Two Steps to Get Your Housework (and Life!) Under Control
My housework has been an absolute disaster for about…well, more than a year, if I’m honest. It started with my pregnancy with Dash. Pregnancy and I just don’t get along very well. With both my boys, I was morning sick (borderline hyperemesis gravidarum) for all 9 months. That part alone is complete misery. Add in the aches and pains that came along with my second pregnancy (plus a healthy dose of South Texas summer heat) and I was miserable. So housework just wasn’t high on the priority list for me.
When we were unexpectedly blessed to move into a house from the apartment we were living in, I was then faced with the prospect of moving at 7 months pregnant. I am so thankful to have gotten out of the apartment and into our beautiful house when we did, don’t get me wrong. But I do NOT recommend moving when you’re pregnant…and especially not when you’re in the third trimester!
Shortly after the move, I found myself on and off bedrest until our wonderful Dash was born. Which meant I had to rely on the help of others for everything…including the unpacking. I was so grateful for all the help I received during that time but, for my personality, laying on the couch and staring at all the unpacked boxes about made me lose my mind!!!!
Then Dash was born. And once newborn care (and sleep deprivation) entered the mix, it was a miracle that anything else ever got done.
Now that Dash is 9 months (where has the time gone?!?!?!?), I’m finally getting myself back into a more “normal” rhythm and I’m surveying the disaster that my house has become. It’s amazing how quickly things turn into utter chaos when left to their own devices.
Before we start getting back into the swing of our school year, I KNOW I have to get some things under control or I am going to drown in a sea of chaos and clutter. So I thought I would share with you the two things I’m doing in case you are looking for your own housework life preserver. (There are only two things because I just can’t deal with larger lists…I know I won’t be able to get through it all!!). I have created a:
- New routine. AND
- Loop schedules for housework and other recurrent tasks.
That’s it. I’m trying to keep it as simple and manageable as possible. Let me explain how I’m doing this. I’ve tried this sort of thing so many times but I think I’ve finally found a way to make it stick.
My new routine: I found this incredible post on They Call Me Blessed. (If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, definitely do! She has a ton of amazing content and I know I’ve only just hit the tip of the iceberg.) She talks about planning out your ideal schedule which becomes the routine you strive for. Sometimes you hit it right on the money and sometimes you don’t…at all. But the important part is that you have something you work towards.
After reading Ana’s post and looking at her routine, I built one for myself. After using it for a while now, I think I want to tweak it but it has been so helpful to have this ideal to strive for. It keeps me from flailing around randomly.
My Loop Schedules: I have been wanting to create a loop schedule ever since I first heard about it from the Proverbial Homemaker. But I struggled with the implementation.
Sure I could make a list, but I needed something that I could easily reuse as I went through the loop. It took me a while to figure this out. I didn’t want to have to keep printing out new papers each time I completed a loop and re-write it all out. I thought about writing my loop in permanent marker on a whiteboard but then that would mean buying a new whiteboard every time I needed to add or delete a task from the list.
And then I remembered my Cozi app. I don’t know if you have Cozi, or if you have heard of it, but it is an essential around here. It is an amazing family organization app. I don’t use all the features but the calendar is unmatched when it comes to having an easy-to-use family calendar with events scheduled for each member. The only other calendar I would consider using for this purpose is my Homeschool Planet calendar.
Cozi gives you the ability to have shared shopping lists and To-Do lists (among many other things). And it is in the To-Do list feature that I found the answer to my loop scheduling woes.
On the mobile app, you can reorder list items by dragging and dropping them. So as I complete tasks, i can easily move it to the bottom of the list. The ease of this feature has been invaluable.
I’ve found that sometimes you have a chance in the day to work on a different item on your loop schedule. Like when Ace spilled something on the kitchen floor and I ended up having to mop to clean it up. Even though mopping the kitchen wasn’t next on my list, I still completed it. So I just move it to the bottom to mark it as complete. Easy peasy.
You may find a different list app that has this functionality built-in but this is what has worked for me. And it has been the key to my loop scheduling success.
For my loop list, I decided to break tasks down into the smallest increments possible. I knew if I just listed “Clean the bathroom”, that task would never get done so I instead list “Clean sink”, “Clean toilet”, “Clean tub”, “Mop bathroom floor.” And although it would be most satisfying to get the bathroom cleaned in one fell swoop and have the whole task finished, I found it best to mix the larger, more daunting tasks in with tasks that I don’t mind as much. Otherwise I would just stall out and not move on with the loop.
You can read more on my perspective on life’s tasks in my post, Finding Joy in the Small Tasks.
In case you’re wondering, my housework loop list looks like this:
- Tidy living room
- Cycle out old clothes/toys in Dash’s room and move-up next size/stage
- Clean master shower
- Clean master tub
- Sweep kitchen/dining room floor
- Clean hall tub (Ace is responsible for the sink and toilet)
- Change Ace sheets
- Mop Kitchen/DR
- Change Dash sheets
- Clean master toilet
- Clean master sink
- Change master sheets
- Sweep/Mop Master bed/bath floor
- Vacuum Ace room (with Ace’s help)
- Vacuum Dash room
- Sweep/Mop Hallway and Entry
- Clean Stove grates
- Clean microwave
- Wipe out fridge (with Ace’s help)
- Clean main living space windows and windowsills (with Ace’s help)
- Clean bedroom/bathroom windows and windowsills (with Ace’s help)
- Tidy kitchen island/table/bar (I might end up breaking this one down as these areas can get quite cluttered.)
Dishes don’t have a loop because those fiendish things have to be done daily whether I want to or not. And I have a separate loop for laundry. I try to do at least one load per day and just cycle through all the different loads.
So far, this routine has helped me immensely. I hope that you have found these tips helpful!
How do you organize your life and housework so you can get it all done?