Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Elusive Perfect Purse Setup

I preach and preach about simplifying.  Get rid of things you don't use.  Only keep as many of each thing as your family actually needs.  Reuse towels by hanging them up.  Don't carry anything you don't need.

And then I dump my purse out on the counter.


Confession:  I have no right to preach.  I carry a lot of stuff.

Basically, I have four types of purses.

1.  Tiny decorative purses for formal events (weddings and such).  I have a red and a silver and that pretty much covers all the fancy outfits that I own.

2. Large purses, like the everyday one I am using in the pictures, that are big enough to hold my planner.  Almost all of them have cross-body straps, because I noticed that without those straps, I don't carry the purse.  Then I need my planner and don't have it with me.  I usually carry these types of purses.

3. A couple of "slip in" purses with accompanying totes.  There are times when I need a tote full of errand stuff and my planner, so I have a couple of small purses for basics that slip into a tote bag.  Usually, I use these for something like chaperoning the school field trip.  You can't bring a huge purse to the zoo, but you need your planner for driving directions.

4. I have some business bags that I use for work, when I work, or for taking a bunch of paperwork to go through to a coffee shop.

I really do carry a lot of stuff.  I almost always have my planner and my Nook with me.  Also, I need prescription glasses and sunglasses for driving.  Obviously, I bring my keys and my wallet.  The red pouch that you see in the picture is for my inhaler and emergency meds.

I don't carry much in terms of extras.  A couple of lip glosses, a powder compact, and some sugar-free and sugared candies and gums to deal with hunger and blood sugar issues.

This particular purse has two exterior pockets.  One holds the glasses and lip gloss, since I almost always use those items in the car.

The other pocket holds keys, wallet, and cell phone.

I don't put anything in the single internal zipper compartment, but I do use it if I am taking a long trip to zip jewelry into.

You can see the outside pockets in the picture below.

 The lining is not black.  Black linings make your crap disappear.  Never use a black lining.

For space maximization, load planner and Nook upright!  Also, for medical bag and snack bag, I use colored bags that do not match the liner on purpose.  Really helps my bag stay organized.

Finally, I clean out my bag whenever I return home.  That way, it does not get filled with crap.  You know, other than my crap.

What's in your bag?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Suitcases Are Never Big Enough

I am currently packing for my 20 year class reunion.  I attended a residential high school, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, so I am really close to my classmates.  For two years, they were my roommates, suitemates, and extended family.  Some people call us "Gifties," hence the name of my blog.  I plan to maximize my time away, spending as much time with friends and as little time in my hotel room as possible.  Also, I'm riding with a friend, so I'm trying not to over pack.  And, of course, I want to look HOT all weekend, even though it's going to be humid and 99 degrees outside.

Here are my tips for packing for a trip efficiently.

Long before any trip, make sure you have appropriate suitcases.  Luggage doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be the right size.  If it's hard to carry at all, get something with wheels.

Also, have a Master Packing List in your planner.  To make a master list, either google for a template or just use the last jotted list.  I keep a couple of jotted lists, typed them into a planner page, and printed several copies for my planner.

Two days before the trip, or whenever I plan a trip, I grab and master list, cross out stuff I don't need (tent for a noncamping trip, for example), and add anything special to the list.  I make this Trip Specific List and put it in the front of my planner.  I did two list this time - one for me and one for the kids, since they are spending the weekend with the grandparents and aunts.  Note that my list is divided into things that go in my handbag/tote/on my person, things that go in the car, things that go in my suitcase, and any extras (like a swim tote or briefcase).

Plan to complete washing any clothes that must be packed 2 days before the trip.  If not, you will be stuck without the clothes that you plan to wear.  Much like my weekly dinner menu, I generally sketch out what clothes I plan to wear in advance on my packing list.

One day before the trip, pack your suitcase.

I like to use a suitcase with a mesh part for shoes and other hard items.  Note below that I pack socks inside of shoes and nest the shoes against each other, in opposite directions, for maximum use of space.

