Are you evaluating your schedules to see if they work for you? Remember, even if you're a happy-go-lucky, spur of the moment type, scheduling can be your best friend. Without a schedule, you'll never feel that your work is done, because there is always something more that you could do. Yet, if you lay out a day's schedule, and you accomplish what you set out to do on that day, you can be at peace, even if you do spot a few dust bunnies somewhere.
As Denise Schofield says, "Monday's work can be finished, Tuesday's work completed, and so on. Even though some ares of the house are undone, yhou can relax and say, "That's Thursday's work. Without a schedule, you always feel snowed under, trying to catch up. Enjoy the exhilerating feeling you get when something is completed."
Another benefit to scheduling is that it cuts down on the time you need to spend making decisions about what to do next. When I don't schedule well, I often spin my wheels, wondering to what activity I should devote my attention in the moment. Having a schedule that works well eliminates time wasted in indecision.
In addition to the minimum basic daily routine we've already discussed, you need a minimum basic weekly routine.
Some things you might include in your weekly routine are as follows:
1) Time for planning menus, answering correspondence, planning schedules, making calls about business matters related to your home, etc. We already discussed in the posts about organizing our office that it's good to allow for one or two "desk hours" in your weekly schedule. You could have one hour on one day just for menu and schedule planning and another hour on another day for taking care of other matters.
2) Clean fridge
3) Shop for food. Perhaps, you will do a full grocery shopping once a week and maybe pick up a few fresh items at another time. Or, perhaps, you follow a once-a-month meal plan or other plan that means that you do bulk shopping in longer intervals and pick up only a few fresh things each week. Perhaps, you live on a farm and grow most of your own produce -- needing only to buy certain staples at the store. No matter how you plan it, be sure to include time to be like that merchant ship -- bring nourishing, tasty, and budget-friendly ingredients to your kitchen. (Proverbs 31)
4) Minimum basic overall house cleaning: vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms, clean sheets, clean towels, emptying trash cans, sweeping or mopping floors as appropriate, etc.
6) Watering or otherwise tending to indoor and outdoor plants
7) Making sure clothing is ready to wear. Some weeks, this might include sewing or buying something new. More often than not, it will involve any basic maintenance of clothing that is not included in laundering and drying. Some examples of this type of maintenance might be ironing clothing, sewing on buttons, patching the ripped knee of a pair of boy's play jeans, polishing shoes or purse. Another type of clothing maintenance is to take a few minutes each night to help children lay out their clothing for the next day. Perhaps, you might benefit from laying out your clothing, as well. Of course, if you keep a wardrobe of well-maintained basics, it takes only a few minutes in the morning to grab an outfit.
If you keep after the little details of clothing maintenance on a weekly basis, they don't build up into an overwhelming pile of things to do. Plus, your clothing will last longer and look nicer. Some clothing takes more maintenance than others, so consider this when buying or sewing something for your wardrobe.
8) Empty trash cans
9) Errands/regular activities
Those are what I see as weekly basics. Here's what Denise Schofield, author of "Confessions of an Organized Housewife" suggests as your priorities:
1) General pick-up of the house
2) Laundry kept current
3) well-balanced meals served regularly
4) Dishes done frequently (This, I consider as a daily chore)
5) Bathrooms cleaned and straightened regularly
6) Entry areas clean and neat, so that you won't be embarrassed to have people see your home.
There are many ways to work your weekly schedule. The simplest is simply to make a list for the week and to jot down when you are going to do what according to the events of your week. On Monday, tackle some items from your list. On Tuesday, tackle some more, and so forth. You can check off each task as you work down the list. This plan is best for the woman who needs a flexible schedule, provided that she has the discipline to work through the list in a consistent and timely fashion.
Most women find it easier to have a more regular schedule. One of the most time-tested methods is to assign a certain task to each day. For example, Monday might be your laundry day, Tuesday might be the day you clean the fridge and go shopping, and so on. You can also spread out the tasks of house cleaning over a week. For example, on Monday, you might clean the bathrooms and tidy-up. On Tuesdays, you could mop the kitchen floor. On Wednesdays, you could dust and vacuum.
Our great-grandmothers generally arranged tasks according to a certain pattern. Nearly all women did their laundry on Monday. This was because laundry was a momentous task in those days, and it was best to tackle it on Monday, right after Sunday's rest. If you would like to follow the certain task on a certain day plan, think through what makes sense for your household. Perhaps, it would make more sense for you to do your basic house cleaning on Monday and do laundry on Tuesday. If you get stuck figuring out what is best, just jot down a schedule and go with it for a while. You'll find out whether that works for you or not.
Most families with small children will not be able to complete all of their laundry in one single day. You might consider having a second laundry day or doing a load each day in addition to your weekly scheduled day.
Make sure that your schedule is a reasonable one for you. Consider your family's current activity level, your health, the size of your home, etc. Many women come up with a routine that is too detailed and too ambitious, only to burn out when they can't keep it up. Work on blocking in your basic priorities first. Then add in things like polishing the silver or cleaning the grout. As we've discussed before, ask your husband what his priorities are and meet those.
For some of us who have chronic health challenges, it may seem daunting to keep to a weekly schedule as we cannot predict how we will feel on any given day. Yet, having a schedule and being thrown off of it now and again is better than not scheduling at all. Let's say that you miss a Tuseday due to illness. On Wednesday, do your regular Wednesday tasks first. Then, as you have time and energy, catch up on what you missed on Tuesday. Other than laundry or grocery shopping, what you missed one day can likely wait until the next week if that's the absolute best you can do. You might crunch along on a carpet that needs vaccuming for several days. Eventually, however, you will get it clean.
In a similar way, you will need to work around babies, unexpected company, holidays, etc. Think through your week on Monday morning. This week, Aunt Marina is coming to stay on Thursday, so I need to have my Thursday shopping done early.
Flylady's daily emails are a popular way to stay on task. Some people really like Flylady's system; others don't. If you would like to check out Flylady, you could try getting her emails for a while and decide if they are for you or not. Or, you could visit her site and jot down ideas for developing your own way of scheduling your home keeping.
Here is Denise Schofield's weekly schedule:
Monday: laundry, iron, mend, clean fireplace if needed.
Wednesday -- launrdy, water plants (dust plants if needed) clean telphone
Friday -- laundry, wash sheet and bedding as needed, wash floors, wipe doorknobs and light switches, wash front door, polish kitchen canisters and cupboards, wash trash baskets, dust and empty vacuum bag, shop
Monthly: Clean garage
As far as just the tasks of house cleaning are concerned, she aims for two hours of cleaning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and only does maintenance cleaning on the other days. That is the basis of the schedule you see listed above.
I've included her schedule only as an example. Remember, everyone's schedule is personal. Take some time to evaluate your weekly routine and tweak it so that it works well for you.
If you are just now drawing up a weekly schedule, you will need to refer to it often in the beginning. Eventually, it will become such a part of your thinking that you do it automatically. When you get to that point, you will find that your life at home is probably progressing much more smoothly and orderly. This frees up more time for you to do the extra things in life that you enjoy.
Happy Home Keeping!