I live and die by calendars and schedules. The only reason I was willing to upgrade to a smartphone is that I could link it to my Google calendar (oh, how I love the Google…). The day I learned to link it to my Google Docs changed my life.
I have a spreadsheet that is my weekly housecleaning schedule.
- Everything does not always happen. I do skip days. The goal is not to skip too many in a row, and then jump back in when I can.
- I have a cleaning lady who comes in once a month. She goes over the entire house, but what I really depend on her for is thorough vacuuming and cleaning the showers/bathtubs. Everything else she does is a bonus that ultimately saves me probably 6 hours a month. Worth it.
I start with the Room Checklist : I deal with whatever biggest pile/eyesore/fire catches my eye. Think about your kitchen, for example. Somewhere in it, is a pile that never quite goes away. Once a week, I deal with that stupid pile. Next I take a lap–I start at one end and work my way around, putting things back where they go, dusting, wiping off, tidying up. No big whoop.
Daily is the minutiae that if it doesn’t get done at least 90% of the time, other stuff piles up behind it. Worst case scenarios include: If the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, the sink gets full of dirty dishes, the counter gets full of newer dirty dishes, and I can’t cook a meal so we eat cereal or get takeout. If the cedar chest at the foot of the bed has a pile of clean unfolded laundry on it, then dryer has clean dry laundry in it, the washer has clean wet laundry in it, the basket has dirty laundry in it, and the hamper has old dirty laundry in it, and Boo has no Princess Panties to wear, which is NOT A GOOD SITUATION..
Special Projects is my Big Picture, Longer Term To-Do List. This is the stuff that when I have a minute (which does happen if I stay on top of the other two lists…) I can take care of.
The best part of all of this is that it’s maybe half an hour out of my day. Tops. None of it is a crazy deep cleaning/scrubbing tile with a toothbrush sort of task. It’s maintenance. Maintenance is good.
Calendars are also a fantastic way to stay ahead of the game. Mr. Incredible is trained willing to email me his doctors appointments and work travel information, and I just add them to the calendar whenever I get them. I color code his travel, so if he’s gone for several consecutive days (or weeks, yikes) then I can quickly get an idea of what my own time is going to look like.
I also use the calendar to keep track of what I’ve made for dinner–a couple of times a week I take a few minutes to make a quick 5PM appointment that’s just whatever we had (i.e. “pork chops, rice, salad, steamed veggies”). This serves 2 purposes for me: I don’t accidentally make the same thing twice in three days (it’s happened…) and after a month, I have a month’s worth of meal planning ready for next month. Everybody wins!
Not everybody works this way, I know, but it’s kept me sane. When I was pregnant with Boo, I knew we were going to need a way to keep ourselves organized. This helps me do that.