Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shaping Up the Ship: Household Chores

Sorry about the absence of postings. I was on vacation exploring my great state and when I returned I needed to re-domestify myself and get my daughter ready for school. So I guess what I'm saying is that I wanted to write, but have been busy.

Since my return, I've been trying to find ways to get the house and farm in order. I've heard a lot of fellow homesteaders comment recently that their homes go to pot, while their gardens look gorgeous and well maintained. My husband was raised in a military family so there is no way for me to run too sloppy of a ship. Not that I don't at times. Those who know me know that I am a clutter bug of the highest order - not quite on par with Hoarders, but definitely attached to my many possessions that often find themselves scattered and piled in every free corner. Let's just say that when things get that out of hand, marital relations become strained.

In order to keep my marriage harmonious, I am focusing on getting the things that need the most maintenance and organization on track: the house, the farm, and the finances. My first project is developing a system of chores for the living areas of the home. When the house is tidy, folks around here seem to be in calmer moods. I like that.

Unfortunately, I'm not the type of gal that looks around and says "Wow, that's messy/dirty. I better clean it up." No, I'm more like a 10 year old who needs the chores listed on a giant wall chart big enough to smack you in the face when you walk by. I also work well with pretty things. We all have our shortcomings in this world. I suppose I'm lucky enough to know what mine are.

So that's what I did. I made an enormous, colorful, felt wall hanging for the kitchen door. There's no way I can NOT see this thing.

I started by listing all of the tasks that need to get done around the house and dividing them into two lists, things that need to get done everyday and things that need to get done once a week. I then assigned chores to specific days based on what my weekly schedule is like. All of the tasks were written out in various decorative fonts, printed on colored paper - each day having a different color, and then laminated. I cut the tasks out, attached velcro to the backs of the laminated cut outs, and the other half of the velcro to the felt wall hanging. I made a "done" pocket that is safety pinned to the bottom of the chart so that when a chore is completed for the day or week, you can put it in the pocket. I figured this would be something that maybe my daughter might even like doing. There's nothing more satisfying than physically removing something from your to do list and making it disappear. Even if it is only temporary.

I kind of feel like Martha Stewart on speed with this project. It's a bit over the top. But in case any of you are interested in making your own chore chart like this and joining me in being a cracked out housewife, I'll share my task list and a few tips that I've learned through the process.

  1. Don't try to do too many things in one day. You'll never do it and feel like a failure when you see half your tasks still hanging on the wall.
  2. Be flexible. If your chart isn't working out with your schedule, rearrange the tasks so that you can fit them into your day.
  3. Perfectionism is for the birds. Sometimes you won't get stuff done. Do it tomorrow or next week. No one will know anyway, as your house is probably pretty tidy now that you're cleaning on a regular basis.
  4. Spend only 5-10 minutes on a task. Taking 30 minutes to mop your floor will only mean that you won't do it again for a very, very long time.
  5. When gluing velcro to felt, don't use a glue gun. I know it sounds like a good idea, but that stuff peels off both the velcro and the lamination. I found this out the hard way. Then I switched to GemTac, a flexible glue with a strong bond. So far it is working. You could also sew the velcro on, which would probably be the most sturdy.
My Master Chore List

  • 1 load of laundry 
  • make beds
  • wipe toilet and bathroom sink 
  • wash dishes and kitchen sink
  • wipe stove and dining table
  • sweep floors
  • pick up before bed
  • change sheets
  • clean bedside tables
  • clean tops of dressers
  • mop bedroom floor
  • bills
  • grocery shop
  • put videos away
  • dust living room
  • mop living room and hall
  • clean car
  • sweep front steps
  • scrub toilet
  • clean mirrors in bathroom
  • clean bathroom sink and tub
  • scrub bathroom floor
  • post office
  • clean and sort desk area
  • clean dining chairs
  • declutter and clean dining table
  • clean purse
  • pick up meat and vegetable CSA
  • clean stove
  • wipe down all kitchen counters
  • mop kitchen and dining floor
  • library
  • A chore-free day!!!!
  • take out trash/compost/recycling
  • clean out refrigerator
  • empty bathroom trash
  • clean cat box area
  • toss old fruit and veggies in bowls on buffet and wipe down
So far, this program is keeping our living spaces fairly neat and tidy. I'm far from being a freak about it. And of course, I don't do all of the chores everyday. Whatever. No one's perfect, right? Sometimes other members of the family pitch in. Sometimes things just don't get done. I'm hoping the chart will inspire more participation from everyone if they see tasks need doing. Any of you out there have tips for staying on top of the household duties? Stay tuned for parts two and three where I will discuss organizing farm duties and finances.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. You're making me exhausted just reading that!
    We have a house cleaner every 2 weeks. We each do our own laundry once a week. We each make our half of the bed. Each family member can easily wipe a mirror when needed. Seems like you need to enlist the help of the fam.
    Good luck, Heidi.

  2. That's good idea. having a to do list.

    Cassy from Acoustic Guitar Lessons