Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays always make me...

Want to organize and clean my house!!!

No really they do!

I am lucky that I am a Stay at Home Mom and have these days to devote to cleaning and organizing but I know so so many of you are not. That is the one thing I hear the most "You have such productive days because you stay home all day while we all are at work". Trust me it hasn't always been this way! It took me many years (and both kids to be in school) before I could get myself together and organized (an I have not always been a stay at home mom either!) but I have finally got myself into a nice little routine!

Today I am going to share a modified version of my routine that will help all you busy Mommas live clutter free!! This is a process and not an overnight miracle so bear with it and most importantly don't get discouraged!!!

First thing first is to get the house in order!! I would start by doing this in zones (zones is something you will hear me talk a lot about).

The Fly Lady talks a lot about getting your house in order slowly but steadily and I like a lot of the tings she says. I would recommend the first night just clean the kitchen and nothing else! I mean REALLY clean! Don't just put the dishes away and sweep up. Clean out the fridge and make it shine!! Your kitchen will look and smell great!! Your Kitchen will be zone 1

The next night all you will have to do is wipe down counters and do the dishes (or have the kids do them!) in zone 1 and you can work on zone 2 (the bathrooms!!) by day 3 you have zone 1 and 2 basically clean and you can go onto zone 3 (living areas) etc etc.

By the End of the week you will have a clean house!! Then everyday M-F you will assign a zone to a day and just surface clean the rest! Once you have done this for a few weeks it will get easier and easier as you go and take less and less time! If you have kids assign them each a zone to surface clean! My kids have their jobs (dishes and trash) as well as picking up their own toys and junk so I have time to quickly clean my zones! Since my children are still younger I do not assign them their own zone yet but I encourage each of you with older kids to do so!! Give Suzie the kitchen, Sam the Bathrooms, and George the living areas! Make these their jobs and have them surface clean daily and really clean, mop, vacuum, dust once a week!

My kids know that if their jobs and homework are not done they can not go out and play or go to activities! They do homework when they first get home and then chores (unless dishes are on the list for them that day then they can wait til after dinner) This teaches responsibility and structure as well as helping me keep the house clean!! If you are having your kids help and assigning chores then a good thing is a weekly schedule and a check list! Write each person name down the piece of paper and what zone they have and then across the top write M-F everyday have them check their zone off! This shows you that it was done when you get home from work and also the checking makes the person feel accomplished :)

Once you get this routine down then cleaning should only take about 20 minutes daily!! As I said this takes time to get in the routine and does not happen over night! If you are getting your kids involved it is like retraining them and this could be hard (especially for teenagers!) but it can be done with patience and love :)

Another time saver is making a menu! Weekly or monthly menus work great! Think like the school lunch menu calenders you get from school... My kids love them! They go look at it daily and know what is going to be ,ade that day and what to look forward to (or know they want mom to make lunch that day!) If you make one of those for your house it saves time energy and money!!

Just think no more "What's for Dinner..." I do this and it help ion so many ways! I already know each day ahead of time and can prep the night before and it helps with the grocery bill so that I am not paying for food that will go bad because I buy it hoping I will make it! The kids love it too! Each day my daughter looks at the menu the night before and will say "when I wake up I will put my clothes on, have (X) for breakfast and then I
will get brush my teeth and go to school and then tomorrow night we are having (X) for dinner!!!" This is exciting for her because she feel she has some control and security in her 6 year old life!

Since doing this I have saved so much time and money on the infamous "whats for dinner" question and has been great for my family!!

So now you have a clean house and you know what's for dinner so now all you have to do is figure out when and where that away game is... You knew you had that paper somewhere....

That brings me to the second to last thing I am going to touch upon:

Family organizational binders!!

Every family should have one (and if you have small kids two but I will get into that in a bit!)

Start out with a three ring binder (preferably a big thick one) and lots of tab dividers!

I would start by making an out line first (yes this will be a lot like writing a term paper) Start out with the main categories and then go down to sub categories (for example since everyone's will be different depending on your own family and needs...)

  1. Basic Family Info
  2. Calenders, Schedules, and Activites
  3. Finances
  4. Shopping Lists
Then from there do sub categories:

Basic Family Info:

With this section I have a second binder with only this info for babysitters! This way they have all the info they need without them seeing our personal info as well!

I start out with a section of emergency contact numbers (911, management company, Drs, local hospitals, etc etc as well as our cell phones and family members to contact if someone can not get a hold of us) Plus our physical address and directions to our house if 911 needs to be called. Also any house rules or chores they need to do before they get privileges!

I then have a section for each family member listing all allergies and or medical conditions and anything people may need to know if there is an emergency.

Calenders, Schedules, and Activites

I put the monthly meal menu in here as well as school and activity calenders and one monthly calender I can write everything in all the other calenders in to be in one place! This is a great place to put your cleaning zone calender in too!! You can get as specific as you want here (monthly, weekly, daily, hourly) remember this is your binder make it your own!!


Here you can keep all your bills and due dates in one place!! I keep an extra copy of my checkbook balance sheet and a list of all bills and due dates!

Finally shopping lists!

Here I keep a list of birthday and holidays as well as grocery lists and a running list of things I am running low on!

Again i am being purposefully vague here because I want you all to make your own and do what works for you! These binders are great for busy people to keep everything in one place! Also this is great for the kids because if they need to know something and you are not around it is easily found all in one place!

Well I know I gave you a lot of info and you head must be spinning! To start this I recommend baby step but trying this out. Give it a good month of steadily following before making a judgement but if you spend more than 30 minutes a day you may be spending to much time and may want to think of how you can re tool it to better serve you!

The final thing I want to mention is once you have this down and are doing it M-F guess what that leaves FREE....


Enjoy your free weekends with your family and relax!! (just pick up after yourself and meals and you are set!!) Do you have any tips for cleaning and organizing on a busy schedule... If so please share with us!!

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