Through the week…

In Tapestry – The Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, Edith Schaeffer mused the following as she looked toward the Castle Chillon

“How temporary and insignificant our short lifetimes seem as I think of the centuries of people who have been born, married, imprisoned, or lived princely lives there.”

I’ve not seen the magnificent Castle Chillon or even been to Europe, but the brevity of our lives in the light of history certainly speaks to me. It is that truth that motivates my pursuit of simplicity in the necessary every day tasks of living.

I’m naturally a planner, an organizer. Developing a master schedule for my week has almost been a compulsion, but fortunately I’ve not been a slave to it. My schedule has seen multiple revisions, and at times been totally ignored, but for now, it keeps my life simple and focused on what I believe is the deeper, richer stuff of life, without sacrificing order and beauty in my home.

My basic schedule goes something like this: Monday: laundry – including sheets, tablecloths and throw rugs, dust and mop floor in guest bedroom, clean porches (including patio furniture) and cat boxes (garbage goes out Monday nights); Tuesday: Dust and straighten living and dining room, garage entry and front foyer; Wednesday: dust and straighten master bedroom, clean bathrooms, mirrors, TV screens and computer monitors; Thursday: laundry, dust and straighten study; Friday: clean kitchen/fridge and floor; Saturday: laundry and laundry area of garage, sweep garage. Sunday: nothing.

Did you notice that my busiest chore day is Monday? Louis is home on Mondays, and sometimes he will give the back porch and furniture a good scrubbing for me. I’ve never, ever made a “honey do” list for Louis. He works very hard providing for our needs and many of our wants. He faithfully maintains and cares for the yard and property (as well as Nick and Kristin’s yard while Nick is at sea), the cars, the shed and tools and the garage. He doesn’t need me to tell him what to do with his time away from work, but if I tackle some of my hardest chores on the day he is home, then I know he is around to help me if I need it.

Tuesdays and Fridays are my Gavin days. The rooms I clean those days are baby-proofed. A baby gate keeps Gavin from entering the kitchen, but I can still keep my eye on him the whole time. We shop for groceries after church on Sundays while we are in the city, so cleaning the kitchen and refrigerator on Fridays just makes sense.

On Wednesdays, a friend and I spend several hours at the home of an elderly widow friend who is still recovering from major surgery on her back last winter. We help her get a shower and then we clean the large home she shares with her widowed son. If I’m going to get dressed in my grubby cleaning clothes to scrub her bathrooms, I may as well tackle mine, too. And if I am going to clean the bathroom mirrors, I may as well clean the mirrors, screens and monitors in the rest of the house, too.

Thursdays are my reading, studying and writing days, so all I do is dust and straighten the study and a little laundry if I have a full load.

Saturday I only do laundry, sweep out the garage and clean up the laundry area in the garage.

Every Sunday evening, I look over the calendar for the coming week and revise the master schedule accordingly. For instance, this week we planned a day in the city on Monday for doctor’s and hair appointments, as well as a little shopping, so all of the tasks I normally schedule for Monday were rescheduled throughout the week.

After printing a revised copy for my day-book, I review the previous week’s schedule and circle any rooms or areas on the new schedule that I was unable to clean the week before (like chores that were scheduled for the day I spent in the ER with Gavin and Kristin) and make them a priority in the week to come.

Every day I spend 5 minutes tops wiping down the bathroom counters and toilets , sweeping if necessary, and cutting fresh flowers for the table.

Easy peasy, and it works for me.


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