Organization {Part 4: Cleaning and Meal Schedules}

Preface: Cleaning, laundry and meals.  The bulk of running a house.  I've included some of the spreadsheets I use to help make this a bit easier.  I'm working on getting downloadable documents, but until then, if you'd like them email me at bugaboogifts{at}gmail{dot}com


In addition to my weekly maintenance routine, I have a deep cleaning routine.
My jumping off point is the  Check her out sometime....but read the whole post first! ;) She starts off the with the basics (get dressed to your shoes and shine your sink everyday.)  There are some days I don't leave my house and I'm homeschooling kids, so I'm ok staying in my jammies some most mornings.  Also, I tell the kids "no shoes in the house" so I kinda have to abide by that rule too...

She breaks a house up into zones and I did that.  I have broken mine up into 6 (manageable) zones and have tailored the schedule to what we need and what works for us.  Take a look at your house and everything you want to/can do.  You might have 4 zones, which means you'll get through your house 3 times a year.  This does not mean you can give up on your daily/weekly cleaning and just hit the zones as prescribed.  This just means that your baseboards and blinds will be cleaned more than once a year. :)

Here's my Jan and July zone.  
As I go through this, I'm constantly adding or changing things.

Getting help from the kids....something I don't do enough of.  I'm working on this, though.
(Tomorrow I'll include links and pictures of chore charts around blogland and pinterest.  This is an area that is highly deficient in our home and one in which I intend to fix soon!

I start a load first thing in the morning.  I mean....I get up, get my workout clothes on throw a load in before I head out the door at 5:45. By the time I get back, it goes into the dryer.  Another load will go in mid morning.  Throughout the day I fold and put it all away.  If its mostly the kids clothes, they will come help fold (not usually willingly) but they always put away their own clothes.  Even the 4 year old boy! 

Its much easier to do a load or two every day than spend an entire day doing all the laundry.  Honestly, It takes about 5 minutes to fold a load of laundry.  That's it.  Dont' believe me?  Time yourself.  Granted, if you are doing a lot of little baby clothes, it might take a little longer.

Just cuz I like pictures in posts....this is what I did to my laundry room so it was a little more pleasant to be in.
Another little laundry trick with stains....I put a safety pin through the tag of an item that has a stain on it.  The hubs and I use to go round and round because he would say in passing, "This (fill in the blank) has something on it," but would never show me what and where.  He'd throw it in the dirty clothes, I'd wash and put it away.  He'd then get up and iron it to wear... 

{Side note.....yes, my hubs irons his own clothes.  I'm not ashamed.  I'm busy.  He's particular.  Its something we settled into very early in our marriage and it works.  Come to find out that a lot of hubs iron their own clothes!  We've been married 11 1/2 year so, luckily its not a deal breaker!} 

During his ironing, he'd find the stain and mention it again.  Finally I gave him safety pins and a bottle of spray and wash.  He was instructed to spray and pin.  When something comes through that's pinned, I look it over too find the stain and see if its has been removed, if not, it goes in a separate pile that I'll deal with later.

This the the area of your budget that you have the most control over.  Well, this and leisure/entertainment....but eating is a must.  I have found that in the past, we have spent way too much money eating out.  My goal this year is to cut that in half!  Its so easy to let someone else do the cooking and cleaning, but really, does it take less time?  By the time we get all four kids in the car with jackets and shoes, drive to the restaurant, get seated, order our food, maintain a little control over said children, eat, and get back home, does it really save that much time?  Plus its a whole lot less expensive to stay home and no one finds out that your kids aren't always perfectly behaved! :)

Every Sunday I sit down and meal plan.  I have a 2 week plan.  On the off Sunday, I adjust my plan, if needed, and review the grocery list.  When you start to plan, keep in mind any produce/perishable items you already have on hand and plan around those first.

I write down the main course, the side, and the veggie.  For the main dish I include what book the recipe is in and the page number, or I put a hyperlink if its a recipe from the www.  I do this on my computer, then print it out and for my binder.  I also write it on our chalkboard.  This way my family always knows what is for dinner.
The next step is my grocery list.  I made up a list on the computer of the things we most frequently consume.  I set the list up in the order that I usually go around the grocery store.  Each week, I review my meal plan, and get my grocery list together.  I shop my own freezer, fridge and pantry first so that I'm not buying duplicates of items.  I keep my weekly list in the front pocket of my household binder so that when we run out of things during the week, I simply add it to the list.

I print it out on a scrap piece of letter size paper.  Its formatted so that I can fold it in half width-wise, which to me seems easier to carry??? :)

I try to make at least one extra freezer meal a week.  I do this by simply doubling the recipe. Its just as easy to make two meals as one, right?  Make sure you label and date it.  After its made, I add it to my freezer meal inventory.  Freezer meals are great to have on hand for those busy days.  Plus, if someone is ever in need of a meal (all my friends are in the baby-having stage right now) I have some prepared!

Batch cooking is something I've done occasionally, making 4-6 meals in one sitting.  Also, I was part of a cooking club for about 2 years. We did ours on Mondays.  I cooked and delivered one Monday for 4 families, then the next three Mondays dinner was delivered to me.

Any leftovers get packaged after dinner into lunch size containers.  I send those with the hubs over the next few days or freeze for later.

This is supposed to be a day of rest, but I actually enjoy planning so does fun count as work? ;)

I pay bills on Sunday's...or at least check in on our finances every week.

Meal planning happens over the weekend too.  I usually sit in the living room with my computer and a couple cookbooks.  I find a lot online, but am trying to get through the files of recipes that I've stashed away over the week.  My goal is to try a new recipe every week.  If it works and we like it, it stays.  If we really liked it, it goes in my favorite recipes folder.

I also plan my homeschooling week on Sundays.  I created my own weekly calendar, so fill it in each Sunday so I'm ready for the week.  I'm still tweaking this as we are only 7 weeks in on our homeschooling adventure

I also look at the week ahead and see what's going on.  

Phew!  Next.... :)

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