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Cleaning Your House Begins with a List

Mar 27, 2008
You've promised yourself (your husband, significant other or roommate) that you are finally going to get your house clean. A disorganized home looks dirty, even if it's not really deep down filthy. But, how are you going to get started?

Have you ever noticed that some people just seem to be "born" organized while the rest of us struggle to keep our houses tidy? What IS their secret? Well, I don't think there really is one. It could be that their parents instilled it into them or maybe their parents were so messy that they said, "I'll never be like that!"

I've had my own challenges with housekeeping and organization. I could swear that I knew where an item was, but when I went to get it's gone. After years of this, I finally got busy with organizing my life. Here's how I did it:

I make lists. No matter how trivial or how easy (I think) it is easy to remember, I write it down. Because if I don't write it down, I'll forget it. With all of the "little things" there are for us to remember, how can we remember any one of them?

I keep one notebook with all of my lists in it. It contains my "master" list, the list that I go through every day to create other project lists. Some of those items won't fit into projects so they just go on a daily to-do list -- which is prioritized.

One of my lists is an errand list. Instead of deciding on the spur of the moment to go get stamps at the post office, I look through my errand list to see if there are other tasks like picking up dry-cleaning that I can do at the same time. A SUB list of my errand list is my shopping list. I have one for groceries and one for other items like office supplies.

Grouping tasks is an important part of time management. Group tasks like you group lists. Like tasks should be grouped together, such as doing the laundry. Do all of your "groups" of laundry at the same time (one right after the other), whites, colors, etc. This has really encouraged me to complete things instead of just starting and never really finishing.

Of course, there are times when lists won't be of much help. Especially when it comes to caring for children. You can't put each child on a list and expect him or her to not interrupt you when you are doing other tasks. And, you can't have a daily task list that is so long that it will never get done. It will only overwhelm you so you don't know what to do next. Try to prioritize your tasks and do those that are of highest priority first.

When it comes to making that first list, it can be a real eye-opener. I would suggest that you go through each room, one at a time, and write down everything you that think needs to be done in that room: drawers cleaned out, window coverings cleaned or changed, painting that needs to be done, and things in the room that really belong in another room.

Then, follow the tasks on your list to get it all done. By the way, clutter is the place to start. Clutter can be surface clutter or it can be confined to just one drawer or shelf. Once you get the clutter under control, the rest will fall into place.
About the Author
Stop by http://cleanandorganized.com to find more information on how to keep your home clean and organized.
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