Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Home Organization: Room of the Week

As a mother, and especially as a working mother, I often find it a struggle to maintain a clean and organized home. Sure, there are all those cute sayings about good moms having sticky floors intended to make people feel good about the chocolate hand prints on their walls and the rapidly reproducing dust bunnies on their floors. I am an overachiever and I want it all.  I can still be a good mom, have happy kids and have a (mostly) clean house.  For me clutter creates mental chaos.  A cluttered house leads to me feeling unsettled and emotionally cluttered.  I need a clean environment in order to feel calm and collected. In spite of my need for clean, I certainly don't want cleaning to be an all consuming activity. I would rather most of my time and energy be spent with my kids, because even though I don't have sticky floors, I want them to be happy!

In order to keep from feeling overwhelmed by cleaning and household projects on the "to-do" list, I have been using a cleaning and organization schedule for the last 5 or so years that has really worked out well for me.  It's a weekly rotating system which allows me to focus on one room at a time.  I typically do not work on Fridays, so Thursdays are my Fridays and since I don't want to clean on the weekends, Thursday nights are my cleaning nights. I do a superficial cleaning of every room. By superficial cleaning I straighten up, dust, vacuum and wipe down the furniture and mirrors of every room in the house.  This typically takes me about 2  1/2 hours to complete if I work straight through and don't allow myself to get distracted by the reality tv shows I often have on for some background noise. Throughout the week, I take 15 - 20 minutes at the end of each night just to quickly run through the house and do some minor straightening up.

The "room of the week" is the only room that gets deep cleaned during this time. This is where the rotating room schedule comes in.  I basically break down my rooms in order beginning from the basement up to the second floor. My room list is as follows:
  1. Family Room
  2. Office/Laundry Room/Half Bath Area
  3. Kitchen
  4. Dining Room
  5. Living Room
  6. Kiddo Room #1
  7. Kiddo Room #2
  8. Master Bedroom
  9. Main Bathroom
And then I repeat.  The yard and the garage are worked on as needed. The room of the week not only gets deep cleaned, but it becomes my focus until the next Thursday night cleaning which a new room becomes the focus.  The room of the week focus includes purchases (i.e. new pillows for the living room, rug for the family room, etc) as well as various projects such as paint touch ups, closet installation, repairing holes in the wall, replacing fixtures and the like.  This method has allowed me to maintain some sort of organization in my long to-do list and has kept me from feeling overwhelmed. Maintaining a schedule has also helped make it easier to keep a clean and orderly household without feeling like cleaning consumes the majority of my at-home time. As an added bonus my kids are still young enough to think that helping mommy clean is fun, so Thursday cleaning nights are productive bonding and life skill teaching time as well.

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