Unclutterer-style zone schedule – one zone per day of the week

Unclutter Your Life in One Week

I wrote a few months ago about the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland.

Now the zone scheduling in the app has finally caught up, and you can now schedule your zone cleaning as Erin writes in the book; focusing on part of your house per day of the week.  Many of you have asked for this setup, and it seems extremely practical to me.

Zone settings

In your Zone Settings screen, choose to have 5 zones. If you’re super keen you  can have seven, and HomeRoutines will focus on a zone every day of the week.  Also choose to have the zone change automatically each day of the week.

Room arrangement

Drag and drop the rooms between the zones so you have a setup that suits your week.

Zone setup

Here’s how it looks on the All Zones screen when you’ve entered it all.

Cleaning house like in Unclutter Your Life in One Week

And here you go -HomeRoutines will tell you what Today’s focus is for the day of the week.

Are you using the new day-of-the-week zone focus?

HomeRoutines 1.7 now available

Our latest update is now available in the app store, with some cool new features.

Progressive Stars

The whole-routine stars on the home screen now fill in progressive pizza-wedges as you complete tasks.   If it just so happens that your routine is only mostly complete – you’ll get a star that is mostly filled in with gold.  We were appalled – appalled! –  when someone told us how sad it made her when she nearly completed her routine but the star was still blank like she hadn’t done anything. So we fixed that to be a bit more forgiving.

Share your accomplishments and lists

We got this request in a review from HoldiesMama:

You know what would be the cherry on top? Being able to email our accomplishments to ourselves or (for me) our Spouse. I want a running record to bask in my glory!!!!! Hmmm, what does this say about me? I don’t care! I still think it would be Great!

First we added an action button at the bottom of the Accomplishments screen, so you can share your completed tasks via email. Then we thought you might like to share other lists, so we added it to the bottom of all your routines, zones and to-dos as well.

Clever paste

You can now paste a list into any new task item in HomeRoutines, and each new line in your list will become a new task.

Plus Also

HomeRoutines 1.7 is iOS 4.0 tested and supports the flash new iOS 4.0 features:

  • Fast application switching
  • Crisp new high-res graphics for the iPhone 4
  • Timer will still sound if HomeRoutines isn’t the running app (using local notifications)

And a minor tweak to the formula that generated the zone dates, so a weekend at the start of the month doesn’t turn into a zone of its own and get the zone dates all out of whack with the FlyLady zone calendar.

Recurring tasks in HomeRoutines

One of our most common feature requests is for us to add recurring tasks that happen less frequently.

There are a couple of different sorts.

  1. A routine that only appears only in certain months of the year, or weeks of the month. For example, a holiday routine with all the tasks you only do in November and December.
  2. Tasks that are important but infrequent, and aren’t actually routines. For example;
  • changing air conditioner filters
  • giving the cat flea medicine every 6 weeks
  • putting out the recycling bin every second week
  • ensuring the cat has its once-a-year vet checkup and vaccinations in January.

The second sort are tricky. They don’t fit comfortably into routines, because they are important, time-sensitive, and not as “forgivable” as regular routines. You don’t want the reminder to change your smoke detector batteries to reset after a day or a week like the routine stars, because it’s too important for that.

We’re thinking about the best way to approach this in HomeRoutines. They don’t fit well in routines, for the reasons listed above. Perhaps they’d fit well under To Dos, but I don’t want to make the entry of To Do items more complicated by adding settings to each and every task just to enable you to make some tasks recur infrequently. Or perhaps they’re a whole new section on the home screen – or a whole new app!

What do you think? Do you want recurring tasks? How would they work best for you?

What’s New in HomeRoutines 1.5.1

We’ve been working hard and adding a lot of the features you’ve been asking for.  We’ve also got lots of cool ideas for the future!

Here’s a quick look at the new stuff.

Schedule your Routines

You can now choose which days of the week a routine will appear, and which days it will reset.

A small box at the bottom of each routine will reflect the current schedule and reset settings, and you can touch it to access those settings to edit them.

Switch between the routines that are scheduled to appear today, and all the routines you have made, using the All toggle button at the top of the homescreen.

