Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Flipper" chore chart, for overwhelmed housekeepers!

Let's go in a completely different direction for a moment...today we're going to talk about housekeeping. Those of you with a spotless house can stop reading, but I've been using a brilliant system that is too good not to share, and after having a few friends see it at my house and ask about it (much to my embarrassment) I want to tell it to you, will all the zealotry of someone who just read a self-help book.

This idea, for which I wish I could take credit, is from a book called The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton. Felton divides the world into two kinds of people, Cleanies and Messies.  Cleanies are tidy because they like to be, because they see something that needs doing and DO IT, because it gives them satisfaction and it is easier to do now than later.  Cleanies do not understand why one would NEED an instructional manual on housekeeping. Messies, on the other hand, are not slobs, but are perhaps easily overwhelmed by the scope of the job.  Maybe a bit perfectionist. "I need to clean the bathroom, to do that I have to gather the cleaning supplies from the basement, oh the basement is a mess I need to completely organize and purge, if I'm doing a purge I have to have a day when I can take all day and purge the closets too..." and the bathroom never gets so much as spiffed.  A bit like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...

Enter the "flipper".  A chore chart for grownups. Into the pockets of a stand-up photo album, there is a card for each day of the month.  Each card has the chores for that day. Do just those chores and move on with your life.  At the end of the month, flip back to day one and start over.  You never "don't know where to start" or "don't have time to clean the whole house so why bother."  And you'll notice that on my cards, there's only one "real" chore per day. The rest is stuff I have to do daily, I just put it on there so I could "get credit" for cleaning up the kitchen and doing laundry. Vacuuming the first floor and scooping kitty litter are on there every other day, alternating.  And then just one more little chore, dusting the first floor, changing the sheets, or cleaning the upstairs bathroom.  Some are on there twice (bathrooms, mopping) if they need to get done more than monthly. The first of the month has something different for each month, things I felt needed to be remembered annually.  And that's it, that's the whole system.

bathroom cleaning bucket (and baby monitor)
And let me tell you that, when it is the only thing I have to do and I know I get to play after, I can clean the hell outta that bathroom in 10 minutes.  (Thanks to another embarrassingly life-changing book, Speed Cleaning 101, I have all my cleaning stuff organized and I have a system for every task.)

And yes, some days I skip, some days things get done more thoroughly than others...but if that chore is coming up regularly and you're actually doing it regularly, you don't need to deep clean: a quick wipe-down is all things need to stay in good shape. 

Alright, well, here's a little something to break up the truly brilliant photography so far captured in this post...

What a typical parent..."this post would be so much better with a picture of my little angel"
And just to reiterate the point that I'm no domestic diva, lecturing to you on keeping your house clean, here's a quick snap of the office, our room of shame...

More sewing coming soon, I promise! Happy housekeeping!


  1. I second that LOVE IT! I NEED to make one of these. And that's pretty much exactly how our office looks! The place we shove everything that is out of place when people come over . . .

    1. I know rite?! Except we have a guest room that gets the same treatment, and it's gotta be a kid room in about 3 months...