Monday, July 22, 2013

Organize Your Cleaning Schedule

If you hate cleaning, think of it as a way to get in your weekly exercise.  Because if there is anything I hate more it is knowing I need to exercise.  As I am running around the house, pushing the vacuum cleaner or scrubbing the shower doors, I try to remind myself that all this work is burning those calories up!  If that's not motivation enough for you - here are some simple tips and tricks I use to help my cleaning routine run more smoothly.  This won't work for everyone, but use what does work best for you and your family and stick with it.

If you are overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning your house needs, consider hiring some help.  If you can't afford to hire someone on a regular basis, then hire a professional for the big jobs like cleaning out the garage or shampooing the carpets.  Staying on top of your cleaning is crucial to staying organized.

First, start off by making a list of all the chores that need to be done around the house.  Break them down into daily, weekly and monthly to do's.  Then create a chore chart and have a family meeting to delegate the jobs.  Post the chart so everyone can see it on a daily basis.  I keep a master list in my Filofax.  The Daily Chores tend to be the same thing everyday.  That's what makes them daily!  For me, that includes making the bed, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the sink and counter tops, washing the bathroom sinks and picking up misplaced items and putting them back where they belong. For the weekly chores, I tend to do these on the same day each week.  So, I always write in on my Monday calendar that I need to get the vacuuming done (which includes the hallways and Master Bedroom) and the Laundry.  So I get started on the laundry early and change the load about once every hour.  Tuesday's is the day I clean all the mirrors, pictures and tables in the house.  Wednesday's I clean the bathroom and pick up the backyard of dog waste.  Thursday's I sweep and mop the living room and kitchen, I mail bills, and clean the couch cushions.  On Fridays, I clean the Kitchen and sweep the front entry and the garage.  And finally, on Saturdays, I wash the linens and cut coupons and go grocery shopping and run errands.

Carry a basket around the house while you are cleaning.  If you find something that does not belong in the room you are cleaning, put it in the basket and later put it where it belongs.  This saves you tons of time by cutting down on the trips around the house - but don't forget to empty the basket every time you clean, or it will become another clutter collector for you to worry about.

Take fifteen minutes each night to straighten up the house.  Try and make it a family chore by assigning each person a different room and list this on the chore chart.

Clean one room or finish one chore each day.  This will save you from wasting your entire Saturday or Sunday cleaning everything.

Assign each family member his or her own towel for the entire week.  This will cut down on laundry and color-coding is the easiest way to tell them apart.  Since I don't have anyone to assign chores to for the moment, I use a different colored terry cloth for different chores.  My blue towel is used for cleaning glass windows, mirrors and pictures.  The brown towel I use for polishing tables and furniture. And the green towel is used for kitchen and bathroom counters, polishing sinks and steel appliances.

Place a set of disposable disinfecting wipes in each bathroom so every time you go in, you make a habit of wiping the counter or sink or toilet top, etc.  Making each trip into the bathroom an easier job than the last.  They are also great for cleaning up globs of toothpaste and cleaning up accidents left by younger members of the family around the toilet.

Save space by minimizing cleaners.  Start by buying all-purpose cleaners or make your own whenever possible.  (I'll link a list of handmade cleaning products I've made that work wonderfully on my next post.)

If there is a chore that no one like, rotate the chore each week or each month.

Make your bed every day before you leave and teach your kids to do the same.  There is nothing nicer than coming home after a long day and finding a neatly made bed just waiting for you!

Clean the kitchen counters and wash or load the dishes in to the dishwasher immediately following dinner.  Food begins setting in the dishes as soon as it begins to cool.  The sooner you clean these dishes out, the less stuck on food you have to deal with by letting it sit until morning.

As you clean a room, work from the top to the bottom so you don't waste time backtracking.

Carry one large garbage can around the house while cleaning and empty all the smaller ones into it instead of carrying the smaller ones to the large can, eliminating the amount of trips.

Let your children choose what day of the week they will clean their room.

Play music while cleaning.  It will energize you while organize and clean.

Do chores in bulk.  For example, don't pull out the iron to press just one or two shirts.  Wait until you have at least a week's worth of items to do.

I've taken some pictures of different ways I've organized my chores.  Maybe one of these methods might work for you!

The pictures above are a clear credit card holder/business card holder.  I used my label maker to print out my weekly chores and assigned a day to them on the left.  As I completed each chore, I used a dry erase marker to cross it off.  Then at the end of the week, I wiped it off with a dry paper towel and moved the card holder to the next week in my planner.

