Monday, March 14, 2011

Daily routines and tidyness

Over the weekend the topic came up of how to keep your home organized, tidy or otherwise not overwhelmingly chaotic.  I don't know how we got on the topic anymore, but I know it wasn't because my friend was amazed at my cleanliness.

There is a blog called Fly Lady that someone had recommended to me in the past.  I looked at it, thought it was mostly common sense and never went there again.  But there are good tips on the site and I think I might try my own version of her system this week.  I'm going to read her blog a bit more.

The first thing she says to do is to "Dress to shoes".  Basically, get your basic hygiene out of the way first thing and be fully dressed. 

That's habit for anyone who has to drive kids to school or go to work, but I don't do either of those things.  So I guess the temptation is to stay in your robe all day.  I don't quite do that, but many times I've been caught just getting out of the bath at 10:00 or answer the door in my robe at 8:30 (because I know who those visitors are and they've seen me at my camping best - nothing scares them now!).   But there are other things that I do every day and eventually getting dressed is one of them.

Basically I get the kids out the door before I take care of myself.  If I try to have hot oatmeal for breakfast, I'm suddenly searching the house for missing field trip forms, money for the trips, lost library books, birthday party invites or washing moldy lunch containers from Friday.  My oatmeal would always be cold.  Yvon starts them off with breakfast, and I make sure they finish it and move on to dressing, washing, and getting their stuff together.  After I close the door behind the last one, I glance around the room for left items (gloves, hats, lunches, forms) and yell out the door for them to come back.  Then I sigh a bit sigh of relief.

Eat breakfast.  Make our bed.  Sweep the living room, hallway and kitchen.  Do the dishes.  I don't dry them ever,  but at least the counter and table are clean and one side of the sink, and I can walk barefoot if I want without risk of cereal or popcorn kernels getting stuck to my toes. 

THEN I get dressed myself. 

After that I don't have any routines because it depends on the day, on my workload, on the needs of the kids, whatever. 

Fly Lady then breaks jobs down into small bits so that you don't clean like a madwoman for 8 hours and then crash for two days.  You sort/clean/organize in 15 minutes chunks, or bigger jobs take one hour.  Over time you've hit on all areas of your house and it should be easier to keep it up. No tasks are meant to freak you out and make you quit. 

As it turns out, Fly Lady is concentrating on the bathroom this week.  Coincidentally, my bathroom still needs work, although not the work she's talking about.  She wants me to clean something every day or sort old medications and shampoos. I've done that.  What I need to do is actually finish constructing the bathroom. 

I promised a friend last night that I will make a list of all the things that still need doing, broken up into bite-sized jobs.  Every day I will cross something off it.  So that's what I'm going to do today. 

The other thing is that I am going to spend 15 minutes cleaning a junk pile every day.   The piles of papers and drawers and recipes I've clipped, the bowl of things-that-don't-belong-anywhere-but-are-very-special-to-someone, the piles of library books and books I've been meaning to give away or return to their owners. 

I got rid of my paper pile this morning, so now I'm on to writing my bathroom list.   How do you keep up with everything?  Do you write massive lists?  Or do you clean in a frenzy just when guests are expected?


Bonita said...

The only thing I learned and embraced was to get my coffee pot ready to go for the next day... love hearing the beep first thing!! :-)

Evelyn in Canada said...

Well, that's important too! Not just the beep but the resulting caffeine.