"Spare-second cleaning jar": Keeping your house deep cleaned, one chore at a time. Includes printable list.

Welcome back to “You’re Welcome” Wednesday, where I share a creative tip with you that’s bound to make you say…THANKS!
My most popular post of 2011 was my Deep Cleaning Agenda (see the other contenders HERE). The theory behind it is that you “zone” your house and tackle one task per day, rather than one room per day. It’s a lot of work the first week, but by staying on top of the tasks you can keep your house cleaned in just minutes a day.
I have had incredible feedback from it! However, there were a number of comments from people letting me know that that particular system just wasn’t working for them. 
Guess what?
I totally hear ya.
I’ve recently moved to a much bigger home, have started working every day and at night (trying to make my sight absolutely amazing for y’all!), and I now have two active kids. Life changes, so you have to evolve with it!
I have recently come up with an alternative system that is working GREAT for me, that I thought might help some of you. Here it is:
Spare-Second Cleaning Jar
Here’s the concept:
  • I’ve created a huge list of every deep-cleaning chore that I could think of that is hard for me to do day-to-day. 

This does NOT include things that should be done regularly and as-needed, such as taking out the trash, vacuuming, laundry, dishes, wiping down counters, etc. The chores are VERY broken down. They are everything from wiping down the counters in a single bathroom, to cleaning out one drawer, to washing the windows in your living room. Most chores are small enough that you could get them done in just a few minutes.

Click HERE for printable version
I left a bunch of squares blank so you can add your own. If there are chores that don’t apply to your house (if you don’t have as many bathrooms as me, don’t have toys to disinfect, etc…) then simply “make a copy” (under FILE) of the list in google docs and create your own!
  • You print out the list on sturdy paper (like card stock),

  •  Cut up the chores into squares (I used my nifty paper cutter that I got at a yard sale. Great investment!!).

  • I decorated some empty baby food jars. 

You can use any cutesy container you have lying around…I have baby jars by the quadrillions so they worked perfectly for me. I used stickers to write “The day was fun…” on one, and “…my work is done!” on the other – so I don’t confuse the jars. You’ll see why in a sec.

  •  When you have a spare second in a day, grab a chore, complete it, then drop it into the “my work is done!” jar. When the “The day was fun” jar is empty, dump the completed chores back in and start over again. Simple, right?!?

Try to pull one or two out a day at first. However, you will start getting into the habit of noticing when you have a spare minute and focusing on squeezing your chores in throughout the week (rather than waiting and cramming them all in on the weekend). You will learn to take advantage of every spare moment you have, and before you know it your house will be deep cleaned – without much time or effort! Maybe start out with the goal to complete the entire jar in one month. Then, as you get quicker, try to complete it in 3 weeks, then maybe every 2 weeks.

Keep in mind that, yes, it looks like a lot of chores. However, not every room needs to be deep so throughly deep cleaned all the time! 

For example, we have 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom in our basement that we literally NEVER use unless we have guests in town. I probably won’t need to deep-clean those rooms every time, because they simply never get used! Likewise, you may not need to wash the windows in your master bathroom every time if they are still clean from the last time you cleaned them.

See how that works? 
If you stay on top of your chores, they get easier and quicker as time goes on because they aren’t that dirty to begin with. 
Glory alleluia.
So…If you grab a chore that doesn’t apply, toss it in to the “my work is done” jar and you’ll whiz through them before you know it.

You may have to sacrifice checking your emails on your phone, turning on the TV real quick, spending extra time on your makeup, cut out 5 or 10 minutes of your reading time at the end of the day, or whatever it is. But really make an honest effort to try to find a few extra spare moments in a day to draw out a chore. You’ll be able to stay on top of your deep cleaning much better, and you’ll be happier. I promise.

Plus, in our house, Saturdays are basically sacred! It’s the only day we have together to do anything we want as a family. I used to spend my Saturdays cleaning, and now I have them free to do as much fun, cheap, or free stuff as I wish.

Trust me, it’s waaay more fun that way.

  • This is also great for kids and teens! Print out some chores that your kids are in charge of, and put them on popsicle sticks (I made the spread sheet cells small enough that most of them will glue on a popsicle stick just fine). By the end of the day all their sticks need to me moved to the “my work is done” jar in order to get dessert, stay up later, get their allowance, or whatever it is.
It’s a simple concept, but it works! I doesn’t overwhelm you to simply draw a chore at random, and it will help you complete tasks that you otherwise have a hard time fitting into your regular routine. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you!
Happy cleaning!
Oh, and you’re welcome :)

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