Saturday, July 12, 2014

Colored Dots in the Pantry, and Other Things LIke That

 On Household Things --  I am still loosely following Motivated Moms and Flylady, but I found a way to make progress on the house that is even simpler.   It is something like Brandy's Cleaning Loop Schedule.   I simply spend 5 minutes a day in several different areas of my house.   We have a fairly large house built on an open plan and when I add up all the different rooms and areas I come up with somewhere between 15 and 20.   I couldn't visit all of them every day without spending a couple of hours on housekeeping, but I visit the high traffic zones and then usually a couple of other areas.    I just do whatever seems to most need doing in that particular room.  For example, in the bathrooms (the cleaning of which I need to revisit 3 or more times during the week) I can quickly tidy a basket, swish the toilet and wipe the counter.   It's surprising how much better an area can look after those five minutes.  

Something that I am just starting to work through is having a project going in different parts of the house based on Flylady's zones.   For example, last week was the kitchen.    My husband has been mentioning that when the kids put away the groceries in the walk-in pantry, they are out of order -- mostly because my younger two now help with the unloading and they weren't taught, like the older ones, what areas to put things in.

So last week I organized the pantry and used the labeling dots you can buy at the dollar store to mark all the cans by expiration date.    Now we can see at a glance which pantry food items to use first.    This is the kind of thing I sort of enjoy doing but rarely get around to because there are more urgent things to get done.  That's why I like the "ongoing project" idea because it's not time-dependent and I can fit it into little pockets of the day -- like while waiting for the water to boil in a pot, times like that.

You will notice that I haven't mentioned the kids in this description of daily cleaning.   That is because we are in transition (which seems to have been the case for a few years now as kids grow up, move out etc).    Only 2 of my kids are under 18 now.    One of them, Aidan, loves to take on new household responsibilities.   He collects all the trash and recyclables, brings the bins out to the curb, brings them back to the garage, etc.   He does most of the laundry except for putting in the detergent and putting clothes away.      There are quite a few other things he does either assisting me or on his own.   He's retained that preschool trait of wanting to be involved in every project that's happening, but since he is a teenager and quite tall and strong now, he can actually help with the fun things like making coffee and chopping vegetables and building shelves.

Paddy is the other adolescent in the house and as the youngest child of seven and 16 years younger than his oldest brother, he never quite got phased into the chore system the way the others did.   He is also more conceptual and less hands-on than Aidan is.  This summer I am focusing on getting him in the habit of doing more around the house.   He has a few responsibilities but they aren't quite as extensive as those the older kids had at his age, partly because I often end up more or less cleaning as I go so it's harder to plan specific jobs for him to do, and when I do need help, I often call on one of the big kids because they are taller and stronger and know how to do more already.   But very soon they are going to be gone and Paddy needs to have the opportunity to do more.      I say opportunity because even though he probably won't exactly jump for joy when called upon to sweep or unload the dishwasher or troubleshoot the computer or lug laundry baskets, he will probably enjoy having the experience under his belt, because right now his older brothers give him a hard time for being responsible for less than they were at his age (though their memories are sort of biased....)

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