New Year, New Me?

Ahhh, I love the new year!  I am a bit crazy and I love making goals for myself.  I really do this all year long but there is something about the start of a new year that makes me be able to forgive myself of all my shortcomings from last year and start anew…  At least that’s how I usually feel.  With that said, I haven’t made any resolutions yet.

I was looking at my 2012 resolutions and it was painfully obvious that I was failing.  I made 6 resolutions and I can confidently state I achieved 1 of them and completed half of two others.  3 out of 6 is 50% and 50% is an F.  F for F-A-I-L.  Cue sad music.

So instead of thinking about my bad grade from last year, I’m going to focus on an old resolution that went gloriously well.  Cleaning.

I know you’re already excited with just that simple word so let’s dive in to the topic.  Cleaning is something that you have to do and love the results but the actual work is not normally enjoyable.  Actually, a lot like your job.  And also like a project at work or school, when more people are involved, the more complicated it gets.  I had 4 people living in my house so cleaning seemed to be really complicated and I wasn’t master of that universe.  So I made a new year’s resolution to master it and I actually aced it by the end of that year.

Now aced it doesn’t refer to a sparkling clean house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Acing it refers to now I have a more manageable contained mess where everything has at least been recently sanitized.  Cause life isn’t perfect and certainly I am not and I live with a whole house full of people who aren’t either.  🙂

Tip #1:  Decide what your standard of cleanliness is.

Tip #2:  Lower it a notch for each opposing factor.

When I met my husband, I was one of those people that had my things and places very organized, neat and clean.  That’s how I like to live.  After a few years of trying to change my wonderful hubby to be like me, I decided I liked loving him (even with his huge pile of stinky clothes) better than fighting with him all the time.  This meant that there was a more…  lived-in style to our home.  With each child and stress, the standard of cleanliness went down.  It had to.  Unless I want to spend every moment of everyday cleaning.  I assume that most people do not want to be cleaning all day long every day too so that means lower your ideal standards.

Tip #3:  Decide how much time you’re willing to spend on it each day.

When I first made mastering a standard of cleanliness in my home a resolution, I was working about 25 hours a week in the evenings/nights and taking care of 2 kids during the day while my husband worked.  My “free” time was precious and my energy was even more so.  I knew that there was going to be some days where I couldn’t clean and when I did have time, it wasn’t going to be very much.  Now that my full-time job is to raise our 3 children and make a home, I have more consistent time and energy to go towards cleaning.  Be realistic and don’t put yourself up to something that you’ll fail at.

Tip #4:  Create a system.

The time you have and the type of cleaning that your household needs will determine what your system is.  Google cleaning routine and you’ll get all sorts of systems to look at and make your own.  When I first started, my system was a list of chores that I would rotate through.  There was no laundry day or clean the floors day.

1.  Dishes

2.  Counters

3.  Floors

4.  Bathrooms

5.  Laundry

The first block of time I had to do chores I would do dishes, the second time I would clean off all counters and so on.

There would be some days where I would get “backed up” and have to skip bathrooms to do some laundry and then go back to bathrooms.  The cycle would get broken up a bit but it worked for the most part.  About once a month hubby and I would take a Saturday and just work on cleaning the house up.  Sometimes the dishes piled up and the Mr. would do some cause I was working on floors.  We just accepted it since that’s how our life was at that moment and that moment we knew wouldn’t last forever.

Now that I’m home, I do have chores assigned to certain days.

Monday:  Counters, sinks & trash

Tuesday:  Floors & mop

Wednesday:  Toilets & mirrors or Bathtubs (these alternate every week), a Bedroom (deep cleaned once a month)

Thursday:  Counters & laundry (only wash & dry)

Friday:  Bills & fold laundry

Saturday:  Floors, Dust (every other week)

Everyday: Dishes

If for some reason, I can’t get to a chore on it’s assigned day, I just skip it that week (except for laundry).  If you were to come to my house on Wednesday, it will look pretty sparkling clean.  If you come on Saturday, it will most likely look like chaos.  But at least I know the floors underneath all the toys and random half-eaten quesadilla are still pretty clean!  I also have my 7 and 4 yr old boys help out.  They normally have one chore a day and sometimes two.  They typically help with dishes and pick up but I give them the option to help me with another regular chore where I try to teach them how to clean.  A very important skill if I am to stop cleaning when I’m 40, right?

Tip #5:  Revise and reward.

Try it out for a couple weeks and if it doesn’t work, change it!  Don’t force it to work.  My current routine has slowly changed to what it’s become today, home diva-ness.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  And you should tell yourself the same thing and add a special happy dance.  Or whatever you want to do to pat yourself on the back for accomplishing good in your life.

Now back to thinking what I can resolve to do this year…  I think eating chocolate will be on the list.  I’ll ace that.  🙂