Friday, July 6, 2012

Where does your effort go?

Finishing school has left me with so much extra time and energy - way more than I even expected. And it's wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

One unexpected (or expected if I'm honest with myself) is the amount of self-reflection this new free time has brought to my life, and my family life. Guess I should be honest again - more reflection is being done by me than Zac but he's happy to participate when I ask him to!

We started out with a re-evaluation of our budget. We've been using a budget strictly for almost a year and a half, and it's been such a blessing to us. I say strict because we strictly track our expenses, but it isn't a super strict budget - we have included room for fun things like dinner out, hobbies, and house projects.  Building an emergency fund has meant that car repairs haven't broken us, and when we've needed money unexpectedly, we have it. We sat down last week and realized that we still aren't satisfied with the amount we're saving. Our emergency fund isn't all that full because we seem to keep having "emergencies." Plus, we have some things we'd like to save for - mama needs a new car pretty badly!

One area where we noticed we could cut expenses was to stop having a cleaning lady. When I was in school, we decided that this expense was worth it. Our dirty house drove me crazy but I didn't have any time to clean it, and I just felt like it wasn't fair to ask Zac to pick up yet another thing around our house. It was worth it when I was gone all the time... but now I'm not gone anymore. I have the time to clean our house and I do a better job of it anyway!

This has led me to reflect on where my effort goes. We all have a limited amount of time and effort... where do you choose to put yours?

I'm trying to make where I put my effort a conscious decision. I hate when I get home from work at 5:30 PM, climb into bed at 11:00 PM, and can't figure out where the hours between those went.

Here's what I've learned in the past few weeks of cleaning again, and apologies in advance to those of you who are thinking, "Duh! Tell me something I don't know!"
  • It's worth taking 10 minutes each night to clean your kitchen so you never have to really clean your kitchen
  • Doing one load of laundry each night seems a lot less oppressing than 5 loads on a Saturday
  • It only takes me 30 minutes to vacuum and mop our whole downstairs. That's do able
  • Dusting is a chore that should be delegated to husbands
  • You can make a lot of your own cleaning products via Pinterest or Martha -- or experiment yourself and add vinegar to things and see what they clean
  • When our house is cleaner, we tend to keep it cleaner. Victory
  • The cleaning "schedules" I've found online seem backwards to me. Vacuum on Monday and mop on Thursday? Wouldn't you have to re-vacuum on Thursday, too?
I guess I'm realizing that while I'm consciously redirecting my effort, a small portion of it can be redirected to keeping our house clean and tidy. I'm also realizing that our house must have been disgusting when I wasn't doing this?

The past few weeks of focusing on our house has also made me feel a little better about not being able to do a great job of it when I was in school. I just didn't have the time - and it takes quite a bit of time to maintain a house!

Do you have any tricks to share that help you keep your house cleaner without spending a million hours on it?


  1. I started following FLYLADY online years ago and now I follow on FB. It's always a work in progress because some days/weeks/months are better than others-but it's great for inspiration!!

  2. I second Flylady!! Flying keeps me on track and organized, without feeling overwhelmed. And if I get off track, I can open my control journal and have a clear starting point. Since I'm easily distracted, lol, this really helps me! Plus because the routines are written down, my kids always know what they are supposed to do. :)

  3. This is my system:
    It's not perfect, but it gets the job done. I usually try to tackle the extra 'special' cleaning tasks like windows, mopping, baseboards, etc once a week and then I only do one of them. :)

  4. I clean a room at a time. The actual plan is to do the bedroom and hallways Monday, downstairs Tuesday, kitchen Wednesday, bathroom Thursday and then pick up any other larger or deep clean projects as needed. Each day should only take about 20 minutes and then the rooms always stay clean. Now that Heney is here, I just pick a room to clean when I have a spare 20 minutes. I also use the bathroom and kitchen a lot more, so I focus my time there. And since I'm home more, I try to Vaccuum more. I also totall agree with you about laundry. Instead of doing it all on weekends, I throw a load in every day or other day. So much better. I'm. Not sure what life will look like when I go back to work, but we will adjust. I like having a clean house so it's worth the little bit of time.


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