I’ve been talking so much about cleaning and organizing lately that I want to make sure I don’t give the wrong idea, namely, that I am some kind of super-homemaker living in a spotless house (and wearing heels and pearls while I vacuum, to boot.) So here are three truths about me:
1) I am not a particularly great housekeeper…I’m just happy with my own particular form of “good enough”
2) I don’t do everything myself–I have a cleaning service that comes twice a month and I delegate a lot of daily work to my kids/spouse
3) There are still other cleaning tasks that rarely–or never–get done around here.
I have written about “trigger tasks” here before and cover them in my book, too: those are the housekeeping tasks that come highest on the priority list, because just doing those things will make you feel so much better about your house that you’ll be able to function better AND have an easier time finding energy for the other stuff.
But after the trigger tasks come…everything else, some essential to keeping a house running, some not so essential. Here I’ve arranged some of those tasks into groups–the stuff I do right away, the stuff I delegate, the stuff I put off, and the tasks I rarely, if ever, get around to.
- My A list includes the “trigger tasks” that make the biggest impact on my mood. For me, this list includes cleaning the bathroom, picking throw blankets and pillows up off the living-room floor, making the bed, and getting clutter off of the kitchen counters. Those are must-dos for me, and once I’ve got those things taken care of–which have become so routine they take no time at all–I can move on to the B list. I also very rarely delegate these tasks out to anyone else in the family–I’d rather have them done quickly, and done the way I like.
- My B list tasks are the things that have to get done regularly to keep the house running, but that I don’t care as much about as the A list. This includes vacuuming, sweeping, picking up toys, lining up shoes in the entryway, laundry, and dishes. I delegate much of this list out to the boys, and of course Jon takes over many of them too.
- My C list tasks are those things that are nice to have done but not high on my list of importance–stuff like dusting ceiling fans, mopping the floors, and cleaning baseboards. I’ll do my “C” list tasks every now and then when I’m feeling ambitious or have time on my hands, but they’re the kind of thing I’m more likely to ask Lynda (my most excellent cleaning person) to do. When we haven’t had Lynda, I’ve put these off…way, way off.
- My D list tasks are things that I barely even notice going undone, and therefore, rarely–if ever–get done at all. This would include: cleaning out under the beds, wiping down light switches, washing windows, ironing (I don’t remember the last time I ironed when I wasn’t in a hotel room, where I for some reason actually enjoy it) and shining the chrome on the bathroom faucets. Now, I can still see out of my windows, so I suppose some of these jobs do eventually get done, but they aren’t a high priority and some actually never happen.
Running your home in a way that works for you is all about prioritizing, and doing the things that are most important to you, most essential to your family, and make everyone’s lives better and well, happier. The rest of the stuff is just icing on the clean-house cake: great if you can get to it, but not essential. SO I’m dying to know–what housecleaning jobs do you prefer to do yourself, and put at highest priority? Which ones do you delegate? Which ones do you put off? And which do you skip altogether?
Speaking of cleaning, organizing, and creating systems and priorities that work for you, Whitney at Rookie Moms posted a great write-up about The Happiest Mom including a real-life example of organizing in a way that makes sense for your family (shoes by the door, anyone?)
Did you read–and like–The Happiest Mom? I’d love if you’d leave an Amazon rating and review–it would really help me out!