When was the last time you cleaned the cobwebs out of the upper corners of your rooms? How about dusting the ceiling fans or cleaning the top of your refrigerator? I know. Those chores are not as critical as cleaning the toilets or making sure the spilled honey on the floor of the kitchen is mopped. But as I go about my day, I often wonder if those areas will EVER get cleaned. Add to that, if you are training the children to do some of these chores, you know they are likely not going to clean the way YOU would clean. The corners of the floor may not get swept or there will be streaks left on the bathroom mirror. You don’t want to always come behind them to “do it right” or they will never feel like they are meeting your expectations.
When my kids were younger and learning to do these chores, I remember biting my tongue when guests would use our bathroom.
The kids cleaned in there this week, not me.
Oh, and they were the ones who messed it up in the first place.
It was a struggle to balance the feelings of realizing that our life with little ones included some beautiful messes, wanting our house somewhat sanitized for guests, and being frustrated at looking at all those dust bunnies under the couch taunting me.
This week I am traveling to Atlanta to speak at the Teach Them Diligently Convention. One of my workshops is titled, “Homeschooling and Homemaking: From Misorganzation to Miss Organization.”
One section of the workshop deals with trying to get a handle on these areas that can be hard to stay on top of. I call these cleaning issues Detail Cleaning, because we don’t necessarily need to do them each week, but if we never do them, we’ll have deep, dark corners of our home that make us shudder as we walk by.
The idea behind this chart is to divide your house into eight sections. Your house sections will look a little different from mine, depending on your house configuration and what chores are more important to you. You may want to include one for a large back porch or a garage. You may not have a room dedicated as a school room, but you might want to include a long hallway, foyer, and storage closets.
Once you have your divisions, then all you need to do is dedicate 30-45 minutes in your week for detail cleaning. I do mine on Friday mornings. So on my calendar, every Friday morning at 10:00 has Detail Clean. Now how do I know where to clean? I look at my chart. The first Friday, I will clean areas in my kitchen. I pull things off the counters and clean behind them. Gone are those crumbly toast crumbs! I pull out the step ladder and wipe down the top of the fridge. I clean the kitchen window and wipe down the vent hood over our stove with grease cleaner.
The next Friday I will tackle detail cleaning in the master bedroom, getting the ceiling fan, using the vacuum hose to get under the bed, wiping down our blinds, and other detail areas I don’t get to each week.
You see, these are areas that we just can’t tackle during the regular weekly cleaning. It also gives us a chance to hit those areas that our kids might not be covering while doing their chores. And if we designate a time to do them, we can be sure eventually they will be covered. In fact, if we follow the chart, these areas will be cleaned every other month! And without us having to overfill our schedules. Just 30 minutes a week!
Now let’s say you have a field trip planned one Friday. That’s OK. I find that if I have something on my calendar, then I will make a point to move it to another spot in my schedule so I am sure to do it. If it isn’t on my calendar at all, I never seem to get it done. So look for a small space of time Thursday afternoon or Saturday morning. And if you just can’t get to it that week, just push that detail cleaning area to the next Friday, and you’re good to go.
It is so important that we intentionally take time to plan. If we don’t, the unimportant things will easily fill our days. This is one way I have found to get a small handle on some areas where I have felt out of control.