Daily Chore List

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my housekeeping loop plan – a list of chores that I work through a little at a time. They include the “heavier” cleaning chores, like dusting, mopping, and wiping kitchen cabinets. That list takes me on average about two weeks to get through. And I must point out that when I say I “get through the list in two weeks”…. I actually don’t. I skip several things on that list every week: sometimes because I decide it doesn’t need doing, sometimes because I run out of time or just don’t feel like doing it.  The list is really more of a goal than an actual set-in-stone-this-is-how-we-do-it list. Also, as I pointed out in that post, I limit myself to a 30-minute stretch of housework per day, during which time I just work through the list. Obviously, I could spend way more time, but there is only so much time I want to dedicate to cleaning!

Of course, there is a lot more to keeping a household running than the deeper cleaning jobs, and the heart of my system is really my daily checklist. I start working on this in the morning before our lessons and continue when I have a free moment here and there. I don’t always get to all of this either, I just like having a list to help me remember what needs doing.  I actually have three lists, one for morning, one for noontime, and one for late afternoon.

Morning
  • Set out breakfast makings & vitamins
  • Quick tidy of downstairs
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Morning “farm chores” – my husband does these
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Make bed, tidy bedroom – the kids do their own rooms
  • Water houseplants
  • Sweep downstairs, vacuum as needed
  • Quick wipe down of bathrooms – sinks & toilets
  • Pick up kitchen & wipe counters after breakfast
  • Check that kids have completed chores – they are in charge of their rooms and feeding the pets

Noon

  • Sort mail
  • Work on laundry
  • Make & clean-up lunch
  • Quick tidy up
  • Animal care jobs  – refilling water and goat hay, gathering eggs, and exercising the dog (the kids do these)
  • Dinner prep – sometimes I need to get the crockpot going or do some other early prep if we are going to be out until dinnertime
  • Pack to go out- if we are heading out later I like to start getting ready now- sports gear, snacks, water bottles, library books, shopping lists, etc..

    Night

    • Empty dishwasher
    • Check on animals – Provide new bedding & clean water as needed, collect eggs
    • Tidy up house
    • Finish laundry & put away
    • Jot something down in journal about today
    • Make dinner & clean-up
    • Feed dog, shut up outdoor animals for night

       Laundry is really an all day affair. My laundry post  is still very relevant. We have three goats, 21 chickens, 5 ducks, a dog, cat, and a fish…. that is why there is so much animal care built into our days!

      Housekeeping Loop Plan

      Spring is finally in the air, though you wouldn’t know it from the inch of snow we got yesterday! Spring always makes me want to rethink my housekeeping routines.  I have been using a housekeeping loop plan for a few years, always just “doing the next thing” when I find the time. But lately I have been struggling to fit housework into my day, because there always seems to be something more important or more exciting to do. Sometimes this is okay, but if it goes on too long the house suffers and I start getting cranky. I wish that clutter and mess did not bother me, but I do find that I am much happier in a house that is reasonably tidy – so I am determined to carve out time to clean.

       I experimented with doing all of the housecleaning on one morning, either Friday or Saturday. But I really hate cleaning for such a long time. It takes 3-4 hours to clean the whole house and I am exhausted by the end. I tried assigning different rooms to different days, like living areas on Monday, bathrooms Tuesday, etc…but then I was always playing catch-up when I missed days and feeling like I was behind. 

       So instead, I decided to update my loop plan and find a way to be more purposeful about working on it. I love having a checklist for housework because I can just do the next thing without thinking about what that next thing should be.  So when do I do this? I started out trying to use free moments during our homeschool hours, but quickly realized there are very few of those! So now, when the kids head out for a break after lunch, I spend 30 minutes working on my housework loop. I am very strict about this, I actually set a timer too, because it motivates me.  I might spend an hour on the weekend working on this list too, but no more than that. A little at a time, that’s my motto.

