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Confession: I am a cleaning schedule dropout.
It’s true. An utter failure.
I’ve tried them all. FlyLady, with her millions of email. CleanMama, paid and unpaid. Around one hundred printable “easy and comprehensive” checklists from Pinterest.
I rush in with such determination and naive hope, that this time will be different! I have a well-appointed cleaning caddy, all the tools and cleaners. I know the mechanics of how to clean and I’m betting you do too.
What is the (so obvious) problem inherent in every cleaning schedule?
No, it’s not the user. It is the schedule. Each cleaning schedule ties set tasks to set days on the calendar. Schedules require the user to peer into her crystal ball to know when the windows will require washing next winter. The living room is perfectly clean on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but falls into chaos in the lulls between.
My routine sets the time for cleaning, building it into my day, but leaves the day’s tasks up to my discretion. In this way, I can stay on top of the unique messes made by my unique family within our unique timeframe.
I have two set times of the day for cleaning. While I try to live neatly the rest of the day, these are the heavy-lifting periods.
- Put The House To Bed:
- The dishwasher runs
- Every counter and table is wiped clean
- The trash goes out
- All the toys and detritus of life taken back to whence it came
- Clean The Dirties In The Morning: with the house a blank slate, I can see what needs scrubbed.
- Bathroom fixtures
- Vacuum, sweeping, mopping etc.
Tidying occupies a 15-20 minute nightly period, in which everybody pitches in. Everything out is returned to its rightful place. The house is reset to a state of order, if not perfect cleanliness.
The next morning, rejuvenated from sleep, I do the more sterile cleaning tasks.
With the house a blank slate, I can see what needs dusted, scrubbed, and polished. I don’t have to exhaust myself picking up every lego, lying in wait to clog the vacuum cleaner. The path is smooth for actual cleaning tasks.
Separating the tidying from the cleaning allows me to do both in less time, with less effort, and see more lasting results.
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