Friday, January 09, 2009

I Wouldn't Do This for Just Anyone

I swear to you, people, my dear friend V. from Texas called me yesterday and made a special request that I post details about my housekeeping routine. And since she is one of my best friends in the entire world, and treated me to many a restaurant meal, movie, and expensive spa treatment when I went to visit her last autumn (seriously: most generous friend EVER), I am in no position to refuse. I told her no one wants to read about the way I clean my house, that it's just not that special--I'M just not that special--and yet she still insisted that I must, I SIMPLY MUST TELL ALL, because she is in need of a routine, and wanted it all spelled out. OK then.

So you remember how I wrote awhile back about the fact that I clean by a weekly schedule. But just so you know, I didn't clean like this before I became a stay-at-home mom. I didn't clean this much or this often when I was pregnant, or when I worked part-time at night in addition to being home full-time with a baby during the days, or when I had newborns, or when I had two toddlers in the house, or when both my girls were in diapers. I didn't clean this much before my cat grew old and messy and began tracking cat litter all over the house and shedding hair all over the couch. I didn't clean this much before my home became my every-day, all-day workplace. This has been an ongoing process, coming to this weekly system. It works for me now, but it's not realistic in all circumstances.

Oh, one important thing: this is quick cleaning. I have no idea how long these chores really take me, because I've never paid attention, but honestly---it's not like I spend all day dusting my house. I do them thoroughly, yes, because it's a lot easier to keep things up than to let them slide and then have to clean an inch-thick swath of grime from the floor behind the toilet months down the road. But I can be thorough and fast; I have to, I have kids hanging off me most of the time! One reason I can clean quite quickly is that I keep the house fairly uncluttered; that makes it easier to speedily wipe down a kitchen counter or dust a dresser.

Blah, blah, blah. So here's what I do. [Recall from my original post: this list does not include things I do every day like cook, do laundry, and clean the catbox. And there are some things that don't appear on this list because they almost never get done, like wet-mopping (not often necessary and not recommended for our flooring), washing windows (we hire that out once a year; in between our windows are a wreck), and dusting the blinds and ceiling fans (no one does that. ever).]

Monday: Clean the kitchen. (Scrub the sink; wipe down counters, appliances, and cabinets with soapy Lysol water.) Shake out the rugs. Sweep and Swiff all hard floors.

Tuesday: Dust all rooms. (I break this up into: dust main level; dust upstairs.)

Wednesday: Scrub toilets. (I separate this from the major bathroom cleaning because it's just so distasteful it gets its own day.) Clean the half-bath.

Thursday: Clean the other two bathrooms. (The usual: scrub sinks, vanities, tubs, and showers. Shine mirrors. Wipe down the baseboards, the bases of the toilets, and the floor around and behind the toilets.)

Friday: Water the plants. Empty the trashes. Put out fresh towels everywhere. *Vacuum all carpet. (I break this task up into: vacuum main level; vacuum the upholstered furniture; vacuum the stairs; vacuum the upstairs.)

Saturday morning: Change the sheets. (I don't do this every week.)

Did I miss anything? I don't think so. All written out like that, it looks like a lot, but it's really not bad. And I don't like cleaning any more than you do, so you can believe me on this one. Also, right now, it's my job--in addition to that bigger, more important job of raising two daughters. If I could afford to hire it all out, I would, but overall I take pride in keeping my house clean and staying organized. Oh, and also? I'm 100% certain that a whole bunch of people do this just as much and as well as I do, and another whole bunch do this more and better than I do. So really, it's not all that special. It's just keeping house. Lots of moms (and dads) do it, and some even do it with more than two kids hanging off them.

You're welcome, V.! And good luck.

*A word about vacuuming. Three years ago we got a higher-end bagless vacuum cleaner--not a Dyson, but a moderately expensive model that shows you, via red and green lights, when the carpet you're working on is clean or if it's still dirty, and with a see-through canister you empty when it's full of dirt. Let me tell you, people, once you get one like this, there is NO GOING BACK to vacuuming on less than a weekly basis. That canister is CHOCK-FULL of dirt, dust, kitty litter, and hair EVERY SINGLE TIME I VACUUM. And sometimes I have to empty it between doing the first and second floors. It is appallingly disgusting, and it makes one think twice about letting the vacuuming go for more than week at a time. Especially when you have small children in the house and you spend a lot of time on the floor.


Anonymous said...

OK, so I am interested in this post, and that doesn't make me weird. It doesn't! I am zeroing in on the fact that you never clean your blinds. And I have been to your house on more than a few occasions . . . and I have never noticed this! Can that mean (please, oh please) that I don't really have to clean mine? Do you have a special trick so that they don't get dusty? Mine get really bad. Anyway, I like your system!

Shan said...

Well, Anonymous, I have to say that we now only have blinds in one room. When we moved in, four of the rooms had (horizontal) blinds. Now we just have wooden blinds in the upstairs playroom. (I'm not counting the vertical blinds on our downstairs large windows--those don't get dusty, that I notice.) Yes, our wooden blinds get dusty. But they are a huge pain in the a** to dust and never seem to get fully clean anyway and no one notices and they are kept up (the slats pulled against each other) most of the time so you can't even see the dust. But um, yes, people are technically supposed to dust their window blinds. Also their ceiling fan blades, which--GAH--get really really bad eventually. This is where I slack off.

Rob Hardy said...

This is my housecleaning routine:

Shan said...

But, see, Rob, you've got all those other charms.

Mnmom said...

I'm tired just reading your post. I don't have a routine. I just clean when I can, and I clean whatever's in my face. We have this groovy contraption that dusts our fan blades.

donna said...

They have a contraption that helps with cleaning blinds. (Not that I use it. Or even own one, that is.) Don't ask how many sets of blinds I have in my house.

It's interesting to see how people organize (or don't organize, as is sometimes the case) their chores because you can stumble upon something that someone else does and feel inspired to try something new. I love ideas like this.

Thanks for sharing!