I grew up in a house full of stuff. In the 10.5 years of my marriage, I have been battling my history with stuff. I've been more successful some years than others. Part of that battle has been trying and failing to figure out how to keep my house clean. I did ok before I had kids, doing most of the cleaning on Saturday mornings. But of course kids throw everything out the window (sometimes literally). When we had our last house staged for selling, I think I burned myself out keeping it spotless every day. Once it sold and the packing started, I let every kind of cleaning routine go, and haven't yet figured out how to start again.
So in one of my attempts to get organised as a mom and housewife was to make a household binder. The moms' group I attend had a craft day to decorate and put together household binders. This is the one I made (the "leather" is brown kraft paper, elmers glue, and wood stain). It worked well as a calender and to-do list for a while, but then I just stopped using it.
This winter was a really unproductive time for me. I suspect that I'm sometimes a little depressed. But what do I know about that? Recently a friend of mine has started following FlyLady's housekeeping system, which is based on habits and routines. Once established, these routines almost make for a self-cleaning house. Since it's always better to have a friend for support and encouragement, I decided to give FlyLady another try. The last time I tried I was working full-time doing shift-work, so I didn't really make it work.
So over the past week and a half, I've been slowly picking up good habits. I started with making my bed each morning. It seems to work. The bed in our undecorated bedroom isn't exactly pretty, but it still looks better than a messed-up jumble of sheets and blankets. Then, following my friend's example, I added drying and putting away my dishes after supper each night. I almost always wash them anyway, but would just let them air dry. On Sunday night I was visiting with my mother-in-law and didn't put the dishes away. First thing Monday morning, I wished I had! It is so much easier to start the day when the kitchen sink is empty and clean and shiny!
The purpose of all this habit-making is so that I can choose how my life runs and how I feel about it all. I'm sick of feeling guilty about my housekeeping. And not doing fun things because I really need to stay home and clean...and then not getting much done after all. I want most days to follow a routine so I just do what needs to be done without procrastinating. This will give me more freedom to do fun things with the kids, and get other projects, writing, and editing done instead of the constant halfhearted cleaning.
Caring for my home should be a joy. It should be homemaking, not just house cleaning. So my next step was to create my ideal daily routines. Many of the things in my routines are things I already do, but I wanted to set a specific time and order to each item. For example, I decided that my intention to sweep after supper each night wasn't working, because after washing (and now drying) the dishes, I didn't feel like sweeping. Now I aim to sweep after lunch instead.
Obviously my routines are not rigid, and I don't plan to beat myself up if I miss something. I revamped my household binder into something closer to FlyLady's Control Journal. Instead of being mainly for a calendar, it's now mainly for housekeeping. I use my iPod calendar most of the time anyway. Each routine is in a plastic page protector so I can use my trusty red dry-erase marker to cross things off as I complete them. I've always loved lists and crossing things off is cathartic.
Of course, being me, I had to make it all pretty with nice fonts and cover pages.
Would you be interested in a printable download of these sheets?
I couldn't resist including some shots from my weekend as a little PS:
|gorgeous clouds promising rain (but unfortunately not delivering)|
|"Nanny" playing cars with the kids. I love how excited they get for her visits|
|An early birthday gift...now I can make Simply So Good's crusty bread properly!|