Overwhelmed by Housework? Tuesday Routine

So Tuesday is here. Welcome! We are going to start today by opening those blinds and curtains again. Hope there is sunshine out there for you. If it is dark and rainy and cold, I do keep the house closed up to keep the heat in. But let the fresh air in if it is warm enough.

Now it is time to strip the sheets and pillow cases from the master bed, and pop them in the machine. Every other week I also wash the quilt cover, and any of the decorative pillow cases that we pile up to lean on to read in bed. I wash sheets on a hot setting, with a capful of eucalyptus oil in the fabric softener compartment to keep them smelling fresh and kill germs, and if they are white sheets, a spoonful of washing soda.

Now go wake up the children, and get dressed in something you want to clean the bathroom in. For me that is trackpants and sneakers. If pearls and gingham are more your thing, more power to you!

Remember to unpack the drainer and dishwasher so everyone can put their breakfast things in the dishwasher.

OK, I'm going to cut and paste here from yesterday. This routine is going to happen every morning. Make it your friend! When breakfast is over, everyone makes their own beds. You may have to make beds for little children, but they can put the pillow on top and arrange their teddies. Dress the children while they are in the room with you, and help them put away their pyjamas, or throw them in the laundry (PJs, not children).

If it is summer, close the windows again, and shut the blinds to keep the sun out. In winter, I open up the house as soon as everyone leaves to air it out for half an hour.

Do you need to hang out washing yet? After the sheets are done, collect all the towels from the bathrooms, and wash them next. 

It's time to clear the kitchen table and benches. Is there fruit in the fruit bowl that needs to be used? Put it on the bench for lunch. Have the flowers reached the end of their life? Put them in the compost, and rinse out the vase. Finish packing the dishwasher. Empty the kitchen bin, the recycling bin and the compost. Are there any dishes that need hand washing? On days when there aren't I just rinse the compost pot, but if I need to do the dishes, I scrub the pot as well. Wipe down the kitchen benches. Wipe out the sink. Change over the kitchen hand towel, tea towels, and dish cloths.

Now you should have a clear and clean kitchen. Wipe down the kitchen/dining table. The only things left on it should be flowers or the fruit bowl.

Next we are going to whiz around the living areas, tidying as we go. If you have a lot of clutter, don't despair, just concentrate on clearing the most vital spaces, no more than five minutes for dining room, living room, hallway. Head to the bathroom, and tidy that (I do it while cleaning my teeth). Change hand towels in the bathroom.

Aren't things looking better this morning? Was tidying quicker after yesterday's clean up?

Have a quick think about dinner. Anything you need to prepare now? 

We are ready to start our weekly job now - the bathroom. Hooray! Everybody's favourite! I am not very technologically ept, so I listen to the radio, or audio books while I clean.

To start with, gather your tools. I have a cleaning caddy with toilet cleaner, squirty spray cleaner and the bathroom paste I made a few weeks ago. I'm hoping to make more bathroom cleaners. Stay tuned. It also contains a grout cleaning brush, which looks like an oversized toothbrush with very stiff bristles. The Man found it at the supermarket, but didn't buy it, because he said he didn't dare bring me home a grout cleaning brush. He is such a sensible man :) I bought it myself though, because those toothbrushes just don't have the muscle that bathroom scrubbing requires.

I also equip myself with a toilet cleaning cloth, and a bathroom cleaning cloth (I buy them in different colours, because I like to keep them separate), and a stack of old teatowels, handtowels and terry cloth nappies for drying. Because I tell you, drying is the key to brilliant cleaning. Lastly, a big old towel.

If you have a room with a separate toilet, start there. General principle of bathroom cleaning. Start with the toilet, throw those cleaning rags in the laundry, clean the bathroom, shower and tub, then finish with the mirrors and basins. We have a separate toilet and basin upstairs, next to a large bathroom, and an all-in-one bathroom downstairs. My son and I take it in turns to clean the downstairs bathroom.  This is where it is an excellent thing to live in a small, old-fashioned house with one bathroom, whatever the inconvenience.

Anyway, squirt the toilet with cleaner, then leave it while you empty the bathroom bins, and refill the cupboard/basket with new toilet rolls. Rinse out the toilet brush holder in the laundry sink if it needs it, and dry it. Throw that rag in the laundry. Dust the window frames with a dry rag. Now clean the toilet with your general spray cleaner, remembering to clean all the way behind it, and the floor in front, especially if there are men in the house. Dry the toilet, then scrub the toilet bowl and flush. Rinse your toilet cleaning cloth in the laundry sink, and throw it and your drying rag in the growing pile in the laundry.

