I'm still working my way through very old mail. There is a recurrent theme there, one of questions about homemaking routines and chores and such. Perhaps I can answer several of those at once.
When I set about to be intentional about keeping my home clean and orderly, I began by defining for myself what constituted clean and orderly. I put myself in the shoes of an eight- or ten-year-old child and made a detailed list of what "job well done" looked like in every room. I did this when my first child was about ten. Those lists have undergone some changes over the years. We've moved and rooms have been repurposed and there was that year when I was using all those vinegar cleaners. After we learned that we were breeding fruit flies in all our drains because they just love vinegar, all the "wet" directions were completely overhauled. Still, the work and the thought of all those years ago stands me in good stead today.
My house is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. My friend Linda loves to remind me that it's never a day away from company ready, though. What she means is that we do live in it and on most days there is evidence of such life, but if I had to, I could stop on any given morning and have it ready for company by day's end. That means that if I have a sense on any day that Mike is having a bad day and that coming home to a house that looks like it's ready for company would be a blessing, I can do that (given enough notice). That's my measure of acceptable.
So, what do the lists look like? The first drafts were just ordinary Word documents. The latest version reflects Mary Beth under the influence of Katherine. They're very pretty. I'm not sure how much use the PDFs will be, because every home and family is different in the details, but here they are.
I keep a copy of each of them in my master notebook. Then, I post one in every room. The bathroom list is inside the cabinets in the bathroom. The kitchen list is on the fridge. The bedroom lists are inside the bedroom doors. The mudroom/office/foyer/bathroom one is in the office that is sort of central to that whole area. They aren't really for public perusal, but the child sent to clean a room knows where to look to be certain that his idea of clean and my idea of clean are one in the same.
Finally, there is a chart of chore assignments. It's pretty simple, or it was before Paddy left. We still struggle for manpower at the top. Truth be told, I'm mostly absorbing his jobs. Michael will return home for a season or so after graduation in December. Patrick will be home after the World Cup in June. I haven't made a new chore chart for this fall. There's probably some deep psychological issue at play here;-), but I've noticed that Mary Beth, happy-maker-of-charts, hasn't hastened to do it either. Something about deleting someone from the rhythm of family life that makes it seem so permanent. Whatever. Your family looks different than mine anyway, so you won't care if Patrick's on the chart or not, right?
Comments are open, because I'll never get to the mail:-)