The To-Do List – Beyond the Basics

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Part 3
If you’ve missed the beginning of this series, start with Part 1.
Find all my printable cleaning schedules and routines on the Home Management page.

It seems to me that for the Scheduled Family the basics are often a no-brainer.  To go beyond the basics, you need only to add a block of time that says something like Morning Chores, and the entire family knows that means Brush Teeth, Get Dressed, Make Bed, etc.  This is the beauty of the Scheduled Family.

However, the Routine Family tends to have a bit more trouble in this area.  I am not sure why that is, it has just been my experience as such.  So, this post is more for the Routine Family.

To establish the basics, see some of the tips in the previous post. You really do need to practice the basics for quite some time before they will become the basics.  I can remember when I first implemented Table Chores with the children.  I had high hopes that within a week, they would do them automatically.  Boy, was I wrong!  It took a year and a half!  And still, I must occasionally remind them of something they missed!  So, do not become disheartened!  Persevere!!!

Once you have the basics in place–things like a simple morning routine, afternoon routine, and bedtime routine–you can consider adding in routines that repeat weekly.  This is how I get my house cleaning done.

When I had a smaller family, my weekly routine was much less involved.  I cleaned my home thoroughly on Monday, did up all my laundry, and coasted the rest of the week.  I found this stopped working after Baby #3.  But, I do want to include a little more about this method of routine since small families deserve just as much attention as large ones…

For a smaller family, a one-day-a-week cleaning spree is often enough to keep the house in working order the rest of the week.  You simply get it all done and then maintain.  Since the weekend tends to destroy a house no matter what size your family is, Monday is the perfect day to regroup. No matter which day you choose to regroup, I would highly encourage you to never schedule appointments or out-of-the-house activities on that day (yes, I know Routine Families are not known for their ability to commit to something like this, but please consider the “why” behind my reasoning.)

So once upon a time, Monday was the day I would clean the house.  I did this in the morning because I was schooling my oldest child in the afternoon during his sister’s nap.  Tuesday and Wednesday, I pretty much coasted.  The house really didn’t require much from me those days.  These were the days that work best for making appointments.  Now, by Thursday, I usually needed to readdress the mess.  There were some things that needed attention since I had been away the previous days.  But, quite often, the mess only took an hour or less to completely fix.  It was sort of like a mini-clean, and it was enough to get me through the weekend.  And that was how I did it with 2 children.  (By the way, I was an avid FLYlady fan back in those days as well.)

For the larger family, you will more than likely need to break up your cleaning into bite-size pieces.  My week is loosely based on the Large Family Logistics way of doing things.

So, here is what we do for our weekly cleaning routine:

Monday = Laundry (try to do all of it and then maintain) & Dusting
Tuesday = Floors
Wednesday = Bathrooms
Thursday = Basement
Friday = Van & Outside chores
Saturday = Family Day & Prepare for Sunday
Sunday = Rest and Worship

This has proven to be a very doable weekly routine for us and one that is not too time-intensive.  I still prefer to do all my cleaning in the morning with the children’s help, and then start school as soon as we are finished. (Note: This has changed.  We are back to a One Day Home Blessing as of 2012.)

I used to use my dry erase board for these chores as seen in Part 2 of these scheduling posts.The children now have set chores that correspond with each day so I don’t have to make out a list every time.  (To see our set chores, click the link:  Children’s Weekly Chores (note: these chores may seem like a lot, but it really only takes us about an hour to get them all done.  You’ll also note each child is color-coded.  Those are the children’s colors in a lot of things…a huge help when there are a lot of littles.)

Your list will obviously be different because your home is different.  And remember, moving beyond the basics takes time and patience.  Finding a workable plan is not an easy task.  You often have to just try it one way and see how it goes, make adjustments, and try it again.  If you see something in your day that is a problem area, figure out a way to solve it.  For instance, is your house always a mess by the time dad comes home even though it is neat and tidy in the morning?  Implement a 4:30 pm mad-dash cleaning session to get the house ready for Daddy (ours is called a 15 Minute Tidy).  In fact, before you start doing a full-blown weekly routine, start out by implementing bits and pieces.  Do your 4:30 Mad Dash every day for a week.  Is it working?  Do you like the results?  If so, keep it and move forward.  Don’t try to add every single thing I listed all in one week…you will burn out…especially if some piece of it doesn’t quite fit your family.

So, a quick recap…

*Figure out what kind of family you are…Schedule or Routine.

*Find a daily basic plan that works for your family.

*Once you have practiced your plan for a sufficient amount of time, add in a weekly repeating routine one component at a time.

*If you find something that just is not working for your family, revamp it and try again.  Give it time.  Don’t become discouraged!  Persevere!!!

The To-Do List Posts:
Part 1-Schedule or Routine?
Part 2 – Getting Started
This is Part 3 – Beyond the Basics

5 Comments on The To-Do List – Beyond the Basics

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5 thoughts on “The To-Do List – Beyond the Basics

  1. Amy~I have a lot of work to do in this area. I’m a neat freak, so if I’m not careful, I could spend a majority of my day JUST cleaning…every day.

    So a household routine is important for me, not because cleaning never gets done, but it’s always priority :( even over the kiddos sometimes.

    Thanks for this! I’m gonna read over it when things are quieter (hmmm…) and try to implement some things that will work for us!

  2. Pingback: The To-Do List – Getting Started | Raising Arrows

  3. Oh, thank you for this series, Amy! It’s some really great food for thought for me! Very eye-opening. I long for a consistent schedule–I suppose I always had one before I got married, since there was school, sports, etc. So I’ve floundered a bit without someone else enforcing a schedule on me. And Nathaniel tends to be more of a routine guy. And his work schedule is quite unpredictable.

    So your posts have helped me to see that I THINK I want to be a scheduled person, but that I really resent time constraints and feeling rushed. And on top of that, my husband’s schedule (and preferences) call for more of a routine way of doing things. So it’s like, OH–we’re a routine family. We’ve just been very unorganized because I’ve been trying to implement different schedules and it just doesn’t work. THANK YOU! Still have a LONG way to go, but this has been just so SO helpful!

    And I’m also trying not to be a “monkey” in this department, too…that’s long been a problem for me–really appreciated that post today!


    • Schedules/Routines has been (and continues to be) one of my most difficult “monkey” places too. My routine is forever a work in progress, but I’ve finally realized I can draw from other people’s experiences, but God didn’t give me THEIR family, so I cannot run on THEIR schedule and have it work the same way. ps- Our husbands sound rather alike 😉

  4. I really like how you compared a schedule to a routine.

    I had realised that with 4 boys, 2.5 years to 12.5 years, that a schedule was not what I needed or what suited my family and I have made up routine cards for each boy and myself. My problem has been that I have been trying to squeeze those routines into a clock watching schedule way of doing things and it hasn’t been working. Now I understand why not.

    Thank you,
    Jen in Oz