This week’s post is a bit of a divergence from this blog’s normal content, but these two changes in our house have had such an impact on my sanity, I couldn’t help but share. I’ll be back with a fun tech tip that leverages both Evernote and Things in 2 weeks.
I’d love to be able to tell you my house looks like one of those immaculate photos you find on Pinterest every day. Unfortunately, no house that people actually live in is capable of looking like that. More often than not, the kitchen counters are covered in that day’s meals. The dining room and balcony play host to a variety of hockey and music equipment, sofa cushions are thrown on the floor, and equal piles of laundry are sitting in the dryer, the hampers, and on the bed.
I’ve tried a number of methods to keeping the house clean over the years, but they all ended up being too complicated to keep up – even for me with my excessively organized to-do apps. (Spoiler alert: keep reading for a screenshot of how I’m using Things to manage household chores.) For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying out something different, and it’s working.
Adapted from Becky Rapinchuk’s Clean Mama routine, the house certainly isn’t spotless, but by tackling a little bit each day, it has been getting consistently cleaner. Even better, I’m spending considerably less time cleaning which is actually kind of mind-blowing.
First things first, I set up the house for to be incredibly easy to clean. I tossed all the old cleaners. I also gave up on trying to be one of those people who makes their own cleaning products. It seems like a great idea, but eventually you have to make more, and the added step of measuring ingredients becomes another reason to avoid cleaning.
Under each sink in the house I have a spray bottle of Mrs. Meyers Multi-Surface Spray. Each of the bathrooms also have Mrs. Meyers Tub and Tile spray and toilet bowl cleaner. With only three cleaning products to choose from, it’s no longer a question of which one to use, and because everything’s right under the sink where it should be, there’s no longer any question of where the cleaning products are. I keep bins of microfiber cloths in both the kitchen and linen closet, both of which happen to be conveniently at either end of the condo.
Every day, Becky’s routine recommends the five following tasks:
- Make the Beds – Admittedly we don’t do this. I’ve never been a bed maker unless I’m feeling extra tidy. It’s also a struggle when you share a bed with someone who wakes up before or after you pretty much every day. That being said, countless people recommend doing this to set the tone for your day, so go for it if it suits you.
- Check Floors – Our Neato vacuum takes care of the majority of this for us every day. (Thanks Neato. 🙂) I do have a small broom and dust pan in the master bathroom to sweep up around the cat box, but since we use pellets instead of clay litter this is a 2 second job most days.
- Wipe counters – I’m a bit surprised to say I’ve gotten into quite the habit of wiping down the counters throughout the house any time I use them. Having the Mrs. Meyers spray within reach helps.
- Clutter – I try to put things away while I’m walking around the house throughout the day, but I also have a few bins and baskets scattered around the house now for corralling the other half’s things (and some of mine too) when things get out of hand.
- Laundry – This is another thing I don’t do daily, but instead weekly. More on that later.
I’ve also added a couple of our own tasks to the list:
- Scoop the cat box – This is a daily necessity in a multi-cat household.
- Empty the kitchen sink (and, if it’s full or nearly full, run the dishwasher).
Tackling these daily tasks takes maybe 15 minutes, and since I tend to do them as I’m going throughout my day, I don’t feel like I have a mountain of chores waiting for me each night when I get off work.
In addition to the daily tasks, Becky recommends adding in a 10-15 minute weekly task each day of the week.
Mondays are bathroom cleaning days. I used to dread cleaning them, but her method is pretty darn easy. (Spray everything down. Let sit for a few minutes. Wipe from top to bottom. I’m simplifying here, but not much.)
Tuesdays are for dusting. It only takes a few minutes to run through the entire house with a microfiber duster. I might even consider it fun if I dare say so. Once I’m done, it goes in the hamper to be washed with the towels later in the week.
Wednesdays are for vacuuming. We don’t have any carpet, and Neato does a pretty good job at vacuuming the floors for us every day, so I use Wednesdays to vacuum things other than the floor (furniture, cat beds, air vents, ceiling fans, etc).
Thursdays are for washing the floors. I have a spray mop that I can quickly clean the floors with for this. This is one case where I do still make my own cleaning solution, but it’s easy enough to do, and it lasts a while. (Side note if you’ve followed along, you’ll notice I’ve already dusted and vacuumed up said dust on the previous two days, so the floors are already ready for mopping. Genius!)
Friday is considered a catch all day for things like your weekly review or meal planning. This means there’s no major cleaning on Friday.
Saturdays are for washing all sheets and towels. While this routine probably works great for a family, when your other half is a musician, Saturdays for us are pretty busy.
Sunday is technically a free day, but it has always been my laundry day for as long as I can remember so it made sense to just keep it that day. I now also change and wash the sheets on this day rather than doing it randomly throughout the week. I’ve found that by doing all the laundry at once on one day, I’m more likely to get into “laundry mode,” and therefore I’m much more likely to fold/hang everything as it comes out of the dryer rather than letting it pile up.
If you’re wondering where all the other monthly/seasonal household maintenance tasks are, I just slot these in throughout the week as time permits. It turns out that you actually have time to do things like wash the baseboards and clean the appliances when you’re only spending 15-20 minutes on regular cleaning.
As promised, here’s what it all looks like in Things.
I had my doubts when I started this routine. I thought to myself, I couldn’t possibly keep the house clean by just doing those few things. I seriously cut my Chores list in Things in half. Somehow it works though, and my house is tidier than ever. Moreover, I actually find myself wanting to clean, so I’ll call it a success in my book.