I roll items that I want to keep somewhat unwrinkled, like my khaki shirts.

I also keep a separate tote bag for special supplies, like my umbrella, camera, and an empty dirty clothes mesh bag.  I fold my workout clothes flat.  They WILL wrinkle, but they don't take up a bunch of space that way.

 Since I am going to a class reunion, I'm bringing my cheat sheets yearbooks.

For jewelry, I simply throw it in a dressy bag that I was packing for the trip anyway.  That way, I don't take up extra space in the suitcase.

Finally, I go to bed with the suitcase open, planner open to my packing list, for two reasons.  First, I won't forget to check my planner in the morning.  Second, the planner holds a space in the suitcase for my toiletries bag in the morning.

I always keep my bathing suit tote case packed.  After all, anytime I swim, I'll need swimsuit, sunscreen, cheap sunglasses, cover-up, and a towel.  I'm packing this tote separately because I might not swim and, if I don't, it can stay in the car.

While packing, I create a list of things to take care of the day of the trip.  (I use a post-it on the packing list.)  For example, I pack my toothbrush the morning that I leave and I don't hide a key until I am actually leaving town.  Don't forget to turn down the air/heat.

Also, set up your clothing and jewelry for the next day, along with daily toiletries that also have to be packed, in a designated area.  I just leave my dresses on hangers and hang them in the car.

Either pack the car the night before, or put everything in one spot for easy packing the next day.

The day of the trip, just get dressed, check your post-it for last minute stuff, toss everything in the car, and go!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Erasing Trouble Spots

Stop for a moment and look around your house.  Even if it's neat and clean, aren't there trouble spots that you constantly deal with?  In my house, there is a place there are several places that constantly are filled with stuff, no matter how much I clean.  The most bothersome is the island in the kitchen:

It's a big ugly embarrassment a massive inconvenience a problem.  My kitchen is large enough, but doesn't have a ton of counter space (as you can see in the background).  So the island is important for cooking.  Just today, I used the island for dividing up ground beef into freezer bags, for chopping onions for tacos, and for holding the cheese while I cooked the tacos so that the cheese wouldn't melt next to the stove.  I would have used the island for folding clean clothes, if it was cleared off.  (Instead, the clothes sit, unfolded, wrinkling in the washer/dryer closet to the left of the island.)  I also use the right side (which has a plug) as my desk, with my laptop and planner set next to it to process the mail, check e-mail, schedule doctors' appointments, and generally do all my office work.  (Laptop is stored near my couch when I'm playing on it, as opposed to working on it.  That way, I can watch Food Network and Facebook at the same time!) Each and every time I use my island, I have to clear it off.  Annoying, right?

Clearly, cleaning off the island is important.  Until I get into the habit of clearing it, I am making it my first chore during my 15 minute daily quick clean.  Each time I look at it, it looks overwhelming, but in all honestly, it only takes 5 minutes to clear off.

I'm going to blog my way through clearing it, just so you I can see how easy it is.

Chairs - The folding chair, still here since a dinner party - hold on, let me check my planner - 4 weeks ago, needs to go outside in the shed.  The stool basically serves as my desk chair or a space for guests/family to sit and chat with me as I cook, so it needs to be moved to the left (near the plug for my laptop and the middle of my cooking space).

Black bag - That black tote is basically serving as my purse right now.  I've been running lots of errands lately and need something that can carry a ton of stuff.  It needs to go either in my bedroom in the space dedicated for accessories that I use daily or on the counter, in the outgoing today launchpad area.  (Credit to for the idea of a launchpad.  I have two - the one for things leaving the house tomorrow and the one for things leaving the house sometime in the future, like store returns and gifts.)

Pink tote - The pink bag carries all my reusable grocery bags and needs to go in the short term launchpad for storage in my car trunk the next time I go outside.  Or, really, I could just throw it in the trunk when I go outside in a minute to put away the folding chair!

