Because we touched yesterday on the subject of freshening our home, I wanted to introduce you to my “chore organization” system. My Mom introduced it to me last year and I have found it extremely helpful in making me not want to rip my hair out with frustration.
Because, let's be honest with each other here, chores can make you want to do that.
They can be so overwhelming, repetitive and…boring.
Fold the laundry, sweep the floors, scrub the toilet, wash the dishes…
All to do it again in four hours.
While this organization system will not help the fact that your child just smeared their diaper on the wall, it at least helps make it more manageable. Everyone has their own system they find works for them, and if any of you are anything like me, this system may just help you!
You may have heard of it. It's called the S.H.E. system. I can't remember what the acronym stands for, and frankly it doesn't matter. I'm just going to tell you the basics and show you how I implement it.
1. Go through your home and make a list of EVERY SINGLE THING that needs to be done. Whether this be daily (like sweeping the floor), weekly (like washing sheets), monthly (like cleaning out the refrigerator), seasonally (like dusting/cleaning out light fixtures), or annually (like cleaning out closets). Don't skimp on this step. Remember tasks like scrubbing baseboards, washing the shower curtain, cleaning out dressers, vacuuming under furniture, etc. Write. It. All. Just walk around with a notepad (and a glass of wine), from room to room.
The wine is a mandatory part of this exercise. Thank you for your cooperation.
2. After your list is made, go through each task and write down whether it needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, or annually. Then, write down next to that roughly how long it will take to do this. 10 minutes? 20 minutes? 79 hours?
3. Then, take each task and write it on a notecard. I use a different color for how often the task needs to be accomplished (ie: pink for weekly, yellow for monthly, etc…). On the note card, also write how long you estimate the task to take you and how often it needs to be done. Like this:
I also write “skipped” in the bottom of the card, if I want to skip the task. Once I “skip” it twice, I have to do it. No more free skips for me.
4. Designate your days. Here are the options I have created for our home – heavy cleaning day, light cleaning day, paperwork/bills day, family day, grocery shopping/errands day, free day, and “make-up” day. Assign one of these to each of your week days in whatever order works well for you. The benefit of assignment is that I will have set tasks I will complete each day. I will not have to worry about scrubbing the dirty bathroom sink while I am paying bills. Because that's for another day. When you have it scheduled out, it will help keep you from getting overwhelmed at the mass amount of tasks hanging over your head. For example, when I run errands on Saturday, I don't have to stress about cleaning the house, because I know that tomorrow is my light cleaning day and thus, it will get taken care of.
Note that I take two nights a week off. No cleaning (other than just general straightening up). No bill paying. No major overhauls. Just time to spend relaxing with my wee little family. It's easier to put my mind at ease when I know that tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, will see to it that all my chores are completed.
And you gotta be flexible. There are some “free” days that still require I run the vacuum through. Or if Stuart just shaved his beard, sometimes I have to clean the sink a day early. But then, I just know to skip over it the next time. Move things around. Shake 'em up. Just get the system to work for you.
5. Get a nice little box and organize the tasks by month and/or day. So for example, I have tabs for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Behind each day, I have put some of my cards that must be done daily or weekly. So for example, behind Monday's tab: prayer & devotion time, water plants, scrub kitchen sink, dust kitchen table, load of laundry. Voila.
THEN, I have monthly tabs as well. So for another example, behind April's tab: clean out shed, clean out cellar, organize desk, vacuum under furniture, clean windows, wash baseboards in bedroom, wash curtains.
After I have completed an April card/task, if it is a monthly task, I just pick it up and move it to behind May's tab. If it's a seasonal task, I move it to behind October's tab. If it's an annual task, I just leave it behind April's tab.
If you have kiddos that are of chore-completing age, maybe it would work best for you to have a tab for each little one. Then, they could just go to the box and see what cards are behind their name. Another voila!
The point of this system is to help keep doo-doo heads, like me, focused as they accomplish their tasks. It's so easy for me to get distracted. I can be vacuuming a room, and then next thing you know, I have the furniture ripped apart in a fit of organizational rage. “No, no, no, dear child” this system says to me. “Focus on your task. Complete the card. Quit being an easily distracted doo-doo head.”
The point of this long, elaborate, and quite possibly boring post, is to encourage you in the keeping of your home. Woman (and men!) alike put a lot of effort into a keeping a home that is welcoming and glorifying to the Lord. Maybe if we are more organized in the way we go about it, it won't have to feel like such an insurmountable task. Think of it like drawing out a road map for your vacation. You got to know where you've been (what you've already cleaned!), where you are (what you are cleaning!), and were you're headed (what you will need to clean!) in order to stay on course.
Phew. That was a lot of words.
My mind is now too tired to engage in any sort of domestic activity for the rest of the day.
I need a card for days like this.