The Mum Organizes Her Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning?  Do we have to clean our houses?  Can’t we just knit?  Once upon a time I was totally and completely overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning my house required.  I dreaded it.  I’m not sure I realized what a state I was in until my reading group selected The Messies Manual as our yearly homemaking book.

The group I was in was called ‘Creative Homemakers’ and every year we would read a book on home organization, a book on parenting, a book on marriage and a book on womanhood and then get together to discuss what we read. We learned a lot from the books and from each other and I believe we stayed together for four years until our lives took us in various directions.


The book that most transformed the state of my home was called The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton.  It was not only beneficial but hillarious as well.  As an assignment we were to make a list of all the chores that needed to be done around the house.  We then had to break them down into daily, weekly and monthly activities.  Then we divided them amongst the days of a 3 week cleaning cycle and put them on cards in a flipper photo album.  It was called The Flipper File.

Through the years  of Creative Homemakers we tryed various methods to organizing our home but The Flipper File was the one that worked for me.  I even gave my girls their own Flipper File designed to help them clean their room/bathroom.  As they got older they worked from mine.
This system worked for me because everything I needed to do in a day was written down and I didn’t have to think, I just checked off the choir with a dry-erasable pen.  The Flipper File has moved with me from home to home and I think this week my goal will be to update it.  I haven’t changed it since my worker-bee-slave-girls have left home and I need to figure out where cleaning their rooms should be on my schedule and determine how often they really need to be cleaned now that no one lives in them.

When my friends and I were working through The Messies Manual we were given the assignment of interviewing a seasoned homemaker to find out cleaning tips.  My Mom told me to take the wet towel after a shower and quickly wipe down the mirrors and she said she makes her bed up as she rolls out of it and before she gets dressed.  My mother-in-law told me to use an old toothbrush to clean where the toilet lid attaches to the seat.  And, she said to take out shirts from the dryer before they are completely dry and iron them then.  My grandmother told me to tackle one room at a time and not to move on until that room was done…..this was the only suggestion that doesn’t really work for me (too boring).

My tip for you?  Other than reading The Messies Manual and joining Messies Anonymous?  My tip is to listen to your iPod as you work..a little music makes the chores go down a little easier.  Or, you could also try my method of doing one chore from The Flipper File and then knitting two rows, one chore from the Flipper, knit two rows, one chore from the Flipper, knit two rows……………

Now, WHAT cleaning tip can you share with ME?  Sound out!

9 Comments on “The Mum Organizes Her Cleaning Schedule

  1. I need to find a copy of that book! lol I think the best tip I have is as I’m leaving room A to go to room B pick up those items that belong in room B and take them with you even if you aren’t in cleaning mode. I seriously need to find that book. 🙂

  2. What a timely post! I have been “cleaning out” old yarn, fabrics, sewing magazines, etc. and just got my yarn organized. It feels nice.

  3. Sounds like a great book!

    I use music all of the time when I clean, to keep me “company” – I’m particularly successful time-wise when listening to musicals …

    My tip (such as it is): Our house for instance, is three floors. Every week, one floor gets cleaned well (meaning I spend time on it), and the other two get a click dusting, etc. Of course, sometimes it works better than others.

  4. I too have always listened to music whilst cleaning and this may sound boring but I mostly listen to opera when I clean, nice and loud. But now that my DH is ill I will need to use my iPod I got for my birthday.
    I don’t know if it’s much of a tip but I use an old toothbrush to clean around the base of taps and drain holes and the grout between the tiles in the shower. I also do what your Mom suggested and I wipe down the shower and mirror after a shower.

  5. I listen to an iPod while I do my housework too, usually an audio book or podcast though, if it’s interesting enough I don’t realise how much work I’m getting through.
    My tip of a sort is that I always start on the ground floor when cleaning. That way, if I get interrupted by visitors the bit they see is clean!

  6. Rewarding myself motivates me to finish up the more unpleasant tasks, and for really big jobs that feel overwhelming, I break them down into smaller bits and complete one area at a time, each rewarded with a break. During a break of 15 min. I have a cup of tea and watch a small part of a recorded TV program. Among my favorites at this time are the forensic series, like Bones, Criminal Mins, and the medical dramas, Grey’s Anatomy and ER. Guilt free TV! 🙂 Works for me, for now.

  7. I’ve found the Messies Anonymous website today and it looks promising. And The New Messies Manual is on order from Chapters/Indigo online bookstore and soon on it way.

    I’m recovering from adrenal fatigue syndrome and as a result the state of my home has suffered and very much needs my attention. From where I stand, it’s rather overwhelming in just knowing where to begin.

    I appreciate your posts on organizing one’s home and life. Very helpful.

  8. I have stainless steel sink, Viking oven, and hood. I’ve found especially for the sink, that #0000 (finest) steel wool and MINERAL OIL, cleans the gunk off really nice. Scrub WITH THE GRAIN of the stainless steel polish, is essential, but then it polishes up really nice. Last time I did this? Too long, I have to buy the Messies Manual book myself, and put it on the flipper .

  9. Okay, in less than a week my month-long guests will be gone, and I am hoping you and I can discuss our new cleaning regimen. Have you heard of I guess the Messies’ Manual is your coach? I need a choach, for sure.

    Ps. I’ve made a wordpress identity which is nothing but a blog front that leads to my Blogger blog DownFromTheMountain, in case you’re getting confused who all these “Jens” are. 😉 Talk later.

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