Saturday, September 10, 2011

On chores and schedules.

I have always been good at making schedules, even designing spreadsheets, charts and so on, but never good at following through with them. I’d start off with the best intentions, go at it for a while, and then for some reason, at some point things would just slip away. We’d get busy, or something pressing would come up or whatever. There was always something that came in the way.

Not too long ago I devised a cleaning schedule that we all really like and honestly it’s the best one I’ve ever done. My health has had its ups and downs here lately and it’s been a blessing to have this routine in place so things were not being too neglected or overlooked completely when I’m not feeling up to par. It’s been a blessing … so I thought to share it with the blogging world with the hopes of helping others as well.

It all started when I saw some 3x5 chore cards on a sister’s refrigerator … that gave me the idea to try something similar by suited to fit our family. I have one 3x5 card for each day and one 3x5 card for a few things that must be done daily. These cards can have jobs added on to them as things come to mind. There are only a few things I assign to specific people, other than that, we all just pitch in and do what we can. The cards are on the side of the fridge and we try to do the cleaning for the day in the morning to be sure it gets done. If I had younger children I might rotate them through each different job or assign jobs according to ability … but … my children are all nearly adults now so we just pitch in and do all we can each day and things get done.

This first part is written on each day:
- Sweep all public areas
- Keep all rooms picked up
- Weed garden for ~15 minutes each

This next part is unique for each day:
- Wipe baseboards, tops of windows and doors, and ceiling fans
(while wiping baseboards, the floors around the perimeter of each room get wiped as well; this does a much better job than the mop)
- Dust
- Clean the church

- Clean backsplash and cabinet faces in kitchen
- Clean trash can
- Clean refrigerator inside and out (including the top)

- Organize kitchen cabinets and shelves
- Wipe cabinets and shelves
- Dining room chairs
- Organize ALL shelves in the house
- Organize hallway closets

- Mop
- Organize living room closet
- Clean the Brother’s bathrooms

- Yard work (usually the boy’s job)
- Garage and breezeway (usually the boy’s job)
- Clean church
- Clean tire shop

- Organize bedroom closet
- Sweep bedroom (under beds too) and mop as needed
(oftentimes these jobs get done on Saturday)

The other cards we have are one for the bathroom, one for the kitchen and one for the church. These cards break down more specifically what is expected each day and week in these areas. For instance, I expect the bathroom to be swept daily and the surfaces wiped real quick. This could be as simple as taking a piece of toilet paper and quick running it around the rim of the toilet. Brianna has this job and she keeps a cleaning rag in the bathroom to wipe off the sink and uses t.p. to wipe the rim of the toilet. I expect everything in the bathroom to be scrubbed thoroughly once a week.

Where’s the laundry on my list? Well … we do that as needed. I am very careful to keep up on laundry and found it impossible to have a set day or days to do it. I usually go through the whole house and collect all the towels on Friday or Saturday and wash them all together. On Monday I usually have someone gather all the kitchen and cleaning towels from the house and the church and wash them all together. A lot of cleaning towels are usually used each Sunday evening during fellowship time.

Sometimes we skip things … like wiping the baseboards for instance. No one will notice if we skip a week of wiping the baseboards, but they will notice if we skip one day of not sweeping. Sometimes I do things out of order - like the Brother’s bathrooms. If they happen to be around, I will not clean their bathrooms. I wait till they are gone … but just seeing it there on the card reminds me that I must do it that day or soon before or after. If these items are all kept up with regularly, then the time it takes to do them is minimal. A good example: If you hardly ever clean the tops of your windows and doorways, dust will build up and really cake on there and it will take you quite a while to get them clean, however if you do them every week or every other week, all it takes is a quick swipe of a cloth and they are done. If you have a tall child, this is a great job for them  I used to strain and have to drag a chair around with me as I went through the house doing this job … and then one day I realized that my oldest son had really sprouted up and all he had to do was simply raise up his arm and his hand was right there at the tops of the doors and windows. This has generally been his job ever since. I’ll include a list of often neglected or overlooked jobs at the end of this post.
I was thinking how there are some jobs that do not need to be done weekly. A few days ago I washed all the curtains in the house – this seems to be a job that might only need to be done 2 or three times a year. So on the day I washed the curtains, I was thinking of putting the ‘once in a while’ stuff on the BACK of the card. I could put “Curtains: Aug. 15th and Feb. 15th” or something like that.

- The trim on the tops of windows and doors
- Baseboards
- Bathroom fixtures such as behind the toilet, under the sink and the shower head. These items are often left to collect years of dust!
- Ceiling fans and other fans
- Window sills (we leave ours open all summer long and often there is quite the collection of flies if we neglect to clean them out!)
- Cobwebs … these can collect quickly in corners and in various areas on the ceilings and fixtures. A quick run through the house with a broom will take care of them.
- Under the beds and other furniture
- Bathroom and kitchen faucets … did you know they can look good as new with a little bit of scrubbing? Comet and a toothbrush work well for this.
- The base of the toilet – you know … where it’s bolted down to the ground? I like to use toilet paper for this, that way I can just throw it in the toilet and flush it down when I am done.
- The top of the fridge

I’m sure there are more, but that’s what I came up with in a hurry. Maybe you have some ideas to add?