Monday, March 1, 2010

Adventures in Organization

Organization. . . EWE!

Even the word makes me cringe. Well, not quite, but close enough. Seriously, though. . . Its not just about where you stick the clutter anymore. People organize their meals and their clean up schedule. They have weekly calendars on their fridge that they can write on with the dry erase markers. They have every minute planned because if they don't they can't get everything done. And me? I mostly clean when I'm upset. There are piles of stuff stuck here and there for when I have the time to sort through them. Dinner is whatever we have on hand to make that sounds good to myself or my husband. And we don't have enough stuff to do to require me to have a dry erase calendar. YET.

But that's all about to change. See, it irritates me that by permitting myself to be so disorganized, I am being inefficient in the process. I have recently seen people post a lot about home management binders and I think its a pretty neat idea. Primarily, I'm interested in the cleaning schedule aspect of it, as I think it will motivate me to maintain a clean house and I think if I can divide all the work that needs to be done weekly into daily tasks, I think that will make it easier. After all, it seems much easeier to clean 45 minutes a day than 5 hours and 15 minutes straight once a week.

Also, my husband has decided to join the Army. If everything goes as planned, he should be leaving for basic May 24th. So not only do I need to get the house super clean before he leaves, but I also need to develop a plan of action to maintain a super clean house. Which seems like a daunting task to me, considering that all 3 of my girls seem to pick different times of the day to be clingy and I'm sure that will only get worse without daddy around.

Last but not least, I want to set a good example for my girls. I'd much rather teach them to have a good work ethic and to do their work efficiently than teach them that cleaning is something we only do when we're upset or something to be put off as long as possible.

So I started off making a list of all the chores that I can think of that need to be done. Then I divided them into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. With 3 girls 5 and under and a dog, there really aren't any tasks that can wait longer than a month. Then I divided the weekly tasks in to 7 days.

This is what I have so far.

Daily Chores: vaccuuming floors, wiping tables and counters, doing dishes and doing laundry

Weekly Chores: Cleaning room by room (a different room a day); washing bed linens, bathroom mats, kitchen mats, etc

Twice Weekly Chores: washing diapers, making yogurt (with other cooking to be done on the same days as yogurt making days to simplify life), take trash to the dump (I don't like it to sit around though so if we have more than 2 bags a week, I may end up doing this more than twice a week)

Monthly Chores: wiping down walls, running dishwasher cleaning cycle, running washing machine cleaning cycle, washing all windows, decluttering, cleaning refridgerator, cleaning microwave (not a frequently neccessary chore here since we cover all our food when warming it)

Of course, the hardest part will be the initial cleaning. I'm thinking if I get the initial cleaning done this week, then I can start the maintenance process while Joey is still here and it will be a habit by the time he leaves for basic training.

Here's my plan for the initial clean (which I'll probably use once a month or as needed for spring/fall cleaning as well).

I'm going to start at the top and work my way down that way I'm not carrying dirt and dust downstairs after cleaning the downstairs. Upstairs are the bedrooms and 1 bathroom. I'm going to do the bedrooms first so that after I do the upstairs bathroom, I can use the same stuff to clean the downstairs bathroom instead of putting the cleaners up in between cleanings. I'm going to dust, vaccuum, wash linens, wash the walls, organize and declutter as I go. The master bedroom will need the closet and book shelves decluttered and organized, which won't need to be done in the girls' bedroom.

The bathrooms are going to get the walls, tubs, toilets, sinks, counters and floors washed and they will also be organized and decluttered.

I will be vaccuuming the stairs and washing the walls on my way downstairs.

Downstairs, we have the living room, another bathroom, playroom and kitchen. I will do the bathroom first, then the living room, play room and kitchen. And then there is the garage. . .

The downstairs bathroom will get the same treatment as the upstairs: walls, tubs, toilets, sinks, counters and floors washed with organizing and decluttering along the way. The upstairs bathroom is where we do bathtime and where I take showers, so the towels will stay there and the downstairs bathroom will have first aid and wool washing items as well as any surplus towels.

The living room will have the couch and floors vaccuumed, the entryway swept, walls washed and be decluttered and organized.

The play room will need walls washed, floor and futon vaccuumed, toys organized and decluttered.

The kitchen will also receive the royal treatment -- walls washed; counters, sink, cupboards, appliances, tables and chairs wiped down; floor cleaned; decluttering and organizing.

The garage will be the biggest PITA as far as I'm concerned. It has the boxes we haven't touched in the almost 2 years we've lived here that we'll have to go through and organize and declutter as well as the food storage area that I need to organize myself as Joey initially did the organization and I'll be the one using it while he's gone, so I want to organize it in a way that makes it easiest for me to find stuff while he's gone. Factor in that the garage has recently been used as the "bad dog" area while simultaneously being the staging area for trash before its taken to the dump (not a very well though out plan, I know), its a disaster area. We are going to get a couple more shelving units from Home Depot to store stuff that needs to go (the end product of decluttering) and seasonal stuff that needs to stay (Christmas and halloween decorations, different seasons of clothes, appliances that don't get used very often and therefore won't be given the prime storage slots in the kitchen.

I'm sure there will be several other items we'll need to buy before Joey leaves for basic, such as a kennel which will be used as the new "bad dog" area, a first aid kit, and some other odds and ends.

When I make my notebook, its going to be a 3 ring binder with several sections, the first of which will be the cleaning schedule, but that's just the tip of the iceburb. I'm also going to make a contacts section with names, numbers, addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, etc and I'm thinking about putting a calendar in the book with pages for the rest of the year as well as a menu section for our fave take out places, etc. I'm not sure how long it will take to put this plan into effect, but first thing's first. . . and the first thing is the initial clean. Its going to be a long process and a big change, but a change for the better. I think I'll start on the initial cleaning tomorrow ;).

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