Thursday, February 24, 2011

Housekeeping Ain't No Joke

To all of the Louisa May Alcott fans, from whence I garnered the title of this blog ...

Want some help sorting through the everlasting list of chores you know you need to do?  This is the blog for you!

But first, allow me to congratulate Amanda, who was the randomly selected winner of the giveaway this week!  She won a nice little package including a book, an index-spiral of verses, and some bookmarks.  If you didn't enter in this giveaway, be sure to enter in the next one!

der prize, der prize!

Now, you may be feeling a wee bit jealous or just wishing for something free to brighten your winter day - so at the end of this blog, I am going to offer you a delightfully free treat - our first download!  Read on ...

Let's talk about every homemaker's favorite thing to do - chores!  And by favorite, I mean the thing she does the most.  Chores generally fall into a few categories: daily, monthly, seasonally, sporadically, and not-often-enoughly.

Every house needs to be maintained with some level of order - whatever is acceptable and functional for you. Now, this standard will vary from house to house based on the quantity of people, degree of manageable chaos, and personal level of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Miz Carmen suggested using old spice tins for storage on the fridge!

Spotless: At Windsor castle there is a very high standard that must be maintained: daily chores may include dusting the baseboards, waxing the tables, changing the sheets, polishing the silver, clipping new bouquets of flowers, and meeting with the staff to discuss dinner service.

Happy Medium: At my own castle, where it is just my husband and I, I can maintain a nice standard of cleanliness since I have no children to take priority yet: daily chores usually include running laundry, making the bed, moving everything and wiping the counters, picking up the living room, preparing dinner, and doing the dishes.

Sheer Survival: At your house (let's just imagine for a moment you have scads of children that you home-school, which many of my readers do), daily chores may include taking out the dirty diapers with a forklift, washing enough laundry to clothe the US Army, shoveling the living room floor just to find the baby, pouring a seven-pound case of noodles into the pot for dinner, and ensuring that everybody completes their schoolwork on time - dusting the baseboards be hanged!  For you, the priority may be discipling your children and keeping dinner on the table.  As long as those things get done, all the other chores are relatively expendable!

But some stuff just needs to be done regularly! When my husband and I moved to the four-plex we live in now, we scrubbed our former apartment until the walls sparkled and the linoleum looked like a cleaner but still hideous version of itself.  I was appalled at how dirty some places got (the top of the cupboards were abhorrent; underneath the stove was atrocious).  I thought I cleaned my kitchen pretty regularly!

With this horrific memory in mind, I decided to establish a fail-safe system at our new house to make sure that no corner was left behind.  I created a monthly list of tasks for pretty much every room; this list works perfectly because I can do one task, by itself, whenever I have the time, and then date it and check it off.  I rarely ever have an entire day to devote to "spring cleaning", but by spreading these deep-cleaning tasks out over the course of a month, I know they will be completed regularly.  I hung each list in the corresponding room somewhere so that I can see it when I go in there.

I usually can't keep up with house management on a macro, day-by-day level because a schedule will go awry, my micro-managing will fall apart, something out of the ordinary will happen, I won't do everything I dreamed of and I'll feel discouraged; this monthly checklist gives me enough latitude to live life, prioritize daily,and just do what I have time to do.

the kitchen list, hidden in the cupboard ... 

Following is a sample of what I put on my kitchen list.  My list will vary from yours - you may have a much higher level of cleaning you want to accomplish and include washing the ceiling and replacing the hardwoods monthly, or you may have a much lower priority level for tasks and know that simply moving everything off the counter and washing them once a month would be a good start.  Additionally, if there is something I want to do a couple times a month - like scrub the toilet in the bathroom, say - I simply wrote it on my list a few times.  Then, it is done several times over the course of a month and I have a dated record of when it happened.

Kitchen List
Empty/clean fridge and freezer
Wash cabinet fronts
Mop floor/under table (this is a big task because we store a lot of boxes under the table!)
Wash microwave
Wash windows
Wash tablecloths
Empty and wash out cabinets
Run vinegar cycle in dishwasher (an empty load with just some vinegar, a cup or two)
Wash garbage can

Sometimes I get on a roll during the day and check off a few of the tasks at a time, such as washing cabinets, microwave, and windows all at once.  Sometimes it takes me a few days, working a bit at a time, to polish off a single task (such as emptying and wiping out the cupboards - a great way to familiarize yourself with where everything is at!  You'll never have another forgotten bottle of That Stuff again!).

In my bathroom, as I noted above, some tasks are listed a few times; like scrubbing the tub, toilet, counters, and mirrors, while others are only listed once, such as cleaning out the drain and mopping the floor.  Those things don't get critical as quickly here (although it may be different for you!).

And now for your free download!  I've created a PDF with a few chore charts ready to be filled out by you and posted around your house, or maybe just stored in your calendar where you can review them and, if you are lucky enough to have kids, assign them to people!

Download the monthly chore chart

Good luck, and happy housework!

Mrs H

Suggestions (please add your ideas in the comments below):
Clutter will not build up at your house because you'll be aware of it after moving it a few times - junk in cupboards and closets will be thrown out!  No rotting food ... no build-up in the trash cans and baskets ... and the dishes will always be pretty well organized! 

Laundry Room: 
Vacuum out dryer/lint trap
Run vinegar cycle in washer
Wash the plastic parts of the washing machine (i.e. soap tray)
Wipe out laundry baskets
Wipe down exteriors of the W/D
Clean and wipe down any shelves

Clean out drain thoroughly (pull out plug, pull up any hair, pour drain cleaner down)
Scrubbing, floor mats (put on the list as frequently as you think it needs it!  Different bathrooms within a house may vary, too)
Mop floors
Wash trash can
Empty cupboards and clean, organize

Change sheets (2 - 3 x a month - or more, if you have real zeal!)
Empty and vacuum/dust closet

Pantry and Root Cellar: 
Empty and wipe out cupboards
Rotate and sort through cold-storage produce

Please post ideas, suggestions, and comments!  Help other readers out with your genius! 


  1. What a fun blog! I like the humor; "shoveling the living room floor just to find the baby"!!
    Hilarious. :D

  2. Well, you know how it is sometimes ... we must do the most important things! You can check one of the boxes at the end of the blog to choose your reaction, if you want - was it funny, useful, deep, or maybe a little of each? Who knows!

  3. The living room? Is THAT where he crawled off to??

    -Miz Carmen-




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