Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sixteen to Spotless

Life in Carpenterville is busy!   Six people, full schedules, friendships, hobbies, pets… the list goes on, all contribute to our way of life – and we love it!  Keeping our home clean is not something most of us are passionate about – note the sarcasm!  Ok, so really, I’m not passionate about it either.  I’d rather sit in the sun, read a book or well, almost anything else, than spend the day cleaning my house!  Still, it needs to be done!

Over the years, I’ve picked up ideas from here and there, and I’d love to share some of those with you today.  As always – I don’t claim to have all the answers – and not everything I do will work for your unique family.  I’ve tried many ideas and continue to tweak them to make it work best for our needs. 

I’m convinced that the most difficult part of any chore is mental!  Getting yourself talked in to getting off Facebook and scrubbing the toilet can take longer than cleaning the whole bathroom!   And when the cleaning list seems unending with your gotta-get-in-to-everything girlies, and can’t-hit-the-target-if-I-tried…so-why-should-I-try boys, feeling like cleaning might only happen when you’ve reached the Nesting Stage of pregnancy.   To me, that would be a pretty big commitment just to get a clean house, so here’s what I do.

Rather than spending day after day… after day trying to keep each room spotless, I started doing what I call STS (Sixteen to Spotless).  Through this plan, I’ve been able to keep our home fairly clean – and when Friday rolls around, it takes very little time to get the weekly housework done.

In my Notebook, (congratulations to Heather M. on winning yesterday’s Notebook giveaway!) I keep a section titled Home.  In there, I have listed each room in my house:

1.       Kitchen
2.       Master Bedroom
3.       Entryway
4.       Tyler’s Room
5.       Amy’s Room
6.       Etc.
7.   Etc.
Every single room/space in the house, from child’s bedrooms to office gets a number.  Each day, one of the rooms is listed in my Daily To-Do list titled: STS: Kitchen.  The next day will say STS: Master Bedroom and so on.  

I really do not enjoy the idea of Spring Cleaning – so I do it in 16 minutes a day.  Have you ever timed yourself to see how much you can do in 16 minutes?  Try it!  You would be amazed!  Suppose your STS for today was your dining room, here’s what you could do:

·         Set the timer then GO! 
·         Wipe down the sticky backs of the chairs you noticed at breakfast. 
·         Grab a broom and knock down all the cobwebs.
·         Wipe down the legs of the buffet table
·         Reorganize the drawers of the china cabinet. 
·         Wash those fingerprints off the windows.

Work only for 16 minutes then quit (ok, so there’s no 16 minute police that are going to show up and arrest you if you keep going).  The idea is to work steadily for a selected amount of time and then give yourself permission to move on to do something else.  If the room you’re assigned to for the day is simple with little to do, do what you feel needs to be done then go drink a Pepsi while patting yourself on the back – just don’t pull a muscle doing it.  If it’s the kitchen, you’ll likely use up all 16 minutes with more you could do.

Still, you’ll be amazed how much better you’ll feel when you open that shiny clean silverware drawer or glance at that cleared-off-for-the-first-time-in-three-weeks-catch-all-area.  And the best news is – it only takes 16 minutes out of your day!  Feel free to take Saturday and Sunday off!  :)

Windows & Light Fixtures:  You should’ve thought ahead here and asked your parents to give birth to a few Amish sisters!  Haha!  (Thanks to my friend, Erin, for that funny)  I don’t relish the thought of spending a WHOLE day washing windows or light fixtures, so I give myself a month to get it done (or I hire Arlene – yes, I admit it!  I have an Arlene.  She’s an Amish girl (not my sister though) who can get those windows cleaned in no time at all for ONLY $30!).  Yes, you read that right, what Arlene can do in 3 hours, I take 30 days.  I have self-diagnosed myself with CADD – that’s Cleaning Attention Deficit Disorder.  I lose interest pretty quick!

I chose two months: May and October for Windows and Lights.  Then in those months I am sure to wash the windows or fixtures in the room I’m cleaning during STS.  See, that was simple and painless. (I still prefer getting an Arlene though).

Gotta add this yet – there’s a lot of lonely SAHM’s out there - some more than others.  The way I was raised (Mennonite) we had work days where we got together in one another’s homes to help with bigger projects like washing windows, painting, canning applesauce, etc.  Maybe you have a group of friends that would enjoy forming a group to do that.  One way to keep track of a schedule for this is to go to the home of each woman on their birthday month.  If your friends all have birthdays in the same month, ditch them and find new ones!  JK!  Talk about it with them, I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with a plan.  This is a great way to build friendships, encourage one another and lighten the load!

So, are these ideas that work for you?  By the time you’ve moved through your entire STS list, cleaning the house each week should be easy-peezy!

Next Wednesday - Controlling the Clutter!

For more organization posts, click on the Home Label towards the bottom of the page.


joanna said...

ur right all mental! thanks, joanna

Marcia said...

I love hearing others' tips, Lynette! I started cleaning similar to this a couple years ago, doing 20 minutes instead, and also 10 minutes a day on my fridge. Amazing the difference it makes!!

Danielle said...

You're so inspiring... I think I need a little STS time in mind sometimes too- Thanks

Mary said...

I'm totally paralyzed by the mental side at times. I like the 16 minute idea. Will have to give it a shot.

Can I just say...I love hearing your take on the Mennonite way of helping each other. I MISS it. Wish I could uproot the whole flock of cousins and move them all to Tennessee with me. Becky and I help each other out quite a bit, but we are only two. I may try the birthday thing with my "gang" in our Sunday school class. It's worth a shot, right?