Area of the Month

Area of the Month:  My Approach to Whole House Organization |countingwillows.comDo you ever feel overwhelmed with your house?  Do you feel like no matter how much you work at it, you will never have everything up to date, organized and well functioning?

I used to feel that way, too.  And to be honest, sometimes I can still feel overwhelmed, but not when it comes to the whole house.  Last year I set up a plan that really works to keep us organized and functioning well.

Prior to last year, I had a daily/weekly cleaning routine that worked well and a monthly cleaning routine that worked well.  I sweep everyday, vacuum a few times a week, do laundry a few days a week, surface clean all areas once a week and do a deeper clean of each area monthly.  The things that tended to fall through the cracks were the things that only had to be done once every 3, 6 or 12 months.

I tried weekly lists, monthly lists and annual lists but it all seemed so tedious.  I was really motivated to come up with a system that could be a one-page-per-month sort of system.  Since I could not find the answer anywhere online or in stores, I used my Silhouette to create a montly cleaning/to do list for our household.

To tackle the tasks that needed to be done less often than once every month, I sat down and planned out which areas of the house I would tend to during specific months.  I left December unplanned, since the holidays are a busy time of year already.

Now each month I tackle one or two areas of our house and yard and really do the deep cleaning, purging, organizing, small repairs, redecorating and other projects that I know will start to pile up and drive me mad if left undone over time.  Tackling these things at least once a year prevents that overwhelming feeling.  Another part that helps is that I know each area is already scheduled – if the messy cupbards in our bar area bug me, I know that if I don’t have time right now, it is on my calendar sometime in the next 12 months and it will get done – I don’t have to worry about it and try to fit it into my schedule right now.  This keeps me focused on one area at a time and prevents me from starting multiple projects and leaving a lot of things partially done (another stressor).

Even if something comes up and I have to shift things, at least I can quickly see what area needs attention and reschedule when I will deal with it.  I set myself up for success by keeping in mind when I have more time and when I have less time, when I can work outside and when I am stuck inside due to harsh winter weather.

One other tip – when I work on a specific area and come up with a larger project than I can tackle that month, I just add it to my to do list and schedule it when I can get to it.  Sometimes it is six months later, but I usually either get to it eventually or decide it was not what I wanted in the end.  These are almost always the fun decorating projects, so I am usually pretty excited to get to them.

Here is how I have things set up now:

January – basement bar, living and utility room areas.  Organize and pack away holiday decorations.

February – Upstairs bedrooms (master, 7 year old boy, 10 year old boy).  I also get the pets into the vet for their check ups and vaccinations.

March – All bathrooms (three full, one half bath).

April – Living room and entry closet.  Clean and open the pool for the season.

May – Lawn and garden areas. Because the weather is FINALLY nicer usually by May and we are all dying to be outside as much as possible, we fertilize, aerate, refresh the mulch and plant the gardens and annual flowers.

June – Laundry/mud room, outside living areas (patio, deck, pool).

July – Kitchen and dining room areas, weeding and upkeep in the lawn and garden.

August – Furnace and air conditioner maintenance, dryer vent cleaned out.  Since this is the end of summer and we are focused on squeezing in the last of the summer fun, so this month I keep it light.

September – Office (aka Den), clean windows.

October – Outside areas – blow out sprinklers, fall plantings, yard fertilizer, water and clean up.  Winterize and close pool.

November – Change smoke detector batteries, rotate emergency supplies, prepare for Christmas.

December – Christmas.  Since it seems like this month we are always either working hard to get everything done and ready for Christmas or wanting to relax and enjoy, so this month does not have anything extra!

Rooms I Don’t Do – That leaves 3 areas of our house/yard that are not on my list – the two teenager rooms and the garage.  The highschoolers are old enough to manage their rooms.  Now, they rarely look how I would have them look, but they do go on cleaning sprees as the mood strikes them and sometimes I give them deadlines when we are hosting a larger event.  Besides, I think they have to figure out what works for them and it is good for them to do so while I am here so I can show them my systems if/when they are interested.  The garage is my husband’s domain and although I do my fair share to clean it and keep it clean, in the end, it is his space to control and he works on it when he has time and I help when I have time or he wants the help.

What do you think?  Would a system like this work for you?

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    • Michelle says

      Hi, Kelly! Thank you for stopping by! Normally I would probably just secretly freak out that you stopped by, but I get the impression that you can handle the weirdness :-) I just started my blog, and my number one goal is to get enough views to be able to ask your husband to work his magic on ad placement. Which, as you can see, I need to get in place (blog design coming soon – so much to do). Thanks again, you made my week!

  1. Melody says

    That’s a great idea! I am very overwhelmed in a newly purchased fixer home. There’s so much organizing, renovating and decorating to do everywhere (yikes!) that it overwhelms me. I will give thhis system so more thought (and pin it!) and see how I can adapt it to work for me. Thanks!

  2. Caity says

    This is wonderful. I recently tried following a daily/weekly/monthly cleaning schedule but it just did not fit my my husband’s and my lifestyle or schedule so it was quickly abandoned. While trying to find something that would suit us better I came up with the idea of cleaning one or two areas a month, with other tasks happening more often as necessary. Literally a day later I saw this blog post and I was so excited to see that someone else has made this work for them! I am working on compiling my schedule now, so hopefully I can put this into action soon!


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