Living Simply- Making Time For The Things That Matter

A large component of Living Simply is being able to identify the things that mean the most to do AND finding/making the time to do it.  For me that was eliminating all that doesn't matter but more importantly was making the time in my every day life and with a family of five much of this amounts to keeping house.  This took some serious thought, trial & error and what was the most efficient and less stressful way to get the things done.  Luckily I worked on the steps for POYEL about a year and a half ago so the battle was waged and won way back when and I just needed to incorporate it into my Living Simply mantra.

When I tell people about my cleaning schedule (and 11-weeks of dinner) I get some crazy looks and I'm pretty sure people think I'm borderline neurotic but whatevs I'm not slaving away over these things that take away from my precious time.  But I preach and share what I do because if you can get past my craziness its actually quite freeing.  Recently my friend Shel inquired about my cleaning routine and I am happy to share.

First I have to preface with this: if you are used to being obsessively crazy clean you HAVE TO LEARN TO LET THINGS GO.  If you can't do that then this will likely not be the ideal situation for you.  For me, I was able to let go because allowing myself to do so provided me with precious time.  Time to spend with my T, my kids or with myself and this was first and foremost very important to me.  

There are a ton of resources out there both online or in app form for your phone & tablet.  I went for a template I found online via moneysavingmom.com and printed it out.  Sometimes good old fashioned hard copy is the way to go.  My cleaning schedule has been recently updated and will need to be re-printed, filled in and laminated (yes laminated so I can take a dry erase pen to it to keep track of things).

The "Daily Cleaning List" format I use is very helpful because it breaks cleaning out by "Daily To-Do" then "Weekly To-Do" and finally Monthly/Semi-Annual Cleaning.  I'll break it all out for you, and remember this is what works for me so your list may look completely different and remember if you can let go of certain things, until their specified day, then you will feel much more free.  Also there are little things that I have turned into just, what I call, "daily habits" that I incorporate into every day and any time that helps things always looking sparkly in my house (I will list these few things out last).

Here we go.  My "Daily To-Do" Remember this are the things I do everyday, really, just little things but they all add, and these are broken out by time of day.
Before Breakfast

  • wash any dishes left in sink overnight
  • empty dish rack if needed
  • pack school bags
After Breakfast
  • Load breakfast dishes in dishwasher
  • wipe down kitchen counters
  • wipe down dining table
  • quickly sweep kitchen
After Lunch
  • Wipe down bathroom counters & sink
  • Quickly pick up bathrooms (i.e. fix towels, put stuff back into cabinets)
  • Quickly pick up kids rooms (i.e. making sure dirty laundry is in hamper, PJs are folded next to bed, blankets/pillows are on bed)
Before Dinner
  • Spot clean kitchen floor (this is just taking spray cleaner and a rag to anything on the floor that can't be easily swept up)
After Dinner
  • Wipe down kitchen counters
  • sweep kitchen
  • pick up living room & family room (i make sure pillows are put back, any toys left out are put away in their respective rooms and really anything that isn't suppose to be there is taken out and put back)
  • load dishwasher
Not to bad, right?  Just little things.  Little things you would do anyway but for me having them broken out into time zones makes it just that much easier for me so I don't feel like i'm constantly cleaning.  There is no hard and fast time to do this just some time before/after these times of the day.

Now for my "Weekly To-Do"  Occasionally I do change this up depending on the kids after school routines (sports and extra curricula's)
  • Sweep Upstairs (this includes all rooms)
  • Laundry:  Sheets & Towels
  • Change Linens
  • Vacuum Upstairs (this includes all rooms)
  • Vacuum Downstairs (this includes all rooms)
  • Dust
  • Sweep Upstairs (this includes all rooms)
  • Clean Kitchen (Scrubbing & Wood Clean Cabinet Fronts)
  • File Paperwork/Mail
  • Scrub Bathrooms
  • Laundry
  • Sweep Upstairs (this includes all rooms)
  • Laundry
  • Vacuum in the evening (this includes all rooms)
Again, not bad right?  Your's may or may not look like this but again this is what works for me.

So you may be wondering what about windows, mopping etc?  Well I also have a monthly semi-monthly list.  Again, you have to learn to let some things go and not obsess over things.  With a large family you do have to prioritize what is most important and work from there ensuring you are making that time to do the things you really want to be doing rather then the things you think you need to do.  I've learned that sometimes not mopping the kitchen as often as others is okay with me.  We aren't agonizing over it (hence the daily spot cleaning as an interim clean up) we are all surviving and doing what we love.  So here is my "Monthly/Semi-Annual Cleaning List"
Wipe Down Windows
Clean Oven
Run a "Cleaning" wash in washing machine
Clean out Fridge
Big bedroom clean up
Clean out pantry
clean cars inside/out
Mop Kitchen (2x/month)
Mop Baths (2x/month)

Every 3 Months
Back up hard drive

Every 6 Months
Sort & purge clothes 
Clean Garage/Storage

I find this all doable and there is never any dread that I have cleaning looming over me.  My house always looks clean and I chalk this up to the little daily things I do.  In addition to the "Daily To-Do List" I've turned a few little things into daily habits that actually helps a lot.  For example, if one of us goes into the bathroom and we notice toothpaste or other dirtiness on or around the sink or toilet we take a damp wash cloth from the tub and just quickly wipe these areas down, and voila spotless.  We then just toss that wash cloth into the laundry  We do the same with the kitchen.  I keep the food safe/all purpose cleaner nearby and we just quickly spritz and spray any stickiness or smudge on the counter, fridge, cabinet.  

Honestly working off this schedule has freed up so much time for me.  Prior to this we would spend entire weekends cleaning, intensely cleaning and I hated it.  I hated what my life had become and how I was spending all my time.  Luckily for T he doesn't have to do much cleaning at all, It's all done when he comes home for the day, his only job is loading the after dinner dishes into the dishwasher.  Again, this works for me and for you it may not but maybe some version of this would work for you.  The more you can get the kids to help, especially if you have a hard version of the list posted somewhere in your house, the more time you will have.  

It's all about making sure you have the time to embrace what is important to you, to live stress free, to make the most out of your life and most importantly to live simply!

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