Thursday, September 9, 2010

Housework is God's Work

Cleaning Management from Graced and Gifted by Kimberly Hahn

As you manage clutter, you simplify the cleaning process, but cleaning still must be done.  The best book for cleaning organization that I have read is called Sidetracked Home Executives:  From Pigpen to Paradise, written by two sisters, Pam Young and Peggy Jones.  I read this book during a night of labor with my firstborn, and if a book is funny during labor, it is a good read!  These sisters were more disorganized than anything I imagined possible, and they found a way, working together, to bring order out of their chaos. 

These easily sidetracked homemakers have given many people hope.  One of their mottos is "We Change Lives With 3 x 5s!"  They list all possible jobs for cleaning any room in the house (in the back of their book) in terms of daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly and seasonal chores. 

For each room they recommend that you list one task per note card, color-coded based on frequency:  blue for daily or every-other-day jobs, white for weekly or biweekly jobs, yellow for monthly tasks, orange for seasonal jobs, red for holiday tasks, pink for personal tasks.  Twenty-five years ago I could not afford colored note cards, so I cut construction paper to the size of index cards and created the same system.  Today you can download the information you want, customize it for your home and print cards yourself.

Once each task is listed separately, time the jobs and designate any task as a mini-job if it takes less than ten minutes - many tasks are five-minute (or less) jobs.  Determine a time each day by which you will complete the daily jobs.  When you are ready to begin, closely follow the cleaning routine that you have set up, noting challenges.  The secon week, only make slight adjustments - you are working on a new habit.  The third week, evaluate and fine-tune only.
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If your children (or someone you hired) help you clean, add instructions to the cards, so they know how to do each task.  Either designate who should do the chores and when, or shuffle the cards and have the children draw one.  Include on the card what supplies are needed to complete that chore, and store those supplies near the point of use.  It may not save you money on supplies - unless you find them on sale - but why not at least save time by having cleaning supplies located in each bathroom, for instance, or in a designated closet on each floor?

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