Saturday, 5 October 2013

Day 5: What is Basic Housekeeping to you?

I mentioned that one of my non-negotiable tasks is "basic housekeeping."  What is that?

Basic housekeeping is going to look different for everyone.  It is maintaining the minimum standard of cleanliness a family needs to function, and feel comfortable and at peace with the home.  I have some friends for whom a top to bottom scrub of the house is their minimum standard.  Mine is nowhere close to that.  I'm still working out what mine should include, but this is what I have so far:


  • counters washed daily, and as needed throughout the day.
  • floor swept daily, and as needed (thanks to my new dust mop, my 4-year-old has been helping with that), and spot cleaned
  • dishes washed each evening, and put away sometime the next day (flylady says it should be the same day, but I'm perfectly comfortable with letting them air dry overnight.  I get that shiny-sink feeling with a fresh, clean stack of dishes).
  • stove and range hood wiped daily
  • table washed after each meal, and as needed
  • surfaces dusted as needed
  • clutter put away regularly

Living Room:

  • floor swept and spot cleaned as needed
  • surfaces dusted
  • entry rug free of sand, mud, dirt, etc
  • toys removed from the room.


  • sinks, counters, and toilets shined/dusted daily (we have a very dusty house!)
  • shower, tub, sinks, and toilets scrubbed weekly and as needed.
  • floor cleaned weekly and as needed


  • tidied daily
  • beds made each morning
  • vacuumed weekly
  • sheets washed weekly


  • Vacuum hall and stairs...I don't know how often.  Weekly maybe?  I hate vacuuming stairs!
  • Tidy toys in basement as needed
  • Vacuum basement as needed
  • Spot clean walls as needed

Wow, the list seems longer typed out than it did in my head!  Now, of course I'm not going to do this every single day.  Nor am I going to jump in with both feet and try to do it all at once.  One thing at a time, slowly introduced into my routine should do the trick.  So maybe by next year I'll have this all down pat.  We'll see.

Currently I'm pretty good with the kitchen...because it would just be gross if there wasn't some level of cleanliness there.  My biggest challenge is dealing with clutter.  Especially my work-related clutter, since most of my work is done at the kitchen table, where I spread out with papers and reference books and notes and a plethora of pens.  In the rest of the house, I'm horribly inconsistent.

So how am I going to deal with my inconsistency?  I have printed out my list of priorities from Day One, and when I find myself bored, procrastinating, or wasting time, I try to remember to look at it and refocus on what I should be doing.  And I multitask.  If I'm on the phone with a friend, I use the cordless and move around doing little tasks from my housekeeping list, like putting dishes away or tidying.  I have printed out the list in this post too, as a reminder of what I need to do.  Wish me luck!

What does "basic housekeeping" look like to you?  Do you feel on top of it? Or, like me, are you behind and feeling guilty about it?

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