Keeping my ship ship-shape

Following on from my earlier post about other people’s ideas and inspiration for helping chores and must-dos get done with the minimum thought and effort, I thought I’d write a couple of posts with a few hints and tips from my own ship. Firstly: keeping the ship ship-shape. (Broadly speaking, cleaning and organising.)

I should say at the start that none of this is rocket science, and that my home is far from perfect. Most of the time it’s relatively tidy and functional, and pretty clean too, but I am not some sort of superwoman or paragon of virtue when it comes to home management. I’m just sharing these things as ideas for others who might need a little inspiration in this area. Of course, perhaps you’re not neurotic about mess and organisation like me, and that’s fine too. Even though you’re wrong. 😀

1. Cleaning and Chore Schedule

I have a cleaning and chore schedule. It’s pretty dull. I don’t like cleaning that much but having a clean, organised, and tidy house is important to me. For one thing, it’s harder to find things in a messy house, and for another, if there is mess around I’ll be drawn to it like a moth to a flame, and that isn’t fair on my poor neglected children.

Anyway, my schedule is simple. I regularly do activities that need to be done regularly on regular days. Often they happen after the children are in bed or during nap times.

  • Monday – ironing (or supermarket shop if necessary)
  • Tuesday – ironing if not finished
  • Wednesday – vacuum downstairs while kids are having a bath with Nick; mop after bedtime
  • Friday – bathroom
  • Saturday – dust and vacuum whole house; plan meals for week ahead and write shopping list / do online shop
  • Sunday – kitchen and sink; sort laundry into piles for putting away; write do list for week ahead

Nick takes his share of the chores too. He is responsible for emptying the bins when they are full and putting them out on collection day, mowing the lawn in summer, and washing the car.

A chore I hate is cleaning the fridge, so I do it far less often than I probably should, maybe three times a year.

I also hate cleaning windows. The only windows I clean are the toddler-height ones.

There are also the day-to-day things like loading and unloading the dishwasher, wiping sticky handprints from cupboards, cleaning the bases of the bar stools so my baby can lick them without me worrying what he’ll catch, and the odd things like cleaning the cooker hood when grease starts dripping down the wall, wiping accumulated food off the walls, and sweeping sequins off the floor (why do they spread so far?!). I do those whenever the need arises.

2. Laundry Schedule

No matter how much laundry you do, there is always more. So I have a schedule for it.

  • Monday – Kids bed linen
  • Tuesday – Whites or colours (depending on which is the bigger pile)
  • Wednesday – Towels; Woollens and delicates
  • Thursday – Whites or colours (whichever wasn’t done on Tuesday)
  • Friday – Our bed linen
  • Saturday – Colours (so that I can make sure all Nick’s work trousers are clean and dry before Monday)
  • Sunday – Whites (ditto for shirts)

I don’t separate whites from lights, I just do a dark/colour and a white/light wash. I keep the kids’ bibs and face cloths in a basket next to the washing machine and shove them in whenever I am washing towels or linen as I use the 60 degree cycle for those. I wash woollens and delicates like lingerie together on a 30 degree wash with non-bio detergent.

I wash nappies every other day. I put them on to wash as soon as the children are in bed, and hang them up before I go to bed. They’re dry around 36 hours after that, so I get a day of nappy-free living space before the next lot is hung up!

I don’t use the tumble dryer for most things. It’s too expensive to run all the time. I use it mainly when I’ve run out of drying space, but because I alternate between big things like towels and linen, which I dry over the banisters, and clothes, that doesn’t happen that often. We do always have two clothes airers up in winter when we can’t dry outside but I don’t even notice them now!

3. Pinterest Board

This is where I save all the things I want to do, remember, make, buy, cook, or bake. I can’t keep them all in my brain but I’ve found pinterest so useful as a kind of archive for things.

4. Notebooks

Ah, I love stationery. I have two notebooks on the go at any one time. One is my projects book, where I make lists of longer-term projects and things I’d like or need to do. The other is my day-to-day planning book, where I write weekly do lists. I write shopping lists on any old scrap of paper. You can get fancy organiser diary things but I’m not sure I’d use them. I do have a paper diary which was a necessity in the crazy newborn days with a baby in NICU and a toddler too, but is less essential now. I just like the pretty cover.

5. Having Less Stuff

Always, always, always working on this one. Personally, if I could live in a cave with almost no possessions, I would. Though it would have to be decorated with pretty things, and I’d need all my baking equipment, and shoes, obviously. Ahem.

That’s just a few ideas of things that help me around the home. I’d love to hear of other things that can help chores just get done so you can have more time for fun stuff.