I was talking (well okay learning) about some of the finer points of housekeeping today with some online friends. I realized it could be organized like Dave Ramsey’s famouns 7 baby steps for organizing your finances.
I’m a recovering slob and didn’t really know how or what to do until my kids were grown and gone. I learned I had adult ADD later in life. As I learned about ADD and how to cope with it, I realized why housework was so difficult for me. Nothing ever got accomplished. I didn’t feel like I had anything to show for my efforts. Dave Ramsey’s genius of his baby steps is how they give you quick wins right out of the gate. He also gets you to focus on one thing at a time. Let’s use his approach, get some things done and keep them done!
Baby Step 1
This is your BEF (baby emergency fund). He advises getting $1,000 together to start. It’s meant to keep you from going backwards so you won’t have to use credit cards when unexpected things occur. This list is meant to keep you from going backwards too. I’ll write another post soon on how I approached this and you can do it way faster and easier than I could have thought.
Run the dishwasher every night and unload it every morning. Race the coffeepot to make it fun. You got this. (This keeps you from going backwards because everyone in your house can now know that dirty dishes go in the dishwasher. No questions. No wondering. Your kitchen will look cleaner.)
Do a load of laundry every day. This means seeing it through – wash, dry, fold and put away. You’ll do a lot less work if you take the clothes right out of the dryer. Seeing it that way helps.
Make sure every bathroom has a roll of paper towels, a container cleaning wipes, toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner and glass cleaner. Once this is done, just spot check before you go to the grocery store to keep your supplies stocked.
Use your powder room once a day. While you’re in there, quickly clean the mirror (it’s clean but do it anyway). Wipe down the sink and vanity and then use that wipe to quickly go over the toilet starting from the top and working to the seat. Check under the seat and rim. You may need to toss the wipe at this point. Quickly check the outside of the bowl and around the floor grabbing another wipe if necessary. Swish the toilet bowl with cleaner and replace the hand towel. You will get really fast at this. I can do ours in two minutes flat.
Tuck a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie in your kitchen. From this day forward, date everything you put in the frig. If leftovers are 3 days old, they’ll get tossed. No more cleaning moldy yuck. This one will make your life easier.
Find something cute or quirky to put on your top frig shelf. Every day you’re going to check one shelf for things that are getting old, for spills, etc. After you do it, move your little item to the next shelf so you’ll know where you left off.
While you’re there, what’s for dinner? If something needs defrosting, take it out of the freezer.
Make your bed as soon as you get up.
Time each task – now that you have these tasks going like clockwork, time them and leave a comment with your time. It will help you dispel the lies (it will take forever) and give you a reality check (it it takes you 90 minutes to clean your powder room every single day, you need to ask for some ideas on how to streamline it)
When you’ve done each item once, you can start on Baby Step 2 (that’s like making minimum payments on your credit cards while you are still saving for your BEF). After you’ve done the starred items every day for a week without missing a day, you are officially done with baby step 1.
If you like this approach, the rest of the baby steps are here as an overview. I’ll add more details later.
Baby Step 2
Get out of debt – this is where we’ll get each room decluttered and organized. We’ll maintain it by keeping each room picked up and tidy while we continue to work our way through the remaining rooms.
Make a list of every room in your home (don’t forget the utility room, basement, shed, garage and/or attic if you have them and your car).
Order them from easiest to hardest. Now save the list and I’ll write more about this step soon.
Baby Step 3
This is our Fully Funded Emergency Fund. in this step, we’ll start establishing cleaning routines while maintaining a clutter free lifestyle. I’ll write about how I
Baby Step 4
This is where you start investing in your 401k. In this step, we’ll tackle maintenance – replacing filters, starting a project list for things that are aging and need replacing, etc.
Baby Step 5
Here you start a college fund for the kiddos. We will start teaching our kids to do these steps beginning with their own rooms and then their own laundry. Add more age appropriate responsibilities with the goal of your kids doing it all before they leave home while you grow into the role of manager.
Baby Step 6
Now Dave gets you to pay off your house. We will start thinking about decorating and/or remodeling.
Baby Step 7
This is where people go crazy with debt free screams and start seriously investing their money. We’ll think about investing in systems, outside help and anything else that will make life easier for you. Now that your home is clean, orderly and running well, you might want to think about hiring some help for heavy seasonal cleaning or even passing it all off to a good housekeeper! I couldn’t have hired help when I started. No one would have been able to find the floor.
In case you are wondering, I haven’t completed Baby Step 2 of housekeeping yet. I have our downstairs going pretty well but I still have two bedrooms upstairs, the utility room, the shed, the garage and the attic to go.
What do you think? Would this work for you?