19 September 2007

Housework routines

Monday is washing day
Tuesday is ironing day
Wednesday is mending day
Thursday is market day
Friday is cleaning day
Saturday is baking day
Sunday is a day of rest

Of course, most women didn't just do that chore on that day, they also did their general house work and often had time to visit with neighbours, join sewing circles and play with the children. It was a much more relaxed way of living that was centered around the family and home.

Things have changed. There are now more women working outside the home, often grandmothers look after grandchildren while the mums are at work, many couples work at different times so there is always someone with the children, stay at home mums sometimes have a hobby/job they work on at home during the day, others homeschool. Some SAHMs care for elderly parents, some volunteer their time to schools or other community organisations. Life is lived at a faster pace now and there is no one size fits all when it comes to housework routines.

How you organise your housework will depend on whether you work outside the home or not, how many people you're looking after and at what stage of life you're at. When I had two young babies just 12 months apart, I found not only was I washing on Monday, but also most other days of the week. Now I wash only on Wednesdays. Everyone is different and your routine will change at different stages of your life.

No matter what stage of life you're at it's a really good idea to develop a housework routine. That will take the huge and often overwhelming task of "housework" and break it down into smaller and manageable parts. You can either make up your routine to do your work room by room or you could do a specific chore on a certain day, much like the verse. If you're like me, and have only one other person, or just yourself to look after, maybe you could have a routine which is similar to mine. My routine is similar day by day with changes only for washing, ironing and shopping, which is done once a month.

This is my general routine - it's a loose kind of thing that can easily be changed if friends drop by or I realise I have to work on an unplanned project.

Rise and shower.
Work on the computer until H rises.
Feed dogs and cat.
Make breakfast and wash up.
Check chooks, feed and change water, collect eggs.
Make the bed, tidy the bedroom and bathroom.
Make bread and tidy the kitchen.
Sweep the floor, vacuum once a week.
Once a week I bake biscuits or a cake.
Morning tea.
Gardening, sewing or writing.
Make lunch and wash up.
Tidy one area of the house - like the lounge room, the laundry etc I spend no longer than 30 minutes on this.
Writing, sewing or computer.
Make dinner and wash up.

Every Wednesday I do the washing, hang it outside and fold it when it's dry.
Every Sunday morning I do the ironing.
Once a month, on a Wednesday, I go grocery shopping with H.

There are also seasonal jobs to be done. Such as in summer, I do a bit of preserving. That's always done in the morning. In Winter and Spring there is more gardening to be done.

I find that if I break up my housework with ideas about when I'll do certain things, it stops me thinking of "housework" as one big uncontrollable monster; it turns into tasks that will be done at certain times.

If you haven't thought about your housework in an organised way yet, give it some thought and make up your own routine. Write down what needs to be done. You don't have to itemise every task, go for whole areas - like vacuum house, clean the bathrooms, or divide the tasks up so that, like the verse above, you're doing one major task on one day, with a few little tasks with it. Don't be afraid to modified your routine to suit how you work and who is there to help, if anyone. If you find something doesnt work as you planned, change it.

When you've worked on your routine for a week or so and it is working how you want it to, stick to it and hopefully it will help you do the work that is required to keep your home clean and well maintained. Don't forget to take time out to have morning tea and to look after yourself. Sitting down with a magazine for a 15 minute break will give you something to look forward to, renew your energy and will break up the tasks for you.


He turns 67 today. I picked up his gift on the way home from work yesterday and here he is just after I gave it to him. He was really pleased with the bicycle and rode around with Alice running behind. I love making him happy.

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