10 May 2011

Housekeeping on a Monday

I grew up with a mother who always wore an apron in the kitchen and for doing her housework so it seemed only natural that I would ignore such an old fashioned habit when I had my own kitchen. I didn't ignore it for long though. Only a couple of ruined tops had me calling Mum and asking her to send me her apron patterns.

Ever since I've been a devoted fan of the apron. My favourite is a wonderful full length apron, in a butcher stripe, made from oil cloth. I wore that apron for years before it finally fell apart. I loved that if something splashed on it I could just wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Putting on my apron puts me in the mood for housework. It's become my housework uniform and everyone knows when I have my pinny on then I'm in serious house cleaning/cooking/tidying mode.

I'm a little old fashioned in that I have a specific cleaning routine. When I was growing up Monday was washing day, Tuesday was beds and bathroom, Wednesday was gardening, Thursday was shopping and cooking and Friday was cleaning day. Mum had a rest, of sorts, on weekends, when she did the basics. All other housekeeping chores were done during the week and it's a routine that I've adapted to suit us as a family.

So Monday is kitchen and loungeroom cleaning day and a definite apron day. Getting the housework done in the morning leaves me free to do whatever I like for the rest of the day. Usually that's working on Cheapskates putting together newsletters or the Journal, answering emails, doing interviews and so on. Lately though I've been working on the book. It's getting there, slowly but surely. I have to get a wriggle on with it though, it has to be ready for editing by the end of June.

But before I play I work. My Monday mornings go something like this:

In the kitchen:

1.With the cobweb broom dust the cornices, light fittings, tops of cupboards and the skirting boards.
2.Fill the sink with hot water.
3.Load and run the dishwasher.
4.Put any knick knacks into the sink to soak (the teapot trivet, cake dome, plate from the microwave, glass cutting boards, tea set off the window sill etc).
5.Starting on the island bench and move everything off. Wipe over with a damp cloth, dry with a tea towel. Move to the bench next to the stove and repeat. Repeat for the microwave bench.
6.wash the things in the sink, rinse and put to drain dry.
7.Wipe the inside and outside of the microwave, remembering to wipe over the back too.
8.Put the trivets off the stove into the sink to soak. Sprinkle the stove with a little water and a drizzle of dishwashing liquid. Let it sit for a few minutes then wipe over with a wet cloth, dry with a tea towel.
9.Wash, rinse and dry the trivets and put back into place.
10.Wipe over the range hood, and fridge, dusting the top.
11.Check the cupboard doors, wipe over with a clean, damp cloth.
12.Wipe over the kettle, tea and coffee caddies and the utensil jar.
13.Put the boards back into place.
14.Wash the window.
15.Put the tea set back into place.
16.Sweep floor.
17.Wipe over kickboards with a damp cloth.
18.Mop floor.
19.Clean and shine sink.
20.Put the dirty dishcloths and tea towels in the wash, put out a fresh dishcloth and a clean tea towel.

In the loungeroom:
1.Dust the cornices, skirting boards and window sills with the cobweb broom.
2.Wipe over the windows with a microfibre window cloth.
3.Dust and polish the timber furniture.
4.Dust the pictures on the walls.
5.Vacuum the carpet, moving the lounge and the chairs and cleaning underneath and behind.
6. Straighten the furniture, fluffing the cushions.
7.Check the doyleys, if they are dusty, creased or dirty put them in the wash and replace with clean linens.

It's quite a list isn't it? I'm so glad I didn't write it out before I started, it would have been rather intimidating. Thankfully this has been my Monday routine for so long now that it's habit and I don't really think about what I do, I just do it, almost on autopilot.

Really it's not hard at all, it only takes about 40 minutes to get through. I can spend 40 minutes on a Monday morning to keep our kitchen and lounge sparkling. With just a little daily care they stay spic'n'span all week long.

The secret is to just do it - I love that saying - just do it! Once you start it's easy. And each week it gets easier and easier because after a couple of weeks you are just maintaining, not actually doing any deep cleaning. I know there are lots of housecleaning plans and schedules around, but this one works for me. It's not complicated, I don't need cards or folders or special cleaners. I just start at the top and work my way down. Even I can remember to do that.

Once I've finished I take of my apron and sit down with a cup of coffee and a bikkie and relax, enjoying our lovely clean and tidy home. Until around 4pm when everyone starts to get home and it all goes back to normal. Gotta love kids and their trails of stuff.


  1. My biggest problem is the "Just do it!" part... motivation after a couple of hours sleep (newborn baby) is so hard to get!
    Good on you for being able to though :D

  2. You'll get motivated once you start. I've had three newborns - two of them just 20 months apart, with one of them a non-sleeper so I know how tiring it can be.

    It's worse to leave the work though. When I had babies I slept when they slept (if I could) and when they were awake I carried them in the baby sling or put them in the bouncer and took them with me wherever I went. I'd talk to them as I washed dishes or folded nappies or whatever.

    My mother used to say I had the only 3 month old who knew how to keep house.

    You'll get there, the hardest part really is getting started.

  3. It's funny how when you are young you vow never to be like your mother & magically once you grow up & mature you see how wise & senseible all mothers advice was. For some it takes longer to wise up than others.

  4. I found 'Housekeeping on a Monday' & 'Housekeeping on a Tuesday' really enjoyed the posts, where are the rest of the week? I Can't find them. thanks


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