It took me a very long time to realize that keeping a housekeeping schedule for many of us was backwards to the anticipated intended results. I call it a maintenance log for men 'cause they get all huffy about housework and it makes them feel all alpha male.
I started out using FlyLady many years ago. I still consider her system a wildly good resource for people challenged in keeping their homes in order and to this day I still automatically do many things I learned from her.
Her book, Sink Reflections, originally published in 2002, is still a best seller, and for good reason.
However, many of us have moved past the stage of having to set up a schedule that tells us to load the dishwasher, wipe the kitchen counter, or change the bed linens.
So what can we do between "baby steps", as Marla Cilley (the FlyLady) calls them, and a way to make sure that upkeep is, well - upkept?
When we move into that stage, the time and frustration of marking off stuff on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc, schedule was time consuming. Not to mention if I missed a quarterly maintenance event, it tended to go sideways in my life.
Light bulb moment
The light came on when I was cleaning the blinds in our bedroom almost a year ago. They had, behind my back and unbeknownst to me, scarfed up a bunch of dirt and dust. While I was working away I was trying to remember when they had last been cleaned.
And that's when I knew the secret was to keep a log of completed tasks rather than a schedule of when something was to be done.
After a bit of trial and error I came up with a simple log using an Excel spreadsheet. It's so dang simple that if you don't have Excel you can make up one by hand in under 30 minutes.
If you're all OCD like me you can Google free spreadsheet programs, but really - hand-made is fine.
Here's how it works
- Across the top have a column for the months of the year
- Down the left side list tasks that are not done routinely and often are forgotten
- When you complete a task simply write down the date in the appropriate month's column.
For instance: if I clean the top of the kitchen cabinets on August 20th, I write "20" in the August column for "Kitchen Cabinets - top."
Seriously - does it get any simpler than that? You can see at a glance if some task has not been done in awhile.
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First make your list:
Everyone is going to have their own list of tasks. Spend a few days thinking about what your special tasks are and making a list.
Obviously, if you don't have blinds, but do have draperies, you would want to list draperies. If you list blinds without actually having them, you would have to come here and clean mine - which would be cool and I thank you in advance.
Since it was cleaning the blinds that triggered my ah-ha moment, I started my log with the blinds. So "Blinds BR" is for the bedroom blinds. Then we have the living room blinds, hubby's office, my office, and "TR" for teaching room blinds.
Another biggie for me was cleaning under the bed. Honestly, it would get neglected until when I finally got around to doing it the dust bunnies were no longer bunnies, but rats on steroids.
I have added a section called "Extra" and given myself a bit more room to write. Last year that section was used for stuff like caulking toilet, cleaning behind washer/dryer, and washing area rugs next to bed.
For the guys
If you're a guy who's in charge of home maintenance stuff you can make up your own log listing all the pesky little tasks including things like:
- inspecting the foundation and roof
- cleaning the drier vent
- cleaning gutters
- maintaining the mowers
- seeing to chimney cleaning
- checking the smoke detectors
- cleaning outside windows and screens
- having the furnace inspected
- car maintenance
- buying your wife flowers
There you have it. A simple and easy way to make sure stuff happens.
I keep my log in the back of my ordre du jour (snotty French for agenda) and check it a few times a month.
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