Maybe it's living out my 37th time around the sun or having three kids or simply not wanting to spend what remains of my creativity and brain power on thinking it out, but I no longer feel like I need to reinvent clever ways to set up or maintain a cleaning list for the house. So then, I'm turning once again to FlyLady. She's already put a massive load of thought into coming up with handy and thorough lists, so now all I am doing is sifting through them a bit, taking from it what I can use, and plugging it into the ordered schedule of my life. I'm doing this particularly using her idea of "zone work", focused attention in the different areas of the home.
I've built blocks of time into the weekly schedule where I will concentrate on one particular area of the house. The zones FlyLady suggests are:
zone 1 - the entrance, front porch, and dining room (we turned our dining room into a library, so cleaning it will fall into zone 1)
zone 2 - the kitchen
zone 3 - the bathroom and one extra room (I will focus on one child's room per week as the extra room for zone 3)
zone 4 - the master bedroom
zone 5 - the living room/family room/or den
Along with the suggestions of the zones, FlyLady has come up with a very detailed cleaning list for each. This resource is available as a free download in PDF format here. One of the caveats of doing the zone work is that the area you are working in should be already-decluttered. Obviously, deep-cleaning a cluttered room is exponentially more difficult than one that is decluttered. If you are currently suffering from cluttered rooms, I would suggest taking on the project of winnowing a zone at a time. I think that would work wonderfully, and then you can move from there into scheduling the deep-cleaning.
Here's an example of the actual list of specifics for cleaning that she suggests:
ZONE 5: LIVING ROOM/ FAMILY ROOM/ DEN
1. CLEAN COBWEBS
2. CLEAN WINDOWS
3. STRAIGHTEN BOOKCASES
4. WASH ORNAMENTS AND WHAT-KNOTS
5. CLEAN OUT END TABLE
6. STRAIGHTEN CLOSETS/ DRAWERS
7. WIPE FINGERPRINTS FROM WALLS
8. POLISH FURNITURE
9. CLEAN OUT MAGAZINE RACKS
10. CLEAN PHONE
11. CLEAN UNDER CUSHIONS
12. CLEAN OUT FIREPLACE
13. MOVE FURNITURE AND VACUUM
14. SHAMPOO CARPET
There is definitely a lot there. I am not blocking off any longer than ONE HOUR MAX each day for any of the zones, and every day does not have time allotted for zone work because some days that would "break the bank" on the schedule, or maybe my back, but definitely one or the other. What I have done is print the detailed cleaning lists from the link above, place them into plastic sheet protectors, and put them in a three-ring binder. Each week I will set my one-hour timer and as I work the list I will use a dry-erase marker to check it off as I go. Maybe I will only get items 1 through 5 done in zone 5 on it's day this week, but I will put a check by those items so that next week on zone 5 day I will start at item 6 and continue to work the list. When the list is done I will wipe away all of the check marks and begin again.
So there's the plan. I'm optimistic. But I also know I may hate it or fail at it, or just have to tailor it down even further to my personal preference. Either way, I'm going to go for it this week.
How do you keep up with keeping everything clean?