Thursday, January 5, 2012

#95 - Find A Way That Works For Me...

#95 on my 101 in 1001 list - Find a way that works for me to keep up with chores, appointments, etc.

Two kids, one spouse, running the food pantry at church, teaching youth group, doing part-time work mystery shopping for three companies, and finding any other money-making opportunities to make up for my lack of a job outside of the home doesn't leave a lot of free time.

Include household chores, spending quality time with my kids and spouse (together and separately), making sure I spend quality time reading my Bible and praying, taking extra time to make things myself so I don't have to buy them, couponing so that I don't have to pay full-price for stuff, and blogging on three blogs, and free time has just evaporated into a poof!

When Stephen deployed last May, I decided to take the time to figure out how to keep up with all my chores and all my appointments without getting confused and without feeling stressed. I scoured the Internet looking for something that would help me. Most of the time when I found something that worked for someone else, it didn't fit my lifestyle. But eventually, I found something. And then it worked for six months. And then it continued to work. Suffice it to say, I love this schedule. I don't feel stressed about the household unless something else takes up more time than usual. For example, when I do the Angel Tree, I usually am out at the church around 30+ hours a week for three weeks, not to mention making sure my personal shopping is done and everything. But those hours that I'm out at the church instead of at home tend to throw a wrench in my perfect cleaning schedule. Fortunately, I have an understanding husband. :) Sickness is another wrench, vacation is, and having family in town. Sickness is the only "wrench" that I dislike - all other reasons are more important to me than having a clean house!!

So I am sharing this with you. I hope that it helps you. I hope that if it doesn't help you, you can tweak it to make your life easier.

I even figured out how to make it a Google Document... I think. Hopefully this link will take you to my Excel Spreadsheet and maybe you can edit it and print it out for yourself? I'm not sure - I've never used Google Documents. I accept advice. :)

If you enlarge that picture you can see my spreadsheet for October as an example. You'll also see there are many instances where I didn't get my chore done - obviously there are going to be plenty of "it's just been one of those days" days!

Daily chores:
First I have daily chores. Every day my goal is to exercise, have no dishes in the dishwasher that are clean or dirty in the sink, do one load of laundry from washing to drying to folded and put away, sweep the kitchen and dining room, clip and file 25 coupons (so I don't fall behind), and spend time on my devotions. I do make the beds every day but I didn't put it on the spreadsheet because it's just a habit.

I read two great posts on one of my favorite blogs that helped me decide what chores I wanted to do every day. Here is her opinion of three chores to do every morning and here are her three chores to do every night. I don't necessarily agree with these chores but it may help you.

Weekly chores:
Every week, at some point, I have the goals to clean the bathrooms, mop the floors, clean out the refrigerator, dust all rooms, clean the windows, clean my car out completely, change the sheets on all the beds, change the towels in all the bathrooms, clean the microwave thoroughly, and sweep out the garage.

I usually change the sheets on Mondays just because it's the beginning of the week and I like a fresh start. Same thing with changing the towels on Sundays. Other than that, I might dust on a Tuesday this week and on Friday next week. I love not feeling like I have to dust on Wednesday or I have to mop on Friday. The schedule is flexible.

Every other day chores:
Every other day I vacuum and make sure the counters are decluttered and sanitized. Obviously these chores get done more often if necessary, like all the other chores.

When Stephen came home from deployment I realized this schedule worked well while he wasn't here, but when I added in quality time with him, I had less time to spend on household chores. I asked him to take over the chores of vacuuming, sweeping the garage, and doing dishes. Of course he was perfectly willing to do it - we'd pretty much always split chores, but primarily because I just couldn't keep up with it all. Now I was learning how to keep up with enough that he can come home from work and relax and just hang out with us rather than worry about the house.

Let me know if you attempt this and it makes your life easier. That's my hope for you! And if not, maybe it will at least give you some ideas. Some of you probably have kids who can do these chores as well. I know Brianna has helped with unloading the dishwasher, laundry, and cleaning the windows, but there's just not a lot that a 2-year old can reach! Or that I trust her to do just yet!!

Good luck!

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