Diet Coke - I really just need to trash the Diet Coke.  It was from the party 4 weeks ago, too {blushes}, and no one drank it.  No one in the house drinks Diet Coke, so it is really just taking up space.  And it has moved in and out of the fridge because of lack of space for it, so it's probably flat.  Note to self: do not buy 2 liters for parties.  You never use them.  Stick to canned drinks.

Watermelon - The watermelon needs to go on the counter near the window, where we have tons of otherwise unusable free space, instead of on the island where it is a broken ceramic tile and explosion of red innards all over the kitchen and the unsuspecting three year old's foot an accident waiting to happen.

Baking Potato - The potato should probably go with the other potatoes in the dark section of my pantry.  My only defense for not putting it there is that it's the big potato and I'm scared it'll get lost among the little roasting potatoes.  But the island is not the place for it and with my pantry pretty organized, I'll see it. Plus, baked potato is on my weekly menu plan.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Toy Wagon - I don't pick up the kids' toys.  But I need to toss it onto the bench in the living room, which the kids are expected to check for rogue toys whenever they do their daily room cleaning.  (Room cleaning is daily because otherwise it gets overwhelming for the kids.)

Groceries (Cheez-its, Lea and Perrins, and Italian Dressing Seasoning) - I am ashamed.  I NEVER finish unloading the groceries.  I need therapy.

Fanny Pack with Water Bottle - My fanny pack goes on the floor of my linen closet, with my weights and exercise gear.  I just toss everything in there so it's easy access for working out.  (If that drives you crazy, you can use a basket.)  The water bottle needs to go in the sink to be loaded in the next load of dishes.  (One load is currently running, so I dedicate one side of the sink to dirty dishes until eldest - 6 years old - unloads the clean dishes.)

Suspenders and Bow Tie - If I'm to be honest with myself, the suspenders and bow tie are on the island because I'm scared if I store them, I won't be able to find them in June for my sister's wedding.  Instead, I am hanging them with the shirt and pants that they go with.  Surely I'll remember that, right?  (I'm approaching 40 years old, so I might need to make a note in my planner next to the wedding date about where the outfit is stored.)  (Yes, it's just hanging in the closet.  Shush.  I'm OLD.)

Magazine - I don't subscribe to magazines.  I simply check out older issues from the library.  It needs to go on the dedicated space for library books (near the launchpad).

Taking care of trouble spots is really just a matter of standing up, dedicating 15 minutes, and making a series of little decisions.  It's easy, really.  Now, stand up.  ( I'm talking to myself.  See?  I need therapy.)

(Note the lack of an "after" picture.)


Monday, May 21, 2012

Photos of My Planner

Note: See for a Guided Tour of My Planner (a Day-timer FamilyPlus set of inserts in a Franklin Covey classic-sized binder), but for the more visual readers, I took pictures.

inserts, planner, day-timer, franklin covey, binder

I read a lot of planner blogs and I've noticed that everyone has a thinner planner than mine.  Mine does zip up, easily, but I admit that I used my Christmas money to buy a nice Franklin planner exterior binder (half-page size) while user cheaper, Daytimer inserts and homemade inserts.

Big pocket holds all processed papers.  Processed means there is a task associated with the paper or a date written in the calendar.  The smaller interior pocket holds stuff for today's errands.  Currently, that includes a receipt to be filed in my car for maintenance and the grocery list from my husband's e-mail.  The credit card slots hold doctor appointment confirmation cards.  (That really SAVED me once when I showed up for surgery a day late.  I was able to prove that it was the office's mistake - they wrote the wrong date on the card - and not mine, so I avoided many cancellation fees.)

My Daily Checklist:

My Master Task List:

A Project list:

A Packing list:

I use Monthly calendars until the 1st of each month, when I transfer next month to weekly calendars.  I cross out the monthly calendar once it is transferred to weekly so that I don't accidentally write something on the now obsolete (but way useful for overview planning) monthly calendar.  Note the monthly tasks in the colorful column!

