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Keep Your House In Good Shape
In my mind, these are the 12 basic steps to keep your house in good shape:
picking up out of place items and straightening
washing laundry, then folding and putting it away (while continuing to work between starting and finishing loads!)
washing the dishes
cleaning the kitchen
cleaning the bathrooms
cleaning the furniture
cleaning the floors
food and goods procurement
planning and administration
office functions for household
If you can get through all of these 12 steps, at the end of the day, your house should be clean and comfortable. As a somewhat lackadaisical housekeeper and an owner of chronic illnesses, I almost never make it through ALL of these in a day. It does take a lot of hard work and efficiency, and these are not always something we can make happen.
To say “always run your household efficiently” is kind of like saying “always live your life efficiently”. Both life and keeping your house are pretty much constant activities with very few pauses for rest or, even, time for planning. We do all we can to keep things straight but it can be difficult.
Some Days Are Not Ideal
But sometimes you HAVE to pause, whether for rest or because of an emergency inside or outside of your household. Think of the homemaker becoming seriously ill. Also think about severe weather in your area, or prolonged utility outages. Sometimes there is no way to carry on normal living. That’s when you need to know what is of utmost importance and what we can slack on for a week or two.
So what are some of the shortcuts and energy-savers we can implement in dire times? The answer will vary with the situation and other factors, such as your energy levels. Also, whether you have help from others, if you have electrical power, if you have adequate water — all of these will affect the amount of activity you can maintain.
Hints for Household Emergency Days
Here are some other things to think about, in case of a family emergency or super busy times: if you’re very careful to put back everything you take out, the house will stay and look cleaner. If there are small collections of things you need to keep close to you (bedside, perhaps), consider using a tray to keep them all in one place. If you have no trays, consider a basket or a baking sheet.
Do What You Must
If illness causes spillage or bodily fluid messes (you know what I’m talking about — think stomach flu with children!), keep nearby a strong plastic bag for trash, another for newly dirtied laundry, and spray disinfectant with paper towels for quick cleanups. Try to get the laundry bag and contents into the washing machine quickly to ease smells and spreading of germs.
As soon as the dishwasher finishes washing a load, try to unload it as quickly as possible. Begin collecting dishes in the dishwasher as soon as they are used. It might be a good idea to keep an emergency stash of disposable dishes on hand for illnesses and other emergencies to ease the dishwashing load.
When you’re in the kitchen for even a minute, wipe down anything that needs it.
When you’re in the bathroom, put things away and wipe down as needed.
Don’t Do the Things That Can Wait
Don’t worry about dusting the furniture or cleaning the floors (unless there’s a major mess there).
Food procurement can be done by ordering for delivery, if necessary, in most situations. If not, you’ll have to turn to your emergency pantry. Um, you do have one, don’t you? At least a week or two worth of food is a really good idea, in case of weird weather events.
As far as planning, administration and office functions, do only what you must, unless it’s not that difficult in your particular circumstances.
Remember Your Neighbors
Don’t forget to check on your neighbors, if there’s a widespread emergency. And if it’s a practice you believe in, please remember to pray for all involved.