Clean Streak

So a few years ago, I decided to change my life, give up my business career and embrace my art full-time.  This would force many changes.  We would have to decrease our eating out by 70%.  We would start mowing and keeping the yard ourselves.  We would make coffee rather than going to Starbucks twice a day.  And the saddest change for me, we had to give up our housekeeper.  Ouch.  Now I didn’t stop working mind you – no I started working way more in fact.  I just stopped being a major bread winner.  So, the house was still going to have to get clean somehow, and actually had less time than ever.  Trying to get my husband to clean is like trying to get a cat to drive a car.  What to do.  What to do.  This became somewhat of a seven year struggle/experiment.  At one point I just gave up and didn’t clean for about six months.  I can’t tell you just how strongly I do not recommend this approach.  After 6 months of us, our kitties, my husband’s penchant for sculpting (i.e. creating lots of dust), there were actually sections of the white floor molding that just not could be cleaned and had to be painted.  Yup.  Cleaning matters.  Don’t give up.  Then I decided every two weeks to take a Saturday or Sunday and clean the house from top to bottom.  The second time I did this I threw my back out.

So what is that old saying??  Necessity is the mother of invention?  So I did what I always do when I’m out of ideas.  I get out my pen, my journal, my calculator and start brainstorming.  When we had a housecleaner, she came every two weeks.  Okay, so that means on day 13, our house was 13 days dirty.  So what if we had pushed it to every 3 weeks instead of 2 weeks?  Could we live with that, yes I think so.  That means the day before our housekeeper came, the house would be 21 days dirty.  In other words, the cleanliness/dirtiness of the house was changing daily.  So rather than have it be super clean on day 1 and quite dirty on day 21 – what if the house were on a rolling cleaning calendar.

In other words, what if rather than having all the cleaning jobs done on day 21?  What if one of the cleaning jobs got done every day and the house was kind of on a “rolling clean” schedule.  Now granted this would mean the house would never be supper spiffy.  But it would also never be super dirty.  And I can squeeze in 20 minutes every morning for a chore if it means keeping the house clean and not losing my weekends!

So I divided the cleaning into 18 major jobs – one job per day, 6 days a week, rotating every 3 weeks.  For example, this week is Week I.  Week I’s six jobs are:  clean the toilets, clean the bathroom sinks, mop the bathrooms and clean the molding, mop the kitchen and molding, clean all the kitchen surfaces, clean the fridge.

The house is now always at least halfway clean and I don’t have to worry about it as I do one job every day.

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