Monday, February 9, 2009

Getting A Handle On Domestic Chores

Or, the "dish towel schedule".

I find that it's quite hard to get everything done that I need to get done. Since I began working from home, I actually thought it would be easier, but in fact it's more difficult, in a way. There's a certain freedom that comes from sitting in an office all day, far removed from your piles of dirty laundry and unswept floors. If you can't see them, you won't worry so much about them. Since I'm home all the time, I constantly see things that must be dealt with, and I feel compelled to do them all right now. This means I'm distracted from my work, and never get things done completely or efficiently because I'm constantly stopping to do this or that other thing.

As of today, I'm moving to a new model of domestic management. Or rather, an old one. I'm assigning bigger household tasks their own day of the week. Chores used to be done this way by everyone, for good reason. If structured in a way that works with your schedule, it really can make much better use of your time. This is sometimes called a "dish towel schedule" because apparently housewives used to be able to get dish towels with each day's chore embroidered on it. The standard schedule looks something like this:

MONDAY: washing
TUESDAY: ironing
THURSDAY: marketing
FRIDAY: cleaning
SATURDAY: baking
SUNDAY: rest

Since we have sewing and ironing to do, oh, maybe twice a year, and since we have very long days at the office on Tuesday and Thursday, my schedule will be modified as follows:

MONDAY: washing (this still works great)
TUESDAY: nothing (but I will get everything ready Tuesday night for Wednesday baking)
THURSDAY/FRIDAY: marketing on one of these two days, depending on how much we need, and where we need to go
SATURDAY: big farm tasks
SUNDAY: cleaning first thing in the morning, then rest (or carryover farm tasks from Saturday)

Obviously, some things like dishes and animal chores still must be done daily, but at least this way I won't spend my time fretting over when I'll get a chance to dust or wash towels or buy groceries. It's on the schedule! Today is wash day, and so far it has been quite liberating. I didn't worry at all over the weekend about dirty clothes piling up because I knew they'd be dealt with today, and when I got up this morning I knew exactly what I needed to do.

If you're the type who gets distracted easily or feels bogged down by it all, give this system a try!

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