Organizing Your Cleaning Supplies and Schedules
February 12th, 2013 posted by Kelly Huckaby
Do you gather cleaning supplies from various locations around the house to clean the bathroom? How many times during the week do you find yourself dragging out the vacuum cleaner? Are you looking for a way to get your children to help more with chores? If your children are grown, or your oldest is under two, and your home is fairly orderly, you may want to skip this month’s column. But, if you’re like me, with four rambunctious children and a house that is forever dirty, then read on! I’ve tried many different ways to organize this aspect of my life and feel that I’ve finally found one that works for my home. I’d like to share some of the things I’ve tried, and I hope you’ll be able to use one or two of them at your house. Manufacturers have created different products to clean each item and spot in your home. A white product for the bathtub, a blue product for glass and mirrors, an amber product for kitchen floors, and a whole rainbow of other products for everything in between. What you choose to use is up to you. I’ve found that some of the products packaged for specific rooms work well in other rooms as well. The library has many books on cleaning which can assist you in choosing your supplies. There are two basic ways to organize your cleaning supplies. You can put all of them in one centralized location in your home, or you can put everything you need for one room in a basket, or bucket, and keep it in that room. In my home, a combination of the two works best. The products I use for the kitchen, bedrooms and living room are kept in a bucket under the kitchen sink. The products I use for cleaning the bathrooms are kept in a caddy basket in the main bathroom. Some of you may have a pantry in your kitchen or under your basement stairwell. These storage areas often have places that are hard to reach, either up high, down low or in the corners. If you buy your cleaning supplies in bulk, these hard-to-reach places are great for storing those large containers until you need a refill. A planner pad is a very handy tool for sorting and making charts. These pads of paper come in two styles, with either a grid printed on both sides, or the grid on the front and lines on the back of each sheet. It is top-hinged with a sturdy cardboard back, and the sheets are perforated for easy removal. I used this planner pad to create my four-week rotating cleaning schedule. This schedule is based on the fact that I am home each day. If you work outside of the home and only have weekends to clean, this may seem overwhelming to you. First, I listed all the chores for each of the rooms in the house – things like emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning windows and mirrors. After I had listed everything I could think of I coded each item: daily (D), bi-weekly (B), weekly (W) and monthly (M). Next, on a fresh sheet of paper, I made four boxes to represent a four-week cycle. Each box was divided into five sections, one for each day of the week. I wrote down the daily items in each section of each box. (I only have four items I do every day.) I tried to be general with this, to keep the list short. For instance, instead of writing “load dishwasher” and “unload dishwasher” I only wrote “dishwasher”. I then wrote down the chores to be done twice a week, listing them on either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday. (I had two chores listed this way.) From there, I proceeded to the weekly chores, trying to keep a balance over the course of the week so that one day did not have more chores to do than any other day. Finally, I wrote down monthly chores, like vacuuming the furniture, dusting the ceiling fans, and cleaning the kids’ closets and drawers. I put each chore in a different week, adding it to Wednesday, to even out the week. (I end up with seven or eight things to do each day.) If you have any chores that you normally do once or twice a year you can list those jobs on your calendar. Another way to organize your cleaning schedule is to give each room its own cleaning day. For instance, do bathrooms on Monday, the living room and hallway on Tuesday, the kitchen on Wednesday, etc. I tried this schedule and soon gave it up, because I was dragging out all of my cleaning stuff every day. The four-week rotating schedule has me using different cleaning supplies on different days. I only use the vacuum twice a week, the dust cloth twice a week, and glass cleaner once a week. The four-week schedule is easy for children to use as well. After you create your lists, add check boxes next to each item. After a child does his chore, he puts his initials in the box. Or you can color code the chores that each child is responsible for. Blue for the oldest, yellow for the youngest, and so on.