Tuesday, April 2, 2013

3 Strategies to Not Drop the (house cleaning) Ball

We have three "juggling" posts on the docket. I think juggling is an interesting idea. It brings to mind clowns and brightly colored balls flying through the air. Perfect coordination and rhythm.

Except when a ball is dropped. Then there are two choices. Pick up the dropped ball and keep going, or give up.

I said last week that home schooling is a life style choice, because it affects your entire life. Including things like house cleaning. Just how can you juggle home schooling and house cleaning? Assuming, of course, that home schoolers do clean their houses.

I think when we picture juggling in terms of life we think perfect and seamless. Everything flowing smoothly. But, when does life ever flow smoothly? When does the rhythm stay absolutely perfect?

I don't mind cleaning and I enjoy having a clean house. More than enjoying having a clean house, I need my house orderly in order to function well. But I don't want to/ can't spend my entire life cleaning. 

I have 3 strategies that keep my home schooling, house cleaning and life balls flying through the air. The juggling isn't always seamless. Sometimes a ball is dropped. But, I keep picking up and starting anew.

I have written about each of my strategies on this blog before. I will summarize them here, and also include the links for the posts that I've more thoroughly fleshed them out. (each point title is a link)

1) Weekly Schedule. I have a cleaning schedule. There are certain tasks I do on certain days of the week. This allows me to keep my house clean without cleaning everyday. It gives me structure-I know what needs done on any given day. It gives me flexibility. If my week was crazy, and I missed my dusting, it can be fit in later in the week. (or not) Oh, and I like to do my house work earlier in the week so the guilt doesn't look me in the face all week. Work first-then play. Hard habit to get over.

I only do laundry three days a week. We don't have so much that it is necessary to do it more often. This gives me down days, when I don't have to think about starting, switching and folding laundry. And, this here tip is a freebie...I always fold one load of laundry sometime before the next load is done drying. Laundry piles do not ever get smaller. It is a much less daunting task to fold each load as it gets done, rather than a huge pile all at once. Who has time to fold a huge pile? 

My weekly cleaning schedule looks like this...
Monday: laundry
Tuesday: vacuum and dust the entire house
Wednesday: laundry, scrub both bathrooms and kitchen and dining room floors. Scrub kitchen sink.
Thursday: nothing!!!
Friday: laundry, extra chore

I also have "extra" chores that I usually slip in one in each week. This would include deep cleaning the stove, vacuuming under the couches, tops/fronts of kitchen cabinets, vacuuming lamp shades and curtains, scrubbing the shower walls.

2) Division of Labor. I firmly believe that my kids should help around the house. They make messes, and they live here. Having their own chores teaches them responsibility and appreciation. Here's what my kids each do to keep this boat afloat.

BMV (10)- vacuums main level of the house and stair cases 2-3 times each week, puts away own laundry, washes dining table and sweeps floor after each meal, 

Freckles (9)- rinses dishes and loads dish washer after every meal, puts own laundry away, cleans Meres' highchair good once a week, takes garbage outside, vacuums bedroom once a week.

LC (5) unloads dishwasher, empties garbage cans into kitchen trash, puts own laundry away, starting to fold easy laundry, 

Meres (21 months) puts clothes in hamper, picks up toys.

They are each responsible for keeping their own bedrooms picked up, toys put away in the basement, their clothes in the hamper, and their beds made.

3) Good Enough. I have a tendency to be a bit OCD. My personal struggle is to be willing to let things go. I wonder if when you all are reading this, if you are picturing my house covered in dirt, dust and finger prints. It isn't. At all. But because I clean mostly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, if you drop by Monday night, you will see dust coating the piano and book shelves, and maybe evidence of boys not quite hitting their mark in the bathroom. My house will not be perfect. 

And I am not going to apologize or stress about that. I am not going to deep clean before company comes, though I will pick up. I will make sure the sink is rather empty and the counters aren't swarming in crumbs. 

I won't scrub my downstairs bathroom, or the bathtub if its still clean from the week before. Why clean a clean room? 

There is a good that is good enough. It has been a challenge to learn that. I haven't quite got it completely yet. But, I'm working on it. If you don't read any of my other posts I've linked in with this, I would urge you to read this one.

This is how I keep my house livable, and make time for schooling as well as the other things I enjoy doing.

One final juggling tip...whether school and cleaning or school and cooking, I often have my kids read to me while I am working. It gives me something fun to listen to while working, and it accomplishes my goal of having them read aloud every day. Two birds-one stone. Efficient.

What tips do you have for juggling home schooling and house cleaning? Share them in the comments.

For more strategies for juggling home schooling and house cleaning, check out what each of these wonderful women have to say...(names are links)