Sunday, 22 July 2012

Life challenge - week 28 - cleaning

This week Deb has us thinking about 3 questions relating to cleaning.

What's your minimum standard cleaning routine?
Basically my minimum is quite low. Every night after dinner I tidy up from dinner, load and start the dishwasher, make Hunter’s lunch for the next day and basically ensure the kitchen area is clean and tidy.

What is your cleaning approach?
My cleaner comes once a fortnight. We spend the Sunday before she comes (she comes Monday) tidying – so she can actually clean. She mops all tiled areas, vacuums carpets, wipes kitchen bench/hotplates etc and kitchen table, cleans toilets, showers, bath, bathrooms including mirrors and sinks. The bathrooms, toilets, showers etc only get done by her once a fortnight. We generally don’t do them in between visits. Nor do we vacuum the carpet in between visits. We will sweep the family room/kitchen floor as required – maybe every 2nd day or so. This includes sweeping up any toys that have been left on the floor for the kids to pick up. They then get a few minutes to grab what they want and put it away or it goes in the bin.
We are quite lax when it comes to cleaning.

Do you use any systems to save you time and effort with cleaning?
The biggest issue I have is the clutter around the house. I’ve been going on about it all year – it’s one of my goals. We need to work on getting the kids to clean up their “stuff” better. I say we will do it every night – make them do it before bed, but again and again I find stuff on the floor and the kids in bed and I’m too tired to pick it up/or feel the kids should really do it. I feel better when the floors and clean and the place is tidy.
So no, I don’t have systems in place. My system is my cleaner and my Sunday frantic tidy so she can clean!  Not a great system. I really want to get rid of the frantic tidy up.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Home challenge - catch up - weeks 24-27

Okay so I have slipped seems to be spiralling out of control - which is not what we I'm attempting to catch up!

Week 24: clutter prevention
Challenge: Identify what your clutter issues are and devise a plan to prevent it coming back or getting worse. What can you do from today to prevent clutter?

The biggest areas for clutter are kids toys, Hunter's craft and kids clothes.

Kids clothes I think I can sort out easily - be sure the kids actually need the item before buying it. I often get a lot of hand me downs for Savannah – which are fantastic – but often come after I have done the clothes shopping.  Not much I can do about this – but I aim to keep what we need, and pass the rest on. And seasonally go through their closets and pass down what no longer fits.

Overall I really like the idea of 1 in 1 out – but for some things this just isn’t practical – like the kids toys! I have just done a huge clear out of toys – in preparation of making room for Hunter’s birthday and Christmas. My rule is once there are no more spaces in the storage boxes, we have to get rid of something to get something new in.

Hunter’s craft/making/pictures etc are tricky. He LOVES making and as such as heaps of cardboard boxes, paper craft, paper and so on. He wants to keep it all. A few weeks back we had a clear out – in preparation for the next term’s work. I think we managed to get rid of just under half of his stuff – but there was quite a lot he just wouldn’t part with. The plan was we will take photos of every item and at the end of the year make a photo book of all his work. He has just bought home a whole heap of craft/paper work etc from the last 6 months at school. When I suggested we were to go through and see what to keep and what to photograph now he was horrified – as if we would get rid of anything Mum – it only just came home. So as this is his creativity I’ve decided we will have a clear out each term – photographing as we recycle so we can create the book at the end of the year. He has a couple of cubes to keep his papers, as well as on top of the cube storage box for his boxes etc. As long as these aren’t over-flowing I’m happy.

As an overall prevent clutter tactic we need to really think through purchases before buying. In the past we have bought just for the sake of it! This will also help in my goal of getting on top of finances. Where possible I would like to bring in a 1 in 1 out rule.

I also need to get back on top of my de-cluttering list. I've chipped away at a few more items - kids books I can now cross off along with jewellery box. Still a few more areas to look at though.
  1. kitchen 4 draws
  2. my bedside table
  3. my hanging clothes
  4. top of my walk in robe
  5. jewellery box
  6. big kitchen tubs and cube areas
  7. lounge room book case
  8. computer cabinet
  9. Savannah's dresser
  10. Savannah's clothes in dresser
  11. Savannah's built in wardrobe
  12. Hunter's clothes
  13. Hunter's built in wardrobe
  14. kids books
  15. kids artwork
  16. kids toys
  17. garage

Week 25: catch up
Phew...nothing to do here

Week 26: everything has a place
Challenge: Go through your home and clear your clutter hot spots by assigning homes to things.

I have been doing this as part of the home challenge and now have a draw on top of the microwave for pens/stationary, my mail, Nigel’s mail, junk mail (the ones we want to keep a little longer) and miscellaneous – for things that need actioning. I have big tubs/cubes under my kitchen bench – and each hold a certain group of items eg. library books/DVDs, cookbooks, cords, hats/umbrellas, paperwork, name labels etc.
Generally I can’t think of too much in our home that doesn’t have a place – the issue is keeping it in it’s place. But as I tidy up over the next few weeks I’m going to be on the look out for things that are homeless – and try to find them a home (or boot them out!).

Week 27: home routines and systems
Challenge: Examine your household's routines and find 1 or 2 systems or ideas that you will work on implementing of tweaking to suit your home.

I’m quite good with home routines and systems. I already have the following set up:

In the kitchen
-          Meal planning + shopping list

Time management
I have a personal diary and a family calendar – which basically keeps track of the same information – but my diary travels
-          The family calendar keeps track of hubby’s roster, kids activities, family activities, appointments, due date of bills, birthdays (so I know when to send cards/get presents)
-          My personal diary also captures my daily outside of work to-dos, and it’s where I jot down ideas such as kids activities we could try, and I have a couple of pages for our holiday plans
Nightly preparations: I do the following:
-          Kids clothes for the next day (school/childcare days only)
-          Hunter’s lunch for the next day (school days)
-          My lunch for the next day

Household planning/communication
This is an area we are lacking. We do our nightly what we are grateful for but that’s about it. I have ready many parenting books which highlight the importance of family meetings – and I keep thinking we will put it into place, but then don’t know what we would talk about. The kids are 3 and nearly 6, but I think I should just schedule an informal meeting to begin with so they get used to the idea.