13 January 2010

Creating a Chore Schedule

Our lives are busy. No matter what kind of life you lead, it is busy. Because we are so busy, many things are left undone and even forgotten. And yet, eventually, these undone and forgotten things affect us. When the house becomes unmanageable and we find ourselves with even less time due to the chaos, many of us probably wish for an answer. I think a great place to start is with a Chore Schedule.

When both my husband and I were working full time it seemed like things just got the better of us. It got to where the bathroom could have been entered in a science fair, the kitchen table had to be unearthed to even consider eating a meal there and sometimes we had to wear really random outfits since there were no clean clothes to be found. It was a bad situation in itself, but it got to the point of causing me so much stress I thought I was going to make myself ill. In came the Chore Schedule.

Creating a Chore Schedule is a very personal project. However, with a little bit of guidance you can feel more confident in your efforts and have a better functioning chore schedule from the get go. It might take a few weeks to really lock it in, but here is where to start.

Get out a few pieces of paper. Sit down and prepare to brain storm.

Think about what bothers you most when things get out of hand - write those down.
Think about the chores you hate doing the most - write those down.
Think about the areas you do keep up with and aren't hard - write those down.
Think about every chore you think needs to be done, no matter how often - write those down.

Look at your list.

Pick out the items that you feel must be done every day.
For example no matter what my everyday chores include:
Clearing the dining room table
Doing the dishes
Making the bed

Think about your week.
If you need, actually write out a time schedule of your typical week. Make note of days that have a little extra time and days that are really short on time.

Prioritize your list of chores.
Recopy the most important chores down through the less important chores.
For example I prioritize:
Cleaning the Bathrooms
Vacuuming the Floor
Doing Laundry
Cleaning the Kitchen

Compare your list of chores to the time slots in your week.
Fit the most important chores in first making sure to put the ones you know take more time in the larger time slots. The larger time slots should also be given to the chores you hate, so you are less likely to put them off due to time. Here is an example of the chores schedule we used when we were working:

Example Schedule
Everyday - Make Bed (when you get up), Clear Table/Do Dishes (after each meal.)
Monday - Clean Bathroom (including flooring)
Tuesday - Vacuum and Laundry (note: put in laundry first, so it can wash while you vacuum.)
Wednesday - Clean Kitchen (clean counters, sink, floor)
Grocery Trip (clear out refrigerator/pantry as you put groceries away.)
Thursday - Clean Living Room/Family Room (dust, clear furniture, put stuff away)
You can add an extra Laundry Day in here.
Friday - Odd Chores and Quick Vacuum.

Some special notes about this Chore Schedule example:

Notice there are no chores on the weekend. I reserve weekends for big projects (like cleaning cars) and fun time. I never ever like having to tell friends that I can't join them because I have chores to do. But you can put chores into the weekend if you absolutely cannot find time otherwise.

Also, I like to have my laundry loads spread out. It is easier on the machine and it makes it seem like a much less daunting task if you spread it out. Also, I like to have my second laundry day include my by weekly washing items such as towels and sheets.

Wednesday happened to be a day we had more time than others so we added in going to the grocery. And tidying your pantry and refrigerator as you go is just good use of time.

I added an extra vacuuming so that the floor would be clean for weekend visitors.

Another way you can set up a chore schedule is to break things into rooms or areas. Instead of picking important chores, you could pick important areas. Such as prioritizing the rooms company sees and so on from there.

Example Schedule

Everyday - Make Bed (when you get up), Clear Table/Do Dishes (after each meal.)
Monday - Clean Living Room and Dining Room
Tuesday - Clean Bathrooms and Entry
Wednesday - Clean Kitchen
Thursday - Clean Bedrooms
Friday - Clean Odd Areas and Sweep Walkways.

By the end of the week, you will have a pretty clean house.

You could also reverse this schedule to clean the more private areas early in the week and the more public areas later - that way if you entertain on the weekend those areas are fresh and ready to go.

Try out your schedule.
I like to give my schedule a test period of at least your first week. You may find somethings need to be shuffled or prioritized differently. You may also want to make notes as to areas that you missed and need to be included and even ideas to make you chores more efficient.

As a last step, break down responsibilities Note them on your final schedule. We don't want any confusion about who does what.

Post your schedule on your refrigerator (or where you will see it everyday - even if it is on the bathroom mirror!)


  • Put a sticky note up with your Chore Schedule to record odd chores to be done, new ideas, etc.
  • Use a simple timer to see how long each chore takes. This can help you schedule it and you may be surprised at how little time some things take.
  • Use a timer to set an allotted amount of time for each chore and do as much in that time as you can.
  • Remember, doing anything is better than doing nothing.


