That is what the blog promised. It sounded good, too good really, so I started to read. I almost instantly knew it wouldn’t work for me. She said I only needed to spend 15 minutes a day & I could have my whole house clean in one week. Her schedule was roughly: dust – Monday, vacuum – Tuesday, mop – Wednesday, bathrooms – Thursday, bedding – Friday, catch-up/odd chores – weekend. So, I started to think: dust my entire house in 15 minutes? Maybe if I lived in a studio apartment! Clean my 2 1/2 bathrooms in 15 minutes? Maybe if all I did was wipe them down with a damp rag (& with a newly pottty-trained boy in my house that wasn’t going to cut it!). My house isn’t that big, but I knew that 15 minutes a day wasn’t going to do it! However, the thought of making myself do all the dusting on one day was daunting, not to mention impossible with two small kids. I knew, though, that I needed to come up with some sort of system that I could stick with that would, over time, get my house clean. And if not clean, then at least cleaner!
I decided to stick with the 15 minutes a day. That isn’t scary. It doesn’t sound impossible. I can probably do that in between changing a diaper & reading Curious George for the 15th time. Then I made up a list of chores that I need to do in my house: dust, sweep & mop, sweep (the wood floors), clean the bathrooms, clean the kitchen (more than I do in an evening clean-up), & change the bedding. Next to each category I listed the rooms that I need to do that chore in. So for example next to sweep & mop I put entry, guest bath, living room, kitchen, master bath, & kids’ bath. Finally, I printed the list & put it into a picture frame which I hung in an inconspicuous place in my home ( it just worked out that the frame is wide enough that a dry erase marker can sit on top).
Each weekday (& the occasional Saturday), I set an alarm for 15 minutes (I like using the timer on the ipod, because I can pause it if an interruption comes up). Then I start at the top of my list & work my way down. Some days I can cross off 3 or 4 items, other days I just get through 1 item. The nice thing is that there is flexibility. So, for example, when someone spills oily salad dressing & it ends up being tracked through the entire downstairs & you have to spend an hour mopping the floors, you can cross all those items off. OR if company is coming, you can skip the entire upstairs & concentrate on the areas they will actually see, like the guest bathroom.
The beauty is: 1.) at the end of my day with small children I have at least ONE item I can cross off my to-do list, 2.) I can see what has been done recently & what still needs to be done, and 3.) When the list is all crossed off, I simply wipe it down & start again.
For anyone who’s curious it takes me about 2 or 2 1/2 weeks to get through my whole list, sometimes it takes 20 or 25 minutes to do a chore (the bathrooms always take me a bit longer), I always have to sweep under the dining room table more often than is on my list, & it takes me about 55 minutes to dust my whole house (not 15!).
I know this system is not for everyone, but it works for me & I figured if it could help out one other mom who feels like she is drowning in housework & has no idea how to fit it into her day then that would be great!