Thursday, December 9, 2010

Well Begun is Half Done

As the new year approaches, the hub and I always start thinking about dreams and goals for said new year.  I'm not a big "New Year's Resolution" proponent... I mean let's face it, we're all setting ourselves up for failure here.  A bunch of random I'm-gonna-start-this and I'm-gonna-stop-this attempts, all to begin on January 1st?  BUT, I do love the idea of a fresh start.  I dig the newness of a new year and thinking about all the possibilities of the next 12 months.  It's fun to daydream about where we'll be this time next year.  And I think it's important to sit down together and develop goals we want to accomplish over the next year. 
We had fun getting out the Christmas decorations this season...  I told y'all a while back that we had tucked away 25 different goals, wishes, and dreams for 2010 in our little advent calendar.  So in the middle of decking the halls, we sat down and pulled out all of those old folded-up pieces of paper to see how well we did.  Um... out of 25, the count was 11 yes-we-did-it, 2 we've-made-progress-on-that, and 12 yeah-that-didn't-happen.  Not such a great score, Rogers!  It was fun though - some were of course kinda silly.  I mean hello, coming up with 25 items was tough.  But, we had a really good laugh. I had totally forgotten half of the ones we wrote. 
We haven't had our *official* sit down for 2011 goal planning yet, but we already know some of the major ones.  One of our biggest struggles in general is keeping the house straight.  Which is REALLY sad, seeing as it's just us two.  Plus two dogs.  Who shed.  Lord help us when we have little rugrats tearing the place up!  Our problem is that we don't have a good plan.  We have tried the scheduling chores thing but that never panned out.  We did have a cleaning lady coming every other week, but that got nixed from the budget as soon as we started our Total Money Makeover a couple of years ago.  I think part of our problem is that we don't have a really routine schedule.  Sure, we both work regular "9 to 5" jobs Monday through Friday, but we've always got other stuff going on, whether it's small group, dinners with friends, working out (ha!), or working late... any number of things can tie up our weeknights.  And then our weekends never ever look the same.  We're just all over the place.  Which is my excuse for always being behind on laundry.  I'm not home long enough to get it all done!  And the thing is, I'm a total homebody.  So when I have a whole weekend at home to do domestic stuff, I am thrilled!
Now I know what you're thinking... "does your husband help out around the house?"  I have to give a qualified *yes* to that.  Yes, he is very willing to help when I ask him.  When I ask him.  But he's not likely to pick up a cleaning task on a whim without my prodding.  Though I must say, once in a blue moon, he will surprise me and go on a steam-cleaning and vacuuming rampage.  Or he'll decide to clean our bathroom from top to bottom in hardcore fashion.  He thinks more in terms of big projects... and not so much in terms of daily "maintenance."  I don't fault him for this.  I mean let's face it - that's a man for you.  And God love him, but I'm most often the one left cleaning up the aftermath of the big project because he's gotten distracted and moved on to something else.  But obviously, I'm no Donna Reed either or we wouldn't be having this chat.  Part of our problem is having a big house with lots of room for mess.  But it's really just laziness and lack of a plan -what else can you attribute a less-than-tidy house to when it's only the two of you?!
SO... recognizing that our biggest problem is the day-to-day maintenance, I was very excited to stumble upon Stephanie O'Dea's Daily 7 recently.  I immediately emailed the post to the hub and was like, "this is what we need to do!!!"  I like things in steps.  Especially 7 steps - it's the perfect number.  Not too few, not too many.  Dave's baby steps have 7 steps.  Weeks are made up of 7 days.  Lucky number 7.  It works.  These are brilliant, totally manageable, and I already do some of them anyway...
#1 - Make Beds Right Away
#2 - Do One Complete Load of Laundry
#3 - Empty All Garbage Cans
#4 - Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty
#5 - Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do the Same
#6 - Bathroom Wipe-Down
#7 - Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up
See Stephanie's descriptions of each step on her original post - it's a fun read.  Honestly, I think #2 is going to have the biggest impact for me personally.  If I did one load a day - that means washed, folded, and put away - I would stay on top of laundry and not have to spend an entire day at home doing load after load after load!  Plus our dryer is a bit slow, so a load for us takes longer than a normal load for most.  So I've already started to gradually add these tasks to each day - I'm not waiting for 2011.  Of course our schedules will sometimes prevent us from being able to get ALL 7 tasks done every single day, but I don't see why we can't make it work for the large part. 
So what do you all do?  How do you tackle the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance without losing your mind?  I'm not after a perfectly clean home here - we do live here after all with some very hairy dogs.  Let's be reasonable.  Once we get through our debt snowball, I am pretty certain we'll hire a cleaning lady again to do the heavy duty stuff.  But the need for these daily 7 will still be there, no doubt!  Especially with little ones running around... seriously.


Hurley Lucy said...

Oh girl. Well #2 & #4 are impossible. We have to go the laundry-mat & don't have a dish-washer. SUCKS! Actually tomorrow is laundry-mat day. boo. B usually puts the clothes away after I get back though. He's A LOT like your hubs.. Big cleaning projects (the oven) leaving me the aftermath, not always but often. He is helpful though & usually does the dishes. ANYWHO! I honestly can say I do a lot of these too! YAY! Especially #'s 1, 6,7. For me, you have to approach cleaning a home practically. Do what you can one day & leave the rest for when you get home the next. Done. Don't fret if it's all not done. Delegate too. LOVE the advent goal idea!!!!

Jillian, Inc said...

It's just me and my 4yo in a 3,000 sq ft house and I can barely keep up, but I do have a few things I am faithful at doing and they do seem to help. I do agree..make the beds every morning. I also never use my dining room table as a "desk" or other storage vessle. Makes the dining room or room where the table is seem so much more "clean". I scrub my sink every night or every other night with Mrs. Myers Lemon Verbena scrub. Smells great, makes the sink shine and gives me the illusion of "clean". Ditto wiping down the counter tops. When doing actual cleaning, the best tip I have is just clean. Don't try to clean and straight/put away at the same time. Get a $20 stick vac and run that baby every night. This is my favorite chore. Good luck! I can't wait to read others' tips.

Julie Tiemann said...

I really like the idea of #6 (went and read her article) - that's going to be my new goal. Mike cleans the bathrooms anyway, but I confess that we do NOT clean as often as we should. We are however, pretty neat, and I firmly believe (and practice) #4 and #7.

I love the Advent calendar idea!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I try to make my bed immediately. I actually hate an unmade bed. But I have the same tidy issue. My house is clean but some months I swear some rooms are never tidy. I keep a bottle of cleaner and roll of papertowels under the bathroom sink and wipe down every few days. My sewing room/dining room is a scary sight right now though.

Jill said...

Definitely a believer in #4, #5, and #7. I basically try to go to bed each night in such a way that I wake up with a fresh start...for me it's more in terms of keeping things tidy, not necessarily perfectly clean. I don't allow myself "veg time" until everything is pretty much put up for the day - the veg time is sort of the reward I guess? I find that keeping up with it along the way is far better than letting it get out of hand and then having to do some major cleaning. If that makes sense... =)