For the last 5 months, all of my posts on here have started with something like, “Well, we had that baby, and I can’t believe I STILL haven’t gotten my groove back!” Well guess what, SmartyPants:
THE GROOVE IS BACK!!!
Mac ATTACK! (Somebody cue “Party Rock Anthem”!)
And to what do I owe my new success? Just a new little invention of mine:
Before the baby, I operated on detailed routines to keep my day straight. I loved my routines, morning, noon, before bed… I even blogged about them here. But then, we suddenly had twice as many kids, and I started getting half as much sleep, and trying to keep my wits about me while relying so heavily on the elusive predictable day to show up and restore peace in our house… Well, it just didn’t work.
In a waking dream fueled by spoiling coffee creamer and lack of sleep, I envisioned a world where robots would come handle all my problems for me. Though it’s sure to fuel a distopian future where humans are the slaves of machines, I ordered an iRobot vacuum cleaner. I started thinking about the power of push-button housework… I turn a nob and the clothes wash themselves. I push a button and the dishes are cleaned. Soon, even my vacuuming would be run on cycles whenever I determined. Why couldn’t I develop a simple CYCLE to handle a generally messy home?! Something that wasn’t attached to any daily pattern… Something that I could just run whenever necessary!
The cycle pictured above is my push button go to cycle. After a few weeks of using it, it’s a mantra, embedded in my brain like breathing, “Dishes, Laundry, Bathroom, Bedrooms, Living room. Dishes, Laundry, Bathroom, Bedrooms, Living room. DishesLaundryBathroomBedroomsLivingroom.” When I get interrupted a million times, it doesn’t matter, I just start over, and it only takes a second to find where I left off! Unlike a routine, my cycle gets run WHENEVER! If I have a lot of time, I do it in a lot more detail, if I’m in a rush, I just touch on each step.
If I do the cycle once, my home is operational. If I run through it every day, my house is orderly! If I run through it a couple times a day, my house starts to look organized, cute, even CLEAN! I’m not detail oriented. I can clean my whole house and not even notice a pile of dirty dishes in the center of the living room floor. But, I DO know that when my home feels chaotic, I can just run the cycle like a roomba, and the more often I run it, the less time it takes!
Here’s a quick run through of the steps, why they’re chosen, and how I complete it:
Dishes are pretty self explanatory. I go in the kitchen and make sure everything is either CLEAN or in the dishwasher. If things need hand washed, I just set them to dry on the counter and call it done. I’ll put them away next time I do a cycle!
Dishes are always first in my cycle, because if the dishes are clean, I’m ready to cook, and if the house is a wreck, but tummies are full, I can deal with it!
Laundry is always second. I just get my machines humming, and the clean stuff folded. (I just spent a week obsessing over this chore on my personal blog, if you dig that kind of thing.) I don’t worry about the sorting at this point. I do that as I collect dirty clothes from the other areas of the house.
Laundry is always second on my list because if we’re fed and have clean clothes to wear, but the house is a wreck, life is pretty good!
In the bathroom, I just put away toothbrushes and toiletries. Shut the shower curtain. I get the dirty laundry off the floor. Finally, I get out the Chlorox wipes and handle anything that looks offensive on the sink or toilet.
I put the bathroom third, because if the dishes are done, the laundry is in process, and our bathroom doesn’t gross me out, then I won’t be mortified if we have an unexpected guest!
Now, I tackle the bedrooms. I work through each one, applying my cycle:
Did we leave any dishes in here?
Is there laundry to collect?
Did I leave a hairbrush or any trash in here that should go in the bathroom?
Since we’re already in the bedroom, I tidy up and make the bed.
And, I make sure there aren’t any items in here that belong in the living room.
I think through my cycle in this room, too, getting rid of dishes, and tossing dirty clothes and stinky blankies where they belong.
I put it last because if my family is awake, this room is in use, and never completely clean. I just tidy it up a bit and then go do something fun! The housework is done until things start to feel a bit shabby again.
For most people, having a cleaning cycle to work through, just for tidying up, might seem ridiculous and overly complicated. To me, it’s just committed to memory and it lets me run on autopilot when the housework starts to feel overwhelming. I no longer have to look around bewilderedly asking, “Where do I begin?”
You can borrow my cycle, or develop your own! Whether you’re a SAHM or working the night shift, this should work!
Do you like to use a system like this to handle your housework, or are you the sort of person that can just see what needs to be done first and do it?