My weekly calendar is pictured below, with my four context lists: To Do, Errands, Computer, my weekly menu, notes about calendar entries and tasks, running grocery list, and daily Appointments, Tasks, and FYIs.  I LOVE this format because the weekdays are all on one page, but there is ample space in the weekend blocks and for tasks lists, too.

A Future page, for anything scheduled once my planner year ends.  If you don't have one of those, go make one.  NOW!

Every now and then, something doesn't hole punch easily or I just want to hold on to it in case.  Those things go in this pocket.

Addresses and contact information is so much better kept digitally nowadays.  So the address tabs (note some are removed for space purposes) are covered with a master, at-a-glance file list.

Filed items go on the master file list (above), plus the name of the file goes after an F with a circle around it on the upper right hand corner of the page.  Can you tell that I used to be a school teacher?  ;)

Envelopes, stamps, and self-addressed stickers:

Post-its and spare pencil lead:

Paper and pencil.  Not pen.  Pencil.  (I do carry a pen in my purse.)


Project Planning

When I worked for a paycheck, I had projects to plan and complete all the time.  I usually created a folder to hold all the information about the project, put deadlines on the front inside cover of the folder, put tasks on my weekly task list, and kept notes on everything that I did.  Because each project was so distinct from each other project and because they were all on deadlines (to bosses or external deadlines), it was easy to keep track of things.  For example, if the project was to hire interns, I would have an interns folder where I kept all the advertisements for resumes and actual resumes.  I would have tasks on my to do list.  I would have appointments to interview the interns and to send letters hiring or thanking them.  If I had to edit a journal article, it got its own folder, list of deadlines, tasks, and scheduled events.

As a stay-at-home mom, though, I never thought of planning "projects" since I rarely have anything due to anyone, other than one time things, like returning library books or doing the taxes.  But my sister is getting married next month, and suddenly, I was faced with planning a wedding shower.  My list of responsibilities was long and spanned over a long time period.  For example, early in the process, we had to prepare a guest list, created and proof invitations, order invitations, send out invitations, and select a venue.  Later, there was a menu to make and food to be bought and cooked.  The party needed decorations and drinks.  The list was long.  I could (and did) put items on my weekly tasks lists and calendar, but I couldn't keep track of what I had done or what I still needed to do without going through many pages of notes in my planner.  The problem, as David Covey of Getting Things Done fame would surely say, was that the wedding shower was a project, that needed to be scheduled and broken down into specific actions or tasks.  It needed to be treated like a project.

So I created this:

The front side of the planner page includes the name of the project and the due date or event date across the top.  Then there are four columns: DUE, Cat/@, Task, and Details.  For Cat/@, I either categorize by context/where I have to do the task, just like I do with my task lists (No context/can do anywhere, Errands, Home, or Computer) or I write the @ symbol.  @ means to me that it is pending either a certain date, other action, or a person.  @05/15 would mean, for example, not until after May 15.  @JD means my task occurs after Jane Doe does her part.

The back side of each page has a place for notes and other contacts.

In order to remember to check the project lists weekly and add any tasks or events to my task list or calendar, I put a recurring task on each Monday (it's written on Monday's task list and circled, to indicate to me that once it is done, I carry forward the task to NEXT Monday).  When  I check the list, I add any tasks or event that need to be dealt with this week on the appropriate task list or calendar.  (Of course, the due date or event date is on my main calendar the whole time.)

Right now, I have several project lists going.  Fortunately, the shower was yesterday, but I still have a list for the wedding.  I also have a project set up for an out-of-town trip (with packing lists right behind it) that required a lot of pre-planning, a wreck that I got into that requires claims and repairs and rental cars (and what a nice record for my files of everything that was done), a volunteer event that I am co-chairing, and Back-to-School tasks that need to be done over the summer.

Here is the volunteer event project list, in progress:

I store the project sheets in a dedicated place in the front of my planner, right after my Daily Checklist and Master Task List.

What are some projects you are currently planning and how do you handle them?


