Dana from KissMyList.com describes herself as a slightly-obsessive and occasionally witty planner and project-doer. But with two kids, her house has still gone from clean to chaotic. With spring cleaning-task-mastering in mind, she has created this list for the housekeeper she hopes to have one day. What would you add?
When I was a child, I kept my bedroom clean. The bed was always made, clothes were put away, and there was minimal clutter. I was similarly neat and organized in college, much to the relief of my roommate. When I became a homeowner, I kept the whole house neat, if not fastidiously clean.
And then I had a child. Then another child. My carpets became punctuated with Legos and doll shoes, and potted plants were replaced with plastic toy bins. For every item I returned to its place, two more appeared underfoot.
The situation hasn't improved as my kids get older. My tween and teen have traded the toys for textbooks, sports equipment, and smelly socks. I brace myself every afternoon for the whirlwind that blusters through my home, leaving messiness and cookie crumbs in its wake.
When I win the lottery, the first thing I will do is hire a live-in housekeeper. On her (or his - I'm not picky) list of things to do would be:
1. Do the laundry. Putting it in the washer and dryer isn't so bad; it's the folding and putting away that I detest. I did laundry on Monday, and as I write this on Thursday there is a basket full of clean, unpaired socks sitting in my bedroom. The four of us have been reaching in all week; if I wait long enough it will empty itself.
2. Clean the bathrooms. Based on the gobs of toothpaste on the counter and in the sink, my children brush with bare brushes. Sporadically flushed toilets make for some nasty bowls, and my teen's flowing mane sheds the equivalent of a small kitten on a daily basis. I think I actually heard a hair ball purr at me the other day.
3. Vacuum. That's not really the issue, though. It's all the stuff on the floor that has to be picked up and put away before vacuuming can commence. So...
4. Pick up everything on the floor, and dump it on the owner's bed. Just because I would have a housekeeper doesn't mean we should live like slobs. My children need to be responsible for their stuff, and if that means taking ten minutes to clean off their bed at night then so be it.
5. Handle the chores that require contorting. The backs of cabinets, under the sink, behind the toilet - these are all places I do not want to go. And at barely five foot two, I will gladly hand over any chore that is out of my reach. The tops of my window valances (there's been a lacrosse ball resting up there for a year), the crown molding, and the tops of bookcases are all no-man's land.
6. Sweeping and mopping. This needs to be done on almost an hourly basis. In reality it is done much, much less than that. It is no accident that I picked a dark tile for my kitchen floor.
7. Meal prep. My kids' activities often interfere with dinner time, and I can't be home to prep or cook a decent meal. I can barely cook a decent meal when I am home, but that's not the point. I'd like dinner waiting for me when we walk in the door at 6:30 or 7:00. And I'd like it to be delicious and healthy, please.
8. Periodic deep cleaning. I admit I stink at this. I want a good house scouring from top to bottom every few months, in all those nooks and crannies that I try to ignore. And then there’s the seasonal stuff: packing away the winter wardrobes, donating the out-grown clothes to Goodwill, changing out the storm windows, re-organizing the garage. Get this off my plate!
9. Don't judge. I always felt like Alice was secretly thinking bad thoughts about the Bradys (please tell me I haven't dated myself with The Brady Bunch reference). My fantasy housekeeper would have no such thoughts; he or she would think we were the coolest family ever. Just not the cleanest.