Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Keeping the house (somewhat, mostly) clean

Now that it's spring and the weather has been pretty wonderful every day, Luke and I spend a lot of time on the porch.  A LOT.  It's often too chilly out there in the mornings but after naptime until Daddy gets home, we are pretty much always on the porch. I've told Matt many times that having a fully enclosed front porch is one of the best things about our house (and I like pretty much everything about our house). 

We can open the windows which makes it almost like being outside when the weather is appropriate.  When it's raining we stay nice and dry.  Almost 3 full walls are windows which give is great light (I love good nature sunlight).  It's usually warmer on the porch, due to that sunlight, than the rest of the house.  That is wonderful this time of year (not so much in the heat of summer).  I've long been a big porch sitter.  It's my favorite place to read, favorite place in the house in the spring and fall.  Luke has gotten hooked too. 

The problem with having a wonderful porch and wanting to spend all our time there is that I don't have much motivation to do anything necessary, house wise.  Dishes sit in the sink longer, I don't bake as much (although that might be a good side effect too, a lot of calories there). 

This is one of the many times having a job chart pays off.  I've gone through many systems of getting (and keeping) our house clean over the last 9 years and I've finally found one I can stick with.  At first it was just "clean things when they look very dirty or before we have visitors, particularly parents" (that was my stage of hiding dirty pots in the oven for days at a time because I didn't want to wash them).  Then it was "clean something every day".  I've gone through many drafts of a job chart and still revise it once a year or so, as our needs change. 

I don't include jobs I do every day or almost every day.  Things like making our bed (every day), straightening up Luke's bed (every day), taking care of dishes/dishwasher, sweeping the kitchen floor, picking up toys, general clutter pick up, taking care of the mail, washing diapers, etc.  I know those things need done and they are all done every day or every few days. 

I have jobs I repeat every week, things that need cleaned the most.  Those are the ones in the top of each week's row.
Monday: change towels (hand, kitchen, dish cloth)
Tuesday: spot clean windows and mirrors (basically Luke's finger prints)
Wednesday: clean the bathroom (mirror, sink, toilet)
Thursday: take care of bills and receipts (I talk about this a bit here). 
Friday: vacuum the downstairs carpet
Saturday: water all house plants

That means if you come over in the 15 minutes after I clean the front doors on Tuesday they might still be fingerprint free.  Maybe.  Sometimes that lasts literally 10 seconds.  It's ok.  There isn't more than a week's worth of dirt.  I can live with that.  It's part of having a toddler.  Knowing it's briefly clean every 7 days is enough.  I am doing my best.  Same with the bathroom.  I mean, it's a bathroom.  It's generally pretty clean but the mirrors aren't going to be spotless except for a little bit on Wednesday mornings.  If the Queen is coming maybe I'll clean then again but I don't see that happening so I'm not concerned. 

In the bottom row for each week are the things I only do every 4 weeks (or every two weeks for a few things like laundry).  These are things that need done regularly but not every week.  There might be things here you do more than me, things you do less.  That's ok.  We all have different needs.  I could say that if things get really dirty I'll bump it up on the list...but that's not true.  I'm probably not going to do something a week early just because it's a little dirty (major messes like something spilling in the fridge, I would clean that up!).   I know things are going to be taken care of every 4 weeks and can let them go until then. 

(Side note: How often do you do laundry and change your sheets?  I'm genuinely interested.  I was shocked to see many places talking about changing sheets every week like it's a many people do that?  I'm sorry if you find our every other week gross but I think that's plenty.  Until recently we were every 4 weeks and it was waaaaaay longer when we first got married.  I change Luke's every time I do his laundry (about every 10 days) besides when he had a stomach bug and they needed immediately changing.  And we have enough clothes that I don't see a need to wash them more than every other week.  I don't want to do partial or smaller loads.  It's not a real big pain to fold 2 weeks worth of clothes.  Matt and I each do our own in about 20 minutes.  I know my sister with 4 kids aims for a load every day but until we have more kids we are good with 4-5 loads every other week.  How often do you do laundry?)

I have things I try to do on a more quarterly basis (running cleaning cycles on the washer and dishwasher, running our pillows through the dryer).  There are also plenty of annual things to do, most seeming to revolve around the yard and outside things, that I get too stressed thinking about right now.  They all seem to need done RIGHT NOW.  So I'm not thinking about those for now.

To help me keep track of my jobs and what needs done I use this great (free) app called Swipes. It took me a little bit to figure out (like 15 minutes) but now it's like my job brain.  I set up all my weekly jobs as recurring items that will pop up every week, on their respective day, at 9am.  I have them memorized but I love being able to swipe them off my list (by swiping right) and seeing them gone. 
Since I do my other jobs on a 4 week basis instead of monthly I have to enter those every week but it takes about 30 seconds and is no big deal. 

As you can see, I also keep track of backing up my computer and pictures (do each once a month), writing in this here blog, cleaning off my phone camera roll (which somehow fills up fast with pictures of Luke, no idea how....), and certain tv shows I watch every week (looking at you, Grey's Anatomy).  Even our weekly library walk gets a task that I can swipe off when we complete it. 

You can schedule tasks to recur daily, weekly, monthly, annually.  You can set what time the alert will pop up.  You can snooze tasks until later or move them to different days.  Once you clear the day's tasks it gives you a nice congratulations.    (This post is not sponsored by the app, I just like it.)

Is my house perfectly clean?  Nope. Never.  But most of it gets cleaned every 4 weeks.  The big stuff.  I can let the little stuff go in between.  It's wonderful to let my chart and app tell me what I need to do each day/week/month so I can get on with my life.  And porch sitting.  That's important. 

He has a tiny little cut on his face.  Not needing a bandaid but, according to Luke, it make his ouchie "all better".

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