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Kids Are Not My Servants

My kids are not my servants.  Sucky, right?  I mean, what's the point of having kids if I can't sit around all day, having them cook and clean and bring me stuff?  :)  Maybe Cinderella's stepwitch had things right.  I do have them rub my feet every now and then, after all.

Seriously, though, even if kids are not your servants, they need to learn to clean up.  As soon as my kids could throw a ball into a basket, I started having them put toys in containers instead of me.  The purpose was not so that I would not have to do work.  Honestly, it takes more effort to convince an 18 month old to put a ball in a basket (and not take it out again) than it does to just pick up yourself.  But my job, as a mom, is to teach my kids to SURVIVE ON THEIR OWN.  That's right.  They need to know how to sweep the floor, cook dinner,  do dishes and laundry, and everything else, not for my convenience, but for theirs.

A key consideration in teaching my boys to do chores is that I struggle every day to do chores.  I have to make myself do the laundry or the dishes.  I want it to be natural and easy for them.  I don't want them to struggle like me.

So the 3 year old does laundry to the hamper, from the washer to the dryer, and sorts it into his dresser.  He straightens the living room and puts away his own toys.  The 6 year old unloads the dishes and replaces the DVDs where they belong and makes his own bed.  They empty and reline the trash cans.  They are both learning little bits about cooking.

It's not easy.  It's way more work than just doing it for them.  But it's the right thing to do.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Laundry Woes

Somehow, the laundry basket in my room is full.  I used to sort the laundry into four laundry sorting baskets, filling up our bedroom.  (We are blessed with a laundry closet, but have no laundry room.)  Every week, the baskets all got full.  The task was overwhelming.  The room was a mess.  And having a day planner did NOT help at all.  Sigh.  What kind of problem isn't solved by a day planner?  Does.  Not. Compute.

So I limited myself to ONE large laundry basket.  Each kid has a hamper in his room, and during afternoon chores, my 6 year old (and soon my 3 year old) will bring the laundry from the bedroom hampers to my hamper in my bedroom.  For sorting (which is pretty minimal - reds/purples/oranges, dark, light, white...but I combine as needed for efficiency), I have four mesh bags in different colors.  When I sort laundry on my bed, the biggest (or most necessary, if it contains the only remaining unstained school uniform :/) load goes in the wash while the others go into the mesh bags and back in the hamper, to avoid resorting.  It's worked okay, as laundry doesn't get overwhelming to sort and the hamper gets full, reminding us to clean the clothes.

But...this weekend the hamper is overflowing.  It sucks.

So, new HOUSE RULES are clearly necessary.


1. One batch DAILY.

Laundry gets down any time we are in town.  One batch per day, unless there is truly not enough to wash.  If we are going to be out of town more than once in a week, two loads must be done in ADVANCE of leaving town.  Laundry is already part of my daily checklist, but I REALLY cannot skip it!

2. Put it ALL away.

This hiding of clean laundry instead of putting it in the closets is NOT working.  I taught Loki how to put jammies away today and am making Ander in charge of the clothes that go in the boys' dressers.  I'll do hanging stuff, but if Alan or I wash clothes, the laundry is coming out and being put away immediately.

3.  If you can't put it away, assign someone to do so.

Husband needs to learn to ask me to put it away if he doesn't have time.  This finding it later is getting old.

My family is going to HATE these rules.  I already hate them.  But they are happening.

I have declared it so.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Doing What Comes Naturally

A friend posted a question in my facebook group about where we store salt and pepper - near the stove or near the spices?  The answers varied widely.  The answer, though, don't matter as much as the question.  How do we decide where things go?  When I unpacked my new house for the first time (6 years ago), I thought carefully about where to place each item.  (I thought about it so much, in fact, that I *might* have snapped at the kind souls who helped me move for free when they put things in other places.  {sheepish shame})  Plastic wrap and ziplocs went in the drawer in the island, and have remained there, even through Pinterest's many cool pics of storing aluminum foil in a magazine holder in your pantry.  The truth is, I store leftovers at the island, so they are convenient stored there.  Plates went near the stove (to grab and put food directly on them), while recipes went far from the stove (since I rarely actually use them for cooking).  And, yes, salt and pepper shaker when on the spice rack, not too far from the stove.

