At the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin came up with a list of 13 virtues to help improve his character. One of the virtues was cleanliness. Three more of those virtues, which I find are relevant to this topic were...
When it comes to cleanliness Franklin's quote above says it all - keep your body, clothes and home clean.
In terms of order Franklin explained as follows: "Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time". Does that sound familiar, having a place for everything and everything in it's place. That's the number one rule of home organization. As for the second part of his statement, when I look at it in a house cleaning context - it's making sure that each cleaning task has a time to get done. In other words - make sure that you schedule your cleaning tasks.
Resolution: "Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve." So you have a cleaning schedule, binder of house cleaning checklists - do you see these as binding contracts with yourself and your family to get the house cleaning done and maintain a clean and tidy home. Or are they collecting dust in a junk draw somewhere?
Industry: "Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions." I've included industry here because the one thing I here all the time is, "I don't have time to..." fill in the blank. But is this really true? While you're watching those cat videos or going through an emotional rollercoaster reading facebook posts - Is your bed made?
I've adapted Franklin's virtues and his method of tracking his progress as a way to create effective house cleaning routines.
A routine is just a sequence of actions that you follow regularly. So in the context of cleaning, you can think of it as the habits that you form based on the schedule that you follow in order to complete your cleaning tasks.
To track his progress, Benjamin Franklin used a tracker like this one...
He marked of each day that he completed an activity, which contributed to one of his virtues.
Getting started on a cleaning routine is like working on a new habit or virtue. Except, in our case we need to get a bit more granular. Instead of just writing cleanliness under the 'tasks' column - we would write 'morning routine'.
Or to get a bit more granular - we would list the cleaning tasks that we would complete every morning, like washing the dishes after breakfast and drying the shower doors after taking a shower. Doing this for three or four weeks should turn your house cleaning routine into a habit that you do automatically.
To get started, create a weekly appointment for yourself with your schedule and your cleaning checklists. Use this information to plan your morning and evening cleaning routines. Also routines for those gaps in your schedule where you find yourself with 2 to 15 minutes to spare.
According to the amount of time you have available (recall Benjamin's 'industry' virtue) fit in those cleaning tasks, which will be part of your cleaning routines for various times in the day. Personally, I like cleaning early in the mornings, while I leave the evenings and those gaps in the day to tidy up.
Establish cleaning routines where you map cleaning tasks to activities you perform regularly. This can be drying your shower doors after taking a shower or washing dishes during and after cooking.
In the 'habits' space, the gurus will tell you to start small. In this case I would say - work consistently on one routine at a time. Once you have that locked down - start on the other one.
Keep in mind Franklin's virtues as you work to create an effective house cleaning routine. Be industrious and commit to your plan until your routines become second nature to you.
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