In my time I have read countless blog posts, thousands of emails, and library books a-plenty, all searching for the ideal housework system or cleaning schedule.
This sort of research, I can tell you now, is an excellent form of procrastination. I tried to find plausible deniability for myself, that if I found just the right list, and printed it out on just the right paper, then I would for certain get up off my sorry butt and fold the laundry/unload the dishwasher/clean the windows etc. Yes, I’m a perfectionist.
I’m sorry to say, there is no perfect system that suits everybody right off the shelf (Anybody who says differently is selling something) But there are, for sure, plenty of experts out there, with lots of great ideas.
Here’s what Cas from Clutterbug.me has to say about all the options:
So if you’re looking for a book to inspire you, consider buying a copy of Sink Reflections or any of the other thousands of organizing books out there. They will all tell you the same things just in different ways:
- Purge a set number of items every month
- Do one important task every day first thing in the morning
- Make a evening tidying routine and stick to it every night
- Make a chore list and stick to it
- Create a place to store your important family documents, chore lists and calendars
- Put things away when you are done using them.
I just saved you $19.95.
Anyway. I was going to write some mega detailed profile of each system that you might use for inspiration, but then I decided that was just another one of my procrastination tactics.
So here are some lists that should help.
Have a look around and see who seems to suit you best, and adapt away. As Clutterbug.me says in the quote above – the experts agree on a lot of ideas, so choose one resonates with you, then review after a while to see if its working. Tweak your system to suit your place, pick and mix, and remember that none of the experts come with a great eye, lidless, wreathed in flame, that’ll check in to see if you’re wearing the “correct” footwear or updating your tickler file in a timely manner.
- Home Sanctuary: Each day this lovely site features a Small Thing to do, and the best thing is you get points for doing it! You fill them in on a cute printable tally sheet. I love it.
- House Honcho: “Subscribe to receive one simple, daily e-mail, outlining 3 simple, 3 intermediate, and 3 challenging tasks. Choose any 3, and you will make a difference in your home . . . today”
- Home Ec 101: Every day on the homepage there’s a post-it note with a task for the day, which follows the pattern of the housework schedule.
- The Organised Housewife: See her Facebook page for a Daily Task, plus of course her awesome blog for lots of great advice and information.
- Skipper, Domestic Guru: Daily tasks and weekly focus.
- The Flylady: See Kelly’s Missions on her website or subscribe to her zone calendar to get missions on your calendar each Monday. (The instructions there are for Cozi but the link will work for your Google calendar, iCalendar or whatever). You can also subscribe to her emails and you’ll get like 20 a day, some of which will be reminders.
Big programs that ease you into a system with “Baby Steps” (great if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know quite where to start)
- The Flylady If you’ve ever googled for housework help, you’ve probably come across The FlyLady or her enthusiastic and loyal fans. The Flylady system is very understanding and sympathetic, even if you can’t see your kitchen for piles of dishes. The first step for her is moving all the gross dishes out of your sink so you can clean it out, and keep it clean. It’s a start, even if the rest of your kitchen is still hidden under a layer of undifferentiated trash. Read more on Flylady and using HomeRoutines with her system
- HabitHacker offers three “tracks” of habit building – for the healthy body, the home, and the creative self. HabitHacker’s author Jean is a happy user of HomeRoutines, recommending it for a version of a Control Journal, called the Brain on Paper. (er… on an iPhone works too) Read more on HabitHacker and using HomeRoutines with the system
(Hint: Find a good Spring Cleaning list and divvie up the jobs between the areas in your Focus Zones. That’s detailed cleaning! Spread it out.)
- Organized Home
- Home Ec 101 - So much information on how to clean, wash and cook just about everything, and a great, simple housework schedule. Plus, Heather makes it funny, which is always a plus when you’re reading about how to remove poo from shagpile carpet.
- Clean Like a Man
- Martha Stewart’s cleaning checklists
- Totally Together Journal (Highly recommended: Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household)
- Simple Mom (I love her Daily Docket – choose your Most Important Things for each day for your To Do list)
- The Organised Housewife: Katrina is an Australian mum with little kids. If you’re Down Under it’s great to have someone in your time zone when the Northern Hemisphere is in the opposite season.
- Getting Sorted, Each Day as it Comes: Another Aussie mum. I like her weekly plans and checklists.
Books are good if you are prone to sitting down at the computer “just to look up one thing” and getting stuck