Routine! Seriously, this is the only way I'm managing the household at this point. Everything is part of a routine. It's the best way to get things done. I have a fairly simple method to make sure that all the necessary chores are accomplished over the course of the week. Prior to putting our house on the market my system was simple, effective, and not very time consuming. But now that the house needs to be show ready by 10 am everyday it's a little more involved, but still manageable, especially now that Eve has had her shedding winter undercoat removed (thank you professionally groomers-- $90 and 8 hours well spent for a little help in that department). It has taken me quite some time to come up with a routine that works, but I finally did. Just in time to get ready to move and have to figure out new routines and systems for a new house, but at least now I have a starting point. So here's a little sample of what my cleaning routine looks like:
Every morning: empty dishwasher while coffee brews (now we can immediately put all dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher during the day). Open blinds and curtains to let light in, crack open windows if it's nice out. Make beds.
Late morning: specific chore for the day (more on that later)
Evening into pre bedtime: clean kitchen, all dirty dishes in dishwasher (and run it), wipe counters, table, and sink. Dylan picks up his toys before bath time. Pick up miscellaneous stuff and put it away (this shouldn't be too much because I have adopted the "don't put it down, put it away" mantra throughout the day).
Second part of the routine involves a rotating schedule of tasks:
Monday- Laundry day. All dirty laundry, sheets, towels, clothes. Washed, folded, and put away in the same day so I don't have to think about it the other 6 days of the week. This has been a little difficult lately because I can't leave my laundry piles out all day in case we have a showing, but I still try to tackle it in a day as much as possible. I usually wind up doing 4 or 5 loads which is manageable.
Tuesday- Food/Kitchen day. Meal planning, grocery shopping, clean out expired food, do a detail clean in the kitchen.
Wednesday- Office day. Pay bills, file papers, take care of phone calls, make appointments, etc.
Thursday- Floors day- dust. Vacuum, mop.
Friday- miscellaneous day. Tackle a decluttering project or a once in a while project (like Reorganizing a closet or cleaning the fridge). Run errands.
Weekend- bathrooms. No matter how much I've tried to squeeze bathroom duty into the week (so I don't have any major weekend cleaning) it just doesn't work. At some point Matt will take Dylan out so I can spend a good chunk of uninterrupted time cleaning the bathrooms and whatever other things need some attention.
There you have it. Everything gets cleaned on a regular basis. The only flaw in the system is that the whole house is never perfectly clean at the same point in time, like it was when we had cleaning ladies. But it's also never too far from being perfectly clean either )like it was before we ever had cleaning ladies). But most mornings I wake up to a clean enough house, and most nights I go to bed with a clean enough house, which is a good feeling. Plus this method only requires a little effort everyday and the best part is that I don't have to worry about laundry on any day other than Monday.... I don't have to wonder when I'm going to get a chance to mop again, because I know I'll do it on Thursday, and sure there are times when plans force things to shift a little, but that's fine... I'm learning to be more flexible.