Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Getting Housework on Auto-Pilot

Six months ago I made a New Years Resolution to get the house more organized. Little did I know what a lofty goal this would be... only because it has opened my eyes. I started with little things like organizing the kids toys, the flow of everyday paperwork, and most recently housework.

I have often heard friends of mine describe an elaborate system for keeping their homes clean. It seemed so daunting. I'm not a messy person. I like things clean, but I've never had much of a system for it. I just cleaned as needed. This approach has worked for years. But, I started to notice that some things fell through the cracks. Things like cleaning out the garage, that happen yearly, can easily be forgotten altogether. And when my husband asks what he can do to help, caught of guard, I don't usually have a good answer. And, knowing that the summer is approaching and I'll have four children at home during the day, I wanted to make sure I was equipped to have them help me with the workload. So, I figured it was time to think about housework so that I could stop thinking about it.

Here's what I did:
  • Wrote a list of chores that need to be done regularly, acknowledging that the list would never be complete, but that trying is better than nothing!
  • Separated the tasks into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual, and annual categories.
  • Sat at the computer and typed up my "Grand Chore Chart."
    I assigned weekly chores a certain day of the week, taking into account my schedule, and what I can actually do on any given day. For less frequent chores, I took into account, weather, and our family schedule as I assigned certain months for certain tasks.
Here's what I ended up with:
The Grand Chore Chart

I know, a lot of work. But I have heard it said, "the busier you are, the more time you should spend planning." This is true here. I've been running off this chore chart for about three months now. The benefits have converted me.

  • Weekends aren't filled with cleaning because I've taken care of so much of it over the week. Therefore, I'm finding more time to spend with my family.
  • When my husband asks what needs to be done or my children want to earn the right to play the computer or something else, I can quickly tell them what needs to be done.
  • I feel like the time during my day is freed up because I'm not having to think about what I might be forgetting.
  • The kitchen disposal isn't near as disgusting to clean when I do it weekly!
Of course, there are some days when I don't get the allotted tasks done. No biggie. I just catch up or leave them out altogether for the week. After all, since I'm doing them weekly, it's okay if I miss a week.


  1. LOVE it! Thanks for the idea!!

  2. I love this idea. Would you elaborate on the "shoe basket" task for me? What is the function of shoe baskets in your house?

  3. I put a shoe basket in our entry way and have the kids put their shoes in it when they remove them. Keeps the entry way more tidy and give the kids an easy job they can do on their own when it's time to empty it.

  4. Thanks for sharing your chart. I adapted it and have been using it for a week. I like feeling like if I don't have time to do the whole bathroom on Thursday, that's fine. I will do the parts I skipped next week.

    Shoe Baskets. I think I need that. I can never find the shoes I want for the kids when it's time to head out.

  5. Kirsten,
    I'm glad you found some use from the chart. That's my hope because why start from scratch if you don't have to? I think I will come to the point where I'll only make changes to the chart and print a new one once a year. (I'm still finding things that I want to add to it or take off of it.) I didn't want to have one that I would have to print weekly or even monthly because I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep up with that.

  6. yeah, i agree with not wanting to print it regularly. I like the satisfaction of checking things off so I put little pencil tics in as I go. I'm so glad you shared it... I have just been so much more productive. Even old projects I keep meaning to get back to seem to surface better, when I'm doing other chores regularly.

  7. I'm so glad this has been helpful for at least one person! That makes it worth it. ;)

  8. um so why did I never hear of your blog? I tried this type of chart but never could figure out how to work in the flex and so I looked at it when I got bored... oh so I never looked at it. I'll give this a look over.

  9. Kirsten for check off... and not having to print, put it in a slick sheet protector and hang a dry erase next to it. check check

  10. Coretta, you probably haven't heard about my blog because when I started it, I was just doing it for myself as a way to keep a record of what I was learning and share with whoever in the world searches for info on it (though there is a link to it on my Facebook page)...And when questions started getting asked about things I'd blogged about, I figured I shouldn't reinvent the wheel. ;)

  11. I've seen these types of schedules time and time again lately and I KNOW I need to get on a schedule. Not having things clean stresses me out, and then I stress about what needs to be done when and...yeah. I'm a mess. I read this post back when you posted it, but wasn't ready for it. :) But I'm back today because I am ready to stop being a wuss and just do it. Derolene linked me back to it, and brought up the point that if I have another pregnancy like my first, and have to be on bed rest for any amount of time, a chore schedule would REALLY help my husband or whomever is helping out, especially with a toddler. Thank you for posting. Your blog is so helpful!


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