Monday, March 09, 2009

organizing and cleaning

ladies and gents i officially am declaring that spring has sprung. the clouds and sunshine and crocuses speak the truth! finally i can quit wearing socks. which is less appealing since i had frost bite in january. im half tempted to take a photo and show you. eh, whatever.

midlake - we gathered in spring

so the point of this entry is to talk about organizing and cleaning. **disclaimer: i am not organized or good at cleaning** but i am super busy and my former attempts were resulting in one or more areas of my life practically catching on fire and burning to the ground from neglect. (um my bathtub) basically up until recently ive just gone through the house and picked up or cleaned as things got to a place which was just so annoying or dirty that it *had* to be dealt with. i had no routine whatsoever and what would happen would be piles of dirty laundry which would then turn into piles of clean but unfolded laundry or window so smudged from wee sticky fingers you had problems seeing out of them. so here's what i did. one day i walked through the house and made a note of everything that needed to be done cleaning and organizing. then i divided those things into three categories - weekly, monthly, and quarterly. the daily stuff i skipped because like i dont need to be reminded to wash the dishes - i just know this needs done and do it. then i grouped my to-dos in those three categories logically, say by room or floor of the house. that way it will save me time so im not wasting energy washing the mirrors and stove and washing windows in different areas of the house. final step - space them out on my google calendar and have it send me an email reminder of what i need to clean every day. and POOF! a cleaning routine has developed which has really helped keep this place clean! a typical week ends up looking like this:

Monday -
kid's laundry washed, folded, put away
every other week dust hard surfaces

Tuesday -
David and I's laundry washed, folded, put away
every other week wipe down cabinets
every other week change sheets on all beds

Wednesday -
Clean Bathroom (bathtub, mirror, baseboards, change towels & rug, toilet, sink, wash floor)
Sweet Upstairs

Thursday -
Clean Kitchen (wash floor, wipe down stove top, counters, empty incense and clean up ashes)
clean out refrigerator once a month

Friday -
Clean Dining Room (wash floor, table, straighten bookshelf)

Saturday -
montly - clean baseboards and spot clean walls, windows

another way i stay organized is meal planning. im not too strict about this but basically i get groceries that will last 2 weeks, wherein at least half of those days are planned meals from scratch. i make a list and at the same time i write down meals that can be made from those ingredients. there is a fabulous show on the food network called quick fix meals with robin miller that i've taken a lot of advice from. she makes a lot of staples and shows you how to transfer a main ingredient into other meals throughout the week. i use this method a lot to save money, time, and food from going to waste! example - grill up chicken and use some on top of a salad, some in pasta, and throw some bbq on another breast and bam! there is 3 meals with one ingredient that i can make all at once and not mess around with later. this is especially helpful because we buy meat in bulk (we get a share of a cow for christmas from my parents and had several chickens given to us too) so i can pop out several pounds of chicken at once and prep them all the same way and refrigerate it until im ready for it later in the week.

what do you do to stay organized, clean, and save your sanity by maximizing your time?


saylor days said...

this is great! i'm the same as you were, i can keep up on the daily stuff [trash, dishes] but am not organized with cleaning which drives mr. clean colin crazy. but when we move! i want to step it up a notch. i think i'll do this too! ok, i've tried something similar without success...but. new leaf! new leaf!

Gerbicks said...

hey! i did very similar stuff but i made a calendar up of daily/weekly/monthly chores & then do weekly meals. somehow it eases my mind to know what to expect when it comes to cleaning...which i hate to do (clean). i'm gonna check out that link though...when i get a minute or 5

jenny mae. said...

michelle - go girl!

heidi - yes the email reminder is a MUST as i would never have the time or mental space to generate a list as the day goes on.

MamaFeelgood said...

I make sure that my kitchen is clean every single night before I go to bed. I also do laundry when a basket gets full but then again, I love doing laundry. I make a menu, scour the weekly specials, and organize my coupons every Wednesday and then shop on Thursday. I do think I need to take a walk around the house though...thanks for the reminder.

Judy Crawford said...

love that show.
I use to prepare meals for the week on Sundays. Since I enjoy cooking for the most part, it wasnt a chore, but a relaxing time in the kichen. I stopped doing it for reasons unknown. Just this week, I was reminded that I need to get back to doing it. It saved us a ton of money too.
Good idea on the cleaning list. Hmmm.. That just might work for us. Do you have chores for the Augie yet? We're still trying to figure that one out.

mandi said...

ok- i'm with ya. i'm not good at organized cleaning. my floor plan is basically one big circle. all of our rooms connect to one another. so on mon. i start in my room, tues. move on the the bathroom, etc. i do all the cleaning that needs to be done in that room. i wash one load of laundry every day (sometimes more). as far as kid chores go: dylin is 5 and she washes windows for me (one of the perks of using a basic vinegar/water solution). levi is 2 1/2 and he attempts to dust for me. they both help make beds and take care of the chickens.

jenny mae. said...

judy - i do involve augustine but not as much as i could. im also figuring it all out in that area.

Momof2boys said...

WOW!! I don't think I'll do a walk through, I'll just steal your What a great idea to do a walk through!

Momma Bear said...

I love the concept of making a main item and then spreading it out over a few meals. Great idea! Thanks for the link for Robin Miller.

Katherine said...

Hey Jenny,
Totally unrelated to your post (sorry)--I remember you mentioning a while ago some kind of solution that you use for your kids' ears when they get ear infections. My sister's two kids have had muliple ear infections this winter and she's about to throw in the towel! So, could you tell me what's in the solution, how you make it, and how you flush their ears with it?

jenny mae. said...

katherine - yes we use mullein flower extract with garlic and olive oil. you can certainly make your own but we buy ours from herbpharm (available online at or at most health food stores like whole foods, co-ops)