Take your general bathroom cleaning cloth and spray bathroom door handles and wipe around light switches. This is where I clean and dry and refill soap dish/soap dispenser, clean mirror and basin in our separate toilet.

Next, the shower. Take your big old towel and dry the floor. You don't want to be tramping around on a wet floor making mess and mud. Take all the toiletries out of the shower. Dry them, recycle and replace if empty. Add to your master shopping list if you need new ones. Soak shower caddy, soap container in laundry sink or basin if needed, or just wipe them clean. Leave all these things on the floor.

Now clean the shower. Start with scrubbing the grout, then spray the tiles. Always rinse, then dry. Use a glass cleaner on the glass. Don't worry about the shower curtain now. There will be a progressive cleaning plan for all those 'sometimes' jobs. Stay tuned!

After the walls are done, replace the toiletries, then scrub the floor.

Shower done! Now the tub. Pretend it is 1980s aerobics. Bend and stretch. We don't need yoga classes. We clean the bath! I clean the surrounds first, and dry them of course, then squirt the bath, turn the hot tap on and clean inside the bath. Then dry. Polish the taps and enjoy the sparkle. Now, before you put those plastic toys back on the edge of the bath, or in their stretchy bag hanging from the tap, how many of them are mouldy? Yukko, throw them away, don't want our precious petals chewing them. In fact, soft plastics (PVAs) in conjunction with hot water? A health hazard, as they leak chemicals. Those cute ducks above? Threw them away. Possibly the best bath toys would be silicone cooking utensils that you pop in the dishwasher after the bath...

Refill soap dispensers. Mirrors, basins. Rehang towels. You're done! Except if you have another bathroom... you will deserve a serious chocolate reward after doing the second bathroom. Did you know that cleaning an average-size bathroom uses 350 calories? Or possibly Kjs? I read that somewhere.

When the cleaning is finally done, throw the pile of rags you have used in washing machine. This is your last load of the day. But don't shut the machine door yet. Wipe over the laundry cupboards, the washing machine and dryer. Change over pet bowls, or wash it if you only have one. Wipe out the laundry sink. There. Now you can start the machine.

Remake your bed. Plump the pillows. You are a star!

So this evening is a repeat of yesterday evening. Yes, I have cut and pasted again.  Keep going with this routine and it will get easier every day. Don't forget to bring in the washing, fold it and put it away.

If you have children coming home from school, get them to unpack their bags straight away. Lunchboxes go straight in the dishwasher. Deal with their vitally important pieces of paper now, along with the mail.

The mail gets immediately recycled, filed in the study filing cabinet, or put in the 'to do' basket in the hall table drawer. If it goes in there, it also has a note in my diary reminding me what action to take on what day - pay a bill, ring for an appointment etc.

Before you start dinner, make sure there is heaps of space in the dishwasher. Unpack it if it has gone through a cycle in the day. Wash any dishes on the sink. Start with a clear space. As you cook, put ingredients away. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or stack them next to the sink. If you hand wash, and have five minutes while you are waiting for something to cook, fill up the sink and wash some dishes. While you are cooking, keep an eye on the ingredients you are using. Now is the time to start next week's shopping list. I keep mine permanently in the pantry cupboard with a pen. Jot down anything that you notice you need every time you cook.

Now, is it time for little peoples' bath yet? After the bath, put all their clothes away or in the laundry basket and wipe out the bath with an old towel. Is the bathroom as tidy as you left it this morning?

When dinner is about fifteen minutes away, it is time for children to put their toys (or giant creative messes) away and help set the table.

After dinner, oh look, more dishes. Wipe down the benches and the stove.

Now check the menu for tomorrow. Do you need to defrost something in the fridge overnight? Check you diary. What do you need to schedule for tomorrow?

Sweep kitchen (if it needs it. To be honest, I often skip this!)

We have screen free time for homework between 7pm and 9pm.

Older children need to be reminded to put all their dirty clothes in the laundry and clean clothes away. Do they have everything they need for tomorrow at school and after school? Musical instrument? PE kit? Ballet gear? ALL their school uniform? Encourage them to lay it out. Pack school bags for tomorrow.

