Jul 16, 2008

Catching up when you're behind on housework

I'm normally a fairly routine and scheduled person. First thing every morning I sit down and make my "To Do List" for the day. I have a notebook that I use specifically for that purpose, and I've done it for so long that it's become a habit. For the past three weeks, while babysitting for my grandson, my daily list has been comprised of ways to keep him busy and having fun, with little mention of housework. I find myself in a position that I know many people find themselves in. I love my house to be clean and organized -- and it's not right now. Some clutter has crept in, particularly in my "office" where my bookshelves became a stash area for craft items I didn't want within Brayden's reach (playdoh, markers, crayons, etc.). My family room became a catch-all for toys and books. The refrigerator, which normally gets cleaned out every week on trash day, has a stale smell to it. Although my guest room isn't cluttered, I do have company coming next week and would like to freshen everything up -- wash windows and curtains, change linens, dust, and generally give the room a good sprucing up and cleaning out. So how do you get your house "back" once it's in a state of clutter and dust? Similar to the philosophical question "How do you eat an elephant?" ... One bite at a time. I walked around the house yesterday afternoon and made a list of everything I needed (and wanted) to get done in the next week before my son and DIL arrive for a visit. As I tell my husband, they are not the King and Queen of England stopping by, so perfection is not my goal here. However, having a clean and clutter free house is important to me, and even more important when I have visitors coming. The list I made was a bit daunting. But I made a second list, and took the tasks "one bite at a time" and now it all seems not only possible, but not that big of a deal. My second list was a list of days between now and when company arrives. I looked at my list of "need to do's" and decided what needed to be done closest to their arrival day -- clean the bathrooms, wash the kitchen floor, etc -- and what I could do beforehand that would stay clean (declutter, wash curtains and windows). And I assigned a reasonable amount of tasks to each day. Here's my list: Wednesday Errands: Buy fabric for kitchen valances, new flowers for entry way, get a haircut Declutter office desk and bookcases, dust Clean refrigerator, take out all trash Thursday Wash upstairs curtains Wash windows upstairs Declutter family room bookcase (while laundry is running) Move all toys to playroom in basement Friday (babysitting day) Clean and sweep deck, patio, front porch and walkway Plant flowers Saturday Put up new valances in kitchen Organize kitchen food and dish cupboards Polish counters Sunday Shampoo carpets (Jeff) Dust and clean dining room, including china hutch Re-arrange furniture in family room Monday Wipe down stairs, all baseboards Dust/polish family room, office Tuesday Dust and vac guest room, upstairs hallway, upstairs bathrooms Change linens in guest room and master bedroom Straighten linen closet Wednesday Clean all bathrooms (toilet, tub, tile, sink) Restock guest bathroom (soap, TP, clean towels) Wash Kitchen floor Clean fridge, take out all trash Thursday Last minute tidying What seemed daunting and impossible, now seems possible (and, to be honest, a bit exciting because I love it when my house is clean!). I don't see any day that is more than three hours of work, with the exception of shampoo'ing carpets, a task which I've gladly delegated to my husband. I have some sewing I want to do, and see plenty of time in the afternoons and evenings to get it done! So don't let getting behind on your housework be overwhelming. Go from room to room and make a list of everything you need and want to do, break it down into "bites" and give yourself permission to get things completed over a fairly long period of time, but with a deadline. You'll get it done!


Tipper said...

When I'm feeling overwhelmed by all the things I need to do-a list always makes me feel better too.

Hope you have a good visit with your company!

Lisa said...

Wow, all that cleaning for us? I know what you mean, though. I like to have people over so that it forces me to clean just little bit better than I normally would. I look around with a "fresh" perspective and start to see little pockets of clutter and areas to clean that I must have been subconciously ignoring!