Ever since having a baby, I've been on a mission to simplify, streamline and systematize our home and life. Not so I can check off some imaginary list of "perfect housewife + mom", but because for me, an uncluttered and well-maintained home frees up energy (both physical and mental) to be more present and playful with Xavier, and more engaged and attentive toward Matt.
Enter: the monthly maintenance list. Over the past six months or so, I've implemented what I call "monthly maintenance days." I typed up a list of tasks that really only need to happen once per month, but kept getting pushed to the side or forgotten about until they became way more time-consuming than if we'd just kept up on them. On the first Monday of the month (today!), I print out the list from my computer and go to work crossing everything off.
The monthly maintenance days have been a HUGE help in keeping our home well-maintained, while also getting those pesky random tasks out of my brain and onto paper. I usually notice around the 3rd week of the month that things need to get done again - the microwave needs to be cleaned out, the fridge need to be wiped down, the bath mat is looking dingy. But I don't have to stress about when I'll find time to do that stuff, because I know in just one more week, I have a whole day dedicated to it!
Why Monday? Well, ever since reading this post about "slow Mondays", I've implemented the same rhythm in our home. Mondays are a day for Xav and I to relax after the weekend, which tends to be busy since both Matt and I's parents live just ten minutes away and we're often out and about doing things with them. On Monday we stay in pjs longer than usual, don't plan errands or playdates, and just lounge around the house. Since I know we usually have Mondays totally free of activities, it seemed perfect to use one a month to do the monthly maintenance tasks.
So, what exactly is on my list? This list will vary for everyone, but here's what I aim to do on the first Monday of every month:
- Car wash
- Vacuum + wipe down car interior
- Filing (we collect important papers and receipts in a tray on top of our filing cabinet all month, and I file everything in their corresponding folders once per month.)
- Shredding any papers that need shredded
- Enter my business bank statement into Quickbooks + catch up on accounting
- Wash rugs (this means the bath mats, kitchen rug, and rugs in front of doorways, not huge area rugs. I have no idea how often those should be professionally cleaned - maybe once a year?)
- Give Scout his medicine (flea/tick/heartworm)
- Change out my contacts
- Vacuum the couch
- Backup photos to traveldrive (I keep everything on Dropbox and my desktop, and once per month I back up that month's photos to an external hard drive, too.)
- Clean out the microwave
- Clean out + wipe down the fridge
- Scrub the kitchen sink
- Rinse out the trash can + recycle bin
- Rinse out oil diffuser
- Clean the house (dust, windex windows, vacuum under furniture)
- Goodwill drop-off (now that we've minimized, this tends to only be one box or bag, and not even every month.)
- Wash the comforter
What about weekly and daily? In general, the only real "weekly" tasks I have are to water the plants, wash the sheets, meal plan, and grocery shop. As for daily, I try to do all the dishes + leave the kitchen clean before bed (wipe down counters, wipe down high chair), sweep the floors, do a quick evening tidy and put everything back where it belongs, and toss in a load of laundry. I know some people have a "laundry day" once a week, but for us it works better to just do one small load every day rather than have a laundry mountain to conquer once per week.
How do you guys stay on top of household maintenance? Does the idea of a monthly maintenance day sound doable? I'd love to hear. XO!