“If only I’d cleaned up this morning; I didn’t know we’d have visitors.”
“Maybe she won’t notice my underwear on the top of that laundry pile.”
“I hope she doesn’t think this is how it normally looks around here.”
“Well, at least there’s a little square of couch to sit on and maybe she won’t have to use the bathroom.”
Do any of those sound familiar? I used to be so disorganized that I couldn’t focus on being hospitable. I knew deep down my friends didn’t mind, but I did. Then I discovered a cleaning system that positively affected my life at home in three ways:
1. I am always very close (within 10 minutes or less) to having a clean home.
2. I no longer feel like a cleaning slave in my house.
3. I no longer avoid doing certain chores.
The transition from insecurity to calm took over the atmosphere of my home after reading and implementing the principles in a book called The Side-Tracked Home Executives (Amazon affilite link).
In it, they share a note-card-based cleaning system that utilizes an index card file to spread out the load of tasks throughout the year. Here’s how it works.
First, do the prep work and take time in each room to observe. Write down everything you want to be cleaned in a big list. Then, decide how often it should be cleaned and label each item with the frequency (ie. daily, weekly, twice a month, monthly, seasonal or yearly).
Next, transfer each task onto a note card. For those of you who like to color code everything, the note card fairies will smile on you.
Sorting the cards is pretty straight forward as long as you have the following dividers (Sun – Sat, 1-31 for days of the month and Jan – Dec). And if you’re kind of bossy like me, you’ll enjoy this part!
Assign each card a day of the week, a day of the month or a month out of the year to be used and put into a card file. Now you’re ready to use it. At the beginning of the day pull out that day’s tasks, do the tasks, and then move the card forward to the next time you need to tackle that task.
For example, if you chose to mop the kitchen floor once a month you’d file it under the month you want to get started (let’s say June). Then when June comes you assign it to a day of the month and when you complete the task, the card is moved to July.
1. Assign no more than 4-5 cards on any given day. I always choose one day a week to go “cardless.”
2. There are apps for the techie ladies out there. My favorite is called Home Routines because it has built in timers and “zones” to help organize when and where to clean. Try it out if you’re not a paper gal.
3. Most importantly, you are not a slave to this system; you are in charge. So if you find that you’d like to mop the floors less often than you thought, change it. Eventually, you’ll find your rhythm and settle into what works for your home.
For more from Lana, check out her Tips for Keeping Your Bathroom Sink Clean ALL the Time, and for Cleaning those Pesky Baseboards. You can also find our more about her on her website here.