First, my home is hardly perfect in its cleanlyness... but it is well ordered and I do my best to keep it up. Now, there are definitely those out there that are smarter than me and have helped others with their style...
just to name a few...
Second, keeping a clean and well ordered home is hard work. It takes daily effort, not only from you - the primary keeper of the home, but also your children (especially if they are home all day creating their own piles of this, that and the other). YES, your children must be involved. Remember you are training them up... not their maid! You should be both modeling a healthy behavior about your home... but also teaching them how to do it! I truly feel this goes for both boys and girls. Plus once you have a good system with them helping... some of your work will be eliminated! At least that is my plan!
Third, (and quite personally) I believe that keeping up this sort of home, we must take up a joyful heart about our vocation in the home. Maybe this concept should go first, because if you can't find the joy in your daily life then you will not be able to maintain the home you so desire. How can you find that joy... well, we will talk about that a little later.
I've felt it in my own heart and mind, and I've seen it in others... feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. For me, pick one thing! Don't try to plan an entire cleaning schedule at the get go... there is a much higher chance of failure, and once again you are in the pit and don't know how to get out. So pick a corner... or one pile, or one surface and focus on that until it is completed then move on.
Need a place to start?
Dinner. While you are preparing breakfast, go ahead and pull anything out of the freezer you will need for dinner (meat). This way it will be ready to prepare later in the day!
Laundry (my least favorite chore). After breakfast, Bubba goes to the master bath and collects the laundry basket and brings it to the laundry room for me. Now all the dirty laundry is in one place (the boys room is right next to the laundry room, so every evening they deposited their dirties directly there). Once I have them working on the first assignments for school, I start a load of whites/lights (at the moment that is what I'm always short on... white socks for the boys, so white are needing to be cleaned most often around here). These are usually moved while the boys are still working on school... and then I start a load of darks (jeans are the second most needed items, especially after a busy weekend... and I don't do laundry over the weekend).
After darks I work on my sanitary wash pile (towels/rags and underpants). I save the sanitary wash for last because by then I've worked on my bathrooms and so that rag can be thrown in with that load. Also this category takes longer to cycle and is the perfect thing to start before you need to start working on lunch and won't be available for a while. Now if your laundry situation is beyond 3 loads (one of each), only pick one category and work it until its done, then the next day tackle the next category.
Important things to note about folding and putting it away:
- Fold somewhere uncomfortable and that will need to be used for its intended purpose SOON! If sitting in the living room is comfy, sometimes it is easy to allow the unfolded laundry piles to just sit there and never be finished (finished is the desired effect... completely put away)! Try folding on a bed that someone will have to sleep in sometime that day. Stand to do it (if you can), you are much more likely to get through it quickly and move on to something else! If you are schooling- bring it to that area, and fold while you are watching over their work.
- Get the kids involved. Depending on their size, they might be able to move laundry from one machine to the other, or from the dryer to the folding location (my boys love this project... I haven't figured out why yet). If they are old enough to fold or hang, let them be involved. Have them put away their own clothes. This saves you a step of the process, and gives them responsibility in the current laundry arrangement... it's their clothes after all.
- The toilets are always on Monday! Usually in between laundry shifts I go to the two bathrooms and administer the toilet cleaner. A clean toilet (and surrounding floor) will keep your bathrooms smelling fresh and clean! A helpful hint is to keep cleaning supplies in each bathroom so you don't have to constantly bring them from one place to the next!
- Clean up the sink/vanity area (this is the sink, counters and mirrors). Mondays I actually use a cleaning solution, and scrub them. I do this again on Thursday or Friday. On the in between days I use Clorox wipes to wipe everything down. This is also a good time to check supplies you might need to add to your grocery list. Take stock of tooth paste, makeup, shaving cream, hair products... as well as put away any clutter that might have shown up over the weekend (like leaving brushes, hair products, makeup or what not just laying around... I like to keep things put away as much as possible)!
This is how my Mondays are usually spent when it comes to the housekeeping part of my vocation!
You Must Not Quit
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're traveling seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow;
You may succeed with yet another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are;
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.