Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall Cleaning Schedule

Bonnie at the House of Grace blog will be hosting a cleaning party over the next few weeks. The idea is for bloggers to talk about their fall cleaning schedules and to post pictures of their cleaning.

As you have probably figured out by now, I enjoy homemaking. I think that is part of the reason why I enjoy being a Professional Organizer, it's because I can help other people make their home nice too. That being said, I've developed some cleaning tips over the years that make the job much easier.

  • Have a vision for your house- For me, I want to walk in every day to a clean, organized and beautiful home. That is peaceful to me.
  • Know what you don't want- I don't like things on flat surfaces. It drives me crazy to have something in the sink and then you can't turn on the water until you move that item. Or to have something on the kitchen table and then you have to move it to eat. Who wants to live like that?
  • Learn how to be a great housekeeper-Learn tips and tricks to clean more efficiently. I frequently read books and am always learning new ways to do things. Doing this, keeps me motivated. Also, recently I was talking to my friend's housekeeper and asked her about how they clean baseboards and she shared her tips with me. Don't be afraid to ask professionals or even friends whose homes you admire for tips.
  • Get a cleaning schedule-If you really want to get it done fast, you have to have a schedule. Think of it like MapQuest, where they give you two options-do you want the shortest time or the shortest distance (sometimes that takes you longer). For housekeeping, you want the shortest amount of time and having a schedule allows you to be more efficient, thus saving you the maximum amount of time. In my book, cleaning is a lot like exercising, I am always happier when I am done.
  • Get tools to make the job easier -For example, I love my Eureka Enviro Steam Mop-it does a great job, is non toxic and gets the floors really clean. No more scrub mop and bucket of water!
  • Get tools that inspire you-I have a pretty broom that's black and white. There are so many options today, it doesn't have to be boring.
  • Cut the clutter-Less really is more when it comes to cleaning. Pick a few things and get rid of the rest. As a general rule, I try to have no more than three/four things on a table. Makes it much easier to dust.
  • Get a maid-If you don't want to do it yourself, hire someone. You don't get extra points for doing it yourself.

Guest bedroom in my former home.

My cleaning schedule consists of three basic parts: daily maintenance, focus (light) cleaning and zone (deep) cleaning. I start each day with my "Daily Routine/Maintenance". This is the first sheet in my home planning notebook that lists the order of the day, everything from my morning, afternoon and evening routines, along with cleaning tasks as well as my "to do" items for the day. Included in my morning routine are basic maintenance tasks related to housekeeping. These include: unloading the dishwasher, emptying trash, doing a load of laundry, making the beds and touching up the bathroom. I keep these "Daily Routine" forms in my 'Home" (Home Organization Manual for Efficiency-This is my own Dream Organizers product.) planning notebook (kind of like a Franklin Planner) and start a new form each day. I have all of my routines listed out and follow the tasks in the same order each day. This notebook sits on my desk and my entire day flows from this book.

The second piece of my cleaning schedule is what I call, "Focus" or light cleaning. I do each room of my home on a particular day of the week. The plan is to "focus" on one room each day of the week, Monday through Friday, so that I don't have to clean on weekends. Light cleaning is just that, it's dusting and cleaning the floors. I created this schedule myself and keep a Focus Cleaning Schedule in my book and each week I start a new sheet and cross off items as they are done.

The last piece of my cleaning schedule is the "Zone" or deep cleaning. These are the deep cleaning tasks that most people consider "spring cleaning". Instead of spring cleaning, I do these tasks once a month or thereabout, to keep things dust free and clean. For Zone Cleaning, I use Fly Lady's Zone Cleaning system. I have tried many systems over the years, including Martha Stewart's but Fly Lady's Zone Cleaning System is the best (scroll to the bottom of the link to see the detailed Acrobat lists). I don't care for other parts of her system but in terms of the zone cleaning, it's great (my maintenance and focus schedules are my own). She divides the entire home into zones and then does one zone a week. At the beginning of the month, she'll list the schedule for each zone. She has a list you can download. I put my list in Excel and then customized it by adding/deleting items specific to my home. I keep Zone Cleaning tasks in my home notebook as well.

So let's see how this works. In my planning notebook, the first three sheets consist of my "Daily Routine", "Focus Cleaning Schedule" and then my "Zone Cleaning Schedule". I'll use my bathroom as an example.

Powder room in my former home. I had to laugh when I saw this picture-who uses bar soap or those room deodorizers anymore.

Daily Routine/Maintenace for the bathroom-Light touch up-Make sure the sink is cleaned, no spatters on the mirror, cat litter is swept up and the bathroom is presentable.

Focus Cleaning Schedule tasks occur on Tuesday of each week and include: Scrub shower/tub. Change cat litter. Polish mirror. Empty trash. Scrub floors/baseboard. Clean toilet.

Zone Cleaning Schedule occurs once a month and includes tasks such as: dusting the ceiling/walls, vacuum ceiling vents, dust/polish chandelier, cleaning six panel doors, cleaning the scale, washing the rug, etc. The beauty of the zone cleaning is that I have an entire week to do all of these tasks. A typical zone will have 20 or so tasks in it. I simply choose three to four of those tasks each day and do them. By the end of the week, it's done. If I don't get all of them done, it's o.k. because the zone will come up again in four weeks. For zone cleaning, I'll typically highlight the three or four tasks that I want to accomplish that day. I usually pick a few easy ones and then a harder task.

Overall, I probably spend around 30 minutes or so on the average day cleaning, sometimes more, sometimes a little less. This doesn't include cleaning up after meals, since that is a given. I also do all of this with grain of salt. If I've been up all night caring for Dear Son and haven't had much sleep, it's o.k. if something doesn't get done. As long as my house is picked up and orderly, it's o.k. if the ceiling doesn't get dusted that day. The bottom line is that it's about making a nice home for your family. And when your home is clean and organized, everything works better.


Bonnie @ House of Grace said...

LOVE IT!!!! This is a GREAT post! I also like fly lady although I have actually adapted her plan. I think it is great to have a schedule that works for you. Ideally, I wish I could have a daily maid, lol! THanks so much for linking up!
Bonnie :)

Bonnie @ House of Grace said...

I meant to say I have NOT adapted her plan. I am thinking about it though.

Dream Mom said...

Bonnie, I am only refering to the Zone schedule not the other stuff. She's not very organized and I don't advocate a lot of her ideas like "randomly" tossing out 27 things, etc. My daily schedule, my focus schedule are my own.

Bonnie @ House of Grace said...

I just featured your post here!

Thanks for linking up. Have a great weekend.

Bonnie :)

Kathy said...

Hi I found you through the house of Grace -wow what an orgabized scheduule you have -I have yourr blog bookmarked now and I'll be browsing for more hints on cleaning and getting organized -I wish you would take us through each room or the touch spots like spices, family medicines , desk , jewelery, -thanks for sich a good blog

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