Get in the ZONE

houseLook around your home; are you happy with the condition it is in? Can you find what you need quickly and easily? Or do you suffer from C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? Well, stop living in fear of the doorbell (or cancelling play dates) and take back your weekend at the same time.

Often times we feel the “need” to clean the house weekly and many people spend their Saturdays doing just that. The problem with that is, if you have a special event to go to or your child is on a team your Saturday is not your own.  I know you have limited time and that there are lots of things competing for your time and attention – especially your children. Our home is our oasis from the outside world and should be comfortable and relatively stress free – it does not need to be dust free. De-cluttering and organizing are often very helpful and if the family gets involved, they’ll learn habits that will benefit them their whole life. So, here’s a plan that takes 15-20 minutes a day that the whole family can help with.

First: divide your home into 5 or 6 zones. A zone can be one room or a combination of rooms but don’t make it too big. You want to be able to do a bit of de-clutter, organizing and/or cleaning in the 20 minute block. For example, zone 1 for me includes the breezeway (because most people enter there), entry way and ½ bath (which is right near that back door). Zone 2 includes the kitchen, dining room (which does not get used very often) and the foyer. The idea is to create small enough areas that you can work on for 15-20 minutes each night and feel like you are making progress. At the same time you can have the rest of the family doing the DPU (15 minute daily pick up) and picking up and putting away in other rooms or get them to help with the current zone.  At first, you may only have time for de-cluttering, later on though as you keep at it each week, you’ll not only get to clean the areas but you’ll have time to deep clean or go one step further – whatever that is for you.

Next, figure out what time of day would work best for you and the family to take those 20 minutes. Will it be before dinner, before getting the kids ready for bed, after the kids are in bed or different each day? It’s okay if it is different every day but I feel it is important to “plan” it into your day somehow. So schedule it for the first week and then each day work on one zone. Monday is my zone one, so it is the breezeway, back door entry and ½ bath that get my attention. The biggest thing here in the winter is the sand and grit that gets carried in. So, with a shake of the rugs and a quick vacuum (using a cordless stick vacuum because my central vacuum has a 20 foot hose that is just not convenient for me), I change the towels in the bathroom and clean the fixtures and I’m done. One week I also had time to clean out the medicine cabinet and another week I cleaned out the drawers in the vanity. Even if your cleaning service comes each week, you can still de-clutter and organize and save the cleaning for them.

Lastly, only you can decide what things are important in your home. You may want to focus one day on just mail, or paying the bills, or collecting the recycling for trash day. Whatever works for you is what is important and you’ll need to consider why it is important to you. Life is full of so many “shoulds” that we often don’t stop to consider the “whys”.  Why take the time to do this? Only you can answer that.