Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thinking out loud

about housekeeping.

Well, no way anybody in this family is getting any rewards for our housecleaning this last month. And this is really my fault, since I'm the one who set up the plan. It failed largely because it was both overambitious and inadequate, and we were too busy to follow through with it in the way I envisioned.

Our inaugeral week, of course, went swimmingly. But then on the second and third weeks, I pretty much had to do everything myself before the kids even got up, because there was obviously no time on the designated housekeeping day. The fourth week Maya did a minor portion of the work herself, and on the fifth week Ziad did. As I said, very poor follow through.

And of course, despite what felt like enormous effort on my part, only a small fraction of the house got dealt with. The downstairs carpet always needed vacuuming, the downstairs bathroom wasn't getting cleaned enough.

The overall cleanliness of the house improved, however, and now I'm ready to revamp the process and try again. All incentives are still on the table, and if we can find a workable plan, and stick with it for six weeks, then let the joy be unconfined! Presents all around.

So here's a recap of our schedule. Tuesdays and Thursdays are impossible. Wednesdays are busy. Friday through Monday I wanted to keep the days open, both because we are sometimes gone all day, and because I would like to primarily focus on school when we are home. This is why I thought of putting chores on Wednesdays, where, alas, they did not fit. Also, although our chore list would have left the middle floor sparkling, they did not really include the stairway or lower level, both of which also need attention. So now, I think we will opt for spreading out chores over Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the option of shifting days around as scheduling requires.

Our new plan: Sunday/Monday we clean downstairs, and the stairs and woodwork leading up to the middle level. Wednesday is for the entry, and Friday/Saturday the rest of the middle level. I personally vow to spend at least a half hour a day decluttering until I feel I have sufficiently dug may way out of this mountain of paper surrounding me. The first week of each month I am going to concentrate on helping Ziad organize his room, the second Maya's, the third mine, and the fourth the office. I am going to create documentation for this that will help me remember to follow through. My weeks are going to go from Wednesday to Wednesday, so that will be my day to post about our progress, and for those of you who find this excruciatingly boring to skip this blog.

I will close with an affirmation: I know we can do this! Furthermore, I think it will help improve our family teamwork, and instill in Ziad and Maya a sense of responsibility for their living space that will serve them well as they grow. And if it helps them grow into people who don't need to wrestle with this issue the way I have, what an enormous benefit that will be. I am, as always, extremely optimistic about this.


Blogger zelda said...

Good work, I say. If it were so easy that you could nail it on the first try it probably wouldn't have been an issue to begin.

As we continue to deal with our infestation I can urge you to keep it up because you never know when this or some other issue will come up and require you to de-clutter in order to get to every tiny of your home. Much better to have a head start. The upside of our problem is that I've tackled some cleaning issues that I was letting slide (closets) and I found out just how handy all those crazy vacuum hoses and tubes are.

11:28 AM  
Blogger zelda said...

"tiny corner"

11:28 AM  
Blogger Lesley said...

If all else fails-- you can always hire someone to do the cleaning!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Vivian said...

Have you tried Flylady? I'm sure you can Google to find the site. It's similar to what you plan to do, tackle a small area at a time, only 5 or 10 minutes at a time, so you don't burn out. She has a system what to do each day, and sends out email reminders too.

I have to admit that I tried it a few years ago but couldn't keep up. I do try to keep the cluters down to a minimum (supervising family members to do their part too), so when the cleaning people come in they can get to every corner of the house. They do a much better job scrubbing, and I do my best writing checks.

11:28 AM  

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