I'm a mom of two very young children. And when I hang out with my other mom friends we all have the same problem: there is never time to get anything done! Any mom can relate. You somehow run around all day, busy as a bee, but at the end of the day there is nothing to show for it. I won't elaborate on this, because plenty of other people already have, but here are a few things that I have learned myself.
Some chores are easier than othersFor me, it's doing the dishes. Even though emptying the dishwasher is a pain, I always seem to find time to do it. Lately, my two year old likes to sort the silverware (sometimes successfully), so it's an easy way to keep him entertained for five minutes.
As for washing and loading, that's not too bad either, because my husband and I have a routine. I love cooking, so dinner is (almost) always ready when he gets home from work. We all sit down to eat together. The toddler lasts about ten minutes and is then off to play with his toys. My husband and I finish dinner, sometimes standing up if the baby is being cranky, but we get to spend a few minutes chatting with each other and going over our days.
As soon as we've eaten the last bite, I practically throw the kids at him. Usually by that time, I really just need a break. While he's keeping them entertained, I clean the kitchen without interruptions. It's great. My husband gets to play with the kids, I get a few moments of peace, and the kitchen actually gets cleaned! Win win win!
Some things can't be ignoredLaundry. The bane of any mother's existence. And I only have two kids. I don't even know what houses look like with four or five or eight kids running around making clothes filthy. But no matter how many littles you have, eventually, everyone runs out of underwear.
Someday, I want this laundry room (and the seemingly responsible kids that go with it). For now, I have to live with what I have. Putting clothes into the washer and dryer isn't bad, but the folding and putting away kills me every time! Clothes get washed, dried, put in the basket and taken upstairs, only to sit there for days on end. Sometimes I'll try the trick of putting them all on the bed so that we have to put them away before bed, but then all that happens is when we get to our room at night, we shove all the clothes onto the chair (or floor) and say we'll worry about it tomorrow. Everything gets very wrinkled this way.
With all the toys and debris, it's easy to forget what has been cleanedDay in and day out, I'm picking up toys, shoes, jackets, bowls, sippy cups, cheerios (or whatever the dog didn't want), burp rags, etc etc etc. Meanwhile, I'm chasing around a toddler while carrying a baby and hoping that they're both happy and fed. Don't bother asking me when I last dusted. Or cleaned the shower. Or washed the sheets. Ya'll know what I mean.
And then there are some things that don't need to be done often, but get more and more necessary as you ignore them. I'm thinking about giving the dog a bath or cleaning and wiping out the fridge. Sometimes I can see that said chore has been ignored, but mostly I'm too busy focusing on all the craziness of the day that it gets missed, or I don't notice until it's late and I have no energy left to do it.
How I stay organizedMy system is pretty simple, but it's been working for me for a couple of years now. I print out the sheet below and stick it on the fridge. Then every day, I review to see what needs to be done. My goal is usually to do at least one thing on the list. I like that it's clear when I haven't done a certain thing in a while (like cleaning the shower), and I always feel so good about myself when I look and see the things that have gotten done (even if you can't tell through the kid mess).
I find that I like seeing four weeks at a glance. It's basically a month, but this way I always start my chore chart on a Monday, which is when I'm most likely to try motivating myself again. And while some chores should be done every day, I want to make sure everything gets done at least once a month. (And if you're one of those people that does all of these things every week, please never judge me on the cleanliness of my house.)
Using this spreadsheetHere are a few tips to get you going on using this file.
- Change the date in cell B3.
- You can type it in almost any format, but I find the easiest is M/D/YY. (If you want tips on changing the display format, let me know.)
- The days of the week, month, and the other dates will all update automatically when you do this.
- I like to start my cleaning week on Monday, but you don't have to. Start on Thursday and it will work just fine
- Change, delete, and add to the chores list as you like.
- The ones listed here fall into one of three categories: chores I forget, chores I want to brag about having finished, and chores I need to force myself to do.
- If you need more space, highlight an entire row by clicking on the row number on the left, then right click and select Insert. Please tell me if you have trouble with this.
- It's ready to use!
- I prefer to print four weeks at a time and hang it on the fridge. I throw it away when I'm done and print a new copy.
- You can also leave it on the computer and add an "x" whenever you complete a chore. Then just clear the spreadsheet and start over.
I hope this helps you keep your house as clean as you can. What are your favorite and least favorite chores?