WOW! Is there enough time in the world to get a house clean? I am a Foster Mom and lots of family in and out throughout the week makes for plenty of mess. Add to that, I am an antiques dealer and non-reformed inveterate shopper! I have had to make some changes to my usual household cleaning schedule and give up the state of perfection I aspired to previous to becoming a Foster Mom, and curb my impulse to but yet more "junk". I have taken on rehabbing the home in addition to all that. So here is what I have done, to get on top of all this mess. I Goggled Home Organization, Home Cleaning, Cleaning Schedules and so on. The best of which was this: First, start small. Grab a timer and a box. Set the timer for 10 minutes (everyone has 10 minutes they can let the phone ring, the kids won't starve, and the dogs can wait 10 more minutes for a walk). Walk through the house with your box in hand. Grab ANYTHING you see which you DO NOT LOVE LOVE LOVE or NEED NEED NEED, toss it in the box. When the timer goes off, you tape the box shut and A. Throw it OUT in the trash (no waking up at 3 am and retrieving it either!) B. Put it in the car and the next time you pass the Salvation Army or some other charity drop box, in that puppy goes! DO NOT LOOK BACK! Do this a few times and you should be getting down to some loved and cherished items. Are there still too many? If so, decide to box up a few and bring them out at certain times of the year, like Christmas, or Easter. Store them with those holiday decorations. Mark the year, whats in the box and put it away, for now. Now you have been still cleaning, but now you are having less to clean, so it should be taking you less time, or, if you are still spending the same amount of time, you are getting more done with it. Stop shopping for knick knacks....they will only require dusting, washing and so on. If the towels don't have holes in them and everyone has MORE than enough, then don't buy more just cause they have some cute little duck on them and would look so cute, UNLESS, you are prepared to go and get the towels you presently have and toss the same amount out or to charity. EITHER OR! If you have 3 radish rose makers, of which you have not used even one, think about making a gift to charity, selling them on Ebay (I sold 10......count them......10 ice cream scoops TOGETHER in a lot and still had my 3 favorites for ice cream parties!) sending them to the trash, Freecycle, or Craigslist, or giving them to a friend or relative who has until the weekend to come and get them! My routine as far as cleaning is this, I have chores I do, I have chores the kids do and I have a rhyme and a reason. Daily chores are dishes, sweep the kitchen and living room floor. My bathroom gets cleaned a bit before and after a shower and then for real, on Saturday. The kids are responsible for their own bathroom on the chore chart its this ones turn, next week, the other ones turn. Same for the upstairs hallway, and their rooms. On Saturday morning, we lay about, and then we get to striping our bed sheets, laundry, their bathroom top to bottom and their floors and furniture. The floors are swept and mopped and vacuumed. Counters thoroughly cleaned, dishes washed and COMPLETELY put away. This is all done as Sunday starts the new chore chart and no one is allowed to leave chores undone and incomplete for the next persons week, unles they would like not only their chores, but the ones they didn't complete for ANOTHER week! Now this may sound like a lot, but if you are doing the daily routine of cleaning, wipe and go.......spending a day or two a week on emptying a closet, cleaning one corner of a room, you will find it somehow begins to come down to one day, for about 2 hours, you will have to really have to "GO AT IT!". We do NOTHING until its done and checked. Then we go food shopping on Wednesday and Saturday. Trash cans go out on Wednesday night, so I like to have the fridge emptied of whatever compost has slipped into the fridge and began to mutate, so it doesn't stink up the can for months to come! And Saturday, just to get some other project done. Clothesline one week, dryer the next, cleaning out the basement, and so on. Once I had myself organized, I find that the real chore for me, is Saturdays push for laundry. I was doing load after load of laundry. So I would start calling for laundry on Wednesday, some do, some don't. Those that wait, can fold and put their own clothes away, those that bring theirs early, get folding service with a smile and a basket to carry it upstairs to put away themselves. My own routine is as follows, I clean a little something in the bathroom, each and every time I shower. One time, its putting up the towels and sheets in the closet, another time, its wiping down the floor with some damp rag towel AFTER my shower, another maybe spritzing the shower with cleaner before getting in and then wiping it down while I am getting my hair wet (it works too!). I pull throw rugs every 4-7 days, depending on use or signs of filth. For me, the hardest part was simply stopping the urge to buy beautiful things, even if I didn't have a use. Now, it MUST have a definite USE, not one I'll find a use for. This has solved a ton of my major headaches! But the cleaning in small spurts worked really well, getting started for 10 minutes at a clip helped, and making NO PLANS for Saturday morning, and some plans for Saturday afternoon and if all is right with the world, I plan a treat and start talking about it on Thursday about maybe going to the library, the fair, the flea market, Chuckie Cheese or whatever. This gets everyone thinking about getting their stuff done early and on time, no foot dragging and I have help getting it done too! The kids are helping one another and I them, so we can go do THIS OR THAT later. Its so worth it to not have to be chained to the house, cleaning and swabbing the decks ALL DAY! Who has TIME for that anyways? You might think we spend all day on Saturday, but no, its maybe a solid 2 hours, if the kids weren't here, I would have even less to do now. But, its so worth it, to develop that schedule, keep to it as much as possible. If I see a busy week coming, I start prepping. Like in a few weeks I will be going to Durham, I want the house to be clean when I leave so I can come home and crawl in my bed when I get home. I will start by making sure the laundry is done and I have fresh sheets on my bed when I leave. The floors will be swept and mopped and the dishes put away, anything else, can simply wait! Hope this helps you! Its a dirty job, but you can do it! Just don't be in it by yourself. Hubby can do a chore chart too! Good luck!
Answered By: Tippy's Mom - 6/19/2008