      My new loop plan for housework

      Sitting Room/Mudroom Area

      • tidy & declutter
      • dust
      • straighten shoes & coats
      • vacuum couch & rugs
      • sweep
      • wash floor
      • sort through accumulated mail

      Dining Area

      • tidy & declutter
      • dust
      • glass (because the dog always slobbers on the back french door!)
      • wash dog dishes
      • vacuum area rugs
      • sweep
      • wash floor

        Sunporch

        • declutter/tidy
        • dust
        • spot clean windows
        • shake out mats
        • vacuum 
        • wash floor as needed

        Kitchen

        • declutter/tidy
        • dust desk area
        • wipe down cabinets
        • wipe down counters
        • wipe down appliance fronts
        • clean fridge
        • clean stove top & oven hood, oven as needed
        •  clean out one cabinet or drawer
        • clean glass fronts/window
        • sweep
        • wash floor
        • wipe down trashcan – wash as needed
        • tidy & dust pantry

        Bathrooms

        (On my actual list, I separate the two bathrooms)

        • clean mirrors
        • wipe down vanities
        • scrub toilets
        • scrub tub/shower
        • tidy closet
        • wipe down fixtures (lights, towel rods)
        • sweep
        • wash floors
        • wash bath mat, wash shower curtain as needed

          Laundry Room

          • declutter/tidy
          • wash dog blanket
          • dust
          • wipe down washer and dryer
          • empty any full laundry baskets
          • sweep
          • wash floor

             Library
            (this is kind of a playroom/study/school room combo)

            • declutter/tidy
            • straighten shelves 
            • file papers
            • dust
            • organize kitchen play area
            • sweep
            • vacuum area rug
            • wash floor

              Living Room

              • declutter/tidy
              • straighten shelves
              • dust
              • clean out magazine basket
              • put out  new seasonal books as needed
              • straighten couch slipcovers, vacuum couches
              • sweep
              • vacuum area rug
              • wash floor
              • put away items accumulated by staircase
              • vacuum stair treads
              • straighten up game closet

                Bedrooms

                 (master bedroom and Rose’s room, the other kids do their own)

                • tidy & declutter
                • dust
                • sweep and/or vacuum
                • change bedsheets
                • wash one extra bedding item – a mattress pad, quilt, whatever…I rotate through everyone’s bedding until all that “extra bedding” is washed, over the course of a few weeks, then I start again. 

                   Outdoors

                  • wipe down car
                  • vacuum car
                  • put new bedding in chicken coops
                  • scrub water pails
                  • straighten up barn
                  • sweep front and back porch

                   I know this list seems ridiculously long, but it works really well for me to have this level of detail, rather than just a list that says “clean living room”. A detailed list lends itself very well to cleaning a little at a time, which is the only way I can do it. I tackle the list in order as much as possible, so that nothing gets neglected for too long.

                  You should know that I do not ever get this list done in a week, two weeks is more like it! And sometimes…more like three. I also have a lot of things I am ignoring for now – like the garage and basement! Don’t look in there!

                  And I also have a daily chore list for myself and the kids. 

                  Getting Dinner on the Table

                  Due to our more hectic than usual schedule this fall, getting dinner on the table has been a bit of a feat lately. It has taken a fair amount of planning to make sure that we are not eating peanut butter sandwiches every night.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I actually really love a good pb & j, but for dinner I am a bit spoiled. I want to eat something that feels like a “real” dinner and so does everyone else. To make it happen, I have to plan ahead of time, make menus, stick to a regular shopping routine, and work around our out-of-the-home commitments. All a bit of a pain, but worth it.

                  We really like food around here.

                  I start off on Friday afternoon by drawing up a grocery list for the week. I pretty much have to make myself do this, because the last thing I want to do on a Friday afternoon is think about next week’s dinners! But, dear husband does the shopping on Saturday mornings, so the list has to be ready. To make the list-making easier, I have assigned a “theme”, or a repeating dinner to every night.

                  Saturday is always burgers on the grill night, until it gets too cold. Then it is pizza night.

                  Sunday is always whatever dear husband wants to cook, since it’s his night to do dinner. In fall we tend to do a roasted chicken dinner, shepherd’s pie, chicken stew, or Indian food. Kind of a comfort food theme.

                  Monday is usually boys’ cook night, because everyone is home and I can help them. They like to look through cookbooks and keep a running list of recipes they want to try. Sometimes I cook by myself on Mondays if there is something we have been wanting that takes a little more prep, because I have more time on Mondays!

                  Tuesday is crock pot night, because everyone is home late. I love my crock pot. This past Tuesday I made a chicken stew in it for the first day of fall, and it was so nice coming home to it after our busy afternoon!

                  Wednesday is sandwich night because Christopher and I are out late for his practice and need to bring our dinner along. Everyone else gets back right at dinner time, so prep needs to be minimal. We stick to basics most of the time, things like deli sandwiches, grilled cheese, or tuna wraps, but sometimes I will make a chicken salad or something like that ahead of time. As it gets colder I am debating getting Christopher and I each a little thermos, so we can take along a soup or something.

