The year was 1981. Yeah, I know, you probably weren’t even born, or at least you were very young. But I was a young mom with two children, ages 3 and 1. And I was staying home with them 24/7. A first for me. I had always been extremely active (outside the home) and had worked until my first daughter was born. And then I found myself being responsible for something I didn’t know much about: the cleaning and care of my home and the cleaning and care of my children! Like I told you, I’m not a natural organizer. But I set out on a mission to learn. I’m a huge reader/researcher. So, I looked to a book. I came across a newly written one, The Side-tracked Home Executives: From Playpen to Paradise,by sisters Pam Young and Peggy Jones.
This hilariously written book actually made me feel better about my own cleaning skills! And what it offered me is something I still use today—an index card system of cleaning, organizing, and reminders.
I always dreaded cleaning the house, because I felt like I needed a large period of time to get it all done. These girls suggest you actually time yourself for each chore you do. You know what? Most of those things don’t take nearly the amount of time that we anticipate. So, after timing myself, and dividing up my chores into daily, weekly, and monthly cards, I began to get my home clean and in order.
I also remembered to take my library books back—on time. Remembered to water my plants. And had a reminder to clip my children’s fingernails! I also learned that the top of the refrigerator needs to be cleaned (I couldn’t see it, so it didn’t need it, right?) and that light fixtures should occasionally be cleaned.
I’ve used this system for 26 years now! It has gone through various revamps, but has worked for all my children. I would make a stack of chore cards for each child and they knew they were responsible to get them done, usually before noon. Before they were able to read, I even drew picture cards of simple chores so even the youngest could join in.
Is my house spotless? Never any clutter? Of course not! But years of being trained with this system have taught me how and when to get the job done. This book has been reprinted and updated several times and is one of many ways to clean and organize your home. There are many other plans and ideas beside this one. I’ll talk about a few others in a later post.