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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How We're Keeping It Clean In 2013. {Free Download!}

I know, this post sounds like it should be all sponsored and stuff. Nope, I'm just feeling really give-y lately.

So, in case you're new around here, we have ten mammals that live in my house. There's me, Kyle, and the kids (that's 4); then we have the five cats (up to 9) and Cheech the Chihuahua rounding out the ten. Which, while busy, when you're in 1250 square feet of house all together ALL THE TIME because it's winter and we just don't get out much, things get crazy messy and frankly gross up in here.

Now, I'm going to admit something.

I'm not much of a cleaner.

Pretty much -- and this was how I grew up -- cleaning isn't really something you do unless you know you have people coming over. I mean, the basics of the dishes and laundry and stuff happen as needed, but like dusting and stuff? For the birds. Or are being done three hours before a birthday party in a furied fit. Same diff. Part of it for me is that if I can't give 1000% attention and scrub things with a toothbrush, I'd rather not bother. And of course, as things pile up and the chaos becomes worse, the more anxious I get because my head is screaming DEAL WITH THAT, OVER THERE, FOR THE LOVE and another voice is all but that's going to take like five hours and some Gorilla Glue and the kids are up and we need to be somewhere in 30 minutes and they start arguing and my heart rate increases and I just leave the room because there are other things I need to immediately deal with, thanks.

I am epic at procrastination.

Meanwhile, shit doesn't get handled until we spend an entire weekend scrubbing things bare and are frustrated because how Kyle and I clean are COMPLETELY different so there's a lot of drama involved and it's really just awful. So we don't do it again until we have to.

Cycle, continued.

ANYWAY, so a couple of weeks ago I saw via my friend Vicki on Pinterest a weekly cleaning list from Christina of Organize for Free which she, in turn, got from Jenny at Little Green Notebook (which I had actually seen when she first posted it but was like OMG NO WAY NOT CLEANING EVERYDAY NOT HAPPENING *runs away screaming with hands flailing overhead*) and even though I still blanched at the idea of daily cleaning, a week after I saw it I was still thinking about it, so I went ahead and printed it out and hung it on the side of our fridge where we keep the random magnets and local to-go menus.

While not perfect for my family and our lives, it certainly did give me a punch in the patoot to do little things throughout the day to make my house cleaner. Something about a checklist, I guess. Of course, I didn't stick to it to a T, but I think that the way it's set up allows for some wiggle room -- for when things come up or you need to double up on days, it's not too hard to give yourself some slack if you don't get things done exactly how they are listed.

So after using it for a couple of weeks, I decided to vamp it up a bit and make it (a) prettier to look at and (b) slightly adjusted to my family's lifestyle.

And then I made it ten different ways for you all to have:

The colors underneath are listed in order, left to right, top row first. Download them all if you want and make a notepad, I don't care. I just like when things are colorful. If there's a color or a background pattern you desperately want and you don't see it here, let me know and I'll try and whip something up for you. I've also thought about framing one and using the glass with a dry-erase marker so I don't have to keep printing them out, but I haven't found a frame I like yet, so for now this'll do.

Want to see one bigger?

It's pretty basic -- there are tasks for the AM and PM, which admittedly is a lot easier to manage if you're someone who is based out of their home most of the day, but the morning tasks are super short and easy to do and shouldn't take more than 10 minutes each. Because believe me, if they did, I wouldn't do them. And sometimes I do little tricks like set my washing machine up the night before and use it's fancy delay start function to start the stupid thing while I'm out running or whatnot so I only have to remember to throw a load in the dryer, and like magic I have laundry done.

The evening stuff is just as simple (save for the rotating tasks, but I'm getting there) and honestly, sometimes I tackle some of those during naptime instead of at night, but it all depends on how my day is going. I actually almost listed things as "Naptime" and "Bedtime" tasks, but then I remembered not everyone lives on a toddler schedule, so I didn't. For things like "Organize Drop Zone" that's just my way of getting myself to tackle the places we literally drop our stuff -- the Expedit unit in the living room, the dining room table, my desk in the kitchen, etc. I just try to find one place to organize just a little bit so I don't feel overwhelmed by everything piling up and I can make steady progress on keeping crap in findable places.

Now, there are two kinds of rotating tasks -- an evening task for each day of the week and then weekly tasks to be done on the weekend. Christina had the weekly tasks on her Friday night list and I was like, NOPE. I don't want to to jack on Friday nights except indulge in weekend activities, thanks. I thought weekends were better times to do stuff like cleaning an appliance and such than a freaking Friday night, but to each their own. And the way this is set up, you can pick a skip day if you want, like don't clean at all on Saturday (or hell, it can be a Tuesday if that suits you, it's your life, you live it) just make sure you get back into the groove of things. Just tackle those extras one week at a time, and if you have things you need to make sure you do that aren't things I need to do, then write them on in and go for it.

Now, I added the line for the Pinterest Challenge because pretty much I think we all have Pinterest by now and have all been made to feel like inferior human beings by comparison. I am CONSTANTLY seeing people pin things like "How to clean a Dyson" and "How to get rid of mold in your shower" and hell, I repin those things ... and then never do them because that shit is INVOLVED and that is a big chunk of my cleaning problem right there. So I thought if I set down one challenge a week for myself, I could actually start to deep clean my front loading washing machine one of these days and not have it feel like an overwhelming task. And you know, I completely believe with stuff like that I will be hitting two birds with one stone, being able to check off, say, the week's extra task AND the Pinterest Challenge in one fell swoop and I will feel very proud of myself instead of cursing myself for never just buckling down and DOING it.

In the end, the point here is to make more of a habit of cleaning things as I go so that if people do randomly pop over I only have to apologize for the fact that I've probably not showered yet and not for the cat fur tumbleweeds and smashed up cheddar bunnies smeared on everything. And, this gives Kyle and I a clear set of goals and responsibilities to accomplish that don't involve one of us feeling like the other one isn't doing things up to par while setting the groundwork for giving the kids chores as they get a bit older. So it's a win-win all around, for now.

So let me know if you give these a try or think there should be any tweaks and I hope this can help you finagle cleaning your house into your regular routine instead of making it a daunting task saved only for special occasions or sheer necessity. 

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