You will be surprised at how quick chores get if you keep up with them. Even if you can only fit in part of your schedule do it! You will not be as behind if you get at least something done and you will feel better!

Final Example Schedule

This is the current schedule I use and it is based on a bed and breakfast lifestyle. It is for people who are really serious neat freaks or have a little more time on their hands.


Clear dining room table
Clean table, chairs and other surfaces
Dust and clean windows

Common Areas (sitting room, living room, entry)
Put things out of place away
Clean windows
Vacuum furniture
Vacuum floor

Make or change bed
Put odd things away
Clean windows

Clean shower (start with glass)
Put odd things away
Clear out trash cans
Wipe down sink/vanity
Wipe and sanitize toilet
Clean windows
Clean floor

Start Laundry

Clean out leftovers, tidy refrigerator, make new leftovers
Clean Cabinets and Stove Hood
Wipe down Stove/Oven
Clean counters
Do dishes (if you have a dishwasher you can put dishes in first to cycle while you work)
Clean sink
Take out trash/recyclables
Clean floors
Put clean dishes away

Tidy outdoor areas
Sweep decks
Sweep walks

Finish Laundry
Put Away

Clean halls/passages as you move from area to area

You will have a perfectly clean home everyday and you can add in special chores in each day (like attics or deep cleaning areas.)

I actually apply a modified version of this most days, as all of these things do not need to be done everyday in your personal home. And I don't have enough laundry to merit doing it everyday.

So there you have it. A few ways to start your Chore Schedule. Be creative with your time, be flexible and try to make it the best for you. Check back for more blogs on using your time to the fullest and finding time where you didn't think there was any!

*If you really feel you can't create a chore schedule on your own, contact me. Chore schedules are one of the services I offer through Organizare. I am happy to consult and for a fee I will put your very own schedule together for you! Mention this blog and I will give you a discount!

07 January 2010

Resolve to make Goals

Resolutions: easily made, easily broken it seems. So many people have such good intentions as the year changes anew. Yet, so often these good intentions are quickly forgotten and so we find ourselves playing out the same scenes as we have for so many years prior. Quite a cycle we get ourselves into...

I have never been one to make "resolutions." I am, instead, a person who lives by goals. Short term goals that support long term goals that blossom into long term achievements. I often tell people that projects and problems are like eating a hamburger, you gotta do it one bite at a time. We all can imagine what it would be like to try to eat a hamburger in one big bite. Which is probably why we choke on projects and problems. So I try very hard to look at all aspects of life with my hamburger in mind. Each project and problem - my hamburger - each small goal - a bite! Make a plan of bites (and not one out of the middle - because that doesn't work too well either) and getting chomping!

Here is an example of a recent problem I had and how I turned it into one tasty experience. I sometimes get overwhelmed by life, living and the other people in my life. We all do. So, the house had become a nightmare of piles, problems and unfinished projects. Not to mention getting chores done. I knew I needed a plan - and I knew I couldn't get it all done in one fell swoop. My plan would happen in stages - or bites. It went like this:

First, I cleaned up just the dining room table. Yep, just that.

The catch was that it now had to stay clean. (This is of course is usually the hard part.) Everyday, it had to be cleared and wiped down after each meal. It also had to not collect any items, no piles. Each thing that showed up on the table had to be put away where it belongs. And I kept at this goal each day.

Second, I added into the routine two "Must Do Rules."

Everyday I make the bed. And after every meal I do the dishes. There you have the two rules and they aren't even too hard. Now I had a clear space (they help with clear minds) and I had a tidy bed and no dirty dishes. I already felt better.

Then the progression began. I started in one room and cleaned it entirely. Putting each item out of its' place back into its' place. Dusting, clearing, vacuuming. Each day I did one room, making sure I kept the table clean, the bed made and the dishes washed. It really wasn't too taxing at all. Again, the hard part was making the goal to tidy the newly cleaned room each day. Keep it clean and clear!!!

I progressed from room to room. Sometimes breaking rooms down into multiple sections, so I didn't feel overwhelmed. But always making the goal to keep each newly cleaned room tidy. Honestly, if you simply make the conscious decision to not leave things out of place and to give things a regular once over it really isn't hard to keep up. Try it!

Finally, I got through every room and when I was done...

I had an entirely clean house. I had kept all the "done" rooms tidy and so when all was finished there were no messes left behind. And the most exciting part of it all. Now I spend just a short bit of time putting just a couple items away each day, follow my brief chore schedule (a blog on this coming soon!), and I have a clean and comfortable house with almost no effort! It is such a great feeling! Keeping on top of things takes almost no effort at all, especially compared to trying to clean the huge mess left if you don't make that little bit of effort. It is completely self-rewarding!!! Start small, work small and see yourself through to a huge achievement.