We already talked about how to create your Getting-it-Done list. Now we move to Creating a Schedule and Assigning Tasks.
First, we’ll dig into the schedule. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning out when all this “soon my house is going to look awesome” work that we’re going to do.
- When does this all happen? While the name “spring” seems to suggest a certain calendar page or two, I know some of you have already started, and some won’t even put your minds to it until the ice on your lawn melts away. That’s okay. You want to find the time that works for you.
- How long should it take? Spring cleaning is probably not just a one day job. Well, it isn’t if you’re doing it right. You’re going to want to identify several dates where you can tackle some of the list, and then put them in your calendar. You might think, “Oh! I have the whole weekend to clean! I’m going to get so much done!” and then there’s a chance (a strong one, for some people) that either distractions come up, or energy sinks. At the end of this great weekend, not only do you feel like you didn’t get things done, you get discouraged about even trying again.
It may make more sense for you to say, “I’m going to carve out 2 sessions, 3 hours each” than to say, “I’m going to work all day”, and then end up not accomplishing as much as you hoped, even though you set more time aside to do it. No matter what time frame you carve out, you want to be sensitive to what and how you schedule around them. If you plan an “all day cleaning day”, don’t expect that dinner and a movie after that is going to be in the cards.
- What time should I clean? Know what works best for you, both for time of day, and for length of time. If you’re an early riser, think about how best to use that time and energy for different tasks. If you’re the kind of person who wakes up a little later, or likes a slower start, you’re going to want to break up the day with setting some “before lunch” goals, and pack the rest in the afternoon or evening.Think about the time and energy that some tasks will take. Some are going to require a lot more labor, some of the dirtier work, the crawling around work, and you’re going to want to make sure carve out enough time for the task, but don’t just assume you’re going to be ready for something else right after that.
- What else do I need to keep in mind? Multi-tasking and sequences are important. You’ll want to look through your list for examples of each of those.
Multi-tasking is our friend… and many types of projects you might be able to get done at the same time. “Defrost Freezer”, for instance, might be a several hour task, but it doesn’t require your constant attention. “Clean oven” and “launder curtains” are other examples of “get it started, go off to something else, and revisit as it needs attention.”
Sequencing, on the other hand, is less of a friend. Sequencing means that before you take on B, you have to finish A. So, it is important to review your list to see what you might have that fits that description. One example might be, “I want to dust before I vacuum”. Another might be “I want to power wash the deck, but I should probably do that after I clean out the gutters.”
So, you’ve got your calendar out, you’re setting aside chunks of time, and maybe even starting to look at your list and penciling in (let’s use that phrase symbolically, since I know many of you will use an app or a list on your phone or tablet to manage all this). Now it’s time to think about how you’re going to get this done. Well, not so much HOW, but WHO?
If you have the luxury of having people around the house older than the age of, well, toddlers, then you’ve got spring cleaning help!
First, I hate to even suggest this, but think about what task you say to yourself, “I don’t trust anyone else to do this task as well as I want it done.” Let’s put those on YOUR list. The other things (and let’s make sure that, if there are others in the house, they are going to help out) get delegated.
Next, let’s look at the other adults in your home — family, roommates, whatever. Figure out what projects they can own, and discuss the timing that works for them. Clue them into the schedule you’ve already built, and make sure it fits into their schedule, too. I know in my house, my husband will likely be in charge of a lot of the outdoor projects, but some of them will still belong to me. And I have his name on a few inside projects that are going to be right up his alley.
How will you get the kids to help? That’s right. Kids. Help. It’s possible. Some of you have kids that are totally capable and responsible with chores around the home already. Some of you with kids might not fall into that bucket. I’m certain that even your youngest toddlers can be helpful around the house, especially with some of the “lower to the ground” projects! I love this chart from TheHappyHousewife.com about age-appropriate chores:
Finally… what about calling in a professional?? Can you hire a cleaning company to come in and help with some tasks? Can you get your windows professional washed? Remember, sometimes, other people have better tools and skills than we do, and paying to bring that in just might be worth it.
You should now have a pretty good handle on figuring out when you’re going to set aside time for all the projects you’ve prioritized, and how you’re going to get some help to get it all done. Our next post is our last “prep” post: Tools!