A few months after E was born I finally felt like I had used up all the I-just-had-a-baby-and-I-am-still-technically-on-maternity-leave excuses that I could get away with and I started to honestly attempt to keep the house clean on a regular basis. I am actually someone who “loves” to clean, it makes me feel better afterward and sometimes even during the process. I am not the neatest person around but I really hate when things are dirty. Michael is the exact opposite. However, once I had E I just could not muster up the motivation to get my act together and care. So once I realized that it was not necessary for me to sit on the couch and feed E every 5 seconds, I tried to get back to my old routine.
Step 1: Make the Decision to Stop Feeling Guilty
Keeping the house clean when you are in it all day day and keeping it clean when you are at work for the majority of the week are two different ball games! Everyday I would wake up and feel like I had to be cleaning everything at all times. I was always feeling guilty if things were not perfect or if something I had just cleaned got dirty or messed up. And I had all day to just sit in the house and stare at it and think about it. It was stressing me out big time. One of the things I strongly support for anyone who works from home or stays home (especially with little kids) is that you HAVE to get out of the house at least every other day and interact with other people – preferably people that you actually know…staring creepily at other moms out in public and wishing you had friends with kids does NOT count. I am may or may not know this from experience. So it was time for me to get myself a cleaning schedule and let go of the guilt trip when I wanted to go meet friends at the park or for lunch to recharge.
Step 2: List Out Your Chores
I started out by listing out the chores that I would actually complete. This is important – do not include chores that you feel like you should be doing if you are never actually going to do them. That will just make you feel guilty down the line for neglecting those items. For example, I originally had included on my weekly chore list: Clean Out Fridge. I really want to get in the habit of de-cluttering and actually wiping down the inside of the fridge on a weekly basis, but since I started this schedule back in October, I have completed this task maybe twice? (Judgment free zone here!) Each week when Friday would roll around on my schedule I would see that I was supposed to be cleaning out the fridge and I would consider it for about 2 seconds and then move on with my life. Who really wants to clean the fridge on a Friday anyway? Maybe I just need to move it to a different day. My point is, make your schedule work for YOU, don’t worry about what other people do on a regular basis. I am going to share my schedule to give you an idea of how it works.
Grocery Shopping – I do my grocery shopping once a week and try to restrict myself from going back for anything after that day. I go on the same day more or less each week so that I can easily plan meals for a week.
Finance Check Up – I actually do this more often most weeks but I make sure that each week I sit down at least once and go over expenses for the week and check how we are doing on our budget. I also pay bills that are not automated at this time.
Vacuum Floors – I really hate doing this, but dog hair and crawling babies do not mix well. I finally bought a broom (welcome to adulthood!) and I sweep a few times a week as well. I had “mop floors” on my weekly list but that also never happens that often so you will see it down in the “as needed” section.
Laundry – After trying multiple systems, I do the bulk of our laundry on one day out of the week – I get as many loads done as I can and by telling myself that it is “laundry day” it helps me remember to move the clothes from the washer and dryer and avoid running the washer again because it has been days since I put the clothes in there 🙂 This does not include baby laundry. I take care of that as needed.
Clean Bathrooms – This is another item that I honestly don’t get to every week but that grosses me out and so I refuse to take it off the weekly list and just keep striving to do better!
Wash Towels – Easy to do and also an easy win to check off the list!
Wash Misc Items – This is when I wash things like dish towels, baby bibs, dog towels, and bathroom mats/rugs.
Change Sheets – Having a set day for this also makes me a much cleaner sleeper than I have been in the past 🙂
Create Grocery List/Meal Planning – Let’s be honest, more often than not I am doing this as I am getting ready to leave for the grocery store or in the parking lot before I go in. But I NEVER go into the store without a list anymore – that is just bad news.
Dusting – This is something I have just added to my weekly list because I decided that I needed to change my system of waiting until it looked like we lived in an abandoned house to dust. Wish me luck!
Each day I do try to do a set list of chores to keep the house running and to keep my sanity. I actually have a running list as a “morning routine” and I plan to write up a small post about that so more on that later. Again, only put things on your daily chore list that YOU feel will get done or benefit you and your family. Some of these things like vacuuming do not get done every day but definitely as needed depending mostly on how much dirt and mud the dog brings in.
Make the Bed
Wipe Down Kitchen Counters
Bi-Weekly/Monthly/As Needed Chores
Last but not least, there are those chores that you know need to be done at some point but you know only happen when you feel inspired. I list them as Bi-Weekly and Monthly chores on my schedule but they definitely fall more into the When I Feel Like It category.
Wipe Down Cabinets and Appliances
Step 3: Create a Cleaning Schedule
Finally, your last step is to decide what day of the week you want to assign each chore. Start off by putting the chores that you already do on a certain day (like grocery shopping) on that day. Then fill in the rest of the week with the remaining chores. I suggest giving yourself an easy day after a long day of laundry or vacuuming if even just to build in a mini catch-up day when needed. Additionally, I added in the days that trash/recycling comes to remind me (and Michael!) to take out the trash. Once you are done with that, display your schedule where you will see it daily until you have it memorized and then move on and enjoy the rest of your guilt-free day!
Here is a snapshot of my current schedule. It is nothing pretty but I printed it out and put it in my kitchen and it really helped me stay on task the first few weeks. I no longer stress each day about what I need to be doing and once my chore for that day is done I don’t worry about it for the rest of the week! I also do not worry if I miss a day, since we all know that some days have more time than others and I just use that time to catch up. It is truly a liberating feeling.
Do you have a cleaning schedule? Anything that should be on my list that I completely left off? Let me know what your least favorite chore is in the comments!