Monday, June 11, 2007

It Still Works for Me

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.


All for Him said...

I need to borrow this book from you. I started a little black box of things, but it is not working for my family yet! However, it IS working for my honey do list - no more NAGGING my hubby! :O)
Thanks Robin!

Robin Meadows said...

LOL - That was so long ago, I must have loaned it to someone. The library does have it though. Check it out---maybe it will work for you. The cool thing is that if you miss a few days, you just move those cards to the next days--or sometimes I just have to take them all out and start again. Makes more work for a couple of days, but I finally get a handle on things.

And honey-do lists are great! Sometimes you just have to be patient.

Thanks for the comment!

Erin said...

I've just started reading "Home Schooling at the Speed of Life" by Marilyn Rockett. It's about keeping organized, prioritizing, teaching your kids skills, etc. She defines Organization as, "Making your life work for you by bringing the dailiness of life under control through yielding to the Holy Spirit concerning the wise use of your time." I already am learning a lot & I'm only in the first chapter! You can check it out at the library.