The importance of scheduling

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

It’s interesting how many people I know that had problems with their house getting piley over the holidays and now they’re scrambling to catch up on their household chores and routines. I’m included in that group- I’ve been doing a ton of laundry since this weekend and I still have laundry to do. Oy.

Many times when my house mess gets out of control, I try to identify the root cause of it. Sometimes there’s a fairly legitimate reason, like when I was pregnant and on bedrest and Mr. Ivy was working 90 hour weeks. Sometimes there’s no good reason at all- it’s just plain laziness. Most of the time, Β it’s because we have gotten away from our routines and scheduling.

I remember back to the fabulous time in my life when my schedule was very loose. In college, I could do anything I wanted on the spur of the moment, mostly because I didn’t have the overwhelming responsibility I do now. Nowadays, I still am able to do things on the spur of the moment, but not on as grand of a scale as before. Once upon a time, I took off to Florida because I needed to see the beach. Now, my grand adventures are an unplanned lunch out with a friend.

It’s just terribly important to stick to a schedule, especially when kids are involved. I’m no longer working around my own schedule; I’m working around the schedule of four other people- my husband’s work schedule, my kids’ school and activity schedules, and the hordes of appointments we always seem to have.

With that in mind, I jam all the household chores we need to do between all the other stuff we have to do. It’s very easy to let the household chores go by the wayside in favor of all the other stuff. There’s not much advice here, because I think this is something we all deal with on some level. Some people are better than others at squeezing a ton of stuff into their day. Don’t get downhearted if you sometimes get behind and are overwhelmed with things you need to do. We all have this problem.

If you’re behind and overwhelmed, make a list. Prioritize that list and then jump in. This is what I’ve been doing since the holidays to catch up on my housework. I like to start with cleaning the areas where we spend the most time. It’s easy to get discouraged if you spend a lot of time in a mess, which just makes the situation worse. So, I always start with the place I spend the most time. Then I move on from there.

Hang in there, Home Eccers! If you’re struggling and need a cheerleader, don’t forget that I’m just an email away.


  1. scheduling policy on April 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    […] 2006 … Here's the listing for the Family Demography and Public Policy Seminar this semester: …The importance of scheduling | Home Ec 101Ivy says: It's interesting how many people I know that had problems with their house getting piley […]

  2. Taylor at Household Management 101 on January 22, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Schedules are definitely a good thing when it comes to keeping your home manageable. Doing a small amount daily is much easier for me than doing a large amount all at once, because it seems the large amount never comes.

    I am still tweaking and working with my cleaning schedule in my own home, because as other portions of my family’s schedule changes, it changes when I can do things, but one thing I actually do feel on top of at the moment is my laundry schedule.

    I have listed my blog my thoughts on why a laundry schedule is ultra important if you have several kids, especially little ones, and what my schedule is (click the link above) in my home.

    I work outside the home full time, have three kids, and with my laundry schedule I have finally found a system where I generally (not always, but most of the time) keep up with the laundry. That has really improved my life and that lives of my family.

  3. Judith on January 15, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I agree that scheduling and flexibility both are necessary. I do a general dusting/vacuuming/floors downstairs on Mondays (my day off), and the same upstairs on Fridays, along with changing sheets on Fridays and bath towels on Mondays and Friday. Laundry fits in around evening schedules; menu planning and shopping are usually mid-week. Trash goes out on Thursday night. I spray and wipe bathrooms every day or so. I follow the FlyLady scheduling of special attention to different rooms each week. I try to pick up as I go, keep the kitchen clean, if not the small table in there, usually full of paper and books till I get to them! πŸ™‚ So, IF all goes well, and that’s a big if, that’s my Plan A. But Plan B’s flexibility is necessary as folk get sick or my work multiplies or holidays happen, etc. Then I do what I must when I can. (Or sometimes I just sit on the couch and “be lazy.” LOL)
    Knowing what the routine is helps even if I can’t follow it!
    And it helps that my kids are 19 and 23 ……. but it also helped when they were 6 and 10!

  4. Mom of three on January 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I am a scheduling nut and what I have found is: OUTLOOK.

    I first went around my entire house and made a list of everything, including fix it jobs and then I took the list and decided how often each item needed to be done.

    Then in Outlook, I created a task for each item and had it repeat based on my decision in part one. One week, two weeks, once a month, yearly…

    Now I use my phone, but in the olden days, pre-phone, I used my computer. Each morning when I read my email, there were my list of tasks for each day. As I complete a task, I mark it complete, and it moves to the next day it needs to be done. All tasks done means I get to do what I want to do.

    I found keeping it simple helps. For instance: Have one task that says “Clean Living Room” instead of tasks that say “Dust Living Room”, “Mop Living Room”, “Vacuum Living Room floor”… Too many tasks can be overwhelming. Plus “clean living room” allows me to say that vacuuming the rug is good enough. After all, that task comes up twice a week, so if I do a halfway job today, in three days it will be back.

    If I am sick, a task can only stay on my to do list for 48 hours. If I am sick on Monday, then on Wednesday night before I go to bed, I complete all of Monday’s chores-not by doing them, but by marking them complete. They’ll be back. The only ones I don’t allow myself to do that on are animal related tasks, and yearly tasks. Animal related tasks can be delegated, but the puppy has to be fed every day. Yearly tasks can wait a few days, but they do need to be done.

    Another thing is I actually made two calendars in outlook and I scheduled in housework when I was creating my tasks. It doesn’t make since to say tomorrow I am going to do 4 hours of housework related chores, if you know full well that tomorrow you are only going to be home 9 hours and you need 8 of those to sleep. Instead, schedule those chores on a day when you are going to be home 4 hours.

    The key is to know what needs to be done so if you have free time you can do it, be flexible so you don’t get overwhelmed, and when you have free time, work on the list. I find I actually work less around the house now, because I am constantly picking up, or maintaining and not having to do major overhauls to keep up with it.

    Of course, having said all that, it also helps that my children are 11, 16 and 18 and not 1, 6 and 8. πŸ˜‰

  5. wannabehousewife on January 14, 2009 at 10:06 am

    My house is awful right now because I was sick for so long. Hubby did some stuff (cat boxes, taking out the trash) but a lot went undone and now the inlaws are coming for dinner this weekend! Argh! I’ve made a list though, and while it wound up being ridiculously long, it helps. I showed it to hubby and he said ok, tonight he will sweep, vacuum and mop and I can work on washing and putting up the laundry. Tomorrow we’ll knock out the dishes and kitchen together. Etc, etc. I love having such an awesome partner.

  6. Angela on January 14, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I have been working on this… I really needed to find the time of day I was most productive. In my case I hate waking up to what I have to do. This week I have been working really hard at going through the house and cleaning up all the rooms(works well if you have a small house). I then can wake up and just have to work on maintance and not have to worry about tripping through the rooms:) Also in having a small house, any mess is where you can see it. What a great post, I am finaly getting back on track from having a baby and then going into the holidays. We will see how next week goes and I start watching a little one along with my children.

  7. Carol on January 14, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I need a cheerleader that makes house calls!

    Our tv room, fell victim to my littlest tornado and his older brother while he was out of school. It is finally taking some shape, but before that I moved out of that room which usually has the computer in it to the main living room. Which is usually pretty tidy. LOL I am looking forward to me and DH both being off this weekend, so we can have a cleaning frenzy.

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