And they NEVER stayed there.

My husband would grab the salt with dinner, clear the table, do the dishes, wipe down the counters - and leave the salt right there on the counter.  I would cook a roast, throw away the onions peels, wipe away the splashed gravy, put the pot soaking in the sink - and leave the salt waiting right there on the counter.  Sometimes, I would get inspired and put the salt and pepper shakers on the stove.  They would fall behind it, so they ended up - you guessed it - on the counter next to the stove!  Clearly, they wanted to live on the counter next to the stove.  Screw visual clutter.  They were strong magnets, attracted to that same spot every time.

Now, salt and pepper shakers have a dedicated place on the counter, right in front of the can opener.  And it works for all of us.  (If it didn't work for my husband - and by not working I mean if he failed consistently to return them to that spot - I would have bought a flat plate or a container to indicate their "home.")

A simple rule that really works is to store things you use daily out on the counter/desk/table, things you use weekly in nearby drawers/easy access storage, and things you use monthly in storage cabinets and drawers.  Things used yearly can go out in the garage.  But, sometimes, you naturally put something somewhere else.  Sometimes, it's good to retrain yourself to put things away in the garage (like the Christmas decorations).  But sometimes, your natural tendencies take you in a different direction.

I'm finally surveying my house and making a dedicated spot for other things where they normally land anyway (and providing containers where necessary).  We always play with playdough in the kitchen, so I put out a crawfish tray near the homework corner full of playdough and playdough accesories.  Sure, we only use playdough about once a month.  But it's so much fun and good for my boys' fine motor control.  I have a long-term launchpad (for things like the tray I borrowed from my sister or gifts for the three parties next weekend), but it was too crowded for current stuff, so I tend to put my purse and library books and tote bag near the microwave.  I cleared everything out of that spot, and made it my short term (things going out of the house this week) launchpad.  My remote controls and cell phone keep landing next to the couch, so I bought a cheap basket to put them in.  (They are a daily use item, so it makes sense that they need to be right there.)  I used to keep folding my blanket and moving it to the linen closet, but since we always need a blanket in the living room, I just got one that matches my couch and store it on the couch.

For the next few weeks, I am going to watch where things naturally land (whenever it isn't in the "proper home").  And then, where I can, I am going to make new homes in those natural spots.  Maybe if I put things where they naturally end up anyway, but containered or with the other stuff around it moved and put away, I can minimize visual clutter while also saving my family from lots of time cleaning up.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Eat Your Brussel Sprouts (But Only If the Sexy Mr. Brown Cooks Them)

I hate doing housework.  I don't hate it as much as actual vacuuming (curse thee Hoover), but I really would rather go to the gyno get a root canal fixed without pain meds eat brussel sprouts try to avoid it.  (Okay, I hear if brussel sprouts are browned perfectly, they are great.  Having never tasted one, I can't judge.  One day, Alton Brown will invite me to dinner and serve brussel sprouts.  Then, and only then, my life will be complete.  Unless he serves me his yucky mac and cheese with them, because THAT, SIR, was a mistake.  I cooked it and blech!)  My husband is a clean-it-all-at-once-because-company-is-coming-over person.  I end up in a ball of Comet-and-stress-sweat smelling tears if I do that.  No deep cleaning for me!  It just doesn't happen.  Or I pay for it for a week.  I clearly need a different plan.

