The ironing is piled high. Dishes are collecting in the sink. The bathroom needs to be cleaned and the kitchen floor needs mopping. You’ve worked hard all week and now you’re having to spend the weekend working to keep on top of housework. It sucks!
Having an organised house (especially when working full time) is a challenge! OK, let’s face it, it can be a logistical nightmare to keep on top of housework. But other people appear to manage it. So what’t the secret to stopping the chaos and getting some structure back in your house and your life?
Make a summary of your tasks
So, you’ve decided that enough is enough. You want your weekends back to enjoy with your family. Trust me .. been there .. got the t-shirt! You’re not alone and together we’ve got this!
I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” household structure that fits everyone. Find a routine that works for you. Of course, there are certain things that we all need to cover on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. So, let’s start simple …
Your first step is to stick the kettle on, make a cuppa and grab yourself some paper and a pen. (I’m an old-fashioned kinda girl that still writes things down 🙂 Get yourself comfortable and make a list of all your tasks. Break them down in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly jobs. You know, the boring things like “dishes, washing, ironing, cleaning windows”. In general the stuff you’re putting off because there have been more important things to do .. like watching Netflix. (I think I can recall all the lines in FRIENDS, I’ve seen them so many times!). Estimate how long you feel each task will take you.
Find a structure that works for you
You’ll now have a rough idea what time it will take for you to keep your house clean and tidy for every day living. Now divide your tasks and scheduled them in. Do this for your daily, weekly and monthly tasks. The monthly ones are likely to take a bit longer to complete because they’re the bigger projects. Washing the car, cleaning the windows, etc. Schedule these in when you’ve got a bit more time to dedicate to them.
Be realistic – Treat it as an appointment in your diary so you know you’re dedicated to doing it. Schedule it in and make sure you keep the appointment. After all, we’re meant to keep our appointments, right?
A weekly cleaning schedule could look something like this:
- Monday – clean all the floors throughout the house
- Tuesday – clean the bathroom and toilets (including changing over all towels). Check out if you’ve still got enough shampoo/conditioner/shower gel and add to your weekly shopping list)
- Wednesday – Wipe down surfaces, including microwave, toaster, worktops, tables, television, door handles (these often get overlooked!), hob, fridge shelves, blinds, lights, phone and furniture
- Thursday – Reduce clutter – throw out anything you don’t need or use. Magazines, old papers, junk mail, food, anything you can throw!
- Friday – get the laundry done – washing, ironing and putting it away. Strip the beds, wash the towels, etc. This depends on your household. For me, a weekly wash is not enough! I tend to stick on a wash most days first thing in the morning to keep on top of it. Do what works for you!
- Saturday – get the family to join in a half hour blitz of the home. Get the kids to tidy up their bedrooms and put back items where they belong
- Sunday – you’ve worked hard all week – time to relax – no weekly chores today!
“Just do it”
Now, I know that’s probably not what you want to hear but bear with me .. It took me a long time to get my head around this. Purely because the tasks got so big, that I kept putting things off.
I would spend ages on Pinterest looking at pretty photos of perfectly organised homes. “That’s what I want!” And then I would pin them. Before looking for more pictures and projects to make my house look amazing. “Sigh … Why is my house not as perfectly organised as the ones in the photos?” And I’d pin them too.
Of course while I was virtually “organising my life” and filling my Pinterest with these amazing projects, my home was not cleaning or organising itself. I ended up more and more frustrated at the chaos that was our home. Even the fairies had had enough and stopped coming round! In the end I decided that there was only way I was going to keep on top of housework. Unfortunately that was …. by just getting on with it. (Or getting a cleaner if you can afford it … one day … )
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Pinterest and will never stop using it. It’s giving me some amazing things to aim for. But in the end I spent a lot of time looking at projects that I wanted to do, but not actually ever doing them..
So, it was time to gave myself a kick up the backside and start to “keep my appointments”. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better when you’ve completed those tasks and you can kick back and enjoy your home.
Of course sometimes emergencies crop up, or things don’t quite go to plan. That’s life! Don’t panic but prioritise. The most important thing is not to give up and decide that “this housework malarkey is not for you”. Look at your schedule for the week and decide what is the most important task that “must” be done. Swap things around to cover the things that can’t be left to keep on top of housework.
We’ve all (including myself!) been brainwashed into thinking that our lives need to be perfect, just like the Instagram pictures. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there is no such thing as a perfect home. Sure, it can be perfect for the moment of the photo, or when you’ve got visitors round. However, it’s not a realistic expectation to think it’s going to look like that all of the time. So don’t aim for perfection to keep on top of housework. Aim for something that works for you and your family, so you can end up spending more time with each other and enjoying your free time.
And finally – decide what is clean enough for you – not for your neighbour, or your friend. Do you want to spend all your time cleaning to have a “picture perfect house” that has no fingerprints anywhere? Or are you happy when the beds are made, the hoovering has been done and you’ve had a quick tidy around the lounge? Set your own expectations of what works for you!