Time Management

The Busy Mom’s Cleaning Bible

clean house

It goes without saying that all busy moms are huge fans of time-saving methods– whether we’re talking about quick and easy recipes to simple organizational tips. Unfortunately, cleaning is not one of those short-cut areas.  Even though we have managed to make strides in cleaning with dishwashers and self-cleaning ovens, we have yet to tackle more complex inventions like the self-cleaning bathroom or automatic clothes folding machine.  Ah, one could dream, right? Perhaps one day, but in the meantime, how do we continue to juggle all of life’s demands and consistently keep our homes tidy?

Well, like every other problem I come across, I look to the Word for answers. Now, you may recall there is no mention of Jesus ministering with a dust pan and broom- that is correct. But just because the Bible may not discuss cleaning per say, that does not mean we can not use concepts to model.  As I was reading in Genesis, I was reminded once more of my wonder and awe for creation. God created the world in six days. Each day, He conquered a new task. It always fascinated me as to why God specifically needed six days to create the universe. I mean, He is God after all! Couldn’t He speak the world into existence in one day?

I believe God did not do this simply because dividing the day and night was just too draining or parting the waters from land took too much time. I believe He was modeling a way of life and organization to us. Yes, organization! Our God is a God of order, not chaos. So I concluded: what better example to use for a system of maintaining my home!  God demonstrates order by creating something different each day of the six days of the week, therefore, my cleaning schedule also calls for one or two chores each day. This Biblical model offers me the grace to run my home efficiently.  And whether you are a stay- at- home mom or working mom, limiting yourself to cleaning in just a day or two per week  will quickly leave you unmotivated, discouraged and utterly exhausted!

Here is my ultimate cleaning guide.  Chores are broken down by daily, weekly, monthly and annual chores.  This structure is intentionally put into place because there are some chores that require daily attention, while others are not quite so demanding. Yours may vary, depending on the number of bathrooms and people living in your house, but you will get the gist and configure those differences in your own schedule to fit your needs.

Daily Chores:

  • Making the beds
  • Wash the dishes
  • Wiping off kitchen counter and stove after cooking
  • Putting dirty clothes into the hamper
  • General straightening (picking up toys, putting shoes away, etc.)
  • Sort Mail
Weekly Chores:
  • Monday- Dust furniture, clean inside of windows, vacuum, laundry
  • Tuesday- Clean the powder room, clean laundry room, one monthly chore
  • Wednesday- Clean the full bathroom, vacuum, laundry
  • Thursday- Clean the kitchen (clean appliances, organize pantry and refrigerator, clean the floors)
  • Friday- Laundry (including bedding), one annual chore
  • Saturday- Yardwork (weeding, gardening, etc.), two monthly chores
Monthly Chores:
  • Wipe baseboards
  • Organize bedroom dressers
  • Organize bedroom closets
  • Wash exterior of windows
  • Wash shower curtain and liner
  • Test batteries in smoke detectors
  • Wipe inside of kitchen cabinets
  • Wipe and organize bathroom vanities
  • Organize linen closet
  • Organize coat closet & shoe racks
  • Clean inside of oven
  • Wipe ceiling light fixtures and wipe down fan blades
  • Wipe light switches and door knobs
  • Wash mattress covers, pillow covers and duvets
  • Clean inside of dishwasher

Annual Chores: 

  • Clean behind stove and refrigerator
  • Clean out gutters
  •  Deep clean carpets and rugs
  • Clean basement, attic and storage spaces
  • Sort, organize and purge files and documents
  • Sort through toys, clothing and other items to consider for selling, donating or trash
  • Flip mattresses
  • Sweep and clean garage
  • Wash walls, repair damage and touch up paint in necessary areas
  • Vacuum behind and under furniture
  • Polish wood furniture and floors
  • Clean inside of fireplace
  •  Sort and organize medicine cabinet
  • Power wash home exterior
  • Landscape ( mulching, planting flowers, etc.)
  • Clean and organize shed
  • Remove and clean floor heat vents
  • Replace filters ( fridge, furnace, etc.)
  • Clean tile grout

Although cleaning is a bit of a chore ( sorry, can’t resist a good pun), this schedule will help you stay organized and on track to keep your home well maintained! And on the seventh day of each week… Take a load off, give reverence to God’s ordained day of rest and enjoy your family!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

 

 

 

 

 

Time Management

15 Minute Cleaning

Yes, you read the title correctly- it says 15 minute cleaning. No, this is not a gimmick and I do not claim to have found the fountain of motivation- just a tip I have learned over the years when it comes to housework. I must admit, however, I am the exception to the rule of cleaning because I make up the roughly less than 1% of the population who actually happens to enjoy chores. So when people tell me they are behind on their cleaning or just can’t muster up the motivation to do it, my initial response is either 1) have you met my old friend, coffee? Or 2) Can I do it for you? Please? But neither of these offer practical solutions. I am not obsessive compulsive, but if cleaning for fun was a disorder, I am certain I would be professionally diagnosed. I am the textbook definition of a type-A personality- very task oriented and “to-list” extraordinaire. So it should come as no surprise that I have a system for cleaning- did I mention I love cleaning?

My love for cleaning stems from my childhood. When I was a little girl, I would put on this old blue and white striped dress that resembled something off of The Little House on the Prairie, and would help my mom around the house (unfortunately, my children did not inherit the cleaning gene). These early memories of helping my mom utilize the power of elbow grease- long before there was a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and Swiffer Wet Jet- instilled the practice of stewardship in the maintenance of my home. And over the years, I have managed to find a balance with time that allows me to keep a consistently tidy house, without compromising my allowance of the more valuable things in life. Of course there are chores that cannot be done in a matter of 15 minutes, no matter how much coffee you’ve ingested. And despite my love to keep a clean house, it is by no means how I wish to spend a large portion of my day.

So I created a list of tasks that can each be easily accomplished in 15 minutes- when I actually meet that moment of spare time (Please see the dictionary for a definition of spare time). But this so called spare time is usually met in small increments, like bathroom breaks- and even those often get interrupted with the usual “mom!” questions. In these brief moments, I have found it is good to strategize what can be accomplished. Each individual task on this list can be completed in 15 minutes- yes, I have timed myself and I know it is possible.

Disclosure: child cooperation not included. It is nearly impossible to complete a task from the start to finish for a prolonged amount of time. But that’s the beauty of 15 minute cleaning- easier on the little ones who inevitably will lose patience or give in to their short attention spans.  Incorporating this philosophy will give you and your family the grace that is required throughout your daily routine.

15 Tasks that can each be accomplished in 15 minutes:

  1. Fold a small load of laundry
  2. Load or unload the dishwasher
  3. Vacuum 2 or 3 rooms
  4. Clean a powder room
  5. Mop the kitchen floor
  6. Change sheets on a bed
  7. Dust 3 or 4 rooms
  8. Clean out and organize the refrigerator
  9. Organize one or two kitchen cupboards
  10. Make all the beds
  11. Organize toys in a playroom
  12. Sort through mail and monthly bills
  13. Organize a coat closet
  14. Clean out a bathroom vanity
  15. Iron 3 or 4 clothing items

Cleaning does not have to be a huge chore- sometimes accomplishing small tasks in a short amount of time can be a victorious win for busy moms- moms who are searching daily to find balance between maintaining the home and spending quality time pouring into the hearts of their little ones. Keeping our homes clean is important, but we should never allow ourselves to get sidetracked from the real duty as a mom. The goal is to get things done efficiently and quickly in order to get back to just being with our husband and children. Because at the end of the day, success is not measured in a pristine and spotless home, but in the time invested in your family’s lives.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker