Thursday, March 20, 2014

Monthly Chore Checklist

If you don't know Jen over at IHeart Organizing, I highly suggest you run on over to her blog right now as soon as you are done reading this post and check her out.  Be forewarned, though, you may need to pour yourself a cup of tea and find a cozy spot to sit down, because once you start clicking through her home tour, you will never want to leave.  Everything Jen touches is gold and I find myself constantly inspired by her beautiful home, smart organization tips, and refreshing sense of color and style.  For the month of March, Jen has been sharing her monthly cleaning routine and it got me thinking about all the grimy and grungy areas in my house that could use a good scrubbing.

There are certain chores I do every day (sweep kitchen/family room, wipe down counter tops in kitchen/bath, clean glass kitchen table, do a load or two of laundry, etc.).  For the sake of keeping it real here on the blog, I will share that we also have professional house cleaners that come in twice a month to help with the more nitty-gritty cleaning such as scouring the showers, mopping floors, scrubbing toilets, vacuuming, dusting, etc.  (On the weeks they do not come, we do a quick clean of the house, generally just toilets, vacuum, mirrors and a light dusting.)

But I started to notice that despite our best efforts, there was a long list of other household tasks that were just, frankly, being ignored.  Or, when they weren't being ignored, were getting accomplished in one big stressful, cleaning-induced weekend that usually results in a grouchy and exhausted wife/mom.  So, I took a tip from Jen's book and decided to make myself a monthly chore checklist.

My idea is to do one small task each day during the month instead of either ignoring them or getting totally overwhelmed by trying to accomplish too many things at once.  I broke down my chores into tasks that would take somewhere between 5-20 minutes to accomplish.  I also decided to cap my list at 20 tasks -- enough to fill a month, but still leave me room for days off.

I started by walking around my house room-to-room and jotting down those tasks that I would like to have done on a monthly basis. I then cross-referenced my list with Jen's to see if there was anything on her list that I wanted to add to mine.  Here is what I came up with:
  1. Sanitize household garbage cans/clean under kitchen sink
  2. Clean out fridge and freezer, including wiping down all shelves/drawers/compartments
  3. Clean out pantry, including wiping down shelves
  4. Wash windows
  5. Wipe down smudges and fingerprints from walls/molding/doors/light switches
  6. Sharpen knives
  7. Tidy and sweep garage
  8. Clean out car -- empty trash, wipe dash/console, vacuum
  9. Clean one closet
  10. Clean one cupboard/cabinet
  11. Clean one drawer
  12. Sanitize appliances (dishwasher, washing machine)
  13. Tidy bathroom doors/wash make-up brushes
  14. Wipe down kitchen cabinets
  15. A's room -- sort through clothes, make sure everything is put back in it's designated spot
  16. J's room -- sort through clothes, make sure everything is put back in it's designated spot
  17. Update recipe binder
  18. Update monthly budget
  19. Update family yearbook (photo album)
  20. Clean oven/pull out stove and sweep behind -- OR -- vacuum/powder mattress and wash duvet (alternate every-other month)
Once my list was made, I printed it out and placed it into a clear sheet protector.  Behind the list, I also slid instructions for cleaning my appliances and making some of my own cleaners.  The list got hung in one of my kitchen cabinets, along with a wet-erase marker for checking off my accomplishments.  Each day, I will pick one item from the list, get it done, and then have the immense pleasure of crossing it off. 

By the end of the month, the whole list should be complete and the sheet protector can be cleaned with a damp cloth so that my list is fresh and ready for the next month.  

Since putting my list together on Sunday, I have already been able to cross off several items:  clean one cupboard (took 15 minutes), sharpen knives (5 minutes), tidy bathroom drawers/wash make-up brushes (15 minutes), and washing windows (15 minutes, with two mini-helpers).

How do you stay on top of your household chores?  Anything you would add to your monthly checklist?