Boston.com Community: We are running an updated version of this post in early November. Check back if you're looking for more guidance on how to start house cleaning in an organized, manageable, and enjoyable way!
We're back to Home Comforts,** and I'm particularly excited about this post because I've had quite a bit of time to work on it. You won't be getting a week's worth of experience but rather a couple of months!
Let's review a bit of what we've learned from previous posts, primarily why she suggests establishing a routine:
Ms. Mendelson offers Daily, Weekly, Monthly/Seasonally/Intermittently, and Semiannually/Annually lists of activities. I have only attempted the Daily and Weekly thus far, and we'll start with the Daily today.
Here are the steps I took in starting my housekeeping routine:
Step One: Try the Routine She Suggests
There are times I think it's good to look over and pare something down to my needs, but when it comes to housekeeping -- something totally new to me -- I found it most helpful to just try what she suggests and see what works and what doesn't, as she encourages.
Let's start with the Daily routine*, page 21:
- I would need a good 3 weeks of living by this routine before I could determine what was and wasn't working for me.
- I need the list to be visible so as to constantly remind me
- I had to make it my own, visually and physically
- I gave three full weeks to her method and then reevaluated. I started by copying her full list (see above) and hanging it in our kitchen, our most visited room in the house.
- I ordered the tasks from the top of the house to the bottom (our bedroom is upstairs and most of the crazy kid stuff is on the mid and lowest levels).
- I gave each task a one-word, quick check reminder, followed by a more detailed explanation. This helps me glance at it and recall whether or not I've completed it.
- I printed it out in pleasant colors (I've since changed them, but more on that in another post) and hung it on a clipboard in our backstairs hallway.
- I added kids specifically because cleaning toys, trays, etc., is a unique activity of its own.
- I adjusted a few words like down slide instead of hamper since we have a laundry shoot.
- I gave an ordered list of how to clean up afterwards from meals so that if anyone else checks it out, like when Obie arrives and I'm not cleaning up as much myself.
Here's my revised list after completing the above:
Bed: Make the bed
Clothes: Put soiled clothes down slide & hang up other clothes
Sinks: Clean sinks & tubs after use (including drains and traps)
Supplies: Check soap, toilet paper, other supplies in bathroom
Meals: Prepare meals and clean up afterward (dishes, wipe table, wipe counters, wipe stove)
Floors: Sweep kitchen, dining room, and entryway floors
Neaten: LR at the start of each sleep time
Kids: Clean chair; clean bottles nightly
If you're joining me in starting from scratch with housekeeping, I know you'll find Ms. Mendelson's text the most helpful. Even checking it out from the library is worth it, and I'm only through the first 3 chapters:)
Have a lovely Thursday, friends!
*NOTE: I am only speaking of the daily task list in this post, but in reality I did both the daily and weekly together, which definitely makes it easier to figure out what works and what doesn't. But for the sake of brevity...
*I am not being perked, paid, or praised for reviewing this text. I wish. This series came from my own lack of experience and the euphoric sense of direction and possibility I found in reading Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. (thanks again, joyce, for this sweet housewarming gift!)