FlyLady will give you a lot of tips and good ideas (see last post), but it’s basically about building a simple morning and evening routine that will keep your house reasonably clean and then having 15-minutes of decluttering and deep-cleaning a day that will allow your house to progress from terribly messy to organized and comfortably clean over the course of several weeks or months.
Here is what my morning and evening routines have looked like for the last two months, to give you an idea:
Morning Cleaning Routine
1. Wake up and make my bed as soon as my feet touch the floor
2. Wash, dress for the day, put on shoes
3. Swish and wipe the master bathroom in under 60-seconds (Keep a sponge and small spray bottles of vinegar and water—because they’re kid-safe—in every bathroom and a toilet brush next to every toilet. While you are brushing your teeth, spritz the counters, wipe the sinks, and swish the toilet. This will be enough to keep your bathroom disinfected and pretty clean in between monthly or biweekly deep-cleanings. If there is a spot or some fingerprints you miss in those 60 seconds, you’ll get it tomorrow)
4. Get the girls out of bed, change diaper, dress them, and put a load of laundry in the washer
5. Put a Quran cd in the computer and play it throughout the morning
6. Empty the dishwasher while preparing breakfast
7. 5-minute hotspot (every house has a hotspot, an area that if not given daily attention will quickly get out of control and spread throughout the whole house—mine is the kitchen floor)
8. Eat breakfast, drink water and vitamins
9. Figure out what’s for dinner
10. 15-minutes of decluttering
For the decluttering, I basically choose an area of the house that needs organizing work (a closet, my sewing table, the kitchen pantry, a drawer) and only work on that for fifteen minutes. Only take out as much as I can do in 15-minutes, set the timer, and work furiously for those 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, I’m done for the day and walk away. It may not seem like much, but two months of 15-minute decluttering sessions have completely organized and sorted my master bedroom closet, the bathroom cabinets, the girls’ dresser, the girls’ toy bins, the kitchen pantry, the laundry room, our file cabinet, and the hallway closet.
The whole morning routine, including the 15-minutes of decluttering, takes about a half-hour. If I have an early morning appointment, I occasionally skip the decluttering and just pick up the next day.
During the day, I am free to do whatever I want, my only housework assignments are:
1. Fold and put away the morning laundry
2. Keep the sink empty and shiny, all dirty dishes go straight into the dishwasher that I emptied in the morning
3. 15-minutes of deep-cleaning. I find that often I am feeling so good about the house and myself that I actually want to do a little extra cleaning, organizing, or decorating (really, seriously!) so I indulge. FlyLady has assignments and zones, but that is only after your morning and evening routines are down pat.
4. Exercise! (not cleaning, so it really shouldn't go here, but oh such a chore!)
My evening cleaning routine looks like this. It is very simple and short, takes no more than ten minutes, because by the end of the day I am exhausted.
Before Bed Cleaning Routine
1. Wipe the kitchen table
2. Shine sink
3. Run the dishwasher
4. 5-minutes of tidying before bed—I make the girls do this with me.
5. Swish and wipe girls’ bathroom while brushing their teeth
All in all, I spend about an hour total on my routines and housework a day. I have my routines posted on my refrigerator, but now many of the items have become ingrained habits that I do automatically: very cool.
Now to apply what I learned here to other areas of self-improvement... like memorizing and reviewing Quran, maybe? I hope I can work other aspects of spirituality and self-development into these routines and build those gradually too until they become habits.