                  Thursday is Grace’s night to cook,  because she is home while I run Rose to the gym. I get the feeling she really enjoys her cooking night. They boys are usually upstairs doing Lego while I am gone and she has the downstairs to herself: just her, her music, and the stove. I love having a teen that can cook dinner!

                  Friday is pizza night for now. I like making pizza at the end of the week because I am usually pretty well done-in, but pizza is fun and easy.  If we are lucky, we have leftovers for Saturday lunch, but that doesn’t happen as often as I would like!

                  In addition to planning out dinners, I try to keep the pantry fairly well-stocked. I will often look at a printable pantry stocking list, like this one, for inspiration.  I like having a few things on hand, like pasta, frozen meatballs, breaded chicken tenders, soup, stuff like that….just so that if one day doesn’t go as planned we can still eat something.

                  Till next time!

                  my daily chore list

                  I often post things on here that sound great in theory, but fail in actual practice. I guess that’s life! But a few months later I am still loving my loop plan for housework. That said, I am making one change starting this week. I am going to try to commit to doing one item from the loop plan list each day, in addition to a daily chore list.  Up to now I have been kind of loose with the loop plan, fitting in chores here and there, but I find my ambition to do things goes way down in winter. If I have a free moment I do not usually want to spend it housecleaning!

                  Unfortunately, some cleaning is necessary to keep me feeling sane, thus the plan. I am going to do the loop item first since it is usually a bit more involved and therefore easier to “forget” about.  I find that if I get up on time I am able to finish the bulk of the housework before starting lessons. The rest fits into odd moments, when nobody is needing help with their work. There aren’t too many of those moments around here!

                  This is my daily chore list. And this is my loop plan list, for the one item per day.  The kids help out quite a bit with the daily chores, especially with the animal chores.

                  My Daily Chore List

                  • Make beds (the kids make their own)
                  • Sweep the sitting room, kitchen, anywhere else needed
                  • Vacuum area rugs in sitting room, anywhere else needed(we have a woodstove in the sitting room, which is why it needs daily floor care)
                  • 2 loads of laundry
                  • Quick wipe of bathroom sinks and toilets
                  • Water plants as needed
                  • Take vitamins
                  • General tidying
                  • Check for eggs
                  • Rake over/fluff up chicken and goat bedding
                  • Feed and water animals (dog, cat, fish, goats, poultry)
                  • Check on dinner plans, do any prep work necessary

                   
                  Till Next Time!!

                    Loop Plan For Housework

                    We used to have a loop plan for homeschooling, and it worked well, until we scaled back to doing mostly Sonlight, where we pretty much just do the next thing. I have been thinking for awhile about setting up a loop plan for housework.  It is such a busy time of year (what time of year isn’t, I’d like to know?) and I do not find it easy to get the housework done on top of homeschooling, cooking, chauffeuring, laundry, holiday stuff, etc..

                    I have always tried to follow a weekly routine, with different chores slotted on different days. That worked well for quite awhile, but things are only getting busier as the kids get older, and I was always “behind” on housework with that plan.

                     So I sat down a few weeks ago and came up with a loop plan for housework. It is basically a list of what needs doing every week. We also have a separate daily chore list which includes general tidying, sweeping, wiping down the bathrooms, laundry, feeding the animals, and making the beds. The loop is for all that “other stuff”, and it gets done in spare moments here and there.

                     If I am super quick, this list may take only a week to get done, but most of the time it takes two. Or even more, if you want total honesty! But it doesn’t seem to make much of an effect on things around here, to not have them done exactly every seven days. And the nice thing is that I am never really behind! I always just do the next thing.

                    My loop plan for housework & some animal chores

                    • Dust downstairs rooms
                    • Water indoor plants
                    • Rake goat pen
                    • Vacuum downstairs
                    • Vacuum car
                    • Clean out purse
                    • Scrub a chicken waterer
                    • Wash floors
                    • Dust bedrooms
                    • Vacuum bedrooms
                    • Straighten a closet
                    • Change sheets-except I always do this on Thursdays!
                    • Clean downstairs bathroom
                    • Clean upstairs bathroom
                    • Scrub duck or goat pails
                    • Clean kitchen
                    • Clean chicken & duck coops

                    I really like this method, because I am never really behind on things. I just cross out what I get to and when I have time or energy to clean, I do the next thing on the list. I certainly don’t make it through this list in one week and am lucky if I make it through in two. Still, it seems to keep things clean enough. I do have to deviate from the list occasionally, if the floors are looking too dirty or the chicken coop really needs cleaning and can’t wait. Otherwise, though, it is a simple matter of moving along to the next thing.

