Monday, October 23, 2006

Housekeeping Rules

I noticed that Becka has laundry rules that work for her, and I was wondering what other housekeeping rules can help keep us on track.

I too attempt to wash a load of laundry every day. Sometimes I mix lights and darks, but most of the time I just alternate; darks one day, lights the next, and so on. I do need to get my first load of the day washed early so I can hang it; summer is gone and drying on the line takes a lot longer. I do have a dryer for back up.

Sometimes I do need to wash more than one load a day; in that case I use the dryer and I do try to make sure that the washing machine is empty before I go to bed (although the dryer may still be running). Papa will almost always help me fold a quick load of laundry before he heads to work.

I was reading a book that claimed that daily laundry rarely works because is it so easy to get behind. I supose that could be true. Once a week washing worked well for us before we had children, and twice a week worked for a time when they were younger. But I find that you have to own a lot more clothes to make less frequent washing work.

We do get behind at times, and we catch it up and start over. No one says we have to be perfect.

Another rule that works for us in terms of laundry is the "make the bed when you get out of it rule". As long as that is done I have a smooth surface to fold clothes on, so I get right to it instead of setting the basket aside until the bed is made. I'll admit right here that I don't always get the bed made early (as there are often sleeping people in it when I get out of bed); when that happens I fold in the living room.

We have other rules that serve us well. We always do the dishes after each meal and snack. Dishes are not allowed to pile up in or next to the sink. If it goes in the dishwasher, put it there. If it needs to be handwashed, wash it. Children who are too young to place things in the dishwasher can still bring their plates from the table. We have a little verse we say to remind them if they accidentally leave their plates at the table:

(Child's name), (Child's Name), strong and able
please clear your plate away from the table

To make this rule work you have to start each day with an empty dishwasher, so the other rule is that the dishwasher gets run every night, even if it isn't quite full (when you cook all your meals everyday it usually is quite full). We run ours in the middle of the night and then unload it in the morning. One thing we do if it isn't completely full is toss our stove grates in there for a good cleaning.

I am often amazed that other people don't follow the rule of doing the dishes as they are dirtied. I've been around enough to know that everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to such things, and that there is no single right way to do anything. But if you're having a hard time keeping the kitchen under control I suggest giving the dishes rule a try.

Of course, when the dishes are done it is far easier to grab a rag and wipe the counters and kitchen table. My kitchen is often my tidiest room, even though I cook in it daily, or perhaps because I cook in it daily.

I'll think about this some more; for now I have a load of laundry to hang!

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