Decluttering, purging, and organizing is one thing, but how do you keep order in your house once it has been restored? For me, having a clear plan in regards to cleaning and maintenance is key. There are many methods and plans out there, but this one is the one that has consistently worked the best for me. My mother had a book back in the early ’80s titled “The Sidetracked Home Executives”. It was an account of 2 sisters who tackled the clutter in their homes after they had reached the end of their ropes. In this book, they detailed a system of cleaning and maintenance using index cards and a card file box. Their system was quite detailed. I have pared it down to suit my needs. When I consistently follow this system, my house stays orderly. Here are the basics of that system.
What you need:
Index cards (minimum of 4 different colors)
2 sets of dividers (one labeled with the months of the year and one labeled 1-31)
To get started you will need to list out any chores or household tasks that need to be accomplished. This is everything from daily chores such as making the bed to seasonal tasks like checking the batteries in the smoke detectors. You will need to assign the frequency of these tasks to a color of an index card. For example in my system:
Pink = Daily
Blue = Weekly
Yellow = Monthly
Purple = Seasonally (every 3 months, 6 months, or yearly)
Then start writing out all of your tasks (one per card) and write in the frequency in the upper left corner of the card.
Once you have your cards completed then file them in the appropriate place. Daily tasks will be filed under today’s date. Weekly tasks filed under the day of the week when it makes the most sense for your schedule. (I have one day a week that I dedicated to most of my weekly cleaning: toilets, showers, vacuuming, etc.) File tasks that are less frequently under the appropriate month. At the beginning of a new month pull out all the tasks for that month and file them under the dates for the month that works best for you.
As tasks are completed throughout the day they are re-filed in the appropriate spot. Daily moved to the next day, weekly tasks moved 7 days out and so on.
Here are some examples of the tasks on my cards.
Clean off desk
Wipe down the Kitchen sink
Sweep kitchen floor
Mop Kitchen Floor
Check Water Softener Salt
Clean Small appliances
Write sponsored kids
Now you may not need to write out every small task such as “Make the Bed”, but I find it helpful to have everything written down. Plus it gives me a small sense of satisfaction to move my cards to the next day when completed. This system has really helped me to get the upper hand on the less frequent cleaning items in my home. I like that it’s flexible. When I see something that needs attention I make a card for it and it doesn’t get forgotten.
Now, do I get every task done every day? No. Life happens and some days throw you for a loop. I just move the tasks back in the box and keep on going. After all, life has to be flexible.
Hopefully, this will give you some ideas on how to set up a system that works for your household and schedule.