Cleaning Calendar 3.0

The monthly calendar created by Clean Mama is both pretty and practical.

The monthly calendar created by Clean Mama is both pretty and practical.

Looking at my “home care” Pinterest board always makes me feel so virtuous. All those glorious ideas for more efficient cleaning! All those schedules and lists, illustrated with beautifully composed graphics! Just looking at the board makes me feel accomplished.

Too bad my dishes still aren’t done!

Ruth Soukup at Living Well, Spending Less articulated what it (sadly) took me awhile to admit: you have to find a system that works for your home and work style. She offers multiple cute printables as well as a master task list.

To Soukup’s suggestions, I would add some nerdy English teacher advice for anyone consulting a print-out. You have to find a printable layout that speaks to your brain! The lists I kept seeing were so pretty, but they just didn’t work for me. Then I discovered Clean Mama’s free monthly calendars. Heaven!

Now, her calendars are fabulous and got me off to a good start. I love the layout and really enjoy the daily tasks. But now I’m feeling ready to create my own version. It’s not as cute, but it takes into account specific needs for our home. (In addition to cleaning, I’m also trying to (a) keep our budget up-to-date and (b) keep our house plants alive.)

Click here to download my calendar as a Word document. I’d be interested to hear how you modify it!  

2015: The Intentional Year (I hope)

homemaker imageIn The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin confesses, “I had everything I could possibly want–yet I was failing to appreciate it. Bogged down in petty complaints and passing crises, weary of struggling with my own nature, I too often failed to comprehend the splendor of what I had. I didn’t want to keep taking these days for granted.”

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I identify with Rubin’s words. It’s therefore no surprise that she has inspired me to embark on my own version of a happiness project–that is, identifying what brings me joy and then pursuing joy through concrete action.

Though perhaps “joy” is a misnomer. The word that actually keeps coming to mind is “intention.” I want to do things on purpose, as opposed to just alternating between my reactions of frantic energy and slothful inertia.

Since my husband and children are my top priority, I’m naturally going to begin with an intentional focus on… home-making. Here’s why:

  • Neither Smartner nor I can relax unless the (tiny) house is a certain level of clean and clutter-free.
  • Similarly, I can’t enjoy time with the kids if I’m staring at evidence of my looming to-do list (a mountain of unfolded laundry, etc.)…
  • … and I hate feeling like I’m always ignoring them to clean a house that never actually gets clean!
  • We want to be able to comfortably host spontaneous gatherings, and a home is more welcoming when it’s tidy.
  • We are also hoping to move sometime in 2015. Call me crazy, but potential buyers may be more enthused if I finally wash  that ancient spaghetti sauce from the dining room wall.

I’m sure you’re seeing the connection here. I’m (perhaps optimistically) thinking that She Who Vacuums The Living Room can also tidy up the family’s overall emotional atmosphere. We will see.

Clutter-busting, cleaning, and a bit of home decor: I like this as a starting point! Details to follow soon. In the mean time: any tips or tricks for how you manage your house-keeping?

Late to the Party

happiness project

Hey, Internet. I realize it’s been… oh, about a year. Sorry. I’ve been busy figuring out my life. Short recap: I’ve put a temporary halt to teaching so that I can focus on our two small children. Lots of co-op preschool and poopy diapers around here!

Moving on.

The hiatus from grading means I have more time for pleasure reading. And not just reading… but thinking about what I read. Such a luxury!

I am grateful that a dear friend of mine recently recommended both The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin) and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life (James Martin, SJ). Both books have made me consider how I actually spend my time versus how I want to spend my time. And right now I have the energy and focus to make some changes. Hurray!

Now, I realize I’m pretty late to the party here… you all were probably among the original readers who put both titles on the New York Times bestseller list. But if not? I highly recommend them. Bonus: reading them at the same time, I made all kinds of connections between the two. I bet you will, too.

And speaking of being late to the party, I’ve been inspired by both books to make some resolutions for 2015.  My inner Type-A Task Mistress is appalled that I’m just now getting around to this. Kate 2.0 (I like to think of her as Patient, Evolved Me) is rather pleased that I’m actually following my own personal timeline… and giving myself time to reflect before committing to a course of action.

I’ve got a resolution focus for February and a brand-new meal plan I’ll be posting ASAP. In the mean time, blogosphere, I’ve missed you! What’s new in your world? Anyone else have a New Year’s resolution to share?