In this next set, I tried to impart on the FlyLady methodology.  So, to keep up with it, I wrote out each Zone and what it included on a separate index card.  I store all the cards in the inside pocket of my Filofax or on my dashboard (Flyleaf).  Then, when the Sunday email arrived indicating what Zone would be worked on this week - I would move that Zone's card to the middle of my weekly pages.  I intend to laminate them so I can tick them off similar to the method I used with the credit card holder.

I've also created my own cleaning sheets in Word, but tended not to look at them if it wasn't in my Filofax - so they have fallen by the wayside for now.  Well, I hope your find these tips and suggestions useful in organizing your cleaning schedule.  Happy cleaning and happy calories burning!  LOL 

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Organize Your Schedule

Hello everyone!  I thought I'd do this next post about how to organize your schedule.  For me, that was difficult to do and I needed a starting point.  So, I have gathered my best tips and suggestions and hope you find them useful as well.

By organizing your schedule, you are choosing to spend your time wisely and in doing so will reduce stress, you’ll feel more fulfilled at the end of the day when you can look back on what you've accomplished, and be able to spend more time on the things you want to do, rather than the things you "have" to do.  Take charge by taking back control of your schedule.

Things left undone will only linger in the back of your mind.  Constantly trying to remember things is exhausting.  Make a To Do list to free you from forgetting what needs to be done.  It'll also help you plan your day, so you have enough time to complete them.  

☐    First, buy one daily planner to use for both work and your personal life.  Using more than one leaves room for overlapping appointments and confusion.

☐    Sit down with your family and plan your week or even the month ahead so you can:
  • Divide errands
  • Divide chores
  • Plan meals
  • Schedule a babysitter as needed
  • Plan for driving arrangements for activities

 ☐    Gather all your To Do items from calendars, sticky notes and scraps of paper (including the ones you have in your head!) and create a To Do list that you will keep in your planner.  Make sure you make this list as complete as you possibly can.

☐    Sort your To Do list by:
  1. Tasks that must be done today (pay gas bill, schedule doctor visit).  Schedule these in your planner.
  2. Takes that must be done this week (Mail a package, call to schedule Tune-up).  Schedule these in your planner.
  3. Tasks that you would like to get done, but do not have an immediate requirement.  Something that needs to get done in the future (organize yard sale, lunch with friends)
 ☐          Once you’ve sorted your To Do’s into one of the categories listed above, number the tasks in each group, in order of how they should be completed.  That way, if you get all the Tasks in Group 1 (Today’s) finished, you can begin working on the list in your 2 group (This week).  If you do not finish everything in you’re a list, make sure they have top priority in tomorrow’s list of To Do’s.

☐          Schedule all of your Doctor’s, Dental and even Veterinarian appointments for the next year.  Try to schedule doctor and dental appointments back-to-back so you won’t have to make as many trips.

☐          Keep a small pad of paper or notepad on your nightstand for those times when you think of something while your mind is trying to wind down for the night.  Make sure you transfer them to your To Do list in the morning.

☐          Use a page of your planner for a Master To Do list.  This could include cleaning routines (daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual), gifts that need to be purchased for upcoming birthdays’, books you want to read, movies you’d like to see,  This frees you from having to remember later.

Some Tips:
  • Don’t put more tasks than you can realistically accomplish in one day.  I typically draw a line -that is my indicator that this (above the line) is what I can accomplish today and anything below the line is for the next day.  All new incoming items are then added to what is below that line.
  • Schedule meetings with a beginning and an end date.  Account for the time it will take to prepare for that meeting or time it might take to get to the meeting.
  • Schedule your errands based on where you’ll be to avoid wasting time driving to different locations.
  • Whenever possible, schedule appointments for first thing in the morning.  As the day progresses, there is greater chance for cancellations and/or delays.
  • Break down projects in to smaller, easier tasks.  For example, instead of putting a To Do of “refinish table”, write down every step needed to accomplish this task – buy tools for refinishing table (sanding paper, paint, primer, rags, etc), clean table, sand and prime table, paint table, put second coat, seal the table.  Then put a deadline for each task and work to complete each one, accomplishing one each day if needed.

Staying Organized

Once a month

☐          Pick a task from your group 3 tasks (future tasks) and schedule it in your planner.

☐          Schedule time to take a break if you find that you are always on the go.  We need time to     refresh.

☐          Schedule dates with your partner, children and the people who are closest to you.

Every 3-6 months

☐          Review your C group tasks and set final deadlines for To Do’s that have been left undone since your last review.

Once a Year

☐          In September, write down everything you did not accomplish over the summer but wanted to.   Add these to your new planner, when you’ve ordered the new one for next year.

☐          When you receive your new planner, transfer all birthdays, anniversaries and appointments to the new one.