Sweeps,15s, and EEs: Maintaining A Clean, Organized Living Space | Giftie Etcetera: Sweeps,15s, and EEs: Maintaining A Clean, Organized Living Space

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sweeps,15s, and EEs: Maintaining A Clean, Organized Living Space

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I dream of a clean house. Even before I owned a house, my offices, classrooms (when I taught school), and dorm rooms were a struggle to keep organized. Don't let the fact that I write a blog about organizing fool you. My house is NOT company ready. However, by adopting some daily habits, my house CAN be company ready in about 15 minutes.

I use three techniques to keep the house from getting overwhelming. They can be adapted to work for an office or dorm room, too. The techniques are daily sweeps, 15 minute quick cleans, and erasing the evidence.

My planner has a sticker with a daily checklist.

Sweeps and the 15 minute quick clean are parts of the checklist. If everything on the list is complete, I circle the day. (If I am not planning to do my normal routine, say because I'll be gone all day or out of town, I mark those days with an X.) Unmarked days are meant to shame me into being more diligent!

Sweeps are done in the morning (along with planning/prepping food for dinner and getting laundry in the wash). However, if I work outside of the home on a particular day, they get done as soon as I get home from work. To sweep, I simply go from room to room in the house and put away anything not in its home. I just move in a circle.

For example, in my bedroom, I might have a couple of pieces of clothing that need to be put away, the shoes that I was wearing when I went to bed, and a hair clip next to my bed. In the bathroom, my husband might have left migraine medicine on the counter during the night. In the kitchen, I might have a bag of groceries to unload or a pan cooled down from the night before to put away. The living room might have remote controls hanging around away from their homes.

At first, you might have so much stuff out of place that you have to limit your sweeps. In fact, if my house gets really messy, I limit the number of items that I put away in each room to 5. Eventually, though, I get to the point that sweeps only require me to put away a couple of things in total each day.

15 quick cleans generally take place at suppertime, but always before bed. I spend 15 minutes cleaning, starting with the areas that have the most need or make the most impact (often the kitchen and living room). If I have any time remaining, I move to the bathroom or bedrooms. Sometimes, I do the cleaning while preparing supper. The order of priority is determined by 1) the area with the most need, 2) the area that will make the most impact on our lives, and 3) anything that has been bothering me.

If you have children who are old enough, have them do a sweep of their rooms and bathrooms in the morning (or right after school) and a 15 minute chore time, as well. It's not a lot of time, but it makes a big difference.

Finally, erase the evidence of whatever you do throughout the day. I used to say "clean up after yourself" to the kids, but they never really quite got everything put away. Instead, we pretend the house is filled with spies, and we have to put things back so that it looks as if we didn't move anything in the first place.

Consider brushing your teeth in the morning. You could brush and put the toothbrush and toothpaste away. But what happens to the little bits of toothpaste that drop into the sink? What about the towel you used to dry your hands after rinsing? Erasing the evidence means you also rinse the sink and rehang the towel, plus let Mommy know to put more toothpaste on the list if you are almost out. We practice this by inspecting each other's work.

This system is not perfect. I have to forgive myself all the time for missing a day or two or not completely erasing the evidence. But it really does, without much effort, make life easier and our home more orderly.

Join the conversation about cleaning, organizing, and planning at Giftie Etcetera's Facebook group today.



Josh LaPorte said...

I've been doing similar things for most of this year. I was doing really well until my work schedule changed to early mornings (I would do most of this in the morning, after breakfast and before work). I need to try your right-after-work method.

Amy said...

What are the tasks on your checklist sticker?

pattygardner.com said...

I call "sweeps" tidy the house. Every morning I walk through the house and put things back where they go so each room looks "tidy" when I leave it. It's just the two of us (except when the grandkids are here) so it's not too time consuming to tidy.

I really like your sticker.

Giftie Etcetera said...

Amy -

Fruits/Veggies (6 a day)
AM (Sweep, Food prep for dinner, Laundry)
PM (15 minute quick clean, Dishes, Prep for next day)

Dominick said...

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