Sunday, May 5, 2013

PODE!: Chores - Stop Cramming & Start Planning

I used to hate Sundays. Sundays for me was dreaded chore day -I felt like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia. I'd stare at the pile of laundry waiting to be put in the washing machine, the stack of plates I haven't washed in two days, the toilet that needed a thorough scrubbing and don't even get me started on my my floor. So this used to be the routine every weekend, until I realized: It doesn't have to be this way - there's a smarter way to go about it.

For this week's Project: Overcome Domestic Entropy!, I'm helping you to stop cramming and start planning your attack on getting your place clean. It'll go faster if you share a place with friends and divide the workload with everyone. So get a piece of paper and a pen, your favorite cup of tea, and get comfortable 'coz we've got some work to do.

Every project starts with a list - it helps get your brain organize things faster. On a piece of paper, write down every cleaning task you can think of. Divide the tasks room by room if it helps. This also helps you remember tasks that tend to be overlooked, like shaking out the rug, dusting the window sill or cleaning the a/c filter.

When you're done with that, divide your tasks into manageable chunks and spread them out throughout the week.

Example 1:
Sunday: Kitchen (thorough cleaning + meal planning)
Monday: Bedroom
Tuesday: Paperwork + Errands
Wednesday: Bathroom
Thursday: Living Room
Friday: Office
Saturday: Entryway, Garden and/or Garage

Example 2:
Mondays: Kitchen + Laundry
Tuesdays: Vacuum + Sweep
Wednesdays: Living Room + Bathroom
Thursdays: Bedroom
Fridays: Office

I don't know about you, but I hate being told what to do. The idea of waking up to be confronted by a to-do list isn't the best way to motivate me. Having a check list is more my style, as I like the idea of ticking things off a list and that feeling of accomplishment I get every time I complete my goals for the day.

My checklist reflects my list that's been divvied up by room, including even the monthly infrequent tasks, so I don't forget about them. Go as buckwild as you want with adding tasks and decorating your checklist - you'll be looking at it everyday, anyway!

Make your checklists smarter by:

  1. Laminating the checklist and writing on it with a dry erase marker.
  2. Writing tasks that can be accomplished in 20 minutes or less in a different color than those that would take over an hour to do. That way you get a visual sense of what you really have left for the week.

Because of my irregular schedule, I don't always complete my daily task routines, but I've discovered that having one really helps.

Here are a couple of small tasks that I try to incorporate into my day as well:

  • Wipe down the kitchen and bathrooms whenever I'm in there. I use Clorox wipes (I have to thank my friend Lori for introducing me to these) and give the sink, counters and the toilet a quick wipe down whenever I remember.
  • Keep the dishes and sink clean. I have a bad habit of just leaving my plate and cutlery in the sink after breakfast and lunch and usually clean up at dinner since it's just me - this is a routine I'm learning to break.
  • I try not to get the office space clutter out of control. It's ironic that I have a lot of papers and stuff to file even though I work for a social media agency,freelance as a writer and copywriter, and now, blogger. Most of it are things for filing that just pile up (like receipts and press releases).

Also, incorporate a monthly deep clean into your schedule - if for no other reason than it'll give you an excuse to slack off for the couple of days leaving up to it. You can make it a whole day affair, or spread it out for a span of a week - whatever works for you.

And that's it! I have gone back to loving Sundays again. It's my day to catch up on my reading and spend some quality time bonding with my dog, with my only chores being planning out my meals for the next week, grocery shopping, and prepping the food for the week so it takes longer to cook. And that isn't too bad.

Tell me if you find this helpful, or if you have anything to add to this. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Just mucking around Manila,
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