Here it is… how I organize my own meta-homekeeping. (can I say it that way?)
I’ve tried a lot of different techniques… how to organize your house, how to organize your time, how to keep your home running smoothly, etc. Also remember that I am quite the tightwad, so I didn’t pay for most of them (I purchased one book, and 2 tools). I have the general attitude that its not worth it if you have to pay for it (except a few really good books).
The main thing I’ve learned in all this is…. know thyself. Are you a naturally organized person? Are you a visual person? Do you like pen and paper? Do you have an iphone or such device that you keep about you all day? This is where the rubber meets the road and as you work through different methods you will find what you like, I’m sure of it. This is my personal progression….
I was a dedicated flybaby for several years. What I really took away from that time is routines and zone cleaning. She’s got other good stuff, but this is what stuck.
If I keep going with my basic morning and evening routines, life runs so smoothly. As soon as I get tired, skip steps, add a few steps because I feel ambitious, get overwhelmed with trying to do too much… well, you get the idea. But routines are what I always come back to. Flylady recommends 3 basic daily routines… morning, afternoon and evening/bedtime. I have found I work best with 2… morning and evening/bedtime. I’ve learned (still learning) to keep it to a few steps/items. E.g. for my morning routine, I’ve got a few basic things I do… get up, bathroom, brush teeth, get dressed, coffee. If I’m trying really hard, I have breakfast and read Bible on the list, also. Evening tasks include things like set up coffee maker (no compromise here), get out clothes for next day, get bags together for next day. At times, I’ve striven to have ‘sweep tile floor’ on that list, but that doesn’t last long. The idea is to use your evening/bedtime routine to get ready for the next day. The morning routine is to get ready for that day. My routines have regularly shifted around to include different tasks or different ordering at different stages of life, but I always come back to thinking about my routines. Keep in mind that you *do* have a routine, even if its not written down, or well defined. By writing it down, its easier to make it more refined and more efficient.
Zone cleaning is about dividing your house into ‘zones’ and focusing on one zone each week. I used flylady’s basic zones to define my current home and the tasks related to each zone. If done right, this becomes a part of your basic routines of life and you just know when to do what. If you do it my way, its a helpful way to not feel too overwhelmed as you think about what you need to deal with this week. You’ve got your tasks that need to be done weekly (vacuuming for one) and then tasks that don’t need to be done but once a month (or less), like cleaning windows or switch plates. I listed cleaning tasks for each area of my home (living room, kitchen, guest bath), then lumped those areas into 4 zones. defined 4 zones for this current house and then listed the cleaning tasks for that zone. Now, I have 1 zone to focus on each week. Not that I actually do this all the time, but when I do do it, the house is nicer.
Large Family Logisitics
I have really enjoyed Large Family Logistics, also. I use/like her Day of the Week plan, where one day is laundry day, one day is town day, one day is kitchen day, etc. I do better having a day focused to a particular set of tasks, though when I take this too far, I give myself more tasks than I have energy for. In all of this, there is a balance act to perform.
Confident Mom Planner
At the New Year (i.e. Jan 2013) I picked up an ebook bundle from bundleoftheweek.com that included ‘The Confident Mom Planner”. This is a planner that you can print up that has each week laid out with repeating tasks assigned to particular days. I love the idea here, but I’ve found that I don’t like the way she spreads the tasks out over the week. E.g. when I vacuum, I’m going to vacuum the whole house. My house isn’t big enough to warrant only vacuuming children’s room and hall way on one day, then the living areas on another day. Perhaps if I had a bigger house, this might make sense. She’s got a good generalized task list, but I’d rather (theoretically, at least) create my own list with my own tasks that are personalized. You might not care. See… know thyself!
Now for the specifics of the actual day to day running. I LOVE planning worksheets. I’ve used who knows how many styles and structures while looking for the perfect planning page. I’ve not found the ‘perfect’ one yet, but I’ve found several that work quite nicely. You just have to use them. 😛 I’ve found planning worksheets to be quite customizable, flexible, but they provide some basic structure to the planning. I’m sure that if you google ‘daily (or weekly, or monthly) planning worksheets’ you will get some huge number of hits. I’m currently using the weekly planning page, the weekly menu planning page and the daily planning page from Organizing Life as Mom, an ebook I got in the ‘ultimate homemakers ebook bundle’. You can get these from here (http://lifeasmom.com/organizing-life-as-mom-redesigned-and-updated-ebook).
She, author of Organizing Life as Mom, suggests laminating the pages you want to use and getting them spiral bound. I’m perfectionist enough that I’m working towards that, but not yet there. I’ve laminated the planning pages I’m using, but I’m waiting to laminate my pantry stocking pages (a whole ‘nother topic!) till I think they are truly completed, then I’ll spiral bind them. Of course, that might be years away…. For now, I’ve got the pantry stocking pages in sheet protectors. The sheet protectors work much the same way as laminating… you can write on and wipe off, I’ve just found that lamination works a bit better. The wiping off is a bit cleaner and the writing on is more crisp. If you are using sheet protectors, use the matte style, not glossy. Glossy ones are hard to write on as the glossy plastic just doesn’t hold the ink. I use wet erase pens to write (I’ve read you can use dry-erase, but they don’t clean as well, I think). You can use the basic Expo wet erase pens, which work just fine. I, however, use Staedtler Lumocolor non-permanent pens. The point is significantly finer than Expo pens, so you get a much smaller mark and the colors don’t run at all. The pens are such that there is a bit of drag so it feels more like you are writing on an actual sheet of paper, which is something I really appreciate. If there are any teachers out there, these pens are great overhead pens… the fine points and sharp colors let you get so much more detail on overhead drawings and the sharp, crisp lines are great for viewers to see clearly what you’ve written. Can you tell I love these pens?
So, there it is. I’ve come up with a few more ideas, but what questions do you have? Other aspects of home keeping that you want to hear about?
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