Just before Joe and I married we closed on a tiny, patio home. It had two stories, three bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, and at 1840 square feet it was perfect for us. When we returned from our honeymoon, we settled right in and set about making the house our home.
When my Nonna came from Italy for our wedding, I proudly showed her our little home. I showed her the kitchen, the large family room, the pretty wallpaper in the bathroom, and the babbling creek that ran through our backyard. She was very happy for me and kept grabbing me to give me a kiss, but after the tour she wondered how in the world I would be able to keep it clean. It was so big for a young couple! And you're both working! When will you ever have the time for housekeeping?
This is the same Nonna who, when I announced my engagement the summer before, gave me one of her wooden eggs ... you know, for darning socks. So when she expressed concern about my potential housekeeping problems due to lack of time, I simply considered it a very Nonna-like thing to say. And honestly, I loved her all the more for it. Fast forward to today.
We have since moved on from that tiny patio home, and we now have 3500 square feet, 3 1/2 bathrooms, a large kitchen, a rec room, a study, and a nice, large back yard. We also have three sons (with lots of friends!) and all day long they are in and out, slamming the back door every time. In. And out. Then, and those of you with boys will understand this, there is the boy's bathroom and ... well, we won't go there (unless you're wearing a hazmat suit). (Sometimes I think my Nonna had it easy ... she had three lovely, quiet daughters.)
To be honest, though, there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of Nonna's words, especially lately when it seems I am constantly playing catch-up with house cleaning; in fact, it seems no matter how much I clean, I never really seem to make any progress. I realize part of this is a result of all our recent house projects (hardwood flooring, carpeting, shower, kitchen sink) which turned almost every room into a demolition zone. Then, as soon as I finally got the house straightened up after the renovations, we had a little thing called an ice storm which caused a three-day power outage and resulted in mattresses and blankets being moved downstairs, laundry piling up, and stuff everywhere.
So you can see why I have lately been feeling like King Sisyphus who was doomed forever to roll a large boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down and have to repeat the entire process again.
Last night I finally realized I needed to make some changes. I needed to take charge again and not feel like a tumbleweed (or a dust bunny) blown hither and yon with the wind. I thought back to Nonna's words and was reminded how a clean, ordered home goes a long way in creating a restful environment and a peaceful heart. And because I believe in lists, I made out a cleaning schedule. I did some blog surfing for some innovative ideas, and I found one at Clover Lane which I adapted to fit our family's needs.
Nothing on my list is what I don't already do, but to have it written not only helps me see the entire picture, but it also helps me stay on task. Very simply, this is what I came up with: I assigned certain tasks (upstairs bathrooms, laundry, etc.) to a different weekday, thereby breaking down chores so that they are more manageable and not so overwhelming. I also made a separate list of chores for Deep Cleaning, and each week I select a room from that list for a deeper cleaning (baseboards, blinds, ceiling fans); basically, I do my individual weekday chores and then have the whole week to work on one Deep Cleaning Chore (DCC).
I feel better already.
And even though that little wooden egg is still sitting in the bottom of my sewing basket (does anyone darn socks anymore?) I have a feeling that Nonna would be proud.
Monday: meal planning and grocery shopping
Tuesday: master bedroom and bathroom (sheets, dust, vacuum)
Wednesday: boys’ bedroom and bathroom (sheets, dust, vacuum)
Thursday: dust/vacuum downstairs; rec room; our laundry
Friday: boys’ laundry; powder room; kitchen
Weekly: one Deep Cleaning Chore
DEEP CLEANING CHORE (DCC)
master bedroom and closet master bathroom
guest bedroom and bath
laundry and powder room