We’ve added more boxes to the To Do section, so you can plan ahead for this week, and tasks to do later on.  You can drag tasks freely between the boxes in ToDo, and the star on the home page will still light up when you’ve completed all the tasks in the Today box.

You can set all your Focus zone stars to clear at the start of the month.

We have added a new Help and Support section to the home screen.

You can also backup your data to your computer (highly recommended if you have littlies who like to play with your phone like me!) and directly access the help section of the website from the app.

Plan “What’s for dinner” with HomeRoutines’ Daily Reminders

Fantastic! Adrianne from Illinois told us in a comment:

I am using the Daily Reminders section to help me begin to answer that “What’s For Dinner?” question on a regular basis. I realized I could be somewhat generic and put “Crockpot meal” down for any given night or be even more specific and put down the name of a favorite recipe.

What a good idea. Thank you, Adrianne! If you have a regular pattern to how you eat throughout the week (or even if you don’t) you could plan out a week’s dinners in your HomeRoutines Daily Reminders, and you’ll see that wee note on your home screen telling you what you planned.

How do you use the HomeRoutines Daily Reminders? Leave us a comment!

Giving your House a Makeover with HomeRoutines: Step One: Decluttering

There is a four step process to giving your house a makeover, bit by bit, and all the steps work great in HomeRoutines.

  1. Decluttering your Focus zones
  2. Detailed Cleaning in your Focus zones
  3. Simple Improvements
  4. Maintenance

Over the next little while, I’ll be working through each of these steps, and how the HomeRoutines app can help keep you focused.

Minor Chaos in Underthebedland

1: Decluttering your Focus zones

Before you can start really cleaning out your home, you need to get rid of the clutter around the place.  There’s not much point dusting your shelves or polishing your kitchen table if they’re covered in crap items you don’t really love or find to be beautiful or useful. I don’t think we ever get to stop decluttering, because (despite our best intentions) there is always more stuff coming into our homes.  To keep in balance, some stuff needs to go out again… in the trash, to recycle, to a friend or relation, to the thrift store, to sell online, or a garage sale. The main thing is it has to go.

I’m only just getting what it means to really declutter, so I’ll leave the explanations to the experts:

How can HomeRoutines help you declutter?

Take a walk around your house and just note down in your  customized Focus zones, the areas that need reviewing or decluttering.  You might want to even delete the cleaning tasks in your Focus zones lists for now. The time for detailed cleaning will come, but not yet.

(Don’t burn yourself out, though, and if you haven’t got your basic routines going yet, focus on that to start with or it will all fall to pieces.)

For example, in my daughter’s room I need to declutter by:

Decluttering Zone 4

Now you’ve got a list, don’t go rushing around like a headless chook trying to do everything at once, or you’ll end up with the contents of all the drawers and cupboards in the middle of your floor and it will be a horrible, overwhelming mess. Been there, done that, and it sucked. Badly.

Like the FlyLady says, Your homes did not get messy in a day and they will not get clean overnight.

So, each day, when you’ve got a few minutes, you can have a look at your Focus zone list and pick one or two jobs off your decluttering list, for one room.  Set the timer if it will help to keep you focused, don’t start unpacking everything, and get ready to make some decisions.  If you do a bit of decluttering each day or so, after a few months you’ll feel like you have more room to breathe, and soon you’ll be ready to start your detailed cleaning in your Focus zones.

Fun Family Ideas – a great use for HomeRoutines’ Daily Reminders

Screenshot of HomeRoutines showing family fun ideas

We got a nice review on the App Store the other day from Jennspire, who wrote:

I downloaded this app this evening and I’m up WAY past my bedtime because I’m still playing. I recently left my job to become a sahm (to a 6 year old) and this app is a great way to help me get a grip my new priorities. I love the daily note – I used it to remind myself of the fun things that never seem to get done (“art fun day” “silly dance afternoon” “family walk night” and “mom’s pampering night”). I can’t wait to keep evolving this app – and myself – as I learn to “fly” for my family!

What a brilliant idea, Jennspire! The Daily Reminders on your home screen are an excellent place to put all sorts of reminders. Another reviewer mentioned using them to remind her of her daily fitness goals.

PS: I added “Make cookies” to the screenshot I made up there, because … mmm, cookies.

Do you use your Daily Reminders for something interesting? Leave us a comment!