Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Create a Routine

My three-year old still asks some nights why he has to have a bath he's just going to get dirty again, he points out. I don't tell him, but sometimes I feel the same way about cleaning the house. But just as a regular bath removes the grime of another day and soothes a child for bedtime, regular housecleaning helps keep a household calm and functional, and prevents it from tipping over the edge from messiness into downright dysfunction.

So set aside a regular time to do household chores and make it a routine, as predictable as a child's nighttime bath. I find it easiest to do the bulk of my chores in the morning. Every day, once the rest of the family is out the door, I put the baby down to play or cart him along in his Baby Bjorn while I make beds, throw in a load of laundry, swab down the bathroom, or pay bills. Some days I give each room a 5-Minute Attack. Other times I clean one room thoroughly.
Whatever chores I choose, it's always my morning routine, and just like that nightly bath, it keeps my house and my kids relatively tidy and clean.

Your Plan of Attack

Spotless perfection can't be achieved in a house where kids live, and even if it can, it's not worth it. When your children grow up, they'll remember with
fondness that you read to them, helped them with their math homework, and
had time to play with them, rather than that the beds were made with hospital corners or the laundry folded with military precision. For that reason, time management is one of the most important aspects of housekeeping. If you can manage your time effectively, housekeeping will become less drudgery and more of a challenge: Can you beat your floor-washing time from last week? How many things can you accomplish before the buzzer on the dryer goes off?

Different systems work for different people. You may prefer to set Saturday morning aside for cleaning the house, top to bottom, or assign an hour a day to each room in the home. (Keep in mind that the kitchen and bathroom will require some daily maintenance, no matter what schedule you devise.) Try out a few systems and stick to the one that works best for you.


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