Maxine’s Housekeeping Tips – Part #2
SUBMITTED BY: Maxine in Idaho
Tuesday’s Tip: Minimum Maintenance
Yesterday, I told you I would make a daily posting of the tips and strategies I have used over the years to gradually improve my housekeeping skills. Today’s tip is a strategy suggested by Bonnie McCullough, author of Totally Organized: The Bonnie McCullough Way.
Bonnie calls it Minimum Maintenance. It’s 5 minutes per room of putting away, straightening up and wiping off. Begin with the biggest items in each room, such as bed, newspaper or kitchen table, and work your way down to smaller items. When the 5 minutes is up, STOP. You can finish what you’re doing at that moment, but don’t start anything else in that room.
If you have a 6 room house, you can make a major improvement in only 30 minutes (the kitchen may take longer). This is only basic maintenance–you are not going to clean up a pit in only 5 minutes.
However, and this is the surprising part, you will begin to see a huge improvement by about the third day. On the first day, you’ll get the biggest stuff put away. On the second, you’ll be finding homes for the little oddball stuff you left out because you didn’t know what to do with it. By the third day–now that you’ve got the counter cleaned off–you’ll have time for a swipe with the dustcloth. You will never have time in 5 minutes to do heavy cleaning, but your rooms will be presentable. Once you get the clutter put away, you are much less likely to add to it as much.
It’s important not to get too involved in any one room, and to move on after 5 minutes. If you don’t, you will find yourself bogged down in one room and letting the rest of the house go to pot. On your daily rounds, you will notice what else needs to be done, and can go back to clean it when you have the time.
If you don’t know where to start, begin where you will make a first impression. In my case, that’s the entry hall and living room. I generally skip to the bedroom and bath after that, because those rooms are hidden from view, yet I want to make sure they get done. Then I do the dining room and finish with the kitchen (plan on spending more than 5 minutes on this room). Do it in the order that works for you. My schedule, I’m sure, would be very different if my kids were small and the dining room table was buried under cereal boxes, spilled milk, Matchbox cars, color books and magic markers. Just getting that cleaned up would give me a huge lift and I’d probably do it first!
Advantages of minimum maintenance (per Bonnie McC:)
- It keeps things from getting worse
- You like yourself and your house more
- Areas you have already cleaned stay clean longer
- You gain freedom to move onto new projects without tangle or clutter
- The program is easy to teach and delegate to spouse and kids
Note from me: You will be amazed how much you can accomplish in only 5 minutes. Tomorrow I’ll suggest ways to motivate yourself to do it. (If you do it today, you won’t need any motivation tomorrow!)
SUBMITTED BY: Maxine in Idaho
Here’s the next housekeeping tip from Maxine: How to Make Yourself DO IT!
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