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All right, ladies, this is for everyone who has a messy house (or room)

December 14 2010 at 8:37 PM
Maxine  (Premier Login MaxineS)

We're going to re-visit the famous housekeeping tips. We are going to get our homes clean by Christmas. After the first of the year, we may start organizing. This thread has been copied from the Archives. If you want to work ahead, you can read the whole thing in the Archives.

Our Tuesday chore is simple: find a place for your purse and PUT IT THERE. This one is easy enough that you can do it tonight if you're still up, or do it tomorrow along with Wednesday's chore.

Wednesday's chore is to spend 5 minutes in each room, picking up and putting away. We will call this PUPA. The threads today made me feel so guilty that I did this in my living room, dining room and entry, and I cleaned the kitchen (well). My house looks soooooooo much better, you wouldn't believe it...even though it desperately needs dusting and vacuuming.

OK, here are two days' worth of the infamous housekeeping tips from days of yore (about 10 years ago, I think). Anybody else in?

Housekeeping Confession--and First Tip of the Day
In my personal experience, how a person "keeps house" often is more a reflection of organizational skills than it is pride of ownership. Housework is just a lot harder for some people!

I don't mean the physical work involved in vacuuming, cleaning toilets, etc., although I have to say it is easier to clean a clean house than a dirty one! I have always had a terrible time getting and keeping my house clean. It's always just on the messy side. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd love to be a 9, I'd be happy to be a 6, right now I am a 4, and I used to be a 2! And it has taken me over 30 years to get this far.

I have lots of excuses, and some reasons, but I have finally come to the conclusion that a clean house is a juggling act, and I just do one thing at a time! For example, people with really nice kitchens clean up as they go along (it took me YEARS to notice this). When I cook, I cook.

When I clean, I clean. It is really hard for me to remember to put water in the sink, toss my dishes in as I go, and load the dishwasher once dinner is cooking. People whose kitchens are always clean automatically do this. I KNOW what has to be done, because in 30 years I've learned SOMETHING, but it really doesn't come naturally and often I'll find myself in a disaster zone just because it never occurred to me.

Also, it took me a long time to find out where to start to clean. (More on this another day). I've also picked up some organizational tips that help prevent disasters, which I would like to share, one a day. Finally, I just do the best I can and enjoy it without beating myself up too much about why my house isn't a 6 or a 9. It is not easy, because I am married to a man who has been critical of my housekeeping for all the time we have been married. (No, he doesn't help, either. I married in an earlier time and my self-esteem was too low to do anything about it. It isn't worth the fight now).

My best housework strategy (the one that has made the MOST difference for me) will be posted tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a quickie:

Establish a place for your purse and ALWAYS put it there so you can find it later! In my case, I put a hook up in the hall closet. When I come in the door, I hang up my coat and I hang up my purse. If I need to take out my checkbook, I return my purse to the hall closet when I'm finished. Don't laugh, it's little stuff like this that can save your sanity!

(second day) Minimum Maintenance (long)
Yesterday, I told you I would make a daily posting of the tips and strategies I have used over the years to gradually improve my housekeeping skills. Today's tip is a strategy suggested by Bonnie McCullough, author of "Totally Organized: The Bonnie McCullough Way."

Bonnie calls it Minimum Maintenance. It's 5 minutes per room of putting away, straightening up and wiping off. Begin with the biggest items in each room, such as bed, newspaper or kitchen table, and work your way down to smaller items. When the 5 minutes is up, STOP. You can finish what you're doing at that moment, but don't start anything else in that room.

If you have a 6 room house, you can make a major improvement in only 30 minutes (the kitchen may take longer). This is only basic maintenance--you are not going to clean up a pit in only 5 minutes.

However, and this is the surprising part, you will begin to see a huge improvement by about the third day. On the first day, you'll get the biggest stuff put away. On the second, you'll be finding homes for the little oddball stuff you left out because you didn't know what to do with it. By the third day--now that you've got the counter cleaned off--you'll have time for a swipe with the dustcloth. You will never have time in 5 minutes to do heavy cleaning, but your rooms will be presentable. Once you get the clutter put away, you are much less likely to add to it as much.

It's important not to get too involved in any one room, and to move on after 5 minutes. If you don't, you will find yourself bogged down in one room and letting the rest of the house go to pot. On your daily rounds, you will notice what else needs to be done, and can go back to clean it when you have the time.

If you don't know where to start, begin where you will make a first impression. In my case, that's the entry hall and living room. I generally skip to the bedroom and bath after that, because those rooms are hidden from view, yet I want to make sure they get done. Then I do the dining room and finish with the kitchen (plan on spending more than 5 minutes on this room). Do it in the order that works for you. My schedule, I'm sure, would be very different if my kids were small and the dining room table were buried under cereal boxes, spilled milk, Matchbox cars, color books and magic markers. Just getting that cleaned up would give me a huge lift and I'd probably do it first!

Advantages of minimum maintenance (per Bonnie McC):
(1) It keeps things from getting worse
(2) You like yourself and your house more
(3) Areas you have already cleaned stay clean longer
(4) You gain freedom to move onto new projects without tangle or clutter
(5) The program is easy to teach and delegate to spouse and kids

Note from me: You will be amazed how much you can accomplish in only 5 minutes. Tomorrow night, I'll suggest ways to motivate yourself to do it. (If you do it today, you won't need any motivation tomorrow!).

This message has been edited by MaxineS on Dec 14, 2010 8:39 PM

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