I’m one of those women who love the benefits of a clean home, but hate to clean. I believe that King Solomon was inspired by the sight of his servants endlessly dusting the palace treasures when he wrote, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14)
That said, I do envy those who keep a spotless house. About a month ago, after cleaning from top to bottom, I knew I needed a more organized approach — one that wouldn’t devour an entire Saturday. But articles like this one, promising me a clean house in only 15 minutes a day, just make me laugh and laugh. OK, maybe if you live in an efficiency apartment, you can get all the dusting done in 15 minutes, or clean all the floors, or the bathroom.
We live in what I think is a fairly typical — even somewhat small — 1,500-square-foot house with three bedrooms and 2½ baths. It takes me at least 30 minutes to dust just the first floor, another 30 minutes to dust the upstairs bedrooms. So a one-size-fits-all plan isn’t going to work for me.
I reached out to my Facebook friends for their tips on getting a handle on housework. With their help, and a breakdown of the various jobs that need to be done in MY house, I came up with a chore chart.
Best piece of advice was, do something every day. Next best advice was, do a load of laundry every day. Just because Mom always did hers in one day doesn’t mean I have to. I put a load in before my shower and it’s dried, folded and put away before I’m off to Jazzercise at 10:45.
The Day's Load
So here’s my housework plan. Some chores take longer than others; it all evens out. Your mileage may vary.
- Make the bed
- Scoop cat litter boxes
- Clean kitchen counters, stovetop and microwave
- Wipe down all bathroom sinks, counters and toilets
- One load of laundry
One Chore Per Day
- Dust downstairs
- Vacuum downstairs
- Damp-mop wood floor downstairs
- Dust upstairs
- Vacuum upstairs
- Vacuum and damp-mop bathroom floors (wash rugs)
- Clean toilets, shower and tub
- Vacuum living room furniture (cat hair!)
- Vacuum basement steps
- Wash basement steps
- Vacuum basement
- Clean doors downstairs
- Clean doors upstairs
- Degrease kitchen cabinet doors
The chore list is not a slave driver. After working this plan for a couple of months, I’ve found that some jobs don’t have to be done that often, such as washing the doors and degreasing the cabinet doors. If they look fine, I skip it and move on to the next job on the list. If I want to rest on Sunday, I do. If life intervenes and I miss a day or two, I just pick up where I left off.
You know what? The house does look a lot cleaner overall. I don’t look around feeling disgusted and overwhelmed. I don’t feel embarrassed if someone drops in, or scurry around to clean when Amy & Anton spend the night. And that just feels good.