September 29, 2016

I once read that in Downton Abbey days, each spring the entire mansion was aired and cleaned to a spotless shine.  This was almost entirely because heating over the winter was such a messy affair that everything in the house acquired a black sootiness and that had to be polished off and aired and only when it was finally warm enough to do so.  Maybe this is where the term "spring cleaning" originates?  (I've always wondered why spring?!)

What a great idea, in theory, one thorough house cleaning per year, and one that I'd be behind 100% - especially if I had a cohort of servants to do the work with me, and a Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson with the knowledge and know-how of what and how to do it.  Sure.  I'd be all up in that.

In thinking on all this, and on the Domestic Arts, I've been wanting to establish some kind of cleaning routine for a while now.  My great grandmother used to have a schedule - every day of the week (save Sunday) was dedicated to a certain chore: Mondays was baking bread, Tuesday wash day, Wednesday floors, Thursday bedrooms and linens, Friday all-house get the idea.  This was back when most women were at home, on the farm and housekeeping was more an art, and less a chore.

These days, due to all kinds of circumstances, everyone works outside the home.  What little energy is left after our nine-to-five is given to spouses, children and friends.   House cleaners and cooks must be hired to do the "domestic work" because there just aren't enough hours in the day.

And the domestic arts are lost a little bit more.  And this makes me sad.

But this past year I have not been working full time, or even part time.  I have been home quite a bit and it's become increasingly clear that not only do I need a cleaning routine, but I need it fast.  My housework gets done at random.  I will spend several intense days cleaning, and then not think about it for weeks, months (or, gulp, even years).  If I don't see that it's dirty, I won't clean it.

So you can imagine the parts of my house that I don't see daily?  They don't get cleaned.  Ever.  

Therefore, routine needed ASAP.  And where does one go when lost and in need of ideas, tips and tricks for anything under the sun?  


Only, every time I start pinterest-ing for cleaning routine ideas,  I get incredibly overwhelmed.  There are a hundred different ways to approach housecleaning - daily, weekly, monthly and yearly chores - and also hundreds of ideas on what should be cleaned, how and when.  Here's one cute example:

This example is ok - the colours and the chevron are attractive - but it seems like every day would be full of unneccessary cleaning for me.  Like, clean the oven every Tuesday?  My oven certainly doesn't get that dirty with two people in the house! Dust ceiling fans every Friday?  Wow!  Also just the sheer amount of chores each day contains - well, that doesn't work for me. Just because I don't work 40 hours a week, doesn't mean I'm not busy with other things.   It seems like this example tries to fit everything into a weekly schedule, instead of some of the others which fit many of these chores into a bi-weekly or monthly schedule.  I'd like to not spend all day every day cleaning, thank you. 

And here's another:

This one gives me a bit more flexibility, and a better "type" of schedule, while still alerting me to everything that needs to be cleaned in my home.  I mean, if it's in a home, it should be cleaned and decluttered at least once a year, right?  But these ideas are a bit intense and complicated - like Tuesday is the "monthly chore", and the monthly chore is broken down into each week of the month, and then the "yearly chore" is done on monthly chore day of week 4?  Gah!!  I'm sure this would be easy as pie...once I got into the routine, but that's exactly my problem.  Getting into a routine.  If I'm honest with myself, Imma gonna need lots more simple than this.  

Here's an interesting one:

This one was probably my favourite - tied closely with the very first pic in this post (the "Home Ec" one).  With a few tweaks, either could work for me.  (ie. We don't drink coffee much, therefore do not need to clean the coffeemaker every week - although, come to think of it, I've never cleaned that coffeemaker!)  They're both more my speed, having a list of things that need to be done generally throughout the week, month, season/year, and then I get to assign each item a day depending on what's going on in my week.  I'd have to be careful though, that the monthly, 3-6 monthly and yearly things actually get done.  If it's not scheduled in somewhere, I will likely....wait...not likely, I will forget about it.

But there were more - many more of them.  I made notes on several other approaches to housecleaning, and so in addition to my pinterest board, I have pages of notes I took on good ideas or tips that I could use, which only added to my overwhelm-ed-ness.  I put all of this down 3 weeks ago and haven't looked at it since.

But I've thought about it, every time I did the dishes or put in a load of laundry.  It's time, I think, to buckle down and be more intentional about the domestic arts.

Here's what I'm thinking I'll do:

1. Start by compiling a list of the chores I know I need to do in my house.
2. Apply them to one of these schedules that I like.

Start cleaning!

Anyone have any time-honoured, tested and true blue routine/schedule they'd like to share?  I'm up for anything right now!


  1. Years ago, I read a book by a psychiatrist's wife, I think the title was No One Says you have to eat off the floor. She had a schedule that fitted me. Every day had a specific room to work on. A few years ago, I read about FlyLady, and she is great. A manageable schedule that you conform to your own lifestyle.
    Not that my house reflects how well I do this, but I try.

    1. I have heard about Fly Lady - but will have to check out her website more thoroughly. I'll also check out that book - I like the title! :)

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  3. I have followed that first schedule more or less for years. I vacuum everything, dust, change sheets and get the house in good order on Friday mornings. The bathrooms are done on Thursdays and the floors are once a month. The weekend wreaks chaos and I do a modified version of Friday on Monday: vacuum and put things back in order. I do nothing but the very basics on Sunday: sweep and clean kitchen. Everyday I clean the kitchen, sweep the main floor of the house and keep things in good order. I find all of this very easy in that it comes very easily to me and I enjoy an ordered home. That said, minimalism is the name of my game and allows a house with seven kids to be presentable almost any hour of the day. Also, my mind can't be at peace unless my external surroundings are.

    1. Let me stress that I actually enjoy doing this! Not super mom.

    2. HA! This is a good system though, not too complicated, but hits all the places.

  4. I have recently discovered I most likely have adult ADD. It explains a lot about me. One of which is my inability to follow through with schedules. These kind of things make me so *nervous* because I CAN. NOT. seem to execute them. But I aspire to a schedule like this. I have settled, for the time being, in trying to accomplish "one big chore" a day -- bathrooms, getting the weekly groceries (I consider that as vital -- and exhausting -- a chore as any housework), mopping, etc. And attempting the minimum elsewhere: make sure the counter is clear, the living room straightened and the table is clear before bed. In the season we are currently in, this quite often is a two-person job. It mightn't be if I had more energy, less distractibility, and a baby who slept....

    1. Amen. I may have a touch of adult ADD as well.



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