Just like a two-year old, I crave routine. Unlike a two-year old, I also have a fondness for order. To fulfill my needs for routine and order, I clean the house, top to bottom, once a week. After I clean, it's easy to do a quick pick up or wipe down here and there to maintain routine and order until Sunday night, when everything returns to chaos.
Monday has been my regular house cleaning day but this week, there was a holiday on Monday and the kids were home from school. Cleaning the house while the kids are home is a stupid, frustrating, and redundant task, so I usually wait for everyone to be gone to get my effective cleaning done.
My goal is to have the house in perfect order and be completely done by the time the kids get home from school. This rarely happens, but I get pretty close and then I can finish the rest after dinner.
Here's how I clean house:
1. Everything has a place. If there are not enough places for the stuff, I get rid of some of the stuff.
2. The iPod needs to be updated with all of my favorite, current podcasts and I listen to them in this order throughout the day as I clean:
a. Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me
b. Stuff Mom Never Told You (usually 2 episodes)
c. Stuff You Should Know (usually 2 episodes)
d. This American Life
e. The Moth
g. Stuff You Missed in History Class
2a. Completely shut down computer
3. Start a load of laundry and put in ear buds. (Some laundry is started the night before)
4. I take a giant Ikea reusable bag and collect everything down stairs that belongs upstairs, including any towels or other laundry that needs to be done. Then I take the bag upstairs and leave it.
5. I dust/polish the dining room table, piano, buffet, computer desk shelves, etc. Empty garbage under desk, file any papers and put everything in its place.
6. I clean the kitchen counters, empty/load dishwasher, clean fish bowl water, Comet the sink, wash windows behind sink, clean and polish kitchen table (stack chairs on top of table), wipe down my laptop, sweep floor and mop floor.
7. Change laundry
8. Clean downstairs bathroom, toilet, sink, mirror, mop floor, replace towels with laundered ones.
9. Replace decorative couch pillows, dust table in TV room. Dust as needed
10. Tidy Robert's office if possible
11. Vacuum entire downstairs (downstairs is now complete!)
12. Upstairs, empty Ikea bag and toss contents into correct rooms.
13. Change laundry
14. Clean playroom: put all toys away, throw away garbage, return Wii stuff to proper place, dust as needed.
15. Vacuum playroom
16. Clean kids bathroom, tub, sink, counter, toilet, mirror, replace towels and empty trash and mop floor. (I can do this in about 10 minutes)
17. Change laundry (clean laundry gets dumped on my bed. The pile is growing)
18. Clean Isaac and Jonah's room, pick up floor, return everything to its place, make beds with fresh sheets if necessary (about every 4 weeks--they actually sleep on top of their bedspreads most nights) dust.
19. Go to Taco Bell drive through, order burrito supreme and Dr. Pepper. Return home and eat for 30 minutes. Then back to work!
20. Clean Ethan's room, pick up floor, return everything to its place, make bed with fresh sheets, dust
21. Change laundry
22. Fold all laundry
23. Put all folded laundry away
24. Mop laundry room floor (about this time, laundry should be all done, or the last load in the dryer)
25. Vacuum boys bedrooms and hall way (about this time, kids start getting home from school)
26. Make my bed, dust/polish all wood, pick up floor, throw garbage away, general tidying
27. Clean master bathroom, sinks, counter, mirrors, shower, toilet, replace towels, mop floor, return laundry baskets to closet.
28. Vacuum my bathroom (that's right, my stupid bathroom has carpet!), bedroom, hallway, stairs and landing.
29. Put vacuum cleaner away.
30. Take a bath, read book, use one of those fizzing bath bombs, relax.
31. Go to bed.
If all goes well, the next day I wake up to a perfectly clean house and every laundry basket is empty and all the clothes are put away. Everything is put away in fact. Maintenance is easy for the next 4 days. Routine and order abound.