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Homemaking, or running a household, seems to be viewed in one of two ways, for the most part. Either people proclaim it to be total drudgery, or they opine that it is “the most wonderful and important job in the world”.
I lean toward the latter theory, but then I really don’t want to try it and mess it up. Okay, I was just kidding! Making myself actually keep up on the cleaning is very difficult, but necessary.
My Working System
The closest I’ve come to a working system for myself is to list the major steps needed to clean the house (see this post). Then I just start at the top and perform each step until it’s done, or until I just can’t do it any more. The next day I start at the top again. There’s less to do for the steps I did the day before, but there’s still some things that must be done again.
On Friday, I start at the spot where I ended the day before. I work as hard as I can to get all the way through the list. After a few weeks of working like this, I begin to be able to go through all or most of the list each day. I try to keep it up, but inevitably things happen. I become ill. A conference happens that one of us has to attend. I scratch my ear during Volunteer Day at the school or church and find myself working a booth for a few days. And, overall, that’s okay.
After the crisis (or fun) passes, then I begin all over again. This is the system for running a household that resonates with the way my mind works.
Reasons to Have a System
Why do I try so hard? Mostly because I see it as a health and character issue. Being chronically ill makes me very aware of things that can upset my immune system. Food poisoning makes me ill, but it also upsets my blood sugar control. Dust makes me sneeze uncontrollably. Things like that also make me really grumpy. So, yep, housekeeping is a thing to be practiced, even though I really don’t enjoy it.
Also, good habits are difficult to form. Once I have one in place, I don’t like to mess up and lose the momentum. Working hard is a characteristic I value, therefore, I want to form that habit in myself. I firmly believe that housecleaning is hard physical work, if done well. It really takes some sort of system to get it all done.
Why Have a System?
Systems have been around for centuries. I think everyone has heard the one about the days of the week for chores:
Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day;
Wednesday: Sewing Day;
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest.
For me, this one is too simplistic. Tell me today is Cleaning Day and I will run around, trying to figure out what to do first. I need a predetermined chore list. For me, it leaves too many decisions to be made on the fly.
More Systems Information to Come
I like to collect old books about how to run a household. Many of those have systems laid out. What works for one person will work for others who work the same way she does, but there are many ways to attack housekeeping. The trick is to find the system that works with the way you think. I’ll be writing posts detailing some of these systems in an effort to help you find the system that works for you.