Cleaning 101: The List

Hello, Readers!  Today’s topic is something that is very near and dear to my heart: the cleaning list.  I know that sounds crazy, and a few of you probably think I’m nuts, but it’s one of the highlights of my day.  I love lists!  I love organization!  I like walking into a room and seeing it clean and tidy, and I always leave my place spotless before any trip or vacation.  Why?  Because nothing calms me more than tidiness.  Nothing calms my nerves and soothes my mind more than coming home to a clean house after a long vacation, knowing that the only tasks I have to do are unpack and do laundry.

Now, I know a lot of you are cringing at the thought of cleaning mixed with kids, and I know that many of you think that it’s impossible.  Maybe I am naive with just one little tyke running around, but there is something to be said about these two topics.  On days that I have a mess around my house, my nerves are on edge.  I stress out all day long, worrying about the kiddo getting hurt or my husband tripping over a toy.  But when it’s tidied up, I feel better and more relaxed in knowing that there is less chance of injury than before.

So, how do I do it with a baby and a husband?  Well, while my husband will help out if I ask him to, I tend to do the cleaning on my own.  And it is a daily chore for me.  Every day I do my daily tasks and my weekly task, and if I have time I get to my annual tasks. I may only get my daily tasks done on a particularly bad day, but the tasks are easy to do. This attachment shows my own cleaning schedule so you can see how I manage my household.  In all, my tasks take me about an hour, 90 minutes tops. So, it doesn’t have to take all day to keep things clean.

Your own cleaning list should consist of daily chores (tasks that must be done every day, such as, dishes, trash, making the bed, cleaning up messes, and whatnot), of weekly chores (like dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the floors, and what have you), and of monthly chores (like cleaning out your fridge and freezer, creating a budget and updating your calendars, dusting the blinds, or any chore that needs to be done regularly but not every week).  I always have some bigger project to do each month that takes some time and concentration but only needs to be done sporadically.  For instance, I always try to prepare for the year’s bills and bank statements in January by weeding out unnecessary documents in my files, and I put up my calendars and begin a fresh planner at the same time.  I will go through my calendars and planner immediately and mark down every personal event to remember throughout the year–such as birthdays and anniversaries.  So in January, my annual task is to restart for the year, which is my way of remembering to do all of these tasks, along with preparing documents for filing taxes.  I do like to get them in early while it’s still winter in order to enjoy the spring without taxes looming overhead.

I understand that some of you feel cleaning is the last thing to do and that it often gets forgotten.  I know it’s tough to do the tasks that need to be done every day, especially when the kids are driving you crazy and your spouse/s.o. is not helping matters.  I have those bad days, too.  But I was raised near my grandmother than always kept a tidy home, who never feared an unexpected visit, and who taught me the simple skills to manage my own home.  My mom’s house was similar, though there were always books and magazines on tables and counters.  While it was never spotless, it was tidy enough that we never felt embarrassed if we had company.

One of the key components to my own childhood home was this: my older sister and I were expected to complete chores every day.  We didn’t have a set chore list growing up; in fact, we just knew to clean up before our parents got home from work.  Today, my sister uses a chore list for her own kids-ages 10 and 6-that helps in keeping their house clean, and while she also knows she can rely on her husband in a crunch (such as when she’s preparing for out-of-town guests), she often doesn’t need anything to keep her house tidy, even with a full-time job outside of her home.

It’s important to understand that your own kids can help out and do chores.  It’s actually good for them to have chores at home.  It teaches them responsibility and household management, even for the boys.  Now, I know that some of you are probably cringing at the idea of your five year old being left in charge of cleaning your toilets or mopping the floors, but it’s also important to know what tasks are acceptable at what age.  On my Pinterest page, I have a board dedicated to cleaning schedules, and I have a pin that details what chores are acceptable for kids at what age.  Tasks like making their beds, putting their dirty clothes/toys away, and helping with cleaning up messes are perfectly acceptable tasks for toddlers and small children.  And I believe that teaching our children at a young age to be responsible and to clean up after themselves will only help them become responsible and self-sufficient (even independent) citizens in the future.  For more ideas on how to get your kiddos to help out and for more ideas on cleaning lists of your own, check out my Cleaning Schedules board on Pinterest, to which there is a direct link in my Social Media page.

So, dear readers, do you have a cleaning list of your own?  Does it work for your household? Do your own kids have chores that they must do?  I would love to hear more from you!

Until next time!

-BBM

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