Monday, February 18, 2013

Becoming a Better Housekeeper (and teaching the herd how to help)

This month off of piano has been really great in a few ways. One of my goals was to spend this time getting a GOOD and easy to consistently follow system for cleaning the house. I'll never be the most immaculate housekeeper and with a posse of seven (holy crap, there will be seven of us!) it just is not realistic in my world to expect perfectly clean everything. But, we can do better.

So, I sat down and made a routine.

Monday: Bedroom, hall by bedroom and stairs (both of them)

Now, the kids have to make their beds and tidy their rooms and put away their clothes when they change daily, but on this day they need to get under the beds and hunt around for junk, vacuum and do all that deeper cleaning stuff.

I also wash Xander's sheets every other week on this day (or weekly if I can get it done).

Tuesday: Mop the floors in the bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen and hallways (basically all non carpet floors washed) 

I have this wonderful steam mop that I use but I have found that I don't like to mop with it as much because of all the prep work to get it going.

Plus, Sam introduced me to this magical, wonderful smelling cleaner calls FABULOSO. Oh. My. I love that stuff. It probably isn't the best cleaner in earth, but the smell instantly puts me in a fantastic mood. I love it so much that we put some in a spray bottler (it is an all purpose cleaner apparently) and after every meal when we wipe all the counters (in theory), we spray that stuff and I'm happy as can be.

So, I get my bucket of Fabuloso ready, we vaccuum the hard floors (the kids do that while I prep) and then I mop. When I'm done I dump it in the shower drain in my bathroom so I can smell it all night.

I had been mopping down my shower walls too, but I have a new daily thing for cleaning the tub and shower. After a shower or bath (or at the end of a shower) I have one of those dishes scrubby things that you can fill with soap and it has a sponge on it in each bathroom. I filled it with vinegar and dawn dish soap. I just grab that thing and do a nice once over on the walls and floor as I'm wrapping up a shower or when the tub is drained, then I let some water rinse it and it is all done. I can't believe how clean that is keeping things!

I also wash Buddy's sheets on this day bi-weekly or weekly. If I need to I wash all the bathroom rugs too. That seems to be a bi-weekly thing.

Wednesday: Clean the rest of the bathroom, laundry and kitchen

This is when I try to organize, scrub toilets (that is a Sam job but if he neglects it too long I make the kids do it since they seem to be the ones who have issues with aiming, blech), wipe down walls and counters and anything else that is going on there. This has been a hard one because I am the worst at letting the kitchen fill up with piles of clutter (mail, sewing stuff, recipe books, dishes that need to be organized). I'm not happy with how Wednesday is going yet in the kitchen, but the laundry room and bathrooms are doing much better.

This would also be Belle's day for sheet washing. That is her job to do so we're still seeing how that will go.

 Thursday: Laundry and living room

This is my day to finish the laundry. I tend to wash all week, but I put off sorting and folding until Thursday. I actually really like to do laundry so that isn't a huge deal.

I recently started making my own detergent and I found a recipe that uses only borax, washing soda and Dawn soap (no shredding or anything like that!) and it is easy to make a ton and smells great! I also started making fabric softener that I am loving. That is making laundry even more fun! Plus, it costs less than a dollar a month to do my laundry detergent.

So, I get all that finished, folded and the kids are now responsible for putting hampers in the correct rooms, folding towels, their clothes and dishrags and putting away their clothes, and I do the rest. It is working really good.

This is also the day to clean the living room. I like to tidy it daily for piano, but I slack at dusting and all that so I need a set day to do that. It takes nearly no time at all and the kids like to help.

I also wash my sheets on this day.

Friday: Basement and schoolroom

This is pretty easy. The basement needs hardly any work so we just maintain it.

The schoolroom is trickier but the kids have had fun with pulling all the furniture to the middle of the room, vacuuming all the corners and then rearranging the room however they want. I'm still not happy with the lack of organization on our book shelves, but we are at the end of the school year so I'm going to sort that out little by little.

No pressing laundry needs unless I feel an urge to wash something (which I always do)

Saturday and Sunday are days where we cook and can foods for storage so I don't have anything there.

But, that is our entire house! It is really working pretty good for now and feels manageable to me, even when I'm juggling piano and a newborn in a few weeks.

The other part of this is that the kids are now "paying" for their extracurriculars with this work. If they do their daily chores (make bed, brush teeth, clean  up after eating etc) AND they do the daily chores with me, they earn the money needed for preschool, clogging and gymnastics. If they don't do the work they can either come up with a dollar to pay me for that day or their activity is no longer funded and they don't get to go. They've already suffered the consequence of not doing the work and not paying so let me tell you, they get their work done. 

Yay for a cleaning routine I feel like I can manage!

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