Before they go to bed, they need to take all their stuff to their rooms AND put it away (ha!). Before you go to bed, make a tour of main living areas again and tidy the day's bits and pieces away - newspapers, shoes, toys, laptops, glasses. Straighten the dining room chairs. Plump the cushions. Tomorrow morning your tidy living room and kitchen table will be like a happy house smile! While you clean your teeth, put away whatever is out of place in the bathroom again. There is generally something...

So Tuesday was a pain, because bathroom cleaning just is beastly. But it didn't take as long as yesterday, did it? And now we have broken the back of cleaning for the week. The whole house is clean, tidy and sparkling. Does it feel soooo good? Tomorrow we will vacuum again (if needed) and mop the floors. Then we will do some fun projects. Unbelievably easy compared to what we have already achieved. 

Sleep like a baby after all that aerobic exercise. See you on Wednesday!


Heather said…
Ok, I am sitting on my couch with the laptop on my lap, eating a particularly unhealthy breakfast right now. I just read your post and looked around my house. I guess I'd better get off my bum and do some work. A clean home is a happy home, right?
Just wanted to let you know you've inspired me, and I'm using your last two posts to come up with a cleaning routine. At our old house, I had a weekly routine that I stuck to pretty faithfully, but I never got into one after we moved (almost seven years ago--yikes!). I clean, but not in a regular way. But I think it would make me happy to have a day-by-day schedule. I'll let you know what I come up with. thanks for the inspiration!

Jo said…
Heather, I cannot promise that I complete this routine faithfully every day, just most of it, most of the time. At least I know where to pick up from when I go wrong!
And a happy home is a happy home... much better that an unhappy, clean home in my opinion.. but when it is clean, it does make me happy.. work that out!
Frances, I would love to see what you come up with!
If anyone posts their own routine I'd love to link to it in the wrap up of the week's posts.
Anonymous said…
Jo, you lost me on Monday. My routine is less a daily or weekly one; more an ever so often one. I do have a menu plan and shopping routine, cause food and family dinners are very important to us.

But I promise if you ever come to my house you will be able to sit without seeing dust or mess. (Oh, and use the bathroom without gagging.) Just don't come earlier than expected or you will see me in full harridan flight.
Not to make anyone queasy (or jealous), but in 18 months, I can count on my hands how many times some of these tasks happened - especially the base of the bath/shower combo! Yikes. I hate the dust on horizontal surfaces, so I keep a cloth in the bathroom. BUt otherwise, I really do let things slide. That being said, it's never at 'icky' stage - I'd hate a guest to feel uncomfortable (like I sometimes do in other 'student' houses!!). Do the sheets get washed with all the bathroom cloths? Did I miss something there.
Jo said…
Lucinda, I love that you have your priorities. Food and food! All the important things. Honestly, other people's mess doesn't bother me in any way - not my responsibility, and anyway, I'm a messy at heart remember. But I promise to call before I turn up with the cupcakes. Luckily it is at least an hour and a half flight from here. Will that be long enough?
Sarah, it's all about what your tolerance level is, isn't it? And seriously, we are very dirty people here. Muddy gardeners, children, pets, renovations. You adult, pet-free apartment dwellers can't make that much mess.. although now you are living with a MAN you might discover you will want to clean the bathroom more often (or get him to..):)
Sheets were washed first thing. But you were probably already at work, early bird :)
jo you are a star. in fact, all women who stay at home and work this hard and do this are. i have new found appreciation for my mum and what she would have done when i was growing up.

like you have dedicated old fashwashers to dry in the bathroom.

i'm seriously inspired by you opening the house up to air. i do not do that enough in the winter time because it is cold - but surely i can do it while i'm at work; i'm not there to be cold! thanks for an 'a ha!' moment.
Jo said…
e, that's what I love about talking about housework. Sounds boring, but I have so many 'aha' moments as well when talking about how other people do it. Even watching my mum hanging a fitted sheet on the line a few months ago had me going 'aha' - she pegs them to two lines, in a U shape. They dry so much faster than my previous method of folding them in half over one line.
That's so nice that you can see a 'snapshot' of your mum's days in my posts. It would be interesting to compare. I love reading old housekeeping manuals for that reason.
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Unknown said…
Just discovered your fabulous cleaning routine. Up to 'Tuesday' & it's really helping. Thank you :)
Jo said…
Glad it has helped! Happy Tuesday! Confession: I have been neglecting all the housework for months. Just getting back to it and remembering how much I enjoy a clean house:)

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