So I try to do a little bit each day, doing the entire circuit of my house in a week.  (Yes, yes, I mean two weeks.  But the PLAN is once per week, so no deep scrubbing is ever needed.  THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED.)  In between the scheduled cleanings, I spot clean spills and wipe down the tub while I am in it and swish the toilet brush in the toilet bowl, just to maintain.  I looked at a lot of schedules on-line, but the problem is that they either prescribed a time to clean ("clean 15 minutes a day" - something that I do, but it's a run through the house, not a cleaning) or a room.  To do a room, you have to drag out so many supplies.  My bedroom, for example, required furniture polish, mirror cleaner, electronics cleaners, a vacuum, paper towels, and gentle cloths.  Too much work everyday!

Instead, I do a TASK each day.  On the day when I grocery shop, once a week, I don't do a cleaning task, as I spend two hours out of the house grocery shopping.  (I should add that I am pretty sure that I have shared this information before, but not as in depth, and I have a ton more readers these days.  :))  Here is a list of how I divide up my tasks:

Surface (dust/clean all horizontal surfaces in the house)
Floors (sweep/mop/vacuum in all rooms)
Car (I had to add this.  My car was disgusting, even with the "clean it out" all the time rule.  I don't actually clean the whole car once a week, but I do something - clear out accumulated junk, wash the outside at a car wash, vacuum it out)
Special (appliances get cleaned, like stove top and microwave and frig, plus electronics like tvs and mirrors throughout the house)
Master Task List (chose one list from my running list of tasks that must be done; this is how I get things like "clean blinds," "organize junk drawer," or "change air filter."  This is especially nice on a busy day.  Friends in town?  Do a quick task from the list.  Sister unexpectedly picks up the kids? Do a big task from the master list.)

Here's an example of the Master Task List form that I custom made for my planner:

And a sample of the Master Task List in use, with items listed with due dates in the first column, contexts/where I can do them (General, Errands, Home/at home only, and Computer), and any details.

I have a form where I keep track of these daily tasks.  The form is the FIRST thing in my planner:

At the very bottom, in tiny print, is the list of tasks.  (The checklist also ensures that I do my 15 minute daily quick clean (in the areas that are most visible or need it most), one load of laundry, one load of dishes, exercise, calorie counts, and getting ready for tomorrow).

If I miss a day (maybe I'm busy with a big project or a sick kid or out of town), I miss a day.  No biggie.  (And that, my friends, is why sometimes it takes two weeks to get through this one week long list.)  You can see in the following example that I often miss a day or two:

Some weeks, I do my cleaning very, very well.  I scrub the tubs and make sure the silver faucets shine.  Other weeks, I barely disinfect.  The point is that I keep doing it, so that each day, it's a really simple job.

Also, note that I don't assign days of the week to each task.  The tasks are a guidelines only.  Sometimes, surfaces need to be cleaned again during the week, if I cooked a lot or had a dinner party.  Sometimes, the bathroom floors get grosser than usual, with a barely-potty-trained 3 year old!  If that's the case, the cause begging for my attention the loudest gets my attention.

It's okay.  The tubs will get cleaned next week.  I have a system.  And when Mr. Alton Brown drops by to cook those brussel sprouts, I'll be ready for him.  ;)


Sucking It Up

I want to murder the vacuum slowly while it's baby watches hate vacuuming.  Hate it.  My vacuum cleaner is from back when I got married in 1996.  It's heavy and bulky and hard to store and move around.  The attachments fall right off of it.  But I can't bring myself to buy a new one, both because it still works well and because I hate vacuuming way too much to spend any extra money on it.  Also, I have serious dust allergies, so anything that moves dust around (like moving the sofa to get to where I need to vacuum) is miserable for me.

Nonetheless, this morning, I dragged out the stupid vacuum cleaner.  I had to.  The spiders were attacking us.  They were growing there little egg nests under all of our window sills and in our corners.  Luckily, we don't have much carpet, but our carpet was pretty gross, too.  So I vacuumed.

And once you've pulled out the crazy heavy sadistic vacuum, you might as well vacuum under the sofa cushions, right?  And under the frig and oven?  Under the furniture?  All the plugs and cords near electronics?  And, of course, your keyboards on all four computers in the house?

Did someone say mopping?  'Cause that someone can SUCK IT.