half with donation items so that’s a start.

        I’m looking forward to catching up on your progress.

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