Monday, February 2, 2009

The Holy List

Just imagine angels singing in the background as you read this. Commit it to memory. Recite it seven times daily. It will change your life.

I'm just kidding. The only thing that makes this list work is flexibility. And, seriously, people, you can do this yourselves! I was really, really shocked at your reaction to the Listmakers Anonymous post. Seriously! I thought it was kind of boring. Who knew?

I will say that in the past couple of weeks since I have reinstituted the use of the lists, I have been amazed at my productivity. I have actually had more leisure (HA! Leisure! What I mean is, I've gone to bed before midnight! Although that implies leisure activities in bed . . . I'm really digging a hole here.) because my time spent cleaning has been more focused and organized. I have felt less overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude and enormity of the job. And I have had more time to play with my kids.

A brief word of explanation: CPod and I have each other's backs. We operate (in every aspect of our lives -- not just with regard to housework) on the assumption that we will both have busy lives . . . forever. And if we don't help each other get the things done that need to get done, we'll spend a lot of time being resentful. So, when he has tons of church meetings or work travel or whatever, I pick up the slack, and when I have 5 rehearsals in one week plus enrichment and a presidency meeting, he does the same for me. So nothing is set in stone. It's really just a suggestion.

Also . . . if you decide to formulate your own list, the key is not to decide how frequently you want these things done. What you have to figure out is how infrequently you can live with it being done. That's why I change bed linens every two weeks. I would love to be like Oprah and have my sheets changed every other day -- who doesn't love that first night of clean linens? -- but I can live with two weeks, and so that's my goal. I used to be able to go two weeks without cleaning the toilets, but no more. Not with kids who say things like, "MayDay, can you wipe the pee off my big toe?" to their clueless-about-all-things-potty little brother. (Saddest part: MayDay actually did it.)

So, by popular demand, my lists:

Daily Tasks

  • Unload/reload dishwasher and do hand washing
  • Clear counters and put stuff away
  • Wipe down counters
  • Sweep floor
  • Go through mail
Dining Room/Living Room:
  • Wipe down table
  • Sweep hardwood floor
  • Vacuum rugs
  • Put away toys
  • Make beds
  • Put away toys
  • Wash and fold laundry
  • Take out trash
  • Water outside plants (in summer)
  • Calendar
  • Personal discipleship
  • Exercise
Weekly Tasks

  • Clean tile floor
  • Clean out refrigerator
  • Straighten pantry
  • Update menu and grocery list
  • Scour sink
  • Clean cook top
  • Wipe down cabinets and appliances
Dining Room/Living Room:
  • Clean hardwood floor
  • Dust furniture
  • Wash windows
  • Clear cobwebs
  • Wipe down chairs
Hall Bathroom AND Master Bathroom:
  • Wipe down sink
  • Clear countertops and put stuff away
  • Change towels
  • Clean toilets
  • Empty trash cans
Hall Bathroom OR Master Bathroom:
  • Clean mirror
  • Sweep floor
  • Put clothes and toys away -- really
  • Dust
  • Vacuum
  • Clear off dressers and other surfaces
  • Straighten laundry room
  • Sweep off decks and front porch
  • Pay bills and balance accounts
  • Take trash to curb for pick-up
  • Water inside plants
  • Clip/print coupons
  • Clean trash out of car and van
  • Journal
  • Viola practice -- 3 times
Biweekly Tasks
  • Clean basement bathroom
  • Clean bathroom tile floors
  • Wash bathroom rugs and kitchen rug
  • Straighten sewing area
  • Straighten office and file office paperwork
  • Change bed linens
  • Organize pantry and kitchen cabinets -- storage containers, mixing bowls, etc.
  • Clean out freezer
  • Straighten closets
  • Wash chair pads
  • Return/renew library books
Monthly Tasks
  • Straighten and sweep out garage
  • Pick up toys from the yard (and the neighbors' yards)
  • Wash shower curtain liners (truth: I only wash them once or twice before I replace them. I think they're disposable.)
  • Go through magazines
  • Wipe down baseboards, trim, doors, new marks on walls
  • Wipe down blinds
  • Dust ceiling fans
  • Clean laundry room tile floor
  • Vacuum basement stairs
  • Straighten basement (multipurpose room -- toys, projector & screen, office corner, sewing corner, treadmill)
  • Clean out e-mail box
And if something doesn't get done one week, it's not a big deal. Just means it's more likely to get done the next time around.

And the daily list just stays taped to the cabinet -- I don't check it off every day since that would be a waste of paper and I pretty much know what's on it. The weekly, biweekly and monthly lists are taped to the kitchen cabinet, too, but I check them off . . . mostly because I don't think I'd be able to remember what I'd already done if I didn't.

I also have longterm goals that I set for larger projects, like reorganizing food storage, cleaning out the linen closet, or cleaning out the bathroom cabinets. I try to tackle one of those projects every month or so.

Hope these help you as much as they've helped me!


  1. Love it!!
    Thanks for sharing your lists.
    Great ideas.
    I did have a calendar where I'd write everything down for the weekly and monthly tasks. But haven't looked at it since little man was born 9 months ago. yikes.
    Thanks again for the help.

  2. okay. I love your lists. And I needed them. So, off to copy what you are doing and try to get something done today.

  3. Thank you SO much for posting this! I have been trying to figure out a way to organize our cleaning schedule around here to avoid being psycho mom/wife before company comes. This is a great plan and I'm seriously going to implement it.
    Thank you, thank you!! You really are wonderwoman!

  4. I am oh so good at making lists. Now if only I could find a way to make the list DO the actual work. Then I might actually sing hallelujah myself. Angels not needed.

  5. Awesome. This totally helps me mark off something on my list.
    "Make list of chores that need to be done"

    Actually, that was the only thing on the list.

  6. Not long ago I made a list of all the house work that needed to be done and my husband had the first picked on what he wanted to do ... then I got the stuff for my list. Needless to say it only work for about 2 weeks, after that I wrote with a red sharpie on top of both lists (and stain my fridge on the making) "Can we PLEASE make this list work???" Long story short we had a huge argument and the lists went to the trash can!! Ha!

  7. Lovely lists. You could write the book on organization. Sweet!


Sock it to me!