Monday, August 13, 2007

Secrets from the Playbook - 8/13/2007

First, thank you to everyone who has commented over the weekend! Your comments are very encouraging! It's been a busy weekend for me...going to a portraiture exhibit of all things...more on that tomorrow.

Today is the first installment in a new series for Mondays on Rose's Art Lines. Essentially, I've been researching efficiency, household, and life management for the last several years and thought I'd try and pass on a few things. I'm sure that none of these ideas are original with me. I've read every book I could find, searched the web dozens of times, talked with people, etc. One resource that jumps to mind is I don't go for everything there, and there is a ton, but it has been a big help to many people.

Strategy of the week: Get the house to clean itself. I have a large home, full of boys, and yet I do not have a cleaning day. My house gets cleaned on auto-pilot. I still do the work, but I never actually think about doing it or set aside time for it (and so it feels like I don't clean.) The auto-pilot system works through routines and short bursts of effort. All the important jobs have a spot in the week...the same spot every week. This means I don't have to remember to do them. Every Monday morning and Thursday morning, I do clothes laundry. Tuesdays I do sheets. Wednesdays are towels...etc. When I'm doing the towels on Tuesdays, it's a perfect day to sweep the bathroom floors (because the rugs are in the wash). And once you've given jobs the same spot for a few weeks, you just do don't ask yourself if you want to do them, you just do them to forget about them.

Then, all the other jobs just get slotted in. So, today I had ten minutes extra before nap time...the boys and I vacuumed downstairs (done for the week! :-) In the evenings, I generally do a two minute clean up of clutter spots. When I'm in the bathroom, I might give the sink a wipe down, or the toilet a scrub. The key to this is to stop thinking you have to find an hour to clean your bathroom when you see the floor has too much hair on it. Just find two minutes to grab the broom and sweep. You'll either take care of the rest when it's time (it's one of your routines) or you'll do it when it gets bad enough to bother you and you'll take two minutes.

Tip of the Week: For a job you really hate, time yourself. For me, I hate unloading the dishwasher. I used to procrastinate and whine about doing that job all the time. Well, one day, I timed myself, I went slowly, and it took 3 minutes. Right there I learned that I was letting a 3 minute job upset me, make me less productive, and color my view of my life. Now, when I am tempted to whine about it, I know 3 minutes and it's over.


Kasie Sallee said...

Great tips Rose! I've been working on trying to schedule cleaning and things more like that. I think my problem is all the small messes that seem to accumulate during the day. I feel like I'm constantly following behind the girls and cleaning up. How do you handle those?

Rose Welty said...

Well, that's a many headed hydra, as they say :-). I try lots of things...I try and make them clean up each activity before they begin a new one (this is time-consuming). I try and give everything a place and make them put stuff in its place - e.g. I don't help them find their shoes if they aren't in their cubby hole. I make them clean up the toys before nap time and bed time. We have a little song..."clean up what you mess up that's the rule in the Welty house." But I definitely try and get them and myself to not leave those little messes around, because it's five mins now or three hours of my evening later on! And I resent my evening being chewed up that way. :-)

Jo Castillo said...

Rose, I love the diswasher tip at the end of the blog. It is strange, at home we use a dishwasher and I accumulate the things that don't go in the dishwasher and hate that chore of washing up. Here we don't use the dishwasher and just do them as soon as we use them. Much better. Of course I don't cook as much here. Thanks for the tips. No kids to chase anymore, but your advice of picking up after every activity worked for me back in the old days. Each one was in charge of their mess.