                    Till Next Time!

                    Meal Planning Part 1: “Theme Nights”

                    It is officially fall now and I actually feel like cooking again, which is nice. Obviously, I still need to cook in the summer, but somehow it just never feels very inspired. I am really more of a casserole and hot dinner person, I think. Comfort foods, you know.

                    Still, even though I have been feeling excited about cooking again, coming up with a weekly meal plan feels like a drag. Seven dinners for six people, each and every week, not to mention breakfast and lunch! It can be all too easy, I am finding, to fall into a meal rut. And meal planning is one of those weekly chores that I just have not taken the time to sit down and simplify. Until now, anyway.

                    I have decided to take the advice I have seen time and again, and set a “theme” for each night’s dinner.

                    *Our Weekly Dinner Themes*

                    Monday: Casserole or Dutch Oven Dinner Night- We got our first le Creuset oven last year. A pricey splurge, but I am totally in love with it:). I need to use it more.

                    Tuesday:  Pasta or Hot Sandwich & Soup Night-Tuesdays are swim afternoons and everyone gets back tired and in need of a shower. A quick dinner is in order!

                    Wednesday: Crockpot Night-We are generally out until dinner-time with the kids’ activities, so dinner needs to cook itself!

                    Thursday: Try a New Recipe Night or Taco Night-We subscribe to Food Network Magazine, and the kids love poring over it. It really encourages them to try new things because they are so excited to see something from the magazine brought to life.

                    Friday: Sandwich Night-Another late night, but this time we need something portable to bring along to an evening activity. The trick is going to be breaking out of the turkey and cheese rut!

                    Saturday: Pizza Night (to be replaced with grilled burger night on warm days).

                    Sunday: Whatever We Feel Like Night!

                    My next step is to come up with a list of dinners that fit each of these categories. Hopefully this will streamline the task of writing out the weekly meal plan and shopping list. We have also been getting a bit dull and repetitive with our breakfasts and lunches lately, so I am thinking we need themes there as well.

                    Till Next Time!

                    Keeping the House Neat

                    I can hardly believe it, but this year marks our eighth year of homeschooling! One of the most difficult things about homeschooling (aside from getting the kids to do their math!) has been keeping the house picked up. I am a bit of a neat freak. I don’t know why, but I just cannot stand clutter or things piled up everywhere. It has been a long road for me to accept that a certain amount of clutter is necessary with homeschooling and that it is actually desirable! All those paintings, strewn papers, uncapped markers, pencils, books, and cups of growing seedlings are evidence of our learning and doing.

                    But I still need the house to be at least moderately neat, so we have been working on a routine lately to achieve that goal. I am happy to say that by following this routine, we are able to keep the house mostly in order, although there are still definite times of messiness throughout the day. And don’t even ask about the garage or basement. I don’t consider them part of the house, which makes it easier to ignore them!

                    This is our current house-tidying routine. We also clean, but that’s another post.

                    1. Morning. After I eat breakfast I make a quick sweep through the house. I recycle last night’s newspaper, stow t.v. remotes in a basket, put away magazines and books, toss shoes in a basket, and just generally tidy up stuff from the previous night. I also pick up the floor of my youngest child’s bedroom. The older kids do their own rooms. They don’t do a bang-up job, but every little bit helps, you know? I admit, I am way less picky about the bedrooms, which are upstairs and out of sight most of the day.

                    2.  Morning Chore Time. My aim is to spend 20 minutes per day detail-cleaning a room. Naturally, I don’t always succeed. But even a few times a week makes a huge difference in the feel of the house.  In addition to cleaning, I return every misplaced item I encounter to it’s proper home-which may well be the recycling bin! I stop after 20 minutes and pick up where I left off next time.

                    3.  Schooltime. If I have free moments during our morning school hours I use them to put away books and papers that we are finished with. The kitchen counter is my command center, so I try to keep it as neat and uncluttered as possible.

                    4. Lunchtime Tidy. After lunch, everyone helps pick up the house. I assign the kids a certain number of items to pick up and put away, based on how messy the house is. The number is usually between 15 and 20. This helps them work more quickly, since there is an obvious end in sight. At least in theory. I assure you, this is not always a jovial time in our household.  After this is done though, the mess is mostly contained and the rest can wait until later.

                    5. Afternoon Tidy. Before I start making dinner, everyone pitches in and we pick everything up. Everything single thing that is out gets returned to it’s proper spot. I think this is the most crucial step in maintaining order. I figure, if everything is picked up once a day, how bad